Since the end of last season the final pieces to the driver market have been on hold following the retirement of Nico Rosberg, but a further piece of the puzzle looks set to have been completed with Pascal Wehrlein taking the second seat at Sauber.
Talks had already started with Sauber before the end of last season, but the opening created at Mercedes meant that any deal was put on hold until that seat had been filled. Wehrlein had been a name linked to that Mercedes seat, but many had questioned his lack of experience in the sport despite being DTM champion two years ago.
It is now highly likely that Valtteri Bottas will make the move from Williams to Mercedes, a known quality for Toto Wolff having a hand in his management and brought him into the sport when he had a stake at Williams. That move was only made possible by Felipe Massa coming out of retirement as his replacement, Williams needing a driver over the age of 25 to satisfy is lead sponsor Martini, already committed to running teenager Lance Stroll.
Although Sauber run the Ferrari engine, they do have history with Mercedes, originally running their engines when they entered Formula One, as well as running Mercedes cars at Le Mans in the early 90’s, which included none other than Michael Schumacher in their team.
Rio Haryanto had also been linked to Sauber, with a deal on the table before his lead backers from Indonesia, Pertamina, walked away. Likewise with Felipe Nasr, it was announced last year that his main backers Banco de Brasil had left the sport leaving his position at Sauber less likely.
That leaves just two seats to be filled at Manor, with the team currently up for sale.