Damning Mercedes verdict as Sky F1 pundit raises concerns over Lewis Hamilton replacement

Michelle Foster
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton leads George Russell

Mercedes are under the pump this season.

Under the pump this season, Naomi Schiff has questioned whether Mercedes are still a team that “drivers want to go to”.

Although Mercedes felt confident about their 2024 prospects after pre-season testing, the Grands Prix have yet to live up to expectations.

Naomi Schiff paints a bleak picture of Mercedes’ prospects

Recording a best result of fifth place in Bahrain, the Woking team is a distant P4 in the Constructors’ Championship on 26 points, 71 behind Red Bull.

However, more worryingly, they’re also 67 points behind Ferrari who they beat to second place last season.

While the Scuderia have clearly taken a step forward, on the podium in all three races including a victory for Carlos Sainz last time out in Australia, Mercedes’ are currently fourth fastest at best.

The W15 has been decried as an inconsistent car by Lewis Hamilton, who highlighted the car’s lack of pace through the high-speed corners in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, only to note it was the low-speed corners where they struggled in Australia.

Declaring they have a “massive” deficit to Red Bull and that he doesn’t know how they’re going to close it, Schiff has pondered whether Mercedes remains appealing to outside drivers.

Rumoured to be in a race against Red Bull to sign either Carlos Sainz or Fernando Alonso, both targets for the championship-winning teams, Mercedes may not be either driver’s first choice.

PlanetF1.com recommends

Red Bull’s 2025 shortlist: Six drivers who should be on list to partner Max Verstappen

Carlos Sainz pushing Ferrari towards buyer’s remorse after Lewis Hamilton swap

“Tough times for Mercedes,” Schiff said. “This is the third season in the era of new F1 cars and they haven’t quite got on top of it.

“Besides the fact that they had a mechanical issue, and George had an issue, they didn’t have the pace that they needed.

“The car is so unpredictable for the team to understand. Whether it’s one side of the garage or not, it still doesn’t have the pace that they need to challenge. It’s a tough one.

“Lewis is going to Ferrari and they need to be a team with appeal for whoever they might give that seat to in the future.

“At the moment, is Mercedes a team that drivers want to go to?

“They finished second in the championship last year but we need to see them moving forward to be an attractive proposition.

“At the moment, it doesn’t seem that they have the situation under control.”

Mercedes are in search of a new driver for next season after Hamilton announced he’s off to Ferrari having signed a multi-year deal.

Toto Wolff, who has openly stated he’d “love” to sign Max Verstappen from Red Bull, concedes right now Mercedes do not have the car needed to sway his allegiances.

“A driver will always try to be in the fastest possible car. That gives you the best chances of winning races and championships and this is where Max is at the moment,” he said.

Read next: Mercedes urged to immediately snap up ‘liberated’ driver or risk Red Bull intervention