George Russell saw F1 driver names pop up on Toto Wolff’s phone for 2025 seat

F1 drivers have been asking Toto Wolff about Mercedes' 2025 vacant seat, says George Russell

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 Testing, Sakhir, Bahrain, Day Two.-
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula…

George Russell has seen the names of F1 drivers who have contracted Toto Wolff about coming to Mercedes next year.

Team principal Wolff is faced with the colossal decision of how to replace seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton will race for one final season with Mercedes before going to Ferrari next year, creating a coveted vacancy alongside Russell.

Russell said about his future teammate: “[Wolff and I] already had conversations.

“I’ve been with Toto a lot this winter. Seeing the drivers’ names pop up on the telephones was quite funny.

“Even on my phone, as well, the phone calls and text messages…

“So yeah it’s been quite interesting.

“But, as a team, we’re in a really good opportunity and position to go into this next chapter.

“There’s been so much success with Lewis and Mercedes.”

Options range from the two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso - who refused to comment this week in Bahrain when asked about going to Mercedes - to teenage prospect Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

Out-of-contract drivers on the grid include Carlos Sainz who may yet be an attractive option.

Russell was asked what attributes he’s hoping for in his next teammate, and he said: “I think it’s important to have good harmony between the drivers.

“Because that trickles down into all of the engineers and the whole team.

“But, ultimately, the decision is with Toto and the board.”

Russell and Hamilton tested the W15 this week at preseason testing in Bahrain.

It is the final F1 car that Hamilton will drive for Mercedes.

Russell, therefore, may see 2024 as his opportunity to establish himself as Mercedes’ future leader.

Mercedes’ most recent F1 grand prix win - in Sao Paulo in 2022 - came via Russell in a season where he out-scored Hamilton.

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