Mercedes Faces Uncertain Future as Hamilton Prepares to Exit

Mercedes is currently facing a pivotal moment, according to Mika Hakkinen, as the team grapples with the repercussions of two challenging years that have significantly impacted its personnel.

The recent announcement of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari in 2025 has added a layer of uncertainty as Mercedes approaches the new Formula 1 season.

The team, led by Toto Wolff, has experienced a noticeable dip in performance, securing only a single victory at a grand prix over the last two years, with George Russell clinching a win in 2022.

This slump has left Mercedes in a delicate phase of reevaluation and adaptation as they gear up for the upcoming races.

“Mercedes are at a crossroads,” In a conversation with Bild, Mika Hakkinen shared his insights before the surprising news of Hamilton’s departure was made public.

“There has not been a question mark over the team for a long time.

“After a decade full of success, the past two seasons have left their mark on those responsible and employees.

“And that’s good! You have to be angry now.

“Now you have to develop this unconditional will to win again.

“The team has to become a team again and develop this blind understanding. That is currently missing.”

This season, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will team up once more at Mercedes as the team aims to regain its competitive edge with the introduction of the new W15 car. However, this collaboration marks their final year together, as Hamilton is slated to join Ferrari in 2025.

Hakkinen stated “Even though George is entering his third season as a Mercedes driver, it is clear that it is Lewis’ team,” 

“He has been driving there since 2013 and has worked with many of the engineers and mechanics for years.

“It doesn’t take ten minutes of analysis from him to explain the problem.

“Little things like these ultimately decide in Formula 1 whether you are in pole position or not.”

Mercedes now pins its future aspirations on Russell, who managed to surpass Hamilton in points during his inaugural year with the team.

“That’s correct. But last season Hamilton finished third and Russell only eighth,” Hakkinen insisted.

“That didn’t surprise me.

“On the one hand, Lewis wanted to show it to everyone after the Twilight of the Gods had already been talked about, and on the other hand, George was and continues to be under immense pressure.

“When you’re the teammate of a seven-time world champion, all eyes are automatically on you.

“It doesn’t matter if you finished on the podium if your teammate won.

“It’s the same with all teams – but George is racing against a record champion.”

The potential shift in team dynamics, with Hamilton’s impending departure from the team he has become synonymous with, is yet to unfold.

Hakkinen, who secured his two F1 titles in 1998 and 1999 while racing for McLaren, believes that his old team stands the best chance of challenging the leading Red Bulls in the current season.

“I expect a lot from McLaren,” he said.

“After having a disastrous start to the season last year, they have developed very well and, above all, consistently.

“With Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, they probably have the strongest driver pairing next to Ferrari.

“Both have the potential to become world champions.

“Piastri puts pressure on Norris. And Max Verstappen will also feel that this year.”