Mercedes technical boss Paddy Lowe admits that Nico Rosberg’s departure is a “big loss” to the championship-winning team.
Lowe acknowledged the role of both drivers in the team’s three-year run of success.
“It’s a tremendous team that have secured all those records,” he said at the Autosport Awards on Sunday. “But we couldn't have done it without two fantastic drivers, because they’re there every race scoring the points, a very, very low error rate, and that is what it takes to get that statistic.
“So it is a big dent to lose Nico, and those will be very, very difficult shoes to fill. So we will see where we get to with it. But it will be a big loss.”
Asked who are the possible candidates, Lowe joked that the recently retired Felipe Massa (who was in the room) or Jenson Button might get a call, along with Mercedes protégé Pascal Wehrlein.
“I’m a very logical person. In my book there are sort of old blokes, who have just finished and might want to come back – sorry Felipe, you know what I mean! Then there are young blokes, and we saw Pascal earlier, who’s one of those. Then there’s the ones in the middle who are all signed up… So that’s our range!”
Lowe and other senior Mercedes personnel are expected to begin an in-depth analysis of the team’s options on Monday, with Wehrlein the obvious candidate unless the team can get someone who is currently contracted elsewhere.