George Russell reacts to Sebastian Vettel ‘speaking to’ Toto Wolff amid F1 return rumours

Sebastian Vettel retired from F1 in 2022 but has been linked with a return potentially as Lewis Hamilton's replacement at Mercedes

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Sebastian Vettel revealed he’s had conversations with Toto Wolff as speculation continues that he could return to Formula 1 in 2025, and praised Lewis Hamilton‘s vacated place at Mercedes as ‘one of the best seats on the grid’.

However, he added he’s not really discussed a comeback with the team principal, adding he did intend his retirement to be final after bringing the curtain down on a glittering F1 career at the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Vettel‘s since expanded his activism particularly around the climate crisis under the tagline ‘There is still a race to win’, including driving Nigel Mansell‘s iconic 1992 Williams around Silverstone using carbon-neutral fuel at the 2023 British GP.

“I’ve had conversations with him (Wolff), not really about the seat. We did speak about the whole situation in short as well,” Vettel told Sky Sports.

“But I did speak to others as well because I’m still keeping in touch every now and then. I have some projects and ideas together with F1. We’ll see if they will turn out or not.

“So I am staying in touch. I don’t know. It has to be a couple more phone calls and conversations, I guess, to really find out a little bit more. But for sure it’s one of the best seats on the grid.

“Performance wise, Mercedes has a great track record, struggling a little bit in the last years, but then struggle and you’re still second and third in the constructors’ (championship), it’s not like you’re racing in no man’s land.”

Le Mans possibility for Vettel

F1 isn’t the only possibility if Vettel does return to racing though. He recently tested the Porsche hypercar that will race for Le Mans glory in June and could make his debut there – having twice won the Monaco GP it’d mean the chance to add a second victory in the triple crown.

There’s also the question of how competitive Vettel would be. While he doubled Lance Stroll‘s points tally in their final season together at Aston Martin in 2022, Vettel didn’t crush the Canadian in the same way that Alonso has since replacing him.

His final year at Ferrari and two-season cameo at Aston Martin were largely spent in obscurity lower down the grid, no way for an F1 great and four-time champion to go out, but there’s a risk he could extend that at Mercedes. Vettel would also be the third-oldest driver on the current grid, and Vettel was asked whether he was in play in the 2025 driver market.

“Well, potentially I am because I haven’t got a drive, but they question is, am I looking for one? I think it depends on the package,” Vettel added. “I retired from Formula 1 not to come back, but I also did say that you never know. So I think it still stands.

“Obviously, there’s things that I miss, which is mostly the competition. And things that I don’t miss, so that hasn’t changed. Obviously, life is very different if you’re not involved and I do enjoy that still.

“You never know where life is taking you, so maybe it takes me back behind the wheel, maybe it doesn’t.”

Russell: Vettel is missed on the grid

George Russell at 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka
George Russell at the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix | Mercedes / Sebastian Kawka

George Russell and Vettel served together as directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association before the latter retired, and Mercedes‘ incumbent driver for 2025 admitted he still misses the German’s presence in F1.

Hamilton announcing his departure for Ferrari before the season even started means Russell will face questions about his new teammate all year but he’s steadfastly insisted he doesn’t care who joins Mercedes. Vettel is just the latest name in a list of potential Hamilton replacements alongside Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Alex Albon and Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

“Yeah I mean, Sebastian‘s a great person and he’s a four-time world champion,” Russell told the media. His personality is missed on the grid for sure and I think it’s important that we have the best 20 drivers in the world all competing for race wins and championships.

“As I’ve said before, I’m really happy and open to have anybody as my teammate whether it’s a world champion, whether it’s a rookie, it doesn’t change how I go about my business. And as I said, we welcome anybody.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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