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Niki Lauda says Mercedes might take until January end to sign a replacement for Nico Rosberg

International Business Times logo International Business Times 22/12/2016 Arjun Devgan
niki lauda © getty niki lauda

Mercedes' non-executive chairman and Formula One legend Niki Lauda has revealed that the team is still undecided on world champion Nico Rosberg's replacement. They could wait until the end of January next year to take the difficult decision, he said.

Mercedes who have won the F1 constructors title for three consecutive seasons are desperately seeking a replacement for Rosberg who made a shock retirement just five days after winning his maiden title. Lauda had slammed the German's decision saying his sudden retirement had made Mercedes look dumb. But Rosberg had revealed that he had informed Toto Wolff of his decision as soon as he made it in order to give Mercedes enough time to find an alternative.

Mercedes now needs to choose between its junior driver Pascal Wehrlein and the more experienced Williams racer Valtteri Bottas. With Bottas currently under contract, Mercedes will need to buy him out if they want to make sure that he is racing for them in 2017.

"We are still making up our minds. It could take until the end of January before we know which way we will go. We are not yet that far and we don't know yet. We hoped to make it sooner, but they are quite complicated negotiations.

"Basically, there are just two ways to go, a young driver like Wehrlein, who could become a star or could not, or an experienced man like Bottas. We are far from being ready with these considerations, this is a huge discussion", Lauda said, as quoted by ESPN.

The German team has also been linked with two-time champion Ferrari's Fernando Alonso but nothing has been confirmed other than the news that a new driver will not be announced anytime this year.

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