Toto Wolff, the first man of Mercedes, said that they had an elaborate plan for the moment when Lewis Hamilton leaves their ranks.
The Austrian said that the reason why they signed a contract with Hamilton, the seven-time world champion in Formula 1 for only two years, is that they want to have an open place for 17-year-old Andrea Kimi Antonelli.

He should be given the vacant seat when Hamilton leaves for Ferrari next year, and Wolff said he did not want to repeat the mistake of the past.

“We were in a situation where we could have given Max Verstappen a chance, but that didn’t happen because we had Hamilton and Rosberg and we simply didn’t have room in the cockpit, and the opportunity was then seized by Red Bull. They gave him a contract with Toro Rosso, with the option to drive for Red Bull next season. We lost him, and now you see how successful he is,” said Wolff.

The first man of Mercedes says the following about Antonelli.

“We have a junior who drives at a very high level, and we want to have an open option for him to sit in the car. Of course, this does not mean that he will be one of the drivers next season, he is only 17 years old and maybe it is too early. But if we look at the next five or ten years, I want us to have that option”.

The new Formula 1 season begins on Thursday with practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The race is scheduled for Saturday.