Barring the resurgence of Manor, the 2017 Formula 1 grid has been locked in with Valtteri Bottas signing with Mercedes, Felipe Massa returning to Williams and Pascal Wehrlein off to Sauber.
With Bottas finally dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on a Mercedes deal, the 2017 grid fell into place on Monday.
It began with Sauber confirming Mercedes protégé Wehrlein and was followed by the Bottas and Massa announcements.
It put to an end a month of speculation as Formula 1’s media and fans debated who would be the best signing to fill the coveted seat vacated by retired World Champion Nico Rosberg.
It hasn’t, however, left us with an exciting grid in terms of teammate matches.
Minutes after his signing Bottas was throwing around the words “we can be good team players together”, which isn’t what Formula 1 fans want should the new aerodynamic rules fail to curb Mercedes’ advantage.
Looking down the grid, there is a general feel that most teams have one driver far stronger than the other but there could always be a few surprises.
Stroll could yet to do a Max Verstappen and fight his way to the fore, Jolyon Palmer may prove he has what it takes to tussle with Nico Hulkenberg and, in a car capable of results, Esteban Ocon could take on Sergio Perez.
But in all honesty it looks as if 2017’s teammate on teammate scuffles will come courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen with the Aussie admitting that the tension between the two could ramp up this season as they fight for race wins and World titles. He is, however, hoping they keep it “hard and fair.”
Fernando Alonso versus Stoffel Vandoorne could be another to watch out for. The Spaniard is rated by many as one of the best in the field but Vandoorne has excelled in the junior leagues and scored on his debut last season.
By the way, Monday’s announcements also sealed the fate of Felipe Nasr, who like Esteban Gutierrez was unable to retain a place on the 2017 grid -one a driver with talent but no money, the other the opposite.
2017 Formula 1 Grid
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas
Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen
Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon
Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll
Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne
Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat
Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen
Jolyon Palmer and Nico Hulkenberg
Marcus Ericsson and Pascal Wehrlein