Sauber agrees to hire Wehrlein for 2017

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As anticipated, Sauber has reached an agreement with Mercedes to hire Pascal Wehrlein to race alongside Marcus Ericsson for 2017, a move which all but confirms Valtteri Bottas' move to the German squad.

Wehrlein was initially viewed as a favourite for replacing world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes but the German outfit's management put the doubt in everyone's mind as it speculated on hiring a more experienced driver to pair with Lewis Hamilton.

According to sources, Mercedes has now agreed terms to place its protégé with the Hinwill-based outfit for the 2017 season, with a contract expected to be signed in the coming days.

Indeed, with Mercedes calling the shots with regard to several teams, a formal  announcement could be made this week in conjunction with Bottas' move to Brackley as well as Felipe Massa's subsequent extended stay at Williams.

Manor Racing is now the only team on the 2017 F1 grid with available race seats. These are coveted by a number of drivers but Esteban Gutierrez, Felipe Nasr, Rio Haryanto and Manor development Jordan King appear to be the current front-runners vying for a spot at the minnows outfit.

Key dates for the 2017 F1 season

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