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Schumacher: Russell's seat at Mercedes could be at risk

Schumacher: Russell's seat at Mercedes could be at risk
© Reuters
George Russell might find himself pushed out of Mercedes' Formula 1 driver lineup.

George Russell might find himself pushed out of Mercedes' Formula 1 driver lineup.

On paper, Russell's current 2025 contract was signed nearly a year ago. And with Lewis Hamilton departing, the only real question was who team boss Toto Wolff would choose as his replacement.

The successful candidate seems to be Kimi Antonelli, particularly with the FIA now allowing promising 17-year-olds like the rookie Italian to obtain a super license.

However, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher suggests that the twist is Wolff has clearly kept an open door for Max Verstappen.

"From Toto Wolff's point of view, Kimi Antonelli deserves the chance, and there are apparently contractual agreements he must comply with," he told Sky Deutschland.

"The contract doesn't specify which team he has to be with, but since Williams is already occupied, I assume it will be with Mercedes.

"Wolff himself has said that he wants to focus on the future," Schumacher added.

"But if Verstappen really does decide to leave Red Bull, I can imagine there is a seat for him at Mercedes," said the German. "That could be rather bad for George Russell.

"He is or was a super talent," Schumacher continued, "but he also makes a lot of mistakes. If a triple world champion is available, I can imagine that George Russell's job could be in danger."

For his part, Verstappen says he remains loyal to Red Bull, but it's also clear that the 26-year-old Dutchman's primary priority is a winning car.

"Mercedes would have won the race in Canada with Max at the wheel. That's clear," said Schumacher. "Max is the driver who makes the big difference.

"Mercedes has had a long dry spell and urgently needs a world champion to get back to the front. Verstappen is also a guy who comes across as very conservative, pleasant, sportive. So I could imagine that Toto Wolff and Mercedes could achieve a lot with him and would do a lot for him."

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Toto Wolff at the United States GP on October 20, 2023
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