Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes could create an opportunity

23-01-2020 09:22
by Adam Newton
F1 News
Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes could create an opportunity

Rumours surrounding a potential Lewis Hamilton exit from Mercedes have been doing the rounds recently, and now Toto Wolff says that an opportunity would be created for the team if it did happen. The Brit has been a Silver Arrows driver since 2013, winning five titles with the team.

But he's been linked with moves away in recent weeks and months, with a possible Ferrari move never really going away. Wolff says that Hamilton leaving would provide the team with a similar opportunity to the one that arose when Nico Rosberg suddenly retired following his title win in 2016.

Wolff told media including "When Nico decided to quit, my initial reaction was actually the opportunity provided to us, and I think that the choice with Valtteri proved to be the right choice.

“So, I still very much hope that our [Wolff, Hamilton and Mercedes] relationship continues, but I am not totally in control of that, so, if one important member breaks out, that provides certainly, risk and opportunity at the same time.

“There is no doubt that Lewis is a very strong pillar within the team. I think that the values within the team are that morality and integrity is absolutely number one on the list. And, understanding Lewis’ position and objectives will be key for any decision that we take."

Who are the candidates to possibly replace Hamilton?

The two obvious answers would be George Russell and Esteban Ocon. Russell is seemingly being trained up at Williams for a Mercedes drive in the future, and Ocon still has ties at the German team despite his move to Renault.

The team do have links with McLaren's Lando Norris, who impressed in his debut F1 season as well, so the options are there if Hamilton does decide to move on.

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