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Toto Wolff

Mercedes was interested in Norris, Leclerc before new deals

The Mercedes boss is on the look out for a new driver after Lewis Hamilton's decision to quit.

Norris Leclerc Hamilton
To news overview © XPBimages

Toto Wolff was interested in securing either Lando Norris or Charles Leclerc for Mercedes before both signed new contracts.

In January, both Norris and Leclerc signed fresh long-term deals with McLaren and Ferrari, respectively with the lengths of the contracts being undisclosed.

Both drivers had been touted as potential drivers Mercedes could sign when Lewis Hamilton left the team, although this was widely expected to be his retirement and not moving to Ferrari for 2025 - where he will partner Leclerc.

Wolff has hinted that Mercedes could be tempted to do "something bold" when it comes to selecting Hamilton's replacement - with 17-year-old protege Andrea Kimi Antonelli tipped to become 'the next big thing' after a strong junior career.

Wolff was keen to protect Antonelli when asked about that prospect, especially as he has not even made his F2 debut yet, but did suggest Mercedes would have gone after Norris or Leclerc if Hamilton's exit was announced slightly earlier.

"When we decided with Lewis to go for a very short-term contract, we knew what we were doing," Wolff told media including RacingNews365.

"It was to leave him with options open and at the same time, there's an exciting situation at the end of 2024 with some drivers becoming available, and others signed [new deals] just a few weeks ago, so these ones would have been opportunities.

"With the timing, if it had been six weeks earlier, there would have been more opportunities, but it is what it is.

"But in 2025 and beyond, the driver market is very interesting, and we need to look to the future, and who is it that we can partner with George.

"What is the best combination, and I think in terms of drivers that could join, there is a variety of options, and at this stage, I wouldn't want to commit to when we are going to do it as I want to take my time."

Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari RN365 News dossier

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