Formula One’s newly crowned world champion Nico Rosberg stunned the sporting world on Friday by announcing his retirement from grand prix racing.
Rosberg, who won his maiden Formula One title just five days ago at the championship-deciding race in Abu Dhabi, leaves a vacant seat at Mercedes.
We looked at other runners and drivers who could partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year.
The 29-year-old has one more season to run on his current deal, but could an early release be negotiated? The switch to Mercedes will be an appealing one to Vettel and for the German constructor, too.
Vettel versus Hamilton – the two best drivers of their generation – also has the hallmarks of a mouth-watering rivalry.
But the 35-year-old Spaniard, who won the last of his two championships a decade ago, will sense the vacant seat at Mercedes as his ideal get-out clause from McLaren.
A move to Mercedes would also see Alonso team up with Hamilton for the first time since their turbulent campaign together at McLaren in 2007.
But he is under contract with Red Bull and it seems incredibly unlikely team boss Christian Horner would even entertain the thought of Verstappen jumping ship to their biggest rivals.
Could Mercedes however, offer the 22-year-old German a one-year deal with the team until Vettel or Alonso become available in 2018?