Toto Wolff makes it clear nobody is better than Max Verstappen for Mercedes

Toto Wolff has made it clear Max Verstappen is his first choice to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

-

The intrigue surrounding the future of the Mercedes seat continues to rage on. Will it be Kimi Antonelli? Will it be Carlos Sainz? Will it be Fernando Alonso? Or will it be Max Verstappen? Toto Wolff gave a clear answer on who is first in-line to ascend to Lewis Hamilton‘s throne.

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion will quit the Silver Arrows for Ferrari just months after extending his deal with the team he joined in 2013, and on early 2024 form he seems to have got that call spot on, just like he did 11 years ago when he dropped McLaren for Mercedes.

But that opened up a very interesting question: Who will take his spot? For the team principal, the answer is clear. Wolff wants Verstappen as he said: “Yes. You see what his level of performance is.

“We have a slot free, the only one in the top teams, unless Max decides he goes, then the slot is not going to be free with us anymore.”

That’s as clear an answer as you’ll get. Mercedes are waiting on one man and one man only, anyone else is simply a Plan B, C or D if Verstappen decides he doesn’t actually want to switch Milton Keynes for Brackley.

Kimi Antonelli is too young

Aged just 17, Kimi Antonelli has a lot of parallels to Verstappen such as being blessed with incredible talent, the kind that has seen him blast through karting and Formula 4 series.

In 2022, he won both Italian F4 and ADAC F4 with a combined record of 35 races, 22 wins, 21 poles, 27 podiums and 675 points as he won both championships.

He also finished eighth in UAE F4 despite only competing in eight of the 20 rounds before graduating to Formula Regional European Championship (FRECA). There, he would go on to claim the title with 300 points and five wins.

Now he’s been promoted directly to Formula 2, skipping Formula 3, and he has impressed in the early stages of that championship too leading to calls that he could actually be the one to replace Hamilton.

But Wolff, who missed out on Verstappen in 2014 and appears to have never quite got over it, insisted he doesn’t want to put too much pressure on the shoulders of a teenager.

“We have a young kid that is very promising,” Wolff said to Fox Sports Australia. “I don’t want to put more extra pressure on him but it looks like he can be one of the great ones. But we also don’t want to drown him jumping so quickly in an F1 car, he’s 17.

“There are a few options that we could play with. Obviously there is Fernando [Alonso], who’s very exciting, Carlos [Sainz], very good, so there are a few ones.”

- Advertisment -

LATEST NEWS

Christian Horner hits back at Sergio Perez as he’s drawn into Carlos Sainz contract...

0
Christian Horner has praised Carlos Sainz as a key player in the 2025 Formula 1 driver market while dampening...
Lando Norris during 2024 F1 testing | McLaren F1 Team

Why Lando Norris’ Chinese GP sprint pole lap was reinstated by FIA

0
Lando Norris experienced the highs and lows of qualifying all in the space of a few seconds after seeing...
Charles Leclerc during the 2024 Australian GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc vents frustration after Ferrari sprint qualifying failure

0
Charles Leclerc has lamented his latest error in qualifying after the Ferrari driver experienced a frightening near-miss ahead of...
Max Verstappen of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen gives Hamilton and Norris Chinese GP sprint hope with twin Red Bull worries

0
Max Verstappen conceded he could struggle at the start of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix sprint race starting on...
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, practice | Mercedes / Sam Bloxham

Lewis Hamilton at odds with Toto Wolff despite Chinese GP sprint shock

0
Lewis Hamilton believes he maintains a chance of winning the F1 Sprint at the Formula 1 2024 Chinese Grand...
Lando Norris during 2024 Japanese GP | McLaren F1 Team

Lando Norris rides rain and fire to take chaotic Chinese GP sprint pole

0
Lando Norris took the latest of pole positions as carnage ensued in sprint qualifying, with a rain-soaked SQ3 coming...
Grass at the Shanghai International Circuit caught fire during FP1 and Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese GP | Sky Sports F1

Chinese GP struck by fires as Shanghai Circuit burns on Friday

0
Formula 1 Sprint Qualifying was thrust into chaos on Friday morning when fires hit the Shanghai International Circuit as...
Sergio Perez of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Chinese Grand Prix 2024 – Sprint Qualifying Results

0
Lando Norris clinched a dramatic Formula 1 pole position during the rain-affected sprint qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand...
Max Verstappen of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 Chinese Grand Prix 2024 Sprint Qualifying – Highlights

0
Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com live blog for Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, coming to you directly from the paddock...
Lance Stroll during practice for the 2024 Chinese GP | Aston Martin

Chinese Grand Prix 2024 – Free Practice 1 Results

0
Lance Stroll led the first free practice session of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, outpacing McLaren's Oscar Piastri and...
- Advertisment -