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Wolff Fears for Young Talent Replacing Hamilton

Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, has expressed his apprehension regarding the potential promotion of junior driver Kimi Antonelli in 2025, fearing it might overwhelm the young talent.

Confirming that Kimi Antonelli is indeed being considered a contender to succeed Lewis Hamilton in 2025, Wolff acknowledges his concerns about the possibility of burdening the “young kid” with such a significant role.

Antonelli hailed as a future star in Formula 1, is widely recognized as one of the most promising talents since Max Verstappen. He has earned accolades such as being dubbed the “best driver in an F3 car since Verstappen” and has shown promise in his debut F2 season with Prema Racing.

While Max Verstappen remains an option for Mercedes should he opt to leave Red Bull by the end of 2024, Wolff is closely monitoring the situation. However, if Verstappen chooses to stay with Red Bull, Antonelli emerges as a viable alternative despite his age of 17.

“I don’t know yet. I think it depends also on what Max does,” Wolff stated.

“And then we have a young kid that is very promising, and 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 by jumping so quickly into an F1 car at 17. So there’s a few options that we could play with him.”

In addition to considering Verstappen and Antonelli, Toto Wolff is exploring other potential candidates to succeed Hamilton, one of whom is Carlos Sainz, the driver whom the seven-time world champion is replacing at Ferrari.

Wolff is eyeing both double world champion Fernando Alonso and Australian Grand Prix victor Carlos Sainz as viable contenders. However, the Austrian is determined to ensure that Hamilton’s seat remains a coveted and challenging prospect for any driver aiming to secure it.

“Well, obviously there’s Fernando who is very exciting,” Wolff added. “And Carlos [is] very good. So there are a few ones.

“This time I’m going to make the play like the bride that’s difficult to get.”