With Mercedes’ obvious pace problems in the early stages of the 2022 season, some have suggested that Lewis Hamilton might be thinking about an early retirement, even before his contract expires at the end of 2023.
When Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was asked about this, he completely denied the possibility and suggested Lewis might even go beyond his current deal.
“No,” Toto said when asked by PA news agency if Lewis could retire early.
“You can only walk away if you don’t like what you do any more, but Lewis loves doing this.
“Fernando Alonso wants to go on for another three years. Today, athletes look after themselves much better.
“More is known about the science, nutrition, health and medical side of it, and Lewis is in fantastic shape. His lifestyle is hugely disciplined now and he has many, many years to go.
“In Britain, a couple means two, but where I come from in Austria, a couple means a few, and there are a few [more years to go].
“And isn’t it a great challenge for him? He was at McLaren. He then went to Mercedes when it wasn’t great, and has won six titles here.
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“The team has got it wrong now, but he can be a part of the rise again.”
As for the problems Mercedes is facing, Toto admits he is losing sleep over it.
“I don’t sleep, and that is not because of jet lag. I am not sleeping because I am beating myself up on how to get on top of these things. It is a miserable state of mind.
“I have to look for solutions, and I am trying to improve myself in order to extract more performance.”
And when asked if Mercedes can still fight for the 2022 championship, Toto said:
“Are we going to fight for the World Championships? My expectation from a pure mathematical stance is no, we are too slow. This needs to be a blip and not a long-term downward spiral.
“It will be a blip, and that is why we need to get it right now, not on the stopwatch, but mentally,” he concluded.