F1 News: Mercedes Chief Opens Up On Lewis Hamilton’s Future With Team – “Last Week We Sat Down…”
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team principal, has confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will be racing with Mercedes for another five years. According to the chief, it “is going to happen”.
Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes comes to an end after the 2023 F1 season, and because of this, the 7-time world champion has been rumoured to be potentially retiring with this. Being one of the oldest on the grid as well as the fact Mercedes has lacked performance this year has fuelled these rumours, but he’s admitted he has “plenty of fuel in the tank”.
In fact, Hamilton has admitted that this lack of performance this year has actually spurred him to stay on longer, despite previously not wanting to still be racing in his 40s.
Now, talking to David Coulthard for Channel 4, Wolff has given his own views on whether Lewis Hamilton will continue, let along stay with Mercedes.
“The advantage is we speak a lot together,” Wolff told the former F1 driver. “Just last week we sat down and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’
“He’s the shining star on and off track. I think we would lose the greatest personality that Formula 1 ever had.
“Over time we have just grown together,” Wolff continued. “We are totally transparent with each other. Lewis will be the first one to say ‘I can’t do this anymore’, because I feel I haven’t got the reactions anymore, or I’ve just lost fun doing it and there is another generation growing up that is just very strong.
“So I have no doubt that whatever we agree on a contract extension, which is going to happen, that we both are always going to discuss, very openly, what does the future hold.”
Obviously with Hamilton getting older, some may be questioning whether he can keep up with the younger drivers on the grid. Wolff hasn’t got such worries:
“I don’t know if 40 is that age where you say that is not adequate anymore for a racing driver.
“If you look at where Fernando is with 41 years, he’s still very much there. Now, is he the same Fernando that he was at 25? I don’t know, but he’s very competitive still.
“You look at Tom Brady, who is somebody I really admire for having the discipline in how he manages his life and his sport, he’s 43 or 44 – and he’s on the pitch.
“So Lewis, with the way he leads his life, with the full, ultra-narrow focus on his Formula 1 racing – all the others are just hobbies – I think he can take it quite far.”