TOTO WOLFF admitted that Mercedes have to be “ready” for Lewis Hamilton’s departure before the team’s furious reaction to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said this week that he has no “bad words” for rivals Red Bull following Max Verstappen’s controversial Formula 1 world championship victory.
Last month, the Dutchman won his first title in Abu Dhabi thanks to a controversial decision by race director Michael Masi to allow some lapped cars to overtake the safety car.
This infuriated Mercedes, who challenged the result, but had their argument dismissed by the FIA. Lewis Hamilton was livid during the race – he said over team radio that the race had been “manipulated”.
Since the historic result, which denied Hamilton a record-breaking eight world title, speculation surrounding whether the F1 legend will return to the sport for next year has swamped the news agenda.
Wolff hasn’t confirmed what his driver will do next season, but once admitted that Mercedes need to be prepared for when Hamilton finally decides to retire.
He made the comments in January 2020, when Hamilton was in negotiations for a new contract at Mercedes.
On Hamilton’s future, Wolff said: “It doesn’t worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis’s decisions. Since the historic result, which denied Hamilton a record-breaking eight world title, speculation surrounding whether the F1 legend will return to the sport for next year has swamped the news agenda.
“But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together.”
In July, it was announced that Hamilton signed a new deal with Mercedes, keeping him there until 2023.
At the time, Hamilton said: “It is hard to believe it’s been nearly nine years working with this incredible team and I’m excited we’re going to continue our partnership for two more years.
“We’ve accomplished so much together but we still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track.”