Lewis Hamilton: Every driver calls Toto Wolff over Mercedes seat
World Champion Lewis Hamilton says “every driver” is interested in joining the Mercedes Formula 1 team, and moved to play down recent speculation over his own future.
The majority of Formula 1 drivers are out of contract at the end of 2020, with only Esteban Ocon (Renault), Sergio Perez (Racing Point) and Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) holding longer deals.
Speaking at the FIA’s end-of-season Press Conference in Paris on Friday, ahead of the Prize Giving Ceremony, Hamilton quipped that a driver “that was up here [on stage] recently” had also been in touch with Wolff.
Prior to Hamilton speaking Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had been in the press conference room, while Fernando Alonso was also present on account of his role in Toyota’s 2018/19 World Endurance Championship success.
“It’s an interesting time because there are lot of drivers who are seeking positions everywhere,” said Hamilton.
“The amount of calls that Toto gets from every driver – including the one that was up here just recently – asking to come, everyone’s trying to leave their team to come to where we are.
“It is an understandable thing because everybody wants to win and everybody wants to be a part of a winning formula.
“I don’t think it’s a stressful thing at the moment, there’s always been a clear pathway of communication between myself and Toto, there’s never been any secrets so that won’t change.”
Reports linking Hamilton to a 2021 Ferrari move surfaced at the end-of-season Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last weekend, with Hamilton not ruling out such a scenario.
When the notion was put to team boss Wolff he estimated there was a “25 per cent” chance of Hamilton leaving Mercedes.
On Friday Hamilton stressed that “I love where I am, I love the people that I work with, so it’s really difficult to walk away from something that you love as much as I do. The team, the organisation, all the way through to the bosses.
“I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13 so it’s really hard to imagine myself being anywhere else.
“What we’ve built over the period that I’ve been there, in the last seven years – but obviously Mercedes have been working longer than that – at the moment is dominant.
“It’s a strong force and I think it’s taken us time to build the strength in depth from within and have the consistency we have.
“It’s not something that has just come overnight, and other teams don’t currently have the togetherness that we have in place. It takes time to build those things.”