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Wolff: Mercedes return to winning ways has no influence on 2025 F1 driver call


Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has insisted the squad’s resurgent form in the last two Formula 1 races will not influence its decision-making process when choosing Lewis Hamilton‘s replacement.

The Brackley-based outfit had experienced a continuation of its struggles from the past two years at the start of the season, finding itself off the pace compared to Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

But a number of key updates, beginning with an upgraded front wing rushed to the Monaco Grand Prix, has propelled Mercedes ahead of Ferrari and into the battle with Red Bull and McLaren, punctuated early on by George Russell‘s pole position and podium in Canada.

A first victory since Brazil 2022 came the Briton’s way at the Austrian Grand Prix as he took advantage of the clash between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, but there was no denying the merit of Hamilton’s drought-breaking triumph at Silverstone last weekend, which came after the team locked out the front row in qualifying.

Hamilton leaves the team for Ferrari at the end of the season in a move announced before the current campaign had started, yet Wolff has been in no rush to choose a replacement for the seven-time champion.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli has been right in the frame for a promotion after just one F2 season, such is his talent, but asked if the two consecutive race wins will affect the process of deciding who joins Russell, Wolff replied: “It doesn’t influence our thinking.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli drives Mercedes W12

“I’ve always said we need a car that goes quick and when we have a car that goes quick, we put the driver in and we get interesting. Interesting for many drivers.

“But, in a way, I think we need to stay calm and continue the season, continue to focus on the car and then look at whether the options are still the same and… but it’s not like this [winning races is] changing everything and [turning] upside down.”

A number of drivers are available to fill the vacancy, with Carlos Sainz re-emerging as a potential candidate in recent weeks.

Antonelli had failed to make his mark during his rookie F2 season having skipped F3 – though as Wolff pointed out, the entire Prema team, including Haas’ confirmed 2025 driver Oliver Bearman, has struggled for form.

The Austrian had suggested ahead of the British Grand Prix that Antonelli needed to “learn to swim” and “perform in cold water”, a message instantly – and literally – responded to by the Italian who blitzed the field to win the F2 sprint race in sodden conditions before he was punted out on the opening lap of the feature race.

Explaining the result was “so important”, Wolff added: “F2 is so difficult this year because the car… you can see that him and Bearman are struggling a lot with the car and he isn’t happy with his driving and not [having] the pace in the race.

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Andrea Kimi Antonelli, Prema Racing

Photo by: Prema Powerteam

“But seeing him on Saturday walking over the water, at times two seconds quicker than everybody else, you can see the talent and the ability and the potential this young guy has. Winning that race I think took a lot of weight off his shoulders. Today it was a DNF but it wasn’t his fault.”

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Antonelli stood alongside Wolff during Hamilton’s victory on Sunday and Wolff revealed: “I had this moment where you see the greatest British driver checking out with us at the British Grand Prix and in the garage, you have this young Italian that hasn’t got a driving licence even, that was watching that scene, and I bet he thought, ‘I want to be that one day’.

“Maybe not here, maybe Monza.”



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