Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has explained the benefits his side could gain from signing Sebastian Vettel from next season. However, the Austrian is unlikely to partner Lewis Hamilton with such a strong team-mate.
The Silver Arrows are desperate to help Hamilton surpass Michael Schumacher’s seven world titles, which he can equal this year.
But the Brit, alongside team-mate Valtteri Bottas, are out of contract at the end of the season.
Vettel has announced he will leave Ferrari and Wolff may look to partner him with Hamilton from 2021.
“Of course a German driver in a German car is a good marketing story,” he told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
“At Mercedes, however, we are purely focused on success, but Sebastian is of course someone who is really good.”
Vettel won four world titles with Red Bull but struggled to provide a strong enough challenge for Hamilton in recent years.
Therefore, Wolff is more likely to promote young star George Russell to a Mercedes seat over the 32-year-old.
“For us, the question is what to do about George Russell,” Wolff added. “That’s one option. Then there is also the Sebastian Vettel option.
“But that is not first on our agenda, because we have to concentrate on our own driver programme.”
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Wolff feels it was strange timing how Vettel announced he will be leaving Ferrari with a full F1 season still to take place.
The Austrian wants to make sure he does not make that mistake with his team when deciding how if he will hand Bottas a contract extension.
“We’re certainly not putting ourselves in that position,” Wolff said.
“It’s a bit difficult to manage when you’re driving one year with a driver who will be in a rival team next year,” he explained.
“What do you do with innovation and learning when you know that a driver can use that against you next year?
“That’s why all the teams that have announced this hastily are in a difficult situation that we don’t want to get into.”
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