Mercedes not worried about a shortage of top F1 drivers

Toto Wolff has no concerns about Mercedes potentially facing a shortage of top-level Formula 1 drivers, despite young stars Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc signing long-term deals with rival teams

Mercedes not worried about a shortage of top F1 drivers

Leclerc's new contract with Ferrari runs through 2024, while fellow 22-year-old Verstappen - who has been on Mercedes' radar in the past - has extended his Red Bull deal through 2023.

While Mercedes is the heavy favourite to retain its star driver Lewis Hamilton, both he and team-mate Valtteri Bottas are over 30.

Asked about the recent contract extension for Leclerc and Verstappen, Mercedes team boss Wolff pointed to Esteban Ocon and George Russell - two Mercedes-linked drivers under contract through 2021 with Renault and Williams respectively - as natural options down the line.

"Well, I think we have very exciting young drivers that are part of the Mercedes family, like George Russell, who is a Mercedes junior driver, who I foresee a bright future [for]," Wolff said.

"Then we have Esteban who is not too far away, who is with Renault today, but he's a cousin of the Mercedes family today.

"And looking at Max and Charles, these guys will always strive to be in the fastest cars, and contracts are contracts, probably sometimes the detail is what is important and not the overhead line on how long a contract has been signed [for].

"And therefore, I see our duty in providing and producing the car that is the quickest, and then we will not run out of talent that will be keen and eager to drive these cars."

Six-time F1 champion Hamilton, linked with a potential move to Ferrari throughout 2019, moved to dismiss reports in the off-season that his talks with Mercedes had not been progressing well.

Wolff reiterated that he saw Hamilton continuing with Mercedes as the logical outcome, but stressed that they hadn't been negotiating over the winter.

"I think it is the obvious pairing going forward," Wolff said.

"We would like to have the fastest man in the car, and I know that Lewis wants to be in the fastest car so there's an obvious mutual outcome.

"But you know, we travel around the world almost 10 months every year.

"We go on our nerves every second weekend. And what we do over winter is we leave each other in peace.

"The last conversation I had with him was in the evening before the Christmas party.

"We had a nice chat, that we would continue our discussion or start or discussion once he comes back from America and we have properly kicked off the season.

"I have great belief in the abilities of the team to attract the best drivers.

"And at the moment Lewis has proven that he is the best current driver with his six titles.

"And on the mid- and long-term, I would hope that we're able to continue to provide technology to the best driver and attract them."

shares
comments
AlphaTauri sets deadline to take customer Red Bull 2021 gearbox
Previous article

AlphaTauri sets deadline to take customer Red Bull 2021 gearbox

Next article

Why stability can help Haas recover from its 2019 nadir

Why stability can help Haas recover from its 2019 nadir
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Plus

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023