Ricciardo & Alonso touted as future options to replace Hamilton

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Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso have been named as possible eventual replacements for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

The seven-time world champion is out of contract at the end of next season but team boss Toto Wolff has been optimistic about an extension, even suggesting it could be for "five to 10 years".

Whether that's the case depends on exactly how long Hamilton wants to keep going and if Mercedes once again become championship contenders next year after a difficult 2022.


Behind the scenes though, there is already talk of drivers potentially positioning themselves for when the 37-year-old eventually calls time on his career.

The first name mentioned was Fernando Alonso, with Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz suggesting his move to Aston Martin for next season could be a stepping stone to Mercedes.

“Fernando hasn’t been powered by Mercedes since he left McLaren the first time round under a bit of a cloud 15 years ago," he told Sky Sports News.

“So, this [move to Aston Martin] would have needed a sign-off from Toto Wolff, which it obviously got. Is it ridiculous to think that Mercedes wanted Fernando back in their family just to see what he was like?

“Should Lewis decide he was to leave for whatever reason, and they need a world champion to put alongside George, would it not be the end of the world if Mercedes had a bit of visibility in what Fernando was like, even as a 41-year-old?

“You might have thought that was unlikely, but as this announcement proves – anything is possible in F1!”

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Perhaps a more realistic name being touted is Daniel Ricciardo.

After giving up his seat at McLaren for Oscar Piastri, the Australian could spend 2023 on the sidelines unless Pierre Gasly doesn't join Alpine or Haas or Williams unexpectedly come knocking.

But such is his desire to remain connected to F1 though, Ricciardo admits he is open to any potential driver roles.

“Even if it’s reserve, I don’t want to be too proud to say ‘I’m too good for that’," he told The Core. "I just want to hear everything and see what makes sense."

And now, in his post-Dutch GP blog, veteran F1 journalist Joe Saward has suggested the 33-year-old is in contact with Mercedes about just that.

"The latest word is that Daniel might take a year off in 2023 if he is not offered the Alpine drive," he wrote.

"Then, as an experienced F1 winner, he could return to the sport as a reserve in 2024, helping to rebuild his confidence by measuring his performance against the top names.

"I hear he has been talking to Mercedes about such a role, which would put him in with a chance of a race drive in the future if Lewis Hamilton decides that he has had enough.

"That must happen eventually and while Mercedes has George Russell in place, it is waiting for the next big thing."


Saward's claim is backed up by Ricciardo himself, who was overheard telling Sergio Perez on Sunday in Zandvoort that he'll "take a year off, then come back in 2024".

That scenario though does depend on Hamilton continuing in 2024 at least, to prepare Ricciardo for a race seat in 2025.

But even if that were to happen, the former Red Bull driver might not be at Mercedes for long as the team prepares what Saward alluded to as their "next big thing".

"This appears to be a 16-year-old youngster it manages called Andrea Kimi Antonelli, who is wowing everyone at the moment in Formula 4," he continued.

"He is at least three or four years away from F1, so there is likely to be a gap between Hamilton’s departure and Antonelli’s arrival."