MERCEDES boss Toto Wolff says he will have “no grouch” if Lewis Hamilton quits Mercedes – IF they can’t deliver him a car capable of winning world titles.
Hamilton and Wolff are in negotiations over a new deal, with the Brit racer’s contract set to expire in December.
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While no terms have yet been agreed, both are adamant they are committed to extending their partnership.
However, for the first time, Wolff has admitted that the seven-time world champion could be forced to look elsewhere if he wants a record eighth title.
He said: “I don’t think that Lewis will leave Mercedes.
“He’s at the stage of a career where we trust each other, we have formed a great bond among each other and we have no reason to doubt each other, even though this is a difficult spell.
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“But so nice it will be when we come out of this valley of tears, and come back to solid performances.
“As a driver, nevertheless, if he wants to win another championship, he needs to make sure that he has the car.
“And if we cannot demonstrate that we’re able to give him a car in the next couple of years, then he needs to look everywhere.
“I don’t think he’s doing it at that stage, but I will have no grouch if that happens in a year or two.”
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Amid Mercedes’ struggles, Hamilton has been linked with a move to a rival constructor, including Ferrari and Red Bull.
Indeed, the 38-year-old has in the past admitted driving for Ferrari was something he wished to achieve.
He told Sky Sports Italia: “For many years, when I came to Monza, walking next to the fans… I could hear them saying ‘Come to Ferrari!’
“This warmed my heart, but it’s pretty amazing that I’ve never driven for Ferrari in so many years. Because it is a dream for anyone, a goal to be achieved.”
He later added: “It has never really been possible [to drive for Ferrari] and I will never quite know exactly why.
“I wish them the best and in my near future I will continue to prevent them from winning the world championship.
“I’ve seen photos of their drivers and red is always red. I have a couple of Ferraris at home. I can drive those, but not the Ferrari F1.”
Rumours persist that Hamilton could be part of a sensational swap with Ferrari poster boy Charles Leclerc.
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The 25-year-old Monegasque driver requested an emergency meeting with Ferrari president John Elkann following the Scuderia’s poor Bahrain race.
Friday practice ahead of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix saw Hamilton’s and Leclerc’s best finishes down at P6 and P9 respectively.
Source: Motorsport - thesun.co.uk