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  Debate

Debate

Did Toto Wolff just miss out on the next big F1 star by overlooking Kimi Antonelli?

Fans and F1 experts look forward to Race Week Thursdays. Why is that? Because Thursdays are for FIA’s Press Conference. This is where drivers and team principals discuss their previous races and future. Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff are the regular visitors to the couch. Most fans curiously wait for the Mercedes pair to show up in their respective interview slots and share a piece of their strategies.

Thursday’s press conference at the 2024 British Grand Prix might have revealed a missed opportunity for Toto Wolff. With Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari, Wolff is in a tough spot. He hasn’t announced George Russell’s 2025 teammate yet with rumors suggesting it might be F2 rookie Kimi Antonelli.

Wolff missed his chance to have Hamilton mentor Antonelli. But did Hamilton say anything to give rise to such assumptions?

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“My door’s always open”: Lewis Hamilton’s candid revelation smells like Toto Wolff’s missed chance

Poll of the day

Do you think Toto Wolff missed a golden opportunity with Kimi Antonelli?

Absolutely

Not at all

Maybe, time will tell

Who cares?

Speaking of Oliver Bearman and Haas and Ferrari’s interest in the young driver, Nigel Chiu of Sky Sports asked Lewis Hamilton: “Do you plan to maybe take him [Oliver Bearman] under your wing a little bit? Is that something the team has asked you to do?” The response from the 7x World Champion was honest, “No, I’ve not been asked to and it’s not even been a thought.”

Hamilton, one of the older drivers on the grid with years of experience, stated, “My door’s always open if anyone ever has a question or any advice that’s needed.” The Briton didn’t dismiss the possibility of mentoring Bearman when he joins the squad in a few years. What does this mean for Toto Wolff? It simply means that Ferrari now has a chance to have ‘the’ Lewis Hamilton as the mentor of new young talent in F1, while Mercedes can sit and recall the times when Hamilton was with them.

via Reuters

Toto Wolff dreamt of nurturing the supposed “next Max Verstappen” Kimi Antonelli under the Briton’s guidance. But those thoughts would (as of now) remain in the realm of the dreams. Mercedes protege Kimi Antonelli will debut in 2025 if Toto Wolff doesn’t devise new strategies. Even if Wolff names a replacement for Hamilton, he’ll miss the golden opportunity for the 39-year-old veteran to mentor the rookie.

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The knowledge Kimi could’ve acquired from Hamilton could be the stepping stone to his future greatness. But unfortunately, that won’t be happening. Wolff previously said that his team would take time to decide on Russell’s partner. This is because Toto wants to be cautious while choosing the heir to Lewis Hamilton’s legacy in Mercedes.

Toto Wolff wants to be very careful in choosing his new driver

Toto Wolff stresses the significance of choosing George Russell‘s 2025 teammate thoughtfully. Recognizing the challenge of replacing Lewis Hamilton, Wolff looks to prioritize a driver who can uphold Mercedes’ legacy and enhance their competitiveness in Formula 1. He plans to take ample time to find a driver who can integrate well and contribute effectively to the team’s future achievements. Moreover, the relaxed age restrictions and the upcoming 2026 regulations seem to have brought new-found hope into the Silver Arrows squad.

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But who will fit in the shoes of the icon? A question that remains unanswered. Toto Wolff must pick carefully from the drivers’ market. He is aiming for the best in the hope of regaining their titles. The once glorious Mercedes is on its quest for redemption. And a new driver could be the key to their success all over again.

As Mercedes adapts to Lewis Hamilton’s departure, Toto Wolff faces a crucial decision in choosing George Russell’s 2025 teammate. With no decisions made yet, Wolff’s careful deliberations underscore the team’s quest to reclaim its championship prowess. Mercedes seeks not just a driver, but a catalyst for resurgence—a figure capable of stepping into the iconic shoes left vacant and steering the Silver Arrows back to the forefront of the sport.