F1 News: Mercedes must take Vettel's Ferrari exit into consideration - Wolff

Toto Wolff says Mercedes must take Sebastian Vettel's exit from Ferrari into consideration when deciding on its future Formula 1 driver line-up

F1 News: Mercedes must take Vettel's Ferrari exit into consideration - Wolff

Ferrari announced on Tuesday morning that four-time world champion Vettel would be leaving at the end of the 2020 season after both parties decided against renewing the contract following a breakdown in talks.

Vettel's departure is set to have major ramifications on the driver market for 2021, reaching as far as the Mercedes team, where incumbent drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are both out of contract at the end of the year.

Mercedes F1 chief Wolff said that while the team was loyal to its existing drivers, it had to consider the effects of Vettel's departure from Ferrari.

"Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula 1 team," Wolff said.

"When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers.

"But naturally we must take this development into consideration."

PLUS: How Vettel's Ferrari dream died

Mercedes is currently in talks with six-time world champion Hamilton over a new F1 contract, with his existing three-year deal coming to an end in 2020.

Hamilton has been linked with a switch to Ferrari since the end of last year after meeting the Italian manufacturer's chairman, John Elkann, at a social event.

Hamilton has since distanced himself from talk of a move away from Mercedes, saying last month there was "no dream of a dash to another team" in response to reports.

Although Hamilton is expected to remain at Mercedes for 2021 and beyond, Vettel's exit will add an extra dimension to his ongoing negotiations with the team given the vacant seat.

News of Vettel's departure is also set to have a bearing on Bottas' future. The Finn has signed one-year extensions each season with Mercedes since joining in 2017, but was left to sweat until late August last year to be confirmed for 2020.

Bottas said during pre-season testing he hoped talks over a new contract for 2021 would take place more privately and be resolved earlier than last year.

The possibility of Ferrari swooping for Bottas as a replacement for Vettel alongside Charles Leclerc may prompt Mercedes to try and advance talks with its driver sooner.

Were Hamilton to have a change of heart and opt for a sensational move to Ferrari, it would theoretically open up a seat for Vettel should the German driver be of interest to Mercedes.

An exit for Bottas could create the possibility for a lucrative Hamilton/Vettel partnership in 2021 that would boast at least 10 world titles.

However, such a possibility seems far off given the financial sums involved, let alone the need to satisfy two drivers who would expect to be the team leader.

Current Williams driver George Russell is also a potential candidate for a seat with Mercedes in 2021 as the leading member of its junior programme.

Russell famously tried to convince Williams to sign him for the 2018 season by making a Powerpoint presentation - something he teased again on Twitter on Tuesday following confirmation of Vettel's departure.

shares
comments
F1 analysis: Where does Vettel's post-Ferrari future lie?
Previous article

F1 analysis: Where does Vettel's post-Ferrari future lie?

Next article

The F1 stories behind the pictures - Steven Tee

The F1 stories behind the pictures - Steven Tee
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022