Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff downplayed the possibility Lewis Hamilton could leave F1 at the end of the season, following comments made by his driver.

After winning today’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Hamilton indicated he may decide not to continue racing in the 2021 F1 season. “I would like to be here next year but there’s no guarantee of that,” he said. “There’s a lot that excites me of the ‘after-life’.”

However Wolff believes Hamilton will continue for a 15th season in F1 next year. “I guess if he were to decide to step out of Formula 1 – which I don’t think is going to happen and I hope is not going to happen – then I think we are going to have a pretty frantic driver market out there,” he said.

Wolff, who is also considering his options for next year, believes Hamilton made the comments because he is increasingly concerned with what is happening in the world outside F1. “I think it’s the moment, it’s the emotions. We are all happy, but very tired also,” said Wolff.

“And the same for me: I completely relate to his feeling that you question yourself that you think about all the other things that matter and when you switch on the news in the morning and switch them off in the evening, it’s all about the struggles that we all face.

“We are here now in our little happy place where we try to bring some some entertainment into households. But then you’re back in the more difficult reality next day and all of that is something that affects us. And in that respect, it’s normal for somebody who’s empathetic to have these feelings.”

Hamilton has expressed interest in knowing what Wolff’s plans for the future are, he said.

“I think we go together in a way that we have a symbiosis and obviously it’s important where our heart is and mindset is for next year. But I’ve said that this is my team. I am a very proud co-owner with Mercedes, and I’m not going to go anywhere.

“My role may change in the future and it’s something that he has asked and I think nothing is ever secure. Like Niki Lauda in the seventies you could wake up one morning on a Friday or Saturday morning on a track and say ‘I’m just not having fun anymore’. And I think that can happen to anybody.

“But we want to continue this journey. We are not finished. Lewis and I and all the team, which we are not finished.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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