Gerhard Berger would have picked Pascal Wehrlein over Valtteri Bottas

Former driver Gerhard Berger sits in a car on track after qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on June 20, 2015
© Getty Images
F1 legend Gerhard Berger says that if he were in charge at Mercedes, he would have signed Pascal Wehrlein for 2017.

Formula 1 legend Gerhard Berger has said that if he were in charge at Mercedes, he would have signed Pascal Wehrlein for 2017.

The former Ferrari and McLaren driver helped negotiate Nico Rosberg's lucrative new contract earlier this year, but the German quit F1 as soon as he won the 2016 title.

Now, it appears that Mercedes have negotiated a complex contract release with Williams so that Valtteri Bottas can replace Rosberg.

However, Berger told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "I would have taken Wehrlein. Because it would underline your [driver] programme.

"Wehrlein gave a convincing impression in the programme, but he can only show how good he really is in a top car."

However, Berger said that he understands Mercedes's reasoning.

"Compared to Bottas, Wehrlein is certainly a risk. But perhaps the most clever solution is not always the obvious one," he said.

"I rate Bottas highly. He is fast, a good team player, a nice guy and he has earned the chance to prove himself. On the other hand, he did not stand out from Massa enough to say clearly 'He is the right choice'."

Berger also thinks that Mercedes's 2017 solution is only an "interim" one.

"Mercedes needs to think about the future regarding its drivers, because even [Lewis] Hamilton's contract will expire. They need an interim solution with a view to 2018," he said.

"The most important thing now is to find a second driver so that Hamilton doesn't fall asleep. But it could also be that without Nico, Lewis finds the peace he needs and doesn't get himself into trouble.

"I believe Mercedes will again be the benchmark in 2017."

The new season begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 26.

Nico Rosberg of Mercedes during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 29, 2016
Read Next:
Mercedes to launch 2017 car in February
>



TeamPoints
1Mercedes765
2Red Bull460
3Ferrari398
4Force India173
5Williams-Mercedes138
6McLaren76
7Toro Rosso71
8Haas28
9Renault8
10Sauber2
11Manor1
DriversTeamPoints
1Nico RosbergMercedes385
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes380
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull256
4Sebastian VettelFerrari212
5Max VerstappenRed Bull204
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari186
7Sergio PerezForce India101
8Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes85
9Nico HulkenbergForce India72
10Fernando AlonsoMcLaren54
11Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes53
12Carlos SainzToro Rosso46
13Romain GrosjeanHaas28
14Daniil KvyatToro Rosso25
15Jenson ButtonMcLaren21
16Kevin MagnussenRenault7
17Felipe NasrSauber2
18Pascal WehrleinManor1
19Jolyon PalmerRenault1
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1
21Rio HaryantoManor0
22Esteban OconManor0
23Marcus EricssonSauber0
24Esteban GutierrezHaas0
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand