November 15, 2019 3:32:50 PM
Lewis Hamilton will seek reassurances over Toto Wolff’s plans before committing his future to Mercedes.
Wolff, who has overseen five of Hamilton’s six world championship triumphs, has been touted as a leading candidate to run the sport beyond next season.
The 47-year-old Austrian insists his focus remains on Mercedes, but after leading the Silver Arrows to win historic sixth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles, he could be tempted by taking on a fresh challenge.
Hamilton’s £40million-a-season deal is up for renewal at the conclusion of next year, and he is set to sit down with Wolff over the winter to discuss his future.
“I am waiting to see where Toto’s head is at,” said Hamilton ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
“He has been the perfect match for this team, so I don’t want him to leave if I am going to stay in this sport.
“I know that as a figurehead of a business, you have got to have the right people in place.
“If you look at some organisations, a new person can come in and they will start doing things their own way, and it can go wrong. So, what he does is important for me.
“I know that being stuck in a position for too long is not always a positive.
“I want people to constantly spread their wings and do what is best. The sport could also be in a good place with someone like him running it.”
Team principal Wolff is absent from this weekend’s race after Hamilton secured his sixth world championship in Austin a fortnight ago. It marks the first grand prix Wolff has missed since he joined the all-conquering Silver Arrows in 2013.
Wolff has formed a strong relationship with Hamilton, allowing the Briton time to focus on extra-curricular activities away from the track as well as making him the sport’s best-paid driver.
Hamilton will start next season as the favourite to equal Michael Schumacher’s record of seven championships. Ferrari could yet provide him with the option of then surpassing Schumacher’s tally in 2021.
But the 34-year-old, perhaps sensing the Italian giants are manoeuvring the impressive Charles Leclerc to be their long-term number one, has recently played down a switch to Ferrari, instead speaking of continuing his legacy with Mercedes.
“I love what I am doing and I see no reason to stop anytime soon,” added Hamilton.
“I have only just completed this contract, and I have to start talking about the next one, which is frustrating because it is another stressful moment where you have to get into the ring and have a friendly, yet intense conversation.
“It’s daunting when you think of it coming up because you’re committing to a period of time in your life. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that far ahead.”
Hamilton will wear a special crash helmet here at Interlagos to honour Ayrton Senna, his childhood hero who perished at the San Marino Grand Prix 25 years ago.
“As a kid, I saw Ayrton on TV doing something great just as I saw Superman,” said Hamilton. “He was my favourite superhero.
“I saw Ayrton standing up for himself, and, as a young boy growing up in Stevenage who was constantly confronted with bullying, it was great to see someone standing up for themselves, seeing his beliefs and his never-say-die attitude.”