It would undoubtedly be one of sport’s greatest stories should Fernando Alonso pair-up with old foe Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, but according to the latest odds, it now looks unlikely. Step forward Valtteri Bottas, whose price has tumbled.
After Friday’s stunning revelation that newly-crowned champion Nico Rosberg has retired with immediate effect, Formula One has been a hive of discussion over who will claim the sought-after Mercedes seat for 2017.
Silver Arrows protege Pascal Wehrlein is the odds-on favourite, with the German’s price shortening from 3/1 to 4/9, but there’s plenty more movement behind him in the market.
The bookies initially opened the market with Alonso as 3/1 second favourite, but the Spaniard is now out to 8/1 to ditch McLaren for Merc next season.
His odds are in contrast with Bottas, whose odds have halved from 4/1 into 2s.
The Williams driver is entering the final year of his contract next season, and with the Grove squad powered by Mercedes, a deal could be agreed.
Especially so given that Toto Wolff – part owner of Mercedes and executive director – has strong connections with the Williams team and is a shareholder in Bottas’ management company.
It’s more than conceivable that Mercedes could buy out Bottas’ contract, with Williams potentially receiving upwards of £10m or a reduced-fee for the Silver Arrows’ engines.
Williams could also receive Werhlein as part of the deal.
Plenty have backed Bottas in recent days to be Hamilton’s team-mate next season, and another man on the move in the market is Jenson Button.
The 2009 world champion may have just begun a sabbatical from Formula One, but odds on Jenson reuniting with former team-mate Hamilton have tumbled from 33/1 into just 12s.
Teenage superstar Max Verstappen is another man who has been well-backed, but odds of 20/1 suggest Red Bull are unlikely to let their ace card go to their main rivals.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing