Six-time defending Formula 1 world champions Mercedes would risk upsetting their balance if they were to bring in Sebastian Vettel to partner Lewis Hamilton, says former driver David Coulthard.
Mooted as a possible landing spot for Vettel with him set to leave Ferrari after the 2020 season, Mercedes have yet to sign contracts with both Hamilton and his teammate Valtteri Bottas for 2021 and beyond.
However Coulthard, who raced in F1 for 14 years with Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, cannot see Hamilton leaving and does not think it wise the German is brought in to partner him.
“I think that would be a mistake for Mercedes,” he told the Daily Mail. “In Lewis, they’ve got someone who can win Grands Prix and Championships. To bring Seb in there because you think that that will raise Lewis’ game… it’s very difficult.
“If you look at these exceptional performances in sport, serial winners, I don’t think he needs the friction of a four-time world champion to get the best out of him. I think Vettel could be disruptive to the team.
“I think that if he offered his services for no money then of course the Mercedes board would have to look at it seriously, to have a German driver in the team, but I just can’t imagine he would, so the pairing of Valtteri and Lewis seems like the most efficient way to win another Championship.”
Indeed, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said on Sunday that Vettel joining the Silver Arrows would be “a good marketing story” but stressed that he wanted “to concentrate on our current drivers first”, referring to not just Hamilton and Bottas, but Mercedes junior and Williams driver George Russell as well.
Nevertheless the speculation is likely to continue, although as Coulthard reiterates, such a potential Vettel-Hamilton partnership is unlikely to see both sides happy.
“Both drivers can’t win, there’s never been a dead heat in a Grand Prix, so you’re only going to end up with problems that history have shown when you have two strong personalities in one team,” he said.