Would he really quit F1’s most successful team?
Listening to Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, you might be forgiven for thinking the juggernaut that has dominated Formula 1 for the last seven years could be reaching the end of its journey.
Hamilton’s victory at Imola, leading team-mate Valtteri Bottas across the line, sealed a record seventh consecutive constructors’ championship for Mercedes, surpassing the achievement set by Ferrari between 1999 and 2005.
And yet there was Wolff talking about the stresses of the role, of not wanting to stay beyond his shelf life, and potentially moving into a different position within Mercedes next year.
And Hamilton was saying his boss’ future was “not a concern for me” because “I don’t even know if I’m going to be here next year”.
“I feel great and still very strong and feel like I could keep going for plenty of months,” Hamilton said. “But you mentioned about Toto and shelf life – these are things that stay on the top of my mind. I would like to be here next year but there is no guarantee. A lot excites me in the after life. Time will tell.”
In reality, it is highly unlikely anything will look very different in 2021.
Wolff could well have a new job title – he’s talking about being called “executive director” or some such – and he might attend fewer races, with someone else taking on the day-to-day role of running the team. And Hamilton might not yet have a contract for 2021 and beyond.
But the chances of them not being together again for the next two or three years at least are as small as those of Hamilton not tying up his own seventh title this year.
Wolff said: “I guess if Lewis were to decide to step out of F1 – which I don’t think is going to happen – we are going to have a pretty frantic driver market. But it’s the moment; it’s the emotions.
“We are all happy, but very tired also. Same for me. I completely relate to this feeling that you question yourself and think about the other things that matter.
See tweets below:
On the news, it is all about the struggles we all face. We are here in our happy place where we try to bring in some entertainment to households, but then you are back in the more difficult reality next day and it affects us all in that respect. It is normal for someone empathetic to have these feelings.