New Mercedes W15 data as potential Lewis Hamilton replacement named – F1 news round-up

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton looks emotional with prominent Mercedes and Ferrari badges alongside him.

Lewis Hamilton will leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the end of 2024.

It’s been yet another fast-paced day of F1 news as the countdown continues until the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton leading the way. How very 2020!

Mercedes have scrutinised the data after pre-season testing and established three firm conclusions with their new car, while a prominent pundit has identified the driver the team should chase to replace Ferrari-bound Hamilton.

Hold on tight, it’s gonna be a wild ride…

Mercedes detail initial W15 findings

Mercedes have offered fresh insight into the new W15 after the car was put through its paces for the first time in Bahrain pre-season testing last week.

The Brackley-based team suffered their first winless season since 2011 last year, but are aiming to return to contention with the W15.

After the car recorded a total of 361 laps over three days of testing, Toto Wolff has revealed the team’s initial findings with some rare insight.

Read more: Mercedes reveal three ‘initial conclusions’ from first W15 laps in Bahrain

Mercedes tipped to choose youth as Lewis Hamilton heads to Ferrari

Sky F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz says Andrea Kimi Antonelli is the “most exciting” option for Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton, a prospect who they view as the “next Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc.”

Following the bombshell announcement that Hamilton is heading to Ferrari for 2025, speculation has been rife over who Mercedes may turn to as the successor to the seven-time World Champion.

Fernando Alonso, Carlos Sainz, Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon have all been linked with the vacancy alongside George Russell, but Mercedes’ teenage sensation Antonelli is widely regarded as the leading candidate.

Read more: Ted Kravitz names Lewis Hamilton replacement Mercedes see as ‘next Max Verstappen’

Adrian Newey to follow Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari?

Meanwhile, Kravitz has ruled out Adrian Newey joining Lewis Hamilton at Ferrari as the F1 design guru has rejected them plenty of times in the past.

Ferrari have often tried to lure Newey to Maranello – coming closest to sealing the deal back in 2014 – but he has always turned them down, largely due to their location away from the UK.

With Hamilton heading to Maranello, many had considered Newey may finally be tempted to make the swap in light of the current uncertainty surrounding Red Bull.

Read more: Ted Kravitz rejects Lewis Hamilton theory as Adrian Newey to Ferrari raised

Guenther Steiner wades into Red Bull/RB debate

Former Haas team boss Guenther Steiner feels the concerns regarding Red Bull’s F1 multi-team ownership will find a “natural” resolution, though stressed Red Bull also deserves “respect” for their contributions.

Red Bull has had two teams on the Formula 1 grid since 2006 and heading into the F1 2024 campaign their second team has undergone a further revamp to become RB, strengthening ties to Red Bull Racing in the process.

This has sparked some concerns among rivals, heightened by the fact that Red Bull has been the dominant force of F1’s ground effect era, with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown leading the outcry against the existence of this model in modern F1.

Read more: Guenther Steiner raises Red Bull ‘respect’ claim amid A/B team criticism

Marko lays out task facing Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has challenged Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda to make themselves candidates to become Max Verstappen’s next team-mate.

Ricciardo versus Tsunoda promises to be one of the most fascinating team-mate battles of 2024, with the former making no secret of his desire to reclaim his former seat.

Marko says the winner of RB battle could emerge as a contender to replace Sergio Perez, likening the spot alongside Verstappen to an “ejector seat.”

Read more: Helmut Marko lays down Ricciardo/Tsunoda gauntlet  with ‘ejector seat’ warning