Toto Wolff insists he would be OK with Lewis Hamilton meeting with Ferrari chairman John Elkann and is open to the six-time world champion leaving Mercedes.
Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of next season, as does Sebastian Vettel’s deal at Ferrari. While negotiations are yet to start over a new Mercedes deal, reports in Italy claim Hamilton has met with Elkann twice this year, and Mercedes team principal Wolff (pictured above with his drivers and Vettel) says he is understanding if the driver is looking into other options beyond his current contract.
“I would be totally OK with that,” Wolff said. “This is a free world and I recognize that everybody needs to explore career options and make the best decision for themselves. And this is for drivers and everybody else included. So I have zero problems — racing drivers are always going to try to be in the quickest possible car, and the quickest team is always going to try to have the best racing driver in there. There is a good consensus between us of what we are trying to achieve.”
After qualifying on pole position, Hamilton thanked Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto for comments about how his availability can only be good for the Scuderia, and Wolff says he would even like to see such a headline move.
“I actually sat next to Mattia when he said that in a press conference, and he was asked a question about what he thought of Lewis and he said that he has the highest esteem for Lewis. You can also bet that if his chairman is meeting with him, he is not going to talk badly about Lewis either. So I am totally relaxed about the situation.
“We need to push very hard to provide the drivers with the quickest possible car, and if we are able to do this, I am 100 percent convinced we will have the best possible driver line-up in the car. Everything points to our relationship to continue, but in life you never know and therefore, as I said before, I am very open about this.
“I have started to embrace the fact that everybody has objectives and needs to have the best possible opportunities for his career. In that respect, I am absolutely open for everybody to explore options. But obviously my personal priority of the team is to continue this successful journey and we have been really benefiting from an excellent relationship, and if that ends one day I would be the first one to cheer.”