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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mercedes type leaves Wolff in two minds on F1 2025 driver path

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Lewis Hamilton’s determination to affix Ferrari for subsequent 12 months implies that Mercedes is on the hunt for a brand new team-mate for George Russell.

There are two completely different paths that the crew can go down: searching out one of the best skilled driver it could to assist its push to the entrance, or throwing all the pieces behind its rising junior star Andrea Kimi Antonelli to get him in control.

On the skilled entrance, the German producer has already been linked with Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel – however is effectively conscious that its hopes of convincing them to affix will rely on it lifting its present efficiency ranges.

Whereas its struggles might lean it extra in direction of choosing Antonelli as it might give the teen a while to mattress in with out stress to ship wins from the off, Wolff shouldn’t be so satisfied that the choice is as apparent as that.

“You’ll be able to have a look at it from numerous views,” he mentioned, when requested in regards to the driver determination.

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“I imagine that we’re in a rebuild part. You should acknowledge that now three years into these rules, we now have received to do issues in a different way than we have executed prior to now with out throwing overboard what we imagine is goodness in the best way we function.

“It might imply placing a younger driver in there and giving him a chance with much less stress than preventing for victories instantly, or placing a extra skilled driver within the automobile that may assist us dig ourselves out of the present efficiency image.”

With Antonelli already a part of its junior steady, Mercedes doesn’t have to rush its determination on what to do with the Italian – so it could sit and wait and see how the way forward for different choices, like Verstappen, performs out.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Picture by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Apparently, Mercedes has been ramping up the variety of days it needs Antonelli to run in non-public exams days this 12 months to extend his familiarity with F1 equipment. He’s due to get his first run at the Red Bull Ring in a 2021 W12 within the week earlier than the Chinese language Grand Prix, with the crew desirous to see how he performs.

Talking in regards to the plans for Antonelli, Wolff mentioned: “The programme of Kimi driving Method 1 has been in place for a very long time and hasn’t modified massively over the previous few weeks.

“What we now have executed is added extra days, however what you will notice within the subsequent few months has been in place, whether or not or not he’ll sit in a Method 1 automobile subsequent 12 months.

“We will do a couple of of lately for him to get snug in an F1 automobile. He is driving the 2021 automobile in Austria for the primary time. We need to give him a sense of what a extremely good automobile appears like earlier than we put him within the ’22!

“Clearly, he is been our younger boy since a very long time and we’re eager to see what he is capable of do in a Method 1 automobile.

“[Ferrari reserve] Ollie Bearman was refreshing to take a look at how aggressive he was in Saudi Arabia. No free observe, excessive velocity, sophisticated observe, and he was proper up there. So Kimi could be doing simply positive.”

PLUS: How Bearman’s F1 debut will help Mercedes on its Hamilton replacement call

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