MERCEDES WILL MAKE THE CALL: Pascal Wehrlein says that his future in F1 beyond 2016 lies with Mercedes. Image: AP / Eugene Hoshiko
Suzuka, Japan - Pascal Wehrlein has moved into pole position to race up the grid in 2017, should Nico Hulkenberg leave Force India.
According to rumours, German Hulkenberg is now a hot candidate to join the works Renault team for 2017, as Carlos Sainz's chances seem to fade.
Funded by Merc
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said he thinks Renault has in fact "given up" trying to get Sainz out of his current Toro Rosso seat.
So if Hulkenberg goes - amid speculation he is also linked with Haas - there will be a seat free at Force India, whose engine supplier is Mercedes.
READ: Nico Hulkenberg 'surprised' about Renault switch
Mercedes' top young talent is German Wehrlein, whose current Manor drive is funded by the German giant.
The 21-year-old admitted at Sepang that there are options for his 2017 whereabouts.
Wehrlein is quoted by DPA news agency: "Mercedes will do the talks for me. If there are several options, we will decide together."
He denied, however, that what Hulkenberg now does is the key to his next move.
Wehrlein said: "The contracts of other drivers interests me much less than my own."