Mercedes boss Toto Wolff makes Fernando Alonso point as Lewis Hamilton fears played down

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has insisted that Lewis Hamilton may decide to emulate Fernando Alonso by continuing to race in Formula One for many years to come. Hamilton remains contracted to Mercedes until the end of 2023 after signing a two-year extension last summer, but it has been suggested that he could opt to walk away from the sport upon the expiry of his current deal with the Silver Arrows.

The German team’s lacklustre start to the new campaign has also sparked plenty of additional speculation over Hamilton’s long-term future in F1, with the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull having been much quicker than Mercedes since the beginning of the season. However, Wolff is adamant that Hamilton’s under-performing machinery will not force him into an early retirement in the near future.

“You can only walk away if you don’t like what you do any more, but Lewis loves doing this,” said Wolff in an interview with the PA news agency. “Fernando Alonso wants to go on for another three years. Today, athletes look after themselves much better.

“More is known about the science, nutrition, health and medical side of it, and Lewis is in fantastic shape. His lifestyle is hugely disciplined now and he has many, many years to go.

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“In Britain, a couple means two, but where I come from in Austria, a couple means a few, and there are a few [more years to go]. And isn’t it a great challenge for him?

“He was at McLaren, he then went to Mercedes when it wasn’t great, and has won six titles here. The team has got it wrong now, but he can be a part of the rise again.”

It remains to be seen whether Mercedes will be able put things right over the coming weeks and months as they look to iron out the issues that have plagued their recent on-track efforts. Wolff went on to insist that although the Silver Arrows are unlikely to compete for any end-of-season honours this year, they are not prepared to give up the chase and will keep working hard behind the scenes in order to stand the best chance of clawing back their performance deficit.

“I have had to stop thinking in terms of sessions and weekends, but about years,” added Wolff. “There will be years like this one where we have really bad weekends, but these weekends are necessary to learn.

“Are we going to fight for the world championships? My expectation from a pure mathematical stance is no, we are too slow. This needs to be a blip and not a long-term downward spiral.

“It will be a blip, and that is why we need to get it right now not on the stopwatch, but mentally.”


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