Sebastian Vettel to Mercedes: Toto Wolff breaks silence on retired star replacing Hamilton

Mercedes eyes Vettel for 2025 as Hamilton exits for Ferrari. The search for a star to fill the champion's seat is on, with Vettel in contention

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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has hinted he would consider Sebastian Vettel as a candidate to drive with the team for the 2025 Formula 1 season if he decides to come out of retirement.

With Lewis Hamilton announcing his decision to leave the team for Ferrari in February, the Silver Arrows have begun the search for a star name to fill the seven-time world champion’s seat, and there are several different drivers reportedly in the running to take over from the 39-year-old.

Vettel walked away from the sport in 2022 after leaving Aston Martin, but he has indicated he could be tempted back to F1 if an attractive offer arrived. Wolff won’t need reminding how talented the German driver is after winning four drivers’ titles on the spin between 2010 and 2013.

Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff embrace in the Mercedes garage at the 2023 Abu Dhabi GP | Sebastian Kawka / Mercedes F1 Team
Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff will part ways in 2025. | Sebastian Kawka / Mercedes F1 Team

He has already received Hamilton’s approval, with the Briton claiming he would “love” to see Vettel take his place at Mercedes.

The only risk is that unlike Max Verstappen, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz – all of whom have been linked with the German manufacturer – Vettel hasn’t raced for some time.

But Wolff, 50, has not ruled out a sensational move to bring the 53-time race winner back to F1: “Sebastian is someone that you can never discount, I think,” the Mercedes boss said.

“His track record is phenomenal. And sometimes maybe taking a break, it’s also good to re-evaluate what’s important for you and then we find your motivation.”

Wolff has time on his side

George Russell recently claimed he knows which Formula 1 driver could be joining the team. However, Wolff has asserted that a decision won’t be made at least for the next few months, with the 2024 season only three races old.

“As I said before, I think we haven’t taken the decision yet and it’s not something that we plan to do in the in the in the in the next few weeks,” Wolff said at the team bosses’ conference in Japan.

“I know that the driver market is very dynamic. Some of the really good guys they’re about to sign for for some of the other teams and we want to continue to have these discussions and keep the options open.

“But at that stage, I think it’s much too early for us to commit to a driver, whether [they are] very young or very experienced… [I] don’t want to say old, very experienced. The next few months will give us more clues.”

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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