Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will continue racing together for a while to come as he looks to add to his seven drivers’ championships.
Hamilton secured his seventh title with a sublime drive in the Turkish Grand Prix, winning from sixth on the grid in difficult conditions as he turned his intermediate tires into slicks by the end of the race. Now level on titles with Michael Schumacher, Hamilton is not yet contracted to race in 2021 but Wolff thinks the Briton will be chasing multiple more championships with Mercedes.
“He loves racing and the competition, as does the team and myself,” Wolff said. “I think if we wouldn’t have the competition against the stopwatch life would be not as fun, so I see us going for more next year, maybe, putting another great year on and then we have this tremendous challenging regulation change for 2022, so we will go for a while.
“It’s just got really more expensive. His driving was impeccable. There was not one foot he put wrong while everybody else did with a car that was interacting with the tires, for sure not the best car. I see us going for a while.”
Nevertheless, Wolff says he can’t predict just how long Hamilton will want to race for, pointing out that Niki Lauda left Ferrari prior to the end of the 1977 season having already won the world title, and later took a spell out of the sport.
“I don’t know, maybe we wake up like Niki did and we talked about it in 1977, where he woke up in Montreal — he told me the story several times — and just felt bored. Bernie (Ecclestone) just asked him to keep his race overalls because he had a pay driver. He paid a million dollars to race in Montreal. I don’t know, that could happen to anybody.”
In terms of the timing of prospective a new deal, Wolff said, “I think more than likely we are looking towards the end of the year. I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi that we will announce a new contract, because there isn’t any pressure. When it’s done, it’s done.”