Wolff says Mercedes’ priority is Hamilton – “an institution”, and Bottas

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Toto Wolff says Mercedes will not be discussing their 2021 drivers before the 2020 season starts, but will then “think outside the box”.

Last week Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari jointly announced they will be parting ways after the 2020 season, before the season even started. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is puzzled by the timing of the announcement.

“You have to work with a driver for a year who can and will use all your innovations against you in the following season,” said Wolff to Kronen Zeitung.

Vettel’s departure unsurprisingly led to speculation on what the German will do next in Formula 1. Some are hoping Vettel will join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in what would be a dream pairing of a four-time world champion and a six-time world champion in the same car, while others are pointing out the marketing potential of a German driver driving for a German team.

When asked by Kronen Zeitung if Vettel is a topic at Mercedes, Wolff remained tight-lipped.

“Our priority is Lewis Hamilton, who is an institution, and Valtteri Bottas.”

However, in an interview with RTL the Austrian did elaborate on the topic a bit more.

“Of course from a German point of view, that would be a great thing, but we must remain true to our path,” explained Wolff.

“Loyalty is incredibly important and part of our values. We are loyal to our current drivers and don’t want to enter into negotiations at a time when the season hasn’t even started.

“Only then [once the season has started] you will think outside the box and see what else is possible. In the end, it’s the performance and the dynamics between the drivers that count.

“Of course, the marketing aspect also plays a role and we have to take all these factors into account.”

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