Toto Wolff has admitted Nico Rosberg is in a prime position to negotiate a new Mercedes contract for 2017.
The German, who has won the past five grands prix on the trot and will start Sunday’s race in China from pole, is out of contract at the end of the year but tipped to ink a new deal.
“Perhaps with his performance we should hurry up!” Mercedes team boss Wolff is quoted by Speed Week in Shanghai.
“No — negotiations are always held between the two parties and it is necessary to do everything the right way, but he has been in the Mercedes family for so long and is an important pillar of the team.
“Everything is under control,” Wolff added. “There is nothing counting against a further cooperation.
“It comes down to the details that will be discussed at a certain stage, but I believe that both sides feel comfortable enough,” the Austrian said.
In the event Rosberg is not retained, the obvious favourite to replace him would be Pascal Wehrlein.
The 21-year-old German has been placed by the German carmaker at Manor for his 2016 debut, and he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper he is having to start at the back of the field “because no Mercedes cockpit was free”.
But Wehrlein said there is also pressure.
“The fact that I drive for Manor doesn’t mean that no one expects anything from me,” he said. “Mercedes will see if I beat my teammate Rio Haryanto, and even if things do not go perfectly, I still need to do a good job.”
Told, however, that he must be eyeing Rosberg’s expiring contract, Wehrlein answered: “That I want to be in the silver arrow is no secret.
“But it is still too early to talk about it.”