Sergio Perez to Mercedes rumours circle after Toto Wolff spotted with Red Bull driver | F1 | Sport

The Silver Arrows looked to have sorted out their medium-term driver line-up with plenty of time to spare ahead of the 2024 ‘silly season’ chaos that is set to ensue after signing both Russell and his legendary team-mate Lewis Hamilton to new two-year contracts last summer.

However, Wolff’s plans were ripped apart in February when Hamilton shocked the motorsport world by agreeing to join Ferrari at the end of the 2024 campaign, activating an exit clause in the contract that he signed last summer.

Suddenly, Mercedes now find themselves in the hunt for a second driver and with no guarantees that teenage sensation Kimi Antonelli will be ready in time to make the giant step up off the back of one season in Formula Two, it is likely that Wolff will have to dip into the existing driver pool to find Russell’s new team-mate.

This is where Perez could come into play. The experienced Mexican is set to be out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the 2024 campaign and with Daniel Ricciardo viewed favourably by key members of the hierarchy, he will need to take an impressive step forward to retain his seat alongside Max Verstappen.

If Mercedes are looking for a long-term solution to the Hamilton replacement conundrum then Perez is unlikely to come into consideration, but the Mexican would be an excellent option for Wolff if the team remain committed to funnelling Antonelli into the set-up at Brackley further down the road.

For Perez, a move to Mercedes would offer him a second shot at driving for a top team and a chance to ply his trade away from the spotlight that comes with being Verstappen’s team-mate. The 34-year-old enjoyed a positive start to the 2023 campaign but was ultimately dominated by his three-time world-champion colleague.

Checo is far from the only option available to Wolff next season. Aston Martin star Fernando Alonso has been heavily linked after the Mercedes boss was spotted at lunch with his manager Flavio Briatore, while Alex Albon and Esteban Ocon have also been touted as potential longer-term replacements for Hamilton.

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