Red Bull chief teases Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel pairing at Mercedes

Mercedes have been tipped to make “a lot” of changes to their personnel from next season following speculation they are considering hiring four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to race alongside Lewis Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas is out of contract at the end of the year and he is expected to be moved on if he does not win the Championship this campaign.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted he would have to look at Vettel as an option but he would prefer to put faith in his younger drivers – such as George Russell or Esteban Ocon.

There has also been recent reports circulating that Wolff could walk away from his position, although this was denied in a statement released by the Silver Arrows.

But Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has attempted to stir the pot by claiming there is some movement happening behind the scenes.

“Let’s wait and see what happens at Mercedes,” Marko teased. “There’s a lot going on there in terms of personnel, I hear.”

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F1 owners Liberty Media were expected to make major changes to regulations from next season but that has now been pushed back to 2022.

That has led to talk that Mercedes, who have won six double Championships in a row, could pull out of motorsport’s premier competition, which would open up the field.

“If they stay, that’s fine,” Marko added. “We would like to beat them.

“But if they are no longer there, it will just be another team (with the same resources).”

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Wolff admitted he will have to “think outside the box” when it comes to his driver line-up next season.

He said: “Of course from a German point of view, that would be a great thing, but we must remain true to our path. Loyalty is incredibly important and part of our values.

“We are loyal to our current drivers and don’t want to enter into negotiations at a time when the season hasn’t even started.

“Only then (once the season has started) you will think outside the box and see what else is possible.

“In the end, it’s the performance and the dynamics between the drivers that count.

“Of course, the marketing aspect also plays a role and we have to take all these factors into account.”

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