Mercedes says that its plan was always to continue with Nico Rosberg after this year, as it labelled the German as 'the real deal'.

Speculation about Rosberg's future ended on Friday morning when Mercedes announced that he had signed a two-year contract extension.

Speaking shortly after signing the new contract – which was done in Budapest on Thursday night – Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said that Rosberg's future at the outfit had never been in doubt.

“We are very happy obviously,” said Wolff. “We had a couple of weeks of discussions and it was always clear we wanted to continue.

“Nico is the real deal for us and, having made the signature is what matters, so great – onwards and upwards.”

Rosberg added: “It's a special moment for me, of course, this moment of signing that piece of paper, and I look forward to the future.

"I am very thankful to Toto [Wolff], to Niki [Lauda] and Dieter [Zetsche] especially, and the others for their support. I am really looking forward to the future.”

Vettel rumours

Rosberg's contract extension comes a few days after Red Bull boss Christian Horner had cheekily suggested Sebastian Vettel could land a Mercedes seat in 2018 if he got disillusioned at Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton laughed off the prospect of Vettel arriving at the team, and said his presence would not actually bring any benefit – because Rosberg was so strong.

“I don't see it being much different to what it is right now personally,” he said. “We are having the same thing right now as we would do if Fernando was in the car with me, or a lot of the other great drivers, next to me.

“We would be having the same thing. It would not be much different. One driver might be more aggressive, or might be smoother, or easier, or less smooth with others, but who knows.”


Gallery: Mercedes: Rosberg is "the real deal"