Lewis Hamilton says there are no guarantees he will remain in Formula 1 next season while he has yet to sign a new contract, after his victory in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas started from pole position but Hamilton jumped both his teammate and Max Verstappen to win his 93rd race and close in on a seventh drivers’ championship. With Mercedes also wrapping up a record seventh consecutive constructors’ title, the focus post-race was on that achievement and Toto Wolff’s future after the team principal talked about lining up a successor, and Hamilton then revealed he could walk away himself at the end of this season.
“Well, we are in November and it’s crazy that Christmas is not that far away,” Hamilton said. “Naturally, I feel great and feel very strong. I feel like I could keep going for plenty of months, but you mentioned Toto and shelf life, so there’s multiple things that do stay on the top of my mind.
“I would like to be here next year but there’s no guarantee of that, for sure. There’s a lot that excites me of the after life (following F1), so time will tell.”
Hamilton was expanding on an earlier answer about whether he had any concerns over the likelihood that Wolff will be in a different capacity next season, as the team principal suggested he has a successor in mind.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be here next year, so it’s not really a concern for me at the moment. I understand and we have a lot of deep conversations, Toto and I, so I am very, very aware of where he is mentally and we share and carry a lot of the weight together, I think.
“I’ve been here a long, long time and I can definitely understand wanting to pull back a little bit and give time to things like family and those things. I don’t know who will replace him — he’s a leader. He’s not going to put anyone in who’s not going to be able to do the job, who’s not going to be up to it. He will find the right people.
“That’s why we have the success that we have, because he’s found the right people and put them in the right places in the position to be able to shine as bright as possible. It’s just empowered every person in this team to be the best they can be, so he will find somebody that’s able to take it on. But this team is not about one person, it’s a collective of a lot of people. It’s a real team effort. I’m supportive of him whatever he wants to do moving forwards.”