Vettel 2018 move ‘not on the table right now’ for Mercedes

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says the team is not currently considering a move for Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for the 2018 season, although he could not rule the German out as an option for next year.

Mercedes currently races with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in F1, the latter having joined the team at the start of the season on a one-year contract following world champion Nico Rosberg’s retirement.

Bottas has made an impressive start to life with Mercedes, winning his fourth race for the team, but his seat is one of the most attractive on the grid.

Vettel is one of the biggest-name drivers out of contract at the end of the year, and currently leads the drivers’ championship by 25 points from Hamilton following his third victory of the season in Monaco last weekend.

Speaking to Press Association, Wolff said that a move for Vettel is not currently on Mercedes’ radar, but added that there are a number of drivers who would be under consideration.

“Taking Sebastian out of the equation at this stage would be silly, but equally it is not on the table right now,” Wolff said.

“I don’t see a reason why Sebastian should leave a team that probably have an equal package with us at the moment.

“‘He would not be the only one to look at. We have our young drivers that are developing well and I like both of the Red Bull drivers.

“When the time comes to assess I think there could be up to 10 drivers we would look at more closely.”

However, Wolff said that if Bottas were to continue his upward trajectory and progression with Mercedes from the early part of the season, the team would have no need to alter its line-up.

“If the season were to continue like it was now, with Valtteri’s performance ramping up all the time and him being an important and well-performing part of the team, I don’t see a reason for change.”