Wolff doesn't discount Vettel move


Keeping his cards typically close to his chest, Toto Wolff says that a move for Sebastian Vettel to replace Lewis Hamilton shouldn't be discounted.

While all eyes remain on the goings on at Red Bull, the only true significant vacancy for 2025 remains that at Mercedes, after Lewis Hamilton's switch to Ferrari.

Speaking at today's press conference, Toto Wolff was giving little away.

Having previously allowed Max Verstappen to slip through his fingers, Wolff is wary of repeating his mistake with Kimi Antonelli, having moved his planned test drive forward from August to the end of June.

"The programme of Kimi driving Formula 1 has been in place for a long time and hasn't changed massively over the last few weeks," insisted Wolff. "What we have done is added more days, but what you will see in the next few months has been in place, whether or not he's going to sit in a Formula 1 car next year.

"We're going to do a few of these days for him to get comfortable in an F1 car," he confirmed. "He's driving the 2021 car in Austria for the first time. We want to give him a feeling what a really good car feels like before we put him in the '22.

"Obviously, he's been our young boy since a long time, with James, and we're keen to see what he's able to do in a Formula 1 car. Ollie Bearman was refreshing to look at how competitive he was in Saudi Arabia. No free practice, high speed, complicated track, and he was right up there. So Kimi would be doing just fine."

Asked about Sebastian Vettel, the Austrian said: "Sebastian is someone that you can never discount. I think his track record is phenomenal. And sometimes maybe taking a break is also good to re-evaluate what's important for you and refine your motivation.

"As I said before, I think we haven't taken the decision yet. And it's not something that we plan to do in the next few weeks. I know that the driver market is very dynamic. Some of the really good guys are about to sign for some of the other teams.

"We want to continue to have these discussions and keep the options open. But at that stage, I think it's much too early for us to commit to a driver, whether very young or whether very experienced - I don't want to say old - very experienced, which the next few months will give us more clues."

Asked if he has whittled down the possibilities to a couple of potential names he replied: "Yes.". Asked to give the exact number he said: "No."

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Published: 05/04/2024
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