Toto Wolff received WhatsApps from F1 drivers who want to replace Lewis Hamilton

F1 drivers are circling for Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes spot, Toto Wolff says

Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton

Toto Wolff has already received messages from F1 drivers who are eyeing up the vacancy that Lewis Hamilton will leave at Mercedes.

Hamilton and Mercedes are entering their final year together before the driver sensationally moves to Ferrari.

The question for Mercedes is who they will pick to replace the most successful-ever F1 driver.

“Yeah, as you can imagine, we've been looking already about the option there is,” team principal Wolff told CNBC.

“We like the opportunities and maybe we are going to be bold as well.”

Carlos Sainz, whose Ferrari spot will be taken by Hamilton next year, must find himself a new drive for 2025.

He was the only non-Red Bull driver to win an F1 grand prix last year so will be hot property on the market.

Mercedes could opt for a younger option in the mould of their wonderkid prospect Kimi Antonelli instead.

“Yeah, I think it's the full spectrum,” Wolff said.

“We have, as you can imagine, the first day yesterday had quite a lot of phone calls and WhatsApps.

“And we're going to take our time.

“I think the spectrum is from the very young talent which could be the future for a long, long time to all the way to the other spectrum, lots of still performance and knowledge.

“So I'm not sure where this is going to end. But the next few months are going to be interesting in evaluating all those options.”

While Wolff makes his huge decision over Mercedes’ 2025 driver line-up, he must navigate a tricky 2024.

As well as entering knowing that Hamilton will soon be elsewhere, they must somehow cut the deficit to the brilliant Red Bulls.

“Well, it's clear when you have stable regulations it is always a difficult thing to catch up.

“It's clear, they've been in a league of their own and pretty much us – and we've finished second last year in the World Championship and then there's Ferrari and McLaren – and we've just got a little ramp up the game and find more performance, more lap time.

“And this is what we're going to do with George and with Lewis the car, this is the kind of the single aim I'm having at the moment when looking at the short and medium term.”

Wolff added insight into the contractual clause that Hamilton activated, after signing a new deal last summer, to leave for Ferrari in 2025.

“So last year when we signed a new deal, we wanted to keep it short to see what the future will hold,” he said.

“And that was an agreement we had with Lewis.

“We knew that this would eventually end maybe two years down the line, but we knew there was the option for a one year deal.

“And insofar the timing was a bit of a surprise, but the decision in itself didn't come out of nowhere.

“So I think eventually a racing driver's career ends and I believe that for Lewis he wanted some change, and he wanted to do something, to try something new.

“But the team has managed a situation like this before, we've had that change in driver lineups.

“And we have a full year to go I'm going to give it everything now.

“Of course, you know, on one side, you're saying we were pushing flat out and we want to have success this year with both of are drivers but then we need to look into 2026 and 2025 and 26 and that's going to play in our mind.”

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