Hamilton: For Red Bull to win by 17s is definitely a concern

Hamilton replacement: Rosberg says no, Briatore meets Wolff, Vettel not an option

Hamilton: For Red Bull to win by 17s is definitely a concern

Nico Rosberg has ruled out a Formula 1 comeback to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, while Flavio Briatore has recently met with Toto Wolff fueling speculation around Fernando Alonso’s chances.

Ever since Lewis Hamilton’s 2025 move to Ferrari has been announced, the matter of his replacement at Mercedes as been sparking speculation, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claiming Mercedes will be bold with their choice.

Many thought that Wolff was referring to Mercedes’ upcoming and highly rated junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who will make his Formula 2 debut in 2024, with an F1 debut possibly on the cards should he fare well in the feeder series.

But what if Mercedes are targeting experience along the young George Russell? Would they be looking to lure back some retired champions?

Sebastian Vettel’s name initially came up, who recently refused to totally dismiss the possibility of coming back to F1, but Wolff shot that option down soon after Hamilton’s shock announcement.

The Austrian told Auto Motor und Sport: “I think he [Vettel] made the decision to not race anymore. We are talking on a regular basis. We’ve also talked yesterday, but it wasn’t about driving for us in the future.”

Rosberg: I’m not planning a comeback

Another option is Nico Rosberg, F1’s 2016 Champion in Mercedes colors, but is seems the German is reluctant to out on his racing gear again, satisfied with his life in retirement.

Rosberg insisted he is not planning an F1 comeback, he told Süddeutsche Zeitung: “That’s over, I’m not planning a comeback,” adding: “I have great respect for the danger.”

Rosberg also pointed out that he is not fit enough to be an F1 driver and returning to that form needs a massive effort.

“I couldn’t just do that either,” he admitted. “I would have to prepare intensively for a whole year, if only to train the synapses (neuron connectors) in my brain.

“A racing driver has to react super-fast at top speed and be precise. I’ve lost that after the long break. The muscles are also put under so much strain, just to hold the steering wheel with all the centrifugal forces,” he explained.

Alonso: I have a privileged position

A third experienced driver option for Mercedes would be Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard still in action and driving as good as ever, as shown by his eight podiums with Aston Martin in 2023.

Alonso, speaking at the launch of the 2024 Aston Martin F1 car, the AMR24, claimed he would be an attractive options to other teams if he can’t agree to continue with his current team.

He said: “If we cannot reach an agreement and I want to commit to race in Formula 1, I know I have a privileged position. I am probably attractive to other teams, the performance that they saw last year, the commitment.”

Asked if there had been contact from other teams, Alonso quoted by Motorsport.com, said: “Not directly to me, but I’m sure there is interest in general to know where I stand for the future.

“The ones who have shown me the most interest, and the ones who ask me weekly, is Aston Martin, so we’ll see,” he concluded.

Former Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore, and Alonso confidante and still playing a role in managing the Spaniard, has recently met with Wolff at a café in Monaco and made sure he posted a photo of that meeting on social media.

Were Alonso’s chances of driving for Mercedes discussed?