15:32 – It caused compassionate looks and raised eyebrows last week: Eddie Jordan’s comment on the future of Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver’s contract expires at the end of the season and instead of advising him to simply sign by the cross, Jordan said the Englishman would do well to switch to Red Bull.
The comment brought the former team owner to a lot of derision. Faced with the ruling, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner wondered what the Irishman had been drinking, but Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is more cautious in his response. “Never say never. I’ve been through crazier things in my life. But I don’t see any reason why Lewis would leave Mercedes. He has a very strong personal connection to the brand and the team that made him great.”
“We have the best car at the moment,” Wolff continues. “We have mutual trust in each other. And we still have successful times ahead of us. I don’t think such a switch would be understandable. But as said: there are black swans.”
Hamilton’s future is under scrutiny as the end of his contract approaches. Many think that the 35-year-old driver will link his future to Wolff’s. He has announced that he is looking for the longer term to see whether he still wants to remain team boss at Mercedes. According to his own words, there are no plans to start working with Lawrence Stroll at Aston Martin and the rumors surrounding a takeover of Mercedes by Ineos is also dismissed by Wolff as a wimp. He has always been clear about this to his two drivers. “They know how the flag hangs. We’ve talked about it for a while and I’ve always said to them: my future is with Mercedes and with Mercedes.”
With that point of discussion out of the way, it seems almost certain that Hamilton will also back, but that is unlikely to happen any time soon. Wolff expects that Hamilton will not sign until the end of the racing calendar and possibly even after the end of the season. “We want to win this championship first. The calendar simply does not allow us to sit down and discuss things. At the moment everything revolves around success for us.”
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