Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff says his team can’t ignore the big news of the week – Sebastian Vettel’s departure from Ferrari – despite a “loyalty” to its current driver line-up.
Vettel’s shock departure from Ferrari is set to light a spark under the 2020/21 ‘silly season’ with several candidates vying to replace the four-time World Champion at the Scuderia.
Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo are the leading candidates for the seat and should either jump ship from their current teams, it could spark a number of moves with speculation that if Ricciardo misses out on the Ferrari drive, he would take up Sainz’s vacant McLaren seat.
Whilst Wolff is content with Mercedes’ current line-up, the news of Vettel’s departure will likely impact contract negotiations with both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas – both of which will surely be at the top of Ferrari’s shopping list too.
Wolff is therefore aware that he and Mercedes can’t simply ignore the news.
“Sebastian is a great driver, a great personality and an enrichment for every Formula 1 team,” Wolff told German media outlet DPA.
“With a view to the future, we are primarily committed to loyalty to our current Mercedes drivers, but of course we cannot ignore this development.”
Mercedes might even consider looking at Vettel as a replacement for Bottas, with an Anglo-German line-up fitting the Anglo-German set-up of the team.