Toto Wolff sees 25 per cent chance of Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes

World Champion Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes there is a 25 per cent chance that Lewis Hamilton will leave the squad at the end of his current contract.

Hamilton’s deal with Mercedes expires at the end of 2020, with uncertainty looming over Mercedes’ future in the sport, as well as the position of boss Wolff.

Hamilton has been with Mercedes throughout his single-seater career and joined its Formula 1 team in 2013, following six years competing for McLaren, which used the marque’s engines.

Rumours that Hamilton could switch to Ferrari for 2021 circulated in Abu Dhabi as team boss Mattia Binotto did not rule out such a scenario, while a report surfaced that suggested Hamilton had met with chairman John Elkann.

Hamilton did not refute the claims post-race and insisted his options remain open for 2021.

“I still think a driver of that level will always know that he can make an impact on a team,” said Wolff.

“What I’m considering is when he left McLaren to Mercedes, it was said that it wasn’t the right move, and it proved to be right.

“So I don’t think I want to make a mistake of underestimating Ferrari’s potential.

“I don’t see a sense of entitlement for us to win a seventh or eighth title, on the contrary, I think we need to stay humble about the success. This is what I mean, not just saying.

“I feel if you look at it from a rational standpoint, everything speaks for the fact us continuing the journey together.

“But then, there might be other factors too, a new challenge, an exciting deal, that you always need to factor in. But I give this a 25 per cent chance.”

Wolff added that “we’ve talked very openly about Ferrari, and what the brand represents.

“But for me, I think as long as we able to produce a quick car and a powerful engine, we will always have an opportunity to decide who drives the car, and I think no doubt, Lewis’s priority will be to try and make it work with the team, and I will try to make it work with Lewis.

“But the most important is that we have a good car, then we are able to decide for ourselves.”