Mercedes tipped to have new Lewis Hamilton ‘insurance policy’ after Ferrari talk

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of 2023 season

Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz has suggested that Charles Leclerc could be Mercedes ‘insurance policy’ for Lewis Hamilton should the seven-time champion decide to leave or retire before the team are ready. The 38-year-old has been linked with a move to Ferrari this week with the Scuderia reportedly keen to pair him with Leclerc however the Silver Arrows may try to take him the other way if they lose Hamilton.

Hamilton’s future has been the major talking point in Formula 1 this week after the Daily Mail reported that Ferrari were set to offer him £40million a year to join the team next season. Scuderia chairman John Elkann is believed to be keen to bring him to Italy alongside Leclerc as he looks to create one of the strongest driver pairings in the history of the sport.

While Mercedes will be confident of keeping Hamilton at Brackley given his history with the team, Toto Wolff may take it as an opportunity to redouble his efforts to find a long-term replacement.

AlphaTauri man Nyck de Vries has been previously described as the Austrian’s ‘insurance policy’ should Hamilton ever decide to quit the sport early after spending two years as the Sliver Arrows test and reserve driver. However, he has started his F1 career poorly and is unlikely to be under further consideration with his future in the sport already in doubt.

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Now, Kravitz has suggested Mercedes may now be considering Leclerc as their Hamilton insurance policy instead. The Ferrari driver has been tentatively linked with a move to the Silver Arrows over the course of the off-season and the veteran pitlane reporter has implied there could be something to the rumours.

“Mercedes need an insurance policy if Lewis decides to either stop or leave. Kravitz said on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast. “At this moment that policy looks like Charles Leclerc while they wait for their juniors.”

For his part, Leclerc has admitted he has not held any talks with Mercedes over a potential move but did not rule anything out in the future.

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“No, not yet, not for the moment,” he said during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend when asked about the Mercedes rumours. “For now, I am fully focused on the project I am in today, which is Ferrari. I fully trust and I am confident for the future, then we will see, but I am fully confident for the project of Ferrari.

“I’m fully committed to Ferrari and I love Ferrari. It has always been a dream for me to be in this team, and my main priority is to win a world championship with this team, so it’s not something in my mind.”

It remains to be seen what moves will happen in the Formula 1 paddock over the coming months but it appears increasingly clear that Hamilton’s decisions could hold the keys to what could be a chaotic silly season.

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