Nico Rosberg backs Pascal Wehrlein for 2017 seat

Rosberg backs Wehrlein for 2017 seat
© AFP
New world champion Nico Rosberg backs countryman Pascal Wehrlein's suitability to replace him at Mercedes.

New world champion Nico Rosberg has backed countryman Pascal Wehrlein's suitability to replace him at Mercedes.

Stars including Fernando Alonso are also on the team's 2017 shortlist, but bookmakers say that Mercedes's most experienced junior, 2016 Manor driver Wehrlein, is the favourite.

"Pascal is a huge hope for Germany for the future," Rosberg said. "Of course he has to be on the shortlist."

However, the 31-year-old said that he does not want to actively make recommendations to Mercedes about who should be named to succeed him.

"I am not best able to judge this," Rosberg said.

When pressed by Italy's Autosprint to say who should get the best seat on the grid next year, Rosberg simply said: "I hope a good driver who makes a good fight with [Lewis] Hamilton."

Rosberg denied Hamilton the 2016 title at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg of Mercedes gets into his car in the garage during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on April 28, 2016
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