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Mercedes plans for Hamilton F1 replacement in jeopardy amid 'insurance policy' doubts

Mercedes plans for Hamilton F1 replacement in jeopardy amid 'insurance policy' doubts

F1 News

Mercedes plans for Hamilton F1 replacement in jeopardy amid 'insurance policy' doubts

Mercedes plans for Hamilton F1 replacement in jeopardy amid 'insurance policy' doubts

Mercedes' apparent plans for an 'insurance policy' in case Lewis Hamilton decides to retire appear to have been scuppered with the exit from the Formula 1 fold of Nyck de Vries.

Hamilton recently signed a new contract tying him down to the Mercedes team until at least the end of 2025 but, with the seven-time world champion now 39, doubts about his long term future in the sport may well be creeping in.

De Vries participated in his debut season in the sport in 2023, but was released from his contract after just 10 races at AlphaTauri due to a host of below-par performances.

The Dutchman has since gone on to join the World Endurance championship for 2024, racing with the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, and will also race in Formula E.

Nyck de Vries was regularly seen on the Mercedes pitwall during his time with the team
Nyck de Vries was dropped by the AlphaTauri team in 2023
Lewis Hamilton recently signed a new contract, keeping him with the team until at least the end of 2025

Mercedes' Hamilton dilemma

Toto Wolff has always been a big fan of De Vries, and the 28-year-old was often seen alongside the Mercedes team principal on the pit wall, a role which is now occupied by Mick Schumacher.

Fellow Dutch racing driver Tom Coronel said during the 2022 season that his fellow countryman would be the favourite to take Hamilton's seat, should the Brit have decided to retire rather than sign a new contract.

"If Lewis Hamilton stops, Nyck de Vries will get the seat," he told RacingNews365.

"Do you know why? As I've been saying for a year, Nyck is Toto Wolff's insurance policy.

"Of course, he has already experienced it once with Rosberg. I don't want to say he 'uses' Nyck, but that's why he keeps him close to him. This is a boy who is doing everything he should have done. He has won all the championships he should have won.”

However, De Vries' exclusion from the sport will perhaps mean that the Brackley-based outfit will need to look elsewhere for Hamilton's replacement.

Coronel later added: "If you look at his track record and if you see what he's still doing now, Nyck never lacked anything compared to the other drivers. That's exactly what you get."

READ MORE: Hamilton and Wolff exchange over 'bad' Mercedes gains attention

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