Buttongate – the aftermath #f1

Now we know that Jenson has signed for McLaren, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive trying to work out who Mercedes will take on.

It's pretty certain that Rosberg has left Williams in order to move to Brawn.  As a German driver he's been closely watched and was considered in the early part of the year as a replacement for Kovalainen at McLaren until the option of buying up Brawn came along.

The second slot could prove more interesting.  The safest option is Nick Heidfeld.  He was a product of the Mercedes young driver programme and was helped through F3000 into F1, only to be overlooked as the replacement for Hakinnen in favour of Kimi.  While never regarded as having stunning pace in the mould of Lewis, Kimi or Alonso, he always manages to grab a haul of points, and a few podiums when the opportunity arises such as in the rain in Malaysia this year.  Hardly a declaration of intent from a new manufacturer team though.

Ironically his main competition could end up being the man who took away the McLaren drive.  Will lightning strike twice.  Kimi is reported to be earning £17m for sitting on his sofa (that's alot of partying!) and will only get £10m in severance from Ferrari should he find another drive in F1, so it's going to have to be worth his while to sign a new contract.  It's hard to know whether he's in it for the money, or in it for the wins having not been picked up at McLaren.  One would expect a driver desperate to win races and titles to jump at the chance at McLaren regardless of salary, so maybe he had another agenda.  He worked with Haug, the Mercedes F1 boss, during his stint at McLaren so maybe there was a long term plan to get him into Brawcerdes

However there's another outside bet that might have legs. Mercedes want an experienced big name star German driver, that Ross Brawn rates highly and is highly motivated.  What was that guy called, drove for Ferrari a few years back and won a race or 91…

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