Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug’s open statement that McLaren are looking for a German driver has put Timo Glock, Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg on the transfer alert.
The three have all had relatively impressive seasons so far, and with incumbent Heikki Kovalainen apparently having to work to convince his bosses he deserves the seat, one of them could well replace him for 2010. Rosberg is thought to be the outstanding candidate, as it is widely expected he will move from Williams at the end of this season.
“We must set ourselves up to win races and championships, and if this can be done with a German driver, all the better,” Haug said in an interview with the SID news agency.
“In the past ten years we tried with Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel,” added Haug. Vettel is out of the running for the McLaren seat, as he has publicly declared his allegiance to Red Bull in recent weeks, and is thought to have a solid contract with his current team.
Rosberg is thought to be the chief’s preferred choice. He added that Rosberg had “earned a Formula One ritterschlag (knighthood)” since making his debut for Williams in 2006.
Whether Sutil and Glock have done enough to be considered for McLaren is debatable. Sutil is respected for having frequently dragged Force India up into contention, although with little end product. Depending on whether Toyota remain in the sport, Glock looks likely to stay at his current German-based team. But Lewis Hamilton, a fixture at the Silver Arrows, is thought to favour a ‘second’ driver that will not distract the team from his own championship efforts. Rosberg may well be too good for Hamilton’s liking.
Furthermore, both Glock and Sutil could be chased by McLaren for testing duties. Current senior test driver Pedro De La Rosa is thought to be in talks with new outfit Campos racing, for whom a well-known Spanish personality would play well in their Spanish base.