Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost believes that Manor’s Pascal Wehrlein is not ready to step up to Mercedes, and take the place of former driver Nico Rosberg.
The World Champion chose to retire only days after receiving his Championship, leaving an opening at Mercedes. Wehrlein’s long-standing links with the team could provide an opportunity for the young German.
This leaves Mercedes with the choice of Wehrlein or Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, however it is seemingly more likely that Bottas will secure the seat, since it has been announced that recent retiree Felipe Massa is returning to drive for Williams in 2017.
Despite this, Tost believes that the DTM Champion is not yet ready for the step.
“They [Mercedes] were in a very difficult situation,” Tost told Tiroler Tageszeitung, an Austrian newspaper.
“They have dominated but suddenly lost the world champion, and it happened too late for them to replace him with a top driver because of all the contracts.”
“Pascal is a great backup driver, but we are talking about the champion team.
“Pascal may be able to fight for victory, but it’s too early for him. I’ve always said that it takes three years for a driver to get comfortable in Formula One.
“Of course, Hamilton-Wehrlein was the easiest option for them, but they are fighting for the constructors’ championship and a lot of money is at stake.
“And it’s also not clear if that driver composition would have a bad influence on the stability of the team.”
Hamilton has also reportedly voted on the idea of having Wehrlein as a teammate.