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In a recent interview, Toto Wolff acknowledged that Mercedes chose not to sign a long-term contract with Lewis Hamilton because they didn’t want to risk losing a young driver they’re supporting, Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

This means Mercedes is trying to balance keeping their star driver, Hamilton, happy while also making sure they don’t miss out on promising new talents like Antonelli.

So, they’re trying to plan for the future by giving chances to both experienced and new drivers.

Wolff compared the situation with 2014, noting that the team was eager to sign Max Verstappen but had nowhere to place him, whereas Red Bull could offer him a Toro Rosso seat for the following year.

So, let’s delve further to examine What factors influenced Mercedes’ decision not to commit to a longer-term Formula 1 contract with Lewis Hamilton and how does it relate to their approach to supporting young talent like Andrea Kimi Antonelli, as compared to the situation with Max Verstappen in 2014?

Why Did Mercedes Decide Not To Sign A Longer-Term Formula 1 Contract With Lewis Hamilton?

In August last year, Hamilton signed a two-year contract with the team, widely assumed to be fixed for the full term.

However, he used escape clauses to skip the second year and join Ferrari, leaving his seat open for 2025 and allowing Mercedes the opportunity to consider Antonelli as early as next year.

Despite being only 17 years old, Antonelli will debut in Formula 2 this season with Prema after winning the Italian F4 in 2022 and the Formula Regional European Championship last year.

Wolff compared this situation with 2014, where the team was about to sign Max Verstappen but had no place to put him, while red bull was able to offer him a Toro Rosso seat for the following year. Here’s what wolf said.

“There was a situation many years ago where we had the opportunity to let Max drive,” Wolff told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “And that wasn’t possible back then because we simply didn’t have a cockpit.

“[Nico] Rosberg and Hamilton were tied to us long-term, and Red Bull naturally seized the opportunity. They gave him a contract with Toro Rosso, with the possibility of driving for Red Bull the following year.

“We then lost the young driver, and you can see how successful he has become.

“And precisely because we have a junior on the horizon who is really driving at a very high level, I simply wanted to keep this option open.”

Wolff has confirmed that Antonelli will participate in some private running sessions in a 2022 car. He noted that Mercedes will conduct a comprehensive test program with him in 2024.

Then, they will assess whether he is ready for 2025 or if there will be a different situation for 2026, assuming George Russell remains in other seat and his contract is extended beyond next year.




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Gaurang is a writer at the SportsOrbit covering articles related to F1,Gaurang was 14 when he cared more about playing football than studying. But when COVID hit and he had to stay home, he discovered Formula 1. It immediately caught his interest. Since then, he's been really into Formula 1, watching every race and learning all about it. He still loves football, but now he's also a big fan of Formula 1, especially Lewis Hamilton. Even though he loves racing, he still looks up to Cristiano Ronaldo as his idol.