Alonso or Vettel to Mercedes? F1 legends placed on radar to replace Lewis Hamilton

Thomas Maher
Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton featured side by side.

Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso: Options for Mercedes?

Mercedes has a year to find a replacement for Lewis Hamilton, and two world champions have been tipped for the seat.

With Lewis Hamilton moving to Ferrari for 2025, departing the team with whom he’s won six Drivers’ Championships, Mercedes face a stern challenge trying to find a suitable replacement for the multiple World Champion.

George Russell is under contract for 2025, and Mercedes isn’t short on possible options as plenty of driver contracts come up for renewal at the end of 2024.

Eddie Jordan: Mercedes should look at Sebastian Vettel

Should Mercedes opt against taking a chance on their own junior drivers, or signing one if the umpteen proven drivers currently without 2025 deals, former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan reckons Mercedes should have a go at tempting Sebastian Vettel out of retirement.

The four-time World Champion walked away from F1 at the end of 2022, citing a desire to spend more time with his young family and finding F1 was becoming increasingly at odds with his environmental convictions.

But Vettel hasn’t closed the door entirely on ever making a comeback, saying he doesn’t know for sure whether or not his appetite could return after some time out, and the German driver could be a proposition for Mercedes, according to Jordan.

“I have to say, in the short term, I would look at Vettel,” he told David Coulthard on the Formula for Success podcast.

“Because we know these cars are not as difficult to drive as in your day, in my day, when you needed a neck the size of a wine barrel.

“It’s just ridiculous, the cars are not as difficult and that’s why you have the longevity. That’s why you have [Fernando] Alonso being able to continue and that’s why you have the much older drivers.

“I think it’s a very sad day – it’s the first time in the history of Formula 1 there has not been a rookie in the championship. I am absolutely appalled by that. But, anyway, let’s keep to the story!

“I think Vettel has to be in the frame, because of the German contact. We know what happened with Michael before, he left Ferrari and where did he go? Back to Mercedes, so that’s a possibility.

“You’ve also talked about [Esteban] Ocon, I happen to like [Alex] Albon. That could be a possibility but I do see him as possibly a replacement, down the road, for [Sergio] Perez in some years to come.

“But, if it was me, and the way Formula 1 is progressing, I would look at Vettel – I think it’s a good choice. It makes sense for Mercedes, a German driver in the car.

“I think Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team boss] is under a bit of pressure with Mercedes as to ‘Why weren’t we aware of this before, up against car launch time? It’s disturbing. It’s probably distressing to the team and for our promotions.’

“They now have to look at all of the advertising that they were planning to do over a long, long time. Are you going to put advertising out there for Lewis Hamilton when you know he’s leaving the team? It changes the whole scenery of the whole situation, I have to say it’s a big surprise.” recommends

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David Coulthard: I’d take Fernando Alonso over Sebastian Vettel

Responding to Jordan’s idea, Coulthard said a recent conversation he’d had with Vettel indicated some willingness to consider a comeback if the right option became available.

“Vettel – I did at an event with him at Nurburgring last year where we drove a couple of the old Red Bulls, the V8s,” he said.

“He was very much of the conversation that he’s not closed to racing again. He still felt, in a way, there was unfinished business for him in Formula 1.”

But, if he were the one making the decision, Coulthard said he’d be more inclined to look at Fernando Alonso over Vettel.

“If I was Mercedes, I would take Alonso over Vettel. He’s race fit,” he explained in his reasoning.

“He understands the engine, and the power units because of the Aston Martin. He’s still gladiatorial and got the bit between his teeth.

“Yes, maybe Seb was just struggling a little bit with the development of the Aston when he was there. But he wasn’t sort of putting manners on Lance Stroll in the way that we’ve seen from Fernando Alonso. So, I could get Fernando, I’d take him.

“Then, yes, I think Vettel could be a good experienced option, and certainly a good marketing story as well, providing he doesn’t get his doors blown off by George, I think George is fantastically fast. So it wouldn’t be easy for Seb.

“If they put a big name in the car, and they’re still not winning in 2025, that’s a difficult one, it’s not going to end well, is it?”

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