The late and sensational rush in the 2017 driver ‘silly season’ is now set to end.
Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that Pascal Wehrlein’s switch from Manor to Sauber is set to be confirmed imminently.
It is just the latest sign that Finn Valtteri Bottas is the one who has been selected to replace the suddenly-retired Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.
Bottas is even believed to have had a secret Christmas seat fitting at Mercedes’ factory.
When asked about his son’s chances of securing the seat, rally legend Carlos Sainz told Spanish radio Cope: “There is no way, because Mercedes have already decided on Bottas.
“It’s just a matter of time before they announce it.”
Bottas’ departure from his watertight Williams contract has been possible via a financial settlement and the expected return from retirement of Felipe Massa.
“Honestly, for me, this decision (of Massa’s) is a mistake,” former F1 driver Jean Todt told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Felipe had stopped and turned the page. And what if he now discovers that the Williams isn’t quick?”