Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the team will “evaluate in the middle of the year” whether its current driver line-up will change in 2022.
After it was announced that Lewis Hamilton’s new Mercedes contract is only for one year, the media already started talking about the team’s line-up beyond 2021. In an interview with Speedweek, Wolff talked about Mercedes’ options.
“Esteban [Ocon, a Mercedes junior driver] is in the second year of a two-year contract with Renault and Alpine F1, and George [Russell, another Mercedes junior] is with Williams this year,” the Austrian said.
“So we have some options for 2022, but until then our full support goes to Valtteri [Bottas] and Lewis. We will evaluate in the middle of the year whether there will be a change in 2022.”
Wolff once again explained why the negotiations with Lewis Hamilton for 2021 took so long.
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“We only started negotiating just before Christmas. A multi-year contract is more complex than one for one season, so we said we’ll sign this for a year and see about it later.
“Everything is currently open on both sides after 2021.”
Wolff, who owns a little over 33% of Mercedes’ Formula 1 team, says he will stay with the team “forever”, however his role might change.
“I am a partner in the team and it will stay that way forever. I really enjoy my own role in it, but it is not forever. At some point, younger and hungrier managers will have their say.
“I’m watching this situation and want to put the team in an optimal position.”