Nico Rosberg will be made to wait until the summer before a decision is made on a possible contract extension at Mercedes.
Rosberg signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes in 2014 that gives the German marque the option for a third, potentially lasting until the end of the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Next year’s F1 driver market is shaping up to be one of the most volatile in years, with all drivers except Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel seemingly free to move for 2017.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff recently sent out a warning to Hamilton and Rosberg, saying that he would to hesitate to change the line-up if tension between the duo spilled over and had a negative impact on the team.
Speculation of a possible change to the driver line-up at Mercedes will only continue after Wolff told Speed Week that no decision would be made on Rosberg’s contract until the summer at the earliest.
“We are talking about an extension in the summer at the earliest,” Wolff said. “Until then, let’s look at what happens.”
Wolff did stress that his warning regarding intra-team relations applied to both of his drivers, revealing that Hamilton had relevant clauses within his contract that would allow Mercedes to end it early.
“There are clauses in his contract, as is the case with all the other staff, in the case of damaging the company, for example,” Wolff said.
As such, it appears that Vettel is the only driver secure of his existing drive for the 2017 season, adding yet more fuel to 2016’s ‘silly season’.