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Mercedes will take “so long as potential” to make Antonelli F1 resolution

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Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says he’ll take “so long as potential” earlier than committing to who will exchange Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton on the Method 1 staff subsequent yr.

The German producer is pondering whether or not to advertise its protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli alongside George Russell, or proceed its quest of luring triple world champion Max Verstappen, who’s contracted to Pink Bull till 2028 however may take into account leaving the staff earlier than then amid an inside energy battle on the vitality drinks big.

Wolff has beforehand acknowledged that, fairly than attempting to lure Verstappen with guarantees, the Brackley-based staff’s focus must be on bettering the tempo of its troubled W15 challenger. Then, he suggests, the most effective drivers would mechanically be attracted.

Whereas the early run of races in 2024 proved to be tough for Mercedes, back-to-back podiums in Canada and Spain have supplied hope that the squad is lastly shut to creating a breakthrough.

Requested if the efficiency Mercedes has proven within the final two rounds was now sufficient to persuade Verstappen to leap ship, Wolff reiterated Mercedes’ stance that it must give attention to extracting extra velocity out of the W15.

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He mentioned: “I believe we have to simply proceed to enhance and have a look at ourselves, most significantly, as a staff with our drivers, Lewis and George.

“We have simply acquired to get higher and hopefully consolidate our skill to get on the rostrum and, at a sure stage, be capable of win races on our personal, and good drivers will need to come.”

Toto Wolff, Staff Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Staff on the Press Convention

Picture by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

Nevertheless, Wolff additionally made it clear that he’s not holding any conversations with Verstappen in regards to the Dutchman chopping quick his Pink Bull contract to hitch Mercedes subsequent yr.

“No, there is not any talks which can be going down at this stage. As a result of I believe we have to have a look at ourselves and on bettering the automotive,” he mentioned.

There have been stories within the German press that Mercedes has already determined to advertise Antonelli, who’s presently in the course of his maiden season in Method 2 with Prema.

The stories comply with the FIA saying it’ll consider giving special dispensation for a superlicence to 17-year-old drivers, paving the way in which for Antonelli to make an FP1 outing – and even his grand prix debut with a staff like Williams – earlier than he turns 18 in August.

Nevertheless, Wolff denied that Mercedes has already made up its thoughts on Antonelli, stressing that it needs to see how the motive force market develops earlier than making a name on who will take Hamilton’s seat in 2025.

“No driver resolution has been made – I mentioned, we need to maintain this resolution so long as potential, as a result of who is aware of what occurs,” Wolff mentioned.

In the meantime, Pink Bull boss Christian Horner remained adamant Verstappen will proceed his time period with the squad subsequent yr amid repeated talks about an unlikely swap to Mercedes.

He mentioned: “Max goes to be [here] subsequent yr, which is… Is Toto nonetheless speaking about it? And what did he say?”

When Horner was instructed about Wolff’s feedback, he added: “He mentioned there have been no talks? So that they’re speaking [about hiring Verstappen] however they are not speaking [to Verstappen]? OK.”

Extra reporting by Frederik Hackbarth and Ben Hunt

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