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Villeneuve: Wolff’s ‘Ego’ Dictating Mercedes’ 2025 Driver Line-Up, Antonelli Favored Over Sainz

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Jacques Villeneuve claims Toto Wolff's "ego" is influencing Mercedes' choice for their 2025 driver roster.

Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 Formula 1 world champion, thinks that Mercedes' decision to sign Andrea Kimi Antonelli as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton is driven by Toto Wolff's "ego."

The spot next to George Russell in the Mercedes team remains unfilled.

Mercedes junior driver Antonelli is still the leading contender for the seat, especially after Wolff seemingly dismissed Carlos Sainz as a candidate.

Wolff is still keen on bringing Max Verstappen from Red Bull to his team, though it's anticipated that the Dutch driver will remain with Red Bull at least through 2025.

Antonelli joined the Mercedes academy in 2019 at the age of 12, and has since made remarkable progress through the levels of motorsport.

The Italian driver is often seen as the 'next Verstappen' and appears poised to enter Formula 1 next year following only two years in single-seater racing.

Wolff notably failed to secure Verstappen's contract after Red Bull promised him a full-time position with Toro Rosso for the 2015 season, a commitment Mercedes couldn't match due to their absence of a junior team.

Villeneuve believes that Wolff's decision to choose Antonelli is driven by ego, stating that the head of Mercedes "won't accept any other outcome."

The Canadian stated that Mercedes isn't particularly accessible. He mentioned that it is Kimi Antonelli's team and referred to it as the future.

"He’s been prepared for this. Toto insists on it. There’s a sense of pride involved."

“He will demonstrate to everyone that he was correct, that at the age of 12, Antonelli already recognized his destiny as a future champion.”

Wolff told Sky Germany at the Canadian Grand Prix that their focus is on Antonelli and getting him ready for Formula 1.

He also disclosed that he had told Sainz he is not being considered by Mercedes as they plan for the future.

Wolff stated that their main focus is on Kimi, as he represents the future and the young talent they are investing in.

"We have assured Carlos that we are dedicated to supporting young drivers."

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