Fernando Alonso to Mercedes: Toto Wolff meeting fuels Lewis Hamilton replacement rumours

WIth Lewis Hamilton joining Ferrari in 2025, the race to be his replacement is most definitely on

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has sparked speculation that he is considering replacing Fernando Alonso to replace Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 Formula 1 season after holding a meeting with his manager.

The Austrian boss was spotted having breakfast in his adopted home of Monaco with former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore, the ex-Renault supremo who represents Alonso in handling his contractual matters. It comes just days after Wolff refused to rule out moving to sign Alonso to replace Hamilton for next season.

However, there was nothing confidential about their breakfast meeting at the Palais de la Plage restaurant and they did little to hide it, as the Italian uploaded an image of the pair together to his Instagram profile.

Their rendezvous happened to take place on the same day as the AMR24 launch, meaning Alonso was over a thousand miles away in the UK.

Wolff has been left with an impossible job of finding a replacement for seven-time world champion Hamilton after he announced his shock decision to leave the Silver Arrows and join Ferrari for the 2025 season.

The 39-year-old exercised a break clause in his contract to bid farewell to the team where he has won six titles in 11 years, and now Mercedes are looking to find a partner for George Russell.

Alonso, 42, is one of only three world champions remaining on the grid and, while the most recent of his two title triumphs came in 2006, his return of eight podium finishes last season would not have been noted with intrigue by Wolff.

Toto Wolff has a clear favourite

As it stands, it is reported that the Brackley team are prioritising highly-rated driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who has been dubbed the next Verstappen after showing some incredible pace in Formula 3, over Alonso.

He will race in F2 this year and if he impresses again, the seat could be reserved for him, according to The Race’s Mark Hughes. But there is no guarantee that Antonelli, 17, will be awarded the seat.

Mercedes and Red Bull are the only two top teams that Alonso is yet to race for, and with Sergio Perez not leaving the constructors’ champions until 2025 at the earliest, Alonso could decide to jump ship from Aston Martin for Mercedes if he receives a lucrative offer.

And Wolff’s meeting with Alonso’s manager Briatore is only likely to pour more fuel onto the fire, especially after Alonso dropped a hint that he is exploring options available to him.

β€œI’m aware of my situation right now, which is very unique,” Alonso said. β€œThere are only three world champions on the grid, and fast world champions – because maybe in the past they were not so committed to be fast – and yet I’m probably the only one available for β€˜25 so I have a good position.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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