Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has given a small insight into the plans of star driver Lewis Hamilton, hinting how long he may stay in F1.
The seven-time world champion has been the subject of rumours over a possible retirement from the sport since last year’s season finale.
In fact, Lewis Hamilton admitted himself that the controversial ending to the 2021 season nearly made him walk away from F1. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the Brit said that he “considered whether I wanted to continue”.
Thankfully, Hamilton returned to the sport for the 2022 season, delighting his legions of fans worldwide. But this season has not gone swimmingly. Mercedes have struggled with performance in 2022, suffering more from porpoising than any other team. As a result, further rumours of retirement have circulated.
An upturn in results has quietened this speculation, though.
Hamilton’s 2022 season so far
Even in testing, the Silver Arrows did not look as fast as the Red Bull and Ferrari challengers. However, a surprising third-place finish for Hamilton at the season opener in Bahrain mildly reduced the panic in the Mercedes camp.
Unfortunately, this all came crashing down to earth in the following races. Hamilton qualified 15th in Saudi Arabia, just managing to finish 10th. Two races later, at Imola, the seven-time champ finished out of the points entirely, in 13th.
After some middling points finishes, some upgrades finally brought another podium for Hamilton in Canada. He has since finished in the top three five times in a row up to the summer break.
As Mercedes’ car and fortunes improve, fans hope that Lewis Hamilton will return to the top step of the podium at some point this season. Boss Toto Wolff is also slowly feeding into the optimism too, sharing his thoughts on Hamilton’s Formula 1 future.
Toto Wolff on Lewis Hamilton and F1 plans
In an interview with Motorsport.com Italy, Toto Wolff commented on the importance of a potential eighth world title to Hamilton.
“Of course, he would be the only driver to hold this record. But I think he can be equally proud of having seven titles like Michael [Schumacher],” said Wolff, quotes from The Express. “I think this milestone is also very historic and important.
“But the goal is to get back to having the right performance soon. And, if we return to providing Lewis with a good car, why just think of eight world titles? Why not ten?”
In order to win ten world titles, Lewis Hamilton would have to stay in F1 for at least another three seasons. By that time, he would be 40 years old. Last year, the Mercedes ace said that he does not plan to be in F1 until that age. Opinions do change over time, though.
Hamilton’s current Mercedes deal, which he signed in 2021, expires in 2023. So, if he wished to carry on past this point, the Silver Arrows would need to negotiate another contract with their legendary driver.
If they can provide a fast challenger once more, the Brit may be enticed into extending his illustrious F1 career.
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