Lewis Hamilton claims numerous drivers have been contacting Toto Wolff regarding a future seat at Mercedes — and suggests either Max Verstappen or Fernando Alonso is among them.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend featured a rise in speculation regarding Hamilton’s future as he was linked with a move to Ferrari and did little to quash the rumors. During the FIA Prize Giving events in Paris on Friday, Hamilton declined to put a deadline on when he’d make a decision on his future but admitted uncertainty over Wolff’s own position with Mercedes — the team director (pictured above with Hamilton and FIA President Jean Todt during the Prize Giving) has been suggested as a potential replacement for F1 CEO Chase Carey — is playing a part in his thinking.
“I’ve not really put a lot of energy towards it,” Hamilton said. “I love where I am, I love the people that I work with, so it’s really difficult to walk away from something that you love as much as I do. The team, the organization, all the way through to the bosses. I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13 so it’s really hard to imagine myself being anywhere else.
“What we’ve built over the period that I’ve been there, in the last seven years — but obviously Mercedes have been working longer than that — at the moment is dominant. It’s a strong force and I think it’s taken us time to build the strength in depth from within and have the consistency we have. It’s not something that has just come overnight, and other teams don’t currently have the togetherness that we have in place. It takes time to build those things.
“Of course, would it be the same without Toto? I don’t think so. But he’s got to do what’s right for him and just like I’ll know what’s right for me when I have to make that decision, he has to make the right decision for him and what’s best for him and his family and his future. Change is also sometimes a good thing.”
Hamilton hinted that a big-name driver present in Paris has been in touch with Wolff regarding a potential seat at Mercedes in 2021, having followed both Verstappen and Alonso on stage during the press conference.
“It’s an interesting time because there are lot of drivers who are seeking positions everywhere. The amount of calls that Toto gets from every driver — including the one that was up here just recently — asking to come, everyone’s trying to leave their team to come to where we are… which is an understandable thing because everybody wants to win and everybody wants to be a part of a winning formula.
“I don’t think it’s a stressful thing at the moment; there’s always been a clear pathway of communication between myself and Toto, there’s never been any secrets so that won’t change.”