Toto Wolff says he is “totally okay” with Lewis Hamilton evaluating potential options with Formula 1 rivals in 2021, amid suggestions the Briton could one day switch to Ferrari.
Hamilton has been affiliated with Mercedes throughout his entire single-seater career, and has raced for the manufacturer in Formula 1 since 2013, taking five titles during that time.
On Friday Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto commented that Hamilton’s availability for 2021 “can make us only happy”, and did not distance the team from the reigning World Champion.
Rumours in the Italian press on Saturday suggested that Hamilton has met with Ferrari Chairman John Elkann this year.
Ferrari has Charles Leclerc under contract through 2022 but Sebastian Vettel’s current deal expires at the end of 2020.
When asked about Hamilton’s rumoured meetings with Elkann, Wolff said: “I would be totally OK with that. This is a free world and I recognise that everybody needs to explore career options and make the best decision for themselves.
“And this is for drivers and everybody else included. So I have zero problems and racing drivers are always going to try to be in the quickest possible car, and the quickest team is always going to try to have the best racing driver in there.
“There is a good consensus between us of what we are trying to achieve.”
Wolff went on to add that Binotto was “asked a question about what he thought of Lewis and he said that he has the highest esteem for Lewis.
“You can also bet that if his Chairman is meeting with him, he is not going to talk badly about Lewis either. So I am totally relaxed about the situation.
“We need to push very hard to provide the drivers with the quickest possible car, and if we are able to do this, I am 100 percent convinced we will have the best possible driver line-up in the car.
“Everything points to our relationship to continue, but in life you never know and therefore, as I said before, I am very open about this. I have started to embrace the fact that everybody has objectives and needs to have the best possible opportunities for his career.”
On the comments made by Ferrari boss Binotto, Hamilton said: “I think they have got two great drivers as it is and who knows what the driver market is going to be doing next year.
“I am not really focused on that at this second, I want to finish this season strong.
“I have got this incredible group of people behind me where I am and I feel I owe it to them to give my heart and my energy 100 percent, particularly as I am still in contract and negotiations haven’t started yet.
“I don’t know how the next phase of the contract is going to go, it’s weird you have to do it almost a year before it ends and it can’t be done towards the end, but it’s just the way it goes.”