Jun.18 - George Russell might find himself shunted out of Mercedes' Formula 1 driver lineup.

On paper, Russell's ongoing 2025 contract was signed and sealed almost a full year ago. And with Lewis Hamilton leaving, the only real question was who team boss Toto Wolff would decide to replace him with.

The successful candidate appears to be Kimi Antonelli, especially with the FIA suddenly ruling that promising 17-year-olds - like the rookie Italian - are now eligible for a super license.

But according to former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher, the spanner in the works is that Wolff has very clearly left an unlocked and 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 say which team he has to be with, but because Williams is already taken, 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 that 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 on the market, I can imagine that George Russell's job could be in danger."

For his part, Verstappen says he is remaining loyal to Red Bull, but also clear is that the 26-year-old Dutchman's only real 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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4 F1 Fan comments on “Russell’s Future in Peril as Verstappen Eyes Mercedes Move?

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    IF Max were to leave for Mercedes, this would more likely happen after 2026 or after next season at the earliest than after this season in any case.

  2. CanadianEh

    There is a spectrum of "talent" in the F1 drivers' line-up. But let's face it, it is pretty narrow.

    Sure, Max is superlative he has a gift, for sure. But so does Norris, so does Alonso. And though I hate to admit it, so does The Dame.

    By reducing the variables and having all the drivers taking hot-laps in the same car on the same day may be revealing. At this level of required skill, the car often "makes the driver". For example, put Max in a Sauber, and I reckon he'd suck just as badly a Zhou or Bottas.


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