Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has told Nico Rosberg that he will need to bide his time before being offered a new contract.
The German’s current two-year contract expires at the end of the 2016 season but despite finishing second in the standings over the last couple of years, has regularly clashed with team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton himself has won the title ahead of Rosberg in the last two seasons and as his contract runs until 2018, would be more likely to stay if the pair continue to clash.
Although Ferrari did close the gap on the Silver Arrows in 2015, Mercedes again look set to dominate next year meaning tensions within the team could once again run high.
Despite their obvious differences, Rosberg and Hamilton are two of the finest drivers in the sport and either of them leaving could come back to bite Mercedes.
The pair again lead the betting for the 2016 Drivers’ Championship, with the world champion installed as the 1.60 favourite ahead of his colleague at 3.75.
Wolff has admitted he could be willing to make a change in 12 months’ time, telling Rosberg that he will only be offered a new deal if the hierarchy believe it is the best move for the team.
“The current line-up is a great line-up,” Wolff told Autosport. “Both of them are a major part of the team and responsible for getting the team to where we are today.
“But it’s early days to discuss [Rosberg’s contract]. I want to see how the season pans out. There are areas we want to develop altogether as a team, and let’s see how that goes.”