FEBRUARY 5, 2024
Not many candidates to replace Hamilton says Ralf
As the dust continues to settle after Lewis Hamilton's bombshell news last week, the candidates to replace him at Mercedes in 2025 are now starting to pile up.
An obvious choice, according to well-known Spanish commentator Antonio Lobato, is Fernando Alonso.
In any case, he told the El Partidazo radio program, "Fernando will be obliged to speak with Mercedes.
It depends a lot, of course, on how Aston Martin goes this year. But what is clear is that it will now cost Lawrence Stroll more money to renew him.
Given the widespread media reporting of the Hamilton bombshell so far, it would appear as though Mercedes has countless options for its 2025 lineup.
But Ralf Schumacher told Sky Deutschland:
I don't think there will be too many candidates. The only question for Toto is whether to put someone experienced next to Russell or to turn to one of the young drivers.
Unsurprisingly, Ralf says his nephew - and current Mercedes reserve - Mick Schumacher is
absolutely a top option.
But there is also Carlos Sainz on the market now, even if I think he will join Audi.
1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks his ousting at Ferrari actually means Sainz is the
main loser in the Hamilton story,
since his negotiations with Audi or anyone else has been seriously weakened.
It will be interesting to see how Sainz, 29, will now handle his final year in red.
He won't be interested in Ferrari team games now, Villeneuve told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The importance of the team result for him is now zero.
Now he only has to prove himself to get another contract for 2025. Maybe by beating (Charles) Leclerc. He has nothing to lose at Ferrari anymore.
Another potential candidate to replace Hamilton is Daniel Ricciardo, but Red Bull's Dr Helmut insists to Auto Bild:
He still has a long-term contract. He is not available.
Wolff's dream option, of course, would be to somehow snatch Max Verstappen away from Red Bull - just as Frederic Vasseur managed to pull the wool over Wolff's eyes regarding Hamilton.
He can try, Marko smiled to sport.de,
but he won't succeed. I think also Max has a good memory, he added, referring to the intense tension between the Red Bull and Mercedes camps in 2021.
As for Leclerc, recent rumours that his new multi-year contract with Ferrari contains an exit clause are now making more sense than ever.
As far as I knew Michael Schumacher, he would never have wanted a teammate like Hamilton, Jean Alesi, a former Ferrari driver, told Corriere della Sera.
Indeed, the fact that Hamilton's Peter Bonnington might follow the seven time world champion to Ferrari in 2025 is already being rumoured - perhaps part of a wider group of engineers that Hamilton will build around himself.
I am convinced that, with Lewis, new skills, new technicians, a new way of making decisions will arrive in Maranello, driven by a motivation that everyone in the team will feel, former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger said.
If we combine all of this with the Ferrari brand, it means generating real power in financial terms too, he told Corriere della Sera.
Charles may feel a bit nervous because Lewis is strong politically, technically, has super experience, and is a consistent driver on every level, said Berger.
But when you want to be the best, you are forced to compare yourself with anyone and if Charles manages to beat Lewis, he will receive a further push - a new awareness.