Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes it is very unlikely that Pascal Wehrlein will be snapped up by Williams for 2018 as it is prioritising a return for Robert Kubica. Wehrlein is also likely to be dropped by Sauber, as the team is to bring in at least one Ferrari junior driver.
Wehrlein, who is a Mercedes junior, is likely to be on the F1 sidelines next year as there are no realistic spaces on the grid left. Wolff admits that there is a very small chance that Wehrlein could join Williams, but only if Kubica fails to impress the Grove-based outfit.
"I think it has been clearly said that Williams's priority is Robert," Wolff told Autosport. "Robert from my point of view deserves the chance in the Williams, and it's out of Pascal's hands. There is still a tiny possibility [for Wehrlein] if Robert doesn't do well, but none of us wishes him to not do well.
"All of us are actually cheering for him. I'm in two minds because I think for F1, for Robert, and for Williams it will be great if he performs, and on the other side it looks like it's Pascal's last chance, and he's our junior," he added.
Wehrlein joined Formula 1 in 2016 with Manor and scored his first point for the team in Austria. Earlier this year, he claimed an eighth-place finish in Spain and tenth in Azerbaijan, which remains his and Sauber's only points of the year so far. Sauber is expected to name its 2018 line-up next week.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing