Mercedes’ Top Pick to Replace Hamilton Revealed by Wolff

toto wolff and lewis hamilton mercedes garage

There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding who will step into Lewis Hamilton’s shoes at Mercedes in the upcoming season, and team principal Toto Wolff has provided some insight into the matter.

Confirming the ongoing discussions, Mercedes Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff has indicated that Kimi Antonelli is leading the pack for a seat at the Brackley-based squad next year.

Following Hamilton’s announcement before the 2024 season commenced, revealing his departure from Mercedes to join Ferrari next year, the team has been actively searching for a replacement for the seven-time world champion.

Various names have been floated as potential successors to Hamilton, with Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz among them. However, Antonelli, who will reach 18 later this year, has emerged as a serious contender.

In discussing the situation, Wolff emphasized Antonelli’s candidacy, stating, “He’s definitely a very strong contender,” in an interview with Xinhua.

“I want to see how his F2 season develops, but we will wait and see what happens with some of the other drivers in F1. I don’t doubt his raw speed, talent, and ability.

“We wouldn’t have supported him from go-karting until now if we didn’t believe that he has the potential to go into F1 and do so with Mercedes. Many young drivers have shown in the past that you can do that step.”

Having clinched the Formula Regional European Championship, Antonelli transitioned to Formula 2 for the 2024 season.

Presently, the Italian occupies the ninth position in the Drivers’ Championship standings following the initial three rounds, achieving a notable fourth-place finish at the Melbourne Feature Race last month.

Despite the flurry of activity in the driver market, with numerous drivers becoming free agents this year, Wolff remains deliberate in his decision-making process.

“My feeling at the moment is that I don’t want to rush [the decision] because Kimi is part of the ideas for next year and is very much in the strongest position, and that’s why we don’t need to rush into any other decision,” stated Wolff.

“Obviously, some of the other top drivers are going to make a decision on what to do soon, but there’s a feeling that points me in a direction not to take the decision too quickly.”