Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, believes Red Bull is considering Daniel Ricciardo as a potential replacement for Sergio Perez.
Mercedes’ engineering boss, Andrew Shovlin, earlier hinted at the possibility of accommodating Nyck de Vries, the former Alpha Tauri driver, as a new reserve.
De Vries, who previously served as Mercedes’ reserve driver, joined Red Bull-Alpha Tauri for the 2023 season but following his ousting was seen meeting with Wolff recently in Monaco.
“I do feel sorry for him,” Wolff told Sky Deutschland in Hungary.
“He had called me on Monday morning to ask if I had time for a cup of coffee. I did, and I will support him as best I can.
“However, it is clear that there is no place with us,” the Austrian added, referring to the race seats occupied by Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Wolff believes that the 28-year-old de Vries may have needed “more time” at Alpha Tauri.
“Formula 1 is a tough world, we know that,” he said. “I think they wanted to have a benchmark with Daniel Ricciardo, to see if he can take over from Checo (Perez).
“I’m a fan of Nyck’s,” Wolff continued. “He’s always contributed a lot to the development of the car, but maybe he needed more time.
“Who knows what would have happened if he had been given the whole season. Maybe he would have been a good candidate for the Red Bull seat, but that’s not our problem.”