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Two big questions are looming in the F1 paddock. First, who will replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025? And the second, can Alpine bring upgrades that will ensure their survival at the pinnacle of motorsport? Because the answer to the second question is full of uncertainty, Esteban Ocon is already having contract “chats” with rivals. With Mercedes having a vacant seat for 2025 and his ex-teammate Fernando Alonso still undecided on his Aston Martin future, an F1 Insider believes that Toto Wolff should put their capabilities to the test before even considering Kimi Antonelli for 2025.

Mercedes have a conundrum on their hands, whether they accept it publicly or not. F2 prodigy, Andrea Kimi Antonelli, emerged as a worthy replacement for Hamilton in F1 fans’ eyes. But Ocon’s chances appeared strong after he affirmed his “strong links” with the Silver Arrows. Nonetheless, Wolff continued to consider drivers like Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz, and even Max Verstappen.

However, French Journalist Fred Ferret has shut all the noise and zeroed down on only Ocon and Alonso. “I wouldn’t bet on Antonelli to Mercedes for next year,” Ferret said on the F1 Nation podcast. “Just like I said for Bearman – It’s better to make a young gun learn away from the pressure even if Kimi Antonelli is said to be the next Messiah. But remember, we only have one Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen or Fernando Alonso every 10 or 15 years.” 

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After giving the downsides of Antonelli’s possible premature signing, he came to his main point. I would bet on one last year for Fernando Alonso or one year for Esteban. Because he (Ocon) is part of managing for Mercedes, he can accept to sign only 1 year, and then in ’26, you can put Antonelli back in Mercedes.”

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With Alonso having proven his worth last year with consecutive podiums, and Esteban Ocon still being a Mercedes talent–the game is on. However, the French star could hit a jackpot if the Spaniard retires.

Fernando Alonso’s retirement hint spotted by Eddie Jordan

Aston Martin’s star driver will turn 43 this year. Though physical or mental fitness doesn’t seem to be an issue for him, he is still contemplating whether he should continue racing or not. Moreover, Eddie Jordan, former boss of the Jordan F1 team, has made a smart observation about the same.

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“I just feel now that he’s probably calculating, he’s bought a new boat,” Jordan told David Coulthard on the ‘Formula for Success’ podcast. “That’s often an indication to me because I know you bought a boat at the time and then retired gracefully after that–I did the same. People have a habit of buying boats and retiring. Let’s see what happens, but Fernando should be in Formula 1.”

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Which of these possibilities do you think is most likely to happen?

Written by

Yash Kotak

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Yash is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a strong passion for communicating through written word and a keen interest in the world of motorsports, he thoroughly enjoys being a fan of F1 and covering it for other fans. Ever since he watched the 'INSIDE TRACKS' episode covering the 2018 German Grand Prix, he has fallen in love with the intriguingly complex world of F1.
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Edited by

Ariva Debnath