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Fernando Alonso

Ex-F1 driver expects Alonso would jump at Mercedes opportunity

Ex-Formula 1 driver Christian Danners thinks Mercedes only need to "call" Fernando Alonso to get the Spaniard to replace Lewis Hamilton.

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Lewis Hamilton announcing his 2025 switch to Ferrari has triggered an extremely early start to what is going to be an enthralling 'silly season', as 13 drivers are currently without a contract for next year.

Following Hamilton's announcement at the start of the month, speculation has already started as to who might get the seven-time World Champion's seat, with several names being in the hat.

One of those was initially Alex Albon, although Williams Team Principal James Vowles recently put an enormous hurdle in the way of this by confirming that the Thai-born driver is contracted until the end of 2025.

Another option is Mercedes Junior driver Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is currently viewed as the next big thing. In fact, he was recently dubbed as the "best driver" to have driven an F3 car since Max Verstappen, following a recent test. The Italian will compete in F2 in 2024, with an immediate promotion to Hamilton's seat in 2025 not being off the cards.

Current Reserve driver Mick Schumacher is theoretically another option. The German driver is remaining with the Silver Arrows for a second season behind-the-scenes, after not being offered a new contract by Haas at the conclusion of 2022.

To remain sharp, Schumacher is racing for Alpine in the World Endurance Championship this year, although he'd love a return to F1. However, Danners doesn't think Schumacher will be chosen as Hamilton's replacement.

Danners believes Fernando Alonso is a genuine contender for Hamilton's seat, to the extent that the 65-year-old reckons only a phone call from Team Principal Toto Wolff needs to be made to make the huge move happen.

Alonso is one of the 13 drivers without a contract for 2025, although remaining with Aston Martin next year is what he has his eyes on.

'No chance' for Schumacher

Nevertheless, Alonso replacing Hamilton actually makes a lot of sense, especially as it'd give Antonelli time to mature and perhaps complete a season in F1 for a lower team, to reduce the pressure from his shoulders.

"There's no chance for Mick at Mercedes," Danner told Kolner Express newspaper. "That's a different league.

"(Fernando) Alonso, though - they'd only have to call him and he'd be there. Mick would only come into play if Toto (Wolff) suddenly wanted a number 2 driver.

"But Mercedes has always had top drivers, except for Valtteri Bottas, who was more of a '1B' driver. What is clear is that Toto Wolff will be strengthening (George) Russell - but he has to prove himself as a leader."

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