Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are out of contract at the end of the season and team principal Toto Wolff has flirted with the prospect of hiring Sebastian Vettel, who is set to leave Ferrari.
Hamilton is expected to pen a blockbuster contract extension as the Silver Arrows attempt to continue their dominance and help the Brit surpass Michael Schumacher’s records.
But Bottas, 30, will struggle to stay on with Mercedes beyond 2020 so he has already begun testing the water with other constructors.
There have been some reports in France suggesting the Finn has enquired about replacing Daniel Ricciardo at Renault.
Ricciardo will move to McLaren in 2021 as Carlos Sainz will step into Vettel’s seat at Ferrari.
However, Sky Sports’ F1 expert Ted Kravitz claims Bottas has also been holding talks with Red Bull.
“Bottas is in conversation with Red Bull,” Kravitz said on Ted’s Notebook.
Max Verstappen has penned a long-term contract with the Austrian team but uncertainty surrounds Alex Albon’s future with the team.
If Bottas was to leave Mercedes then Wolff will have to make a decision on whether to go with his young driver programme or turn to four-time world champion Vettel.
“Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula One team,” Wolff recently said.
“When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers but naturally we must take this development into consideration.”
The Mercedes boss also opened up to ESPN about his relationship with the German driver.
“We have a friendly relationship [with Vettel],” Wolff explained.
“I am not so surprised about his decision; I think you could see some cracks.
“He’s a great personality, has been one of the personalities of the last 10 years in Formula One, winning four titles and starting this hugely successful spell at Red Bull.
“It’s disappointing for him to see that this dream at Ferrari is being discontinued but it is what it is.
“How the events panned out was fast and different because one must not forget there is still a full season to race.
“And you would rarely take decisions so early in the season because be it for Daniel at Renault, or Carlos at McLaren, or Sebastian at Ferrari, these guys will race the new kit, will see all the innovation, will need to be involved in the development of the vehicle and need to play their team part also in some of the competitions.
“So, yes, these decisions came about quicker than I would have done but it’s interesting to watch, maybe there’s something to learn.”