Lewis Hamilton would be justified in leaving Mercedes if their current poor form lasts years, says team principal Toto Wolff.
The seven-times world champion is enduring the longest victory drought of his record-breaking Formula 1 career. He failed to win a race last season and Mercedes started 2023 on the back foot for a second year in a row, finishing the first race behind rivals Red Bull, Ferrari and even Aston Martin.
With rumours already beginning to circulate that Hamilton could choose not to re-sign with the team with his contract expiring at the end of the current season, Wolff is confident that the seven-times champion will choose to remain with them alongside team mate George Russell for next year.
“I have no idea what is being said in the silly season, I just know where we are with Lewis and with George – nothing else is relevant,” said Wolff. “We are talking when we want to do it and how but we just need to change some terms – the dates, basically.”
Wolff believes that Hamilton will not choose to leave Mercedes and pursue his unprecedented eighth world championship with another team. However, he admitted he would not blame Hamilton for considering other options if Mercedes do not return to championship contention in the years ahead.
“I don’t think that Lewis will leave Mercedes,” Wolff insisted. “He’s at the stage of a career where we trust each other. We have formed a great bond among each other and we have no reason to doubt each other, even though this is a difficult spell.”
The Mercedes team principal said he is looking forward to them emerging from their current slump. “So nice it will be, when we come out of this valley of tears and come back to solid performances.
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“As a driver, nevertheless, if he wants to win another championship, he needs to make sure that he has the car. And if we cannot demonstrate that we are able to give him a car in the next couple of years, then he needs to look everywhere.
“I don’t think he’s doing it at that stage, but I will have no grudge if that happens in a year or two.”
Yesterday Hamilton said the team’s lack of success had not affected his motivation. “You just redirect your energy,” he explained. “It’s just different.
“If you’re fighting for a world championship, which is what you prepare for at the beginning of the season, you realise that’s not the case and then you redirect the energy into building and…
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