After Lewis Hamilton‘s unexpected departure, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, while confident in George Russell‘s potential as the next lead driver, is exploring options for a new team member, considering even the bold move of promoting Formula 2 debutant Andrea Kimi Antonelli from their junior program.
‣ After Lewis Hamilton’s unexpected departure, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff finds himself in the position of having to search for a new driver, despite having previously secured George Russell and Hamilton for several years.
‣ George Russell is confirmed to stay with Mercedes, and Toto Wolff sees him as having the potential to be the team’s next lead driver, praising his speed, talent, and intelligence.
‣ Wolff acknowledges the challenge in finding a suitable replacement for Hamilton, especially since potential candidates like Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris have recently renewed their contracts with their teams, which might lead Wolff to consider making a “bold” move.
‣ Andrea Kimi Antonelli, a young driver making his debut in Formula 2 next season and part of the Mercedes Academy, is mentioned as a remarkable but speculative option for Mercedes, with Wolff emphasizing the importance of not putting undue pressure on Antonelli’s F2 campaign.
Last summer, Toto Wolff thought he was done with the driver drama. He had George Russell and Lewis Hamilton locked down for years, or so he thought. Then, bam! Hamilton’s out, leaving Wolff scrambling for a new star.
Options? Wolff’s got plenty, he says. But let’s not forget, Russell’s not going anywhere. Wolff sees a bright future for him, calling him the potential “next lead driver.” Why? Because the guy’s quick, talented, and smart behind the wheel.
But here’s the kicker: Hamilton’s exit timing? Not great. Wolff had his eye on some recently re-signed drivers. Think Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris. Now, with those two off the table, the pickings are slim. Wolff’s thinking of making a “bold” move.
So, what about Andrea Kimi Antonelli? The kid’s a newbie in Formula 2 next season but already part of the Mercedes family. Wolff’s proud but cautious. He doesn’t want to stir the pot or mess with Antonelli’s head with F1 rumors. After all, the guy’s just out of karts and not even 18. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Wolff suggests.