Although Niki Lauda says Sebastian Vettel does not factor in Mercedes’ plans for the future, the non-executive director hasn’t ruled it out entirely.
This season Mercedes will partner Lewis Hamilton with new signing Valtteri Bottas, who was signed in the wake of Nico Rosberg’s retirement.
It is, however, a line-up that some feel is more of a stop-gap than a permanent solution with fans urging Mercedes to sign Vettel or Fernando Alonso.
And with Mercedes only handing Bottas a one-year contract, the team is set to be dogged with questions about their 2018 line-up from the get-go.
For now, though, Lauda insists Vettel isn’t a driver who features in their future plans.
“That is not our plan – I must say that quite clearly,” the Daily Star quotes him as having said.
Lauda, though, hasn’t ruled out Mercedes changing line-up after just one season with Bottas and Hamilton as team-mates.
“We’re going to start with Bottas and Hamilton and see how it goes,” he added.