Wolff not ruling out Vettel as Hamilton replacement

Mar.2 (GMM) Toto Wolff has described Sebastian Vettel as a “giant” of Formula 1, as the quadruple world champion once again refuses to rule out the prospect of a sensational return.

Since Lewis Hamilton decided to vacate his Mercedes seat for 2025 with a switch to Ferrari, rumblings that Vettel, 36, might see it as the perfect opportunity to stage a comeback have emerged.

“Toto Wolff hasn’t called me,” the German driver told Neue Zurcher Zeitung newspaper, “but we’ve exchanged a few text messages.

“So far it’s not an issue for me, also because at 36 I still have plenty of time.”

Indeed, Vettel insists that while watching the races from home is often hard, he has no regrets about hanging up his helmet following a difficult stint at Aston Martin in 2022.

“I think I have learned and understood a lot in this one year without racing, including about myself,” he said. “Being on the other side has had a big impact on me – a lot of questions have come up.

“So far there are no active plans,” Vettel insisted. But when asked if that’s a clear ‘no’ to the prospect of a return to F1, he answered: “No.

“I believe that everything is a process, and maybe there will come a point when I say ‘yes, I’d like to go back’. But at the moment I’m doing very well without driving in Formula 1.

“There’s no firm no, no firm yes,” Vettel added, revealing that he will shortly go for a “medical check”, which is “mandatory if you want to keep your racing license”.

When asked about Vettel’s potential interest in returning to F1, Mercedes boss Wolff told Sky Deutschland in Bahrain: “Sebastian is a great guy and a giant of this sport.

“I think he still has the speed as well. After three or four races we have to decide whether we go for youth or experience. Or do we optimise in the short term and give the youth more time to gain experience,” the Austrian added.

Wolff is also not categorically ruling out Mick Schumacher as an option.

“Mick is also part of it,” he answered, “but almost to the point that I feel sorry for him. Because the entire driver market is open and he is one of many possible candidates, but not the only one.”

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