Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admits he’s “struggling” to develop a Plan B for 2023, should Lewis Hamilton decide not to renew his contract. Although Wolff is optimistic about Hamilton‘s extension, which expires after the present season, he has conceded that Mercedes risks being caught up without a good option. Wolff insists he is not considering any fallback plans at this point because he is happy with the team’s current drivers, and Hamilton remains his top priority, with the team hoping the seven-time world champion renews shortly.
As of now, Hamilton has made it clear that he is still committed to Mercedes and that leaving is not on his mind, but he does not have any solid plans in place for 2024. Wolff is confident that Hamilton will keep the team updated, saying that Hamilton is a conscientious person who will not leave the team high and dry. However, Wolff also stated that “if you believe that you’re a team that is attractive for others, you will find solutions,” which suggests that options may be available outside of Mercedes, should Hamilton decide not to renew.
Hamilton‘s future with the Mercedes Formula 1 team remains on hold as he enters the 2021 campaign without a contract beyond this season. Wolff had earlier revealed that nothing is going to ‘change quickly’ in discussions regarding Hamilton‘s contract, stating that both parties would ‘have to take a specific time’ to discuss things properly. The two haven’t met to negotiate, with Wolff saying that Hamilton is preoccupied with the new car and improving the setup.
Speaking at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Hamilton expressed gratitude towards Mercedes and affirmed his commitment to the team, adding that he is trying to work with the team to get them to a good place. Hamilton stated that he ‘doesn’t envisage being anywhere else’ and that he ‘doesn’t see himself quitting.’ However, he did admit that he is trying to be patient and work through Mercedes‘ issues, pushing them forward.
Mercedes has been one of the most successful teams in the 71-year history of F1 and will be aiming for their eighth constructors’ championship in a row in 2021. Hamilton has been the catalyst behind most of that success, with seven-time world champion victories under his belt. Any potential failure or delay to secure a new deal might be one of the sport’s most notable plotlines during the year, and it will be intriguing to see how both Wolff and Hamilton‘s discussions pan out.