Formula 1: Mercedes chief Toto Wolff puts Lewis Hamilton’s future in question

Mercedes Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that Lewis Hamilton "needs to look" at joining other teams if the Silver Arrows fail to provide him with a competitive car
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has spoken about Hamilton's future
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has spoken about Hamilton's future

(Motorsport) Seven time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has had a disappointing 2022 season, failing to win a single race in the entire season for the first time in his career. Since joining Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton won six out of seven drivers’ titles but after a poor 2022 season, it seems that the ongoing season will follow the same route as Mercedes continue to struggle with Hamilton finishing fifth in the Bahrain Grand Prix while George Russell was seventh. While Mercedes and Hamilton haven’t officially reached an agreement for a contract extension despite the current deal expiring at the end of the ongoing season, reports suggest that it’s just a formality.

In an interview, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said “I don’t think that Lewis will leave Mercedes. He’s at the stage of his career where we trust each other, we’ve formed a great bond among each other, we have no reason to doubt each other even though this is a difficult spell. So nice it will be when we come out of this valley of tears and come back to solid performances.

“As a driver, if he wants to win another championship, he needs to make sure that he has the car, and if we cannot demonstrate that we can give him the car in the next couple of years then he needs to look everywhere – I don’t think that he’s at that stage but I would have no grouch if that happens in a year or two.” 

Hamilton finished 50 seconds behind Verstappen at the Bahrain Grand Prix and went on to publicly say that the team hadn’t listened to his concerns and recommendations about the W14 car. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff accepted that the team’s design concept had failed and they would need to move in a different direction to salvage their season.

When asked whether he had spoken to Hamilton about his comments, Wolff replied “We speak all the time but it’s not just one word that matters in the team. Because we know each other so well, we know there are emotions at play with him, with me, with many others in our team – we wear our heart on our sleeves.” 

Hamilton said that he has no plans to leave Mercedes on Thursday by saying “I still have 100 per cent belief in this team, it is my family and I’ve been here a long time, so I don’t plan on going anywhere else. There are no performance clauses. We are in talks, just in the process of going through the motions of what that looks like, what the future looks like, what we want to do. (We are) always looking to continuously challenge ourselves rather than just doing a driver’s contract like everyone does. 

“What can we do? We did the Ignite partnership last year on how we can promote diversity within the sport, just exploring different avenues and what else we can do. I’m fully integrated within Mercedes-Benz. I’ve been with them for such a long time, since I was 13, so I’m very proud of the brand and the business, what they do, what they stand for and the impact they have throughout the world, but you can always do more, so discussions are around what else we can do together to lift people up.” 

Also read: Lewis Hamilton not intending to leave Mercedes despite poor start to 2023 season


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