On the brink of securing his seventh Formula One world title, Lewis Hamilton says there are “no guarantees” that he will continue racing after the 2020 season.
The 35-year-old’s contract expires at the end of season, and although he has previously said that he’d like to sign an extension, Hamilton is not ruling out the possibility of quitting racing as a whole.
Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, announced that he plans to step down from his current role after this season, while he will remain with the team.
And when asked if Wolff’s decision would affect his future, Hamilton said he has considered stepping away.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be here next year, so it’s not really a concern for me at the moment,” he said after winning Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“We have a lot of deep conversations, Toto and I, so I’m very aware of where he is mentally, and we share a lot of and carry a lot of the weight together. I’ve been here a long, long time. I can definitely understand wanting to pull back a little bit and giving more time to family and those sort of things.”
Hamilton has been driving for Mercedes since 2013 and has won five of his six world titles with the team.
Under Wolff’s leadership, the Mercedes the team has clinched six consecutive F1 double World Championships, winning a total over 90 Grands Prix.
“I will stay with the team, and that is what we have agreed with Daimler. But maybe then in another function,” said Wolff, ahead of the Imola race.
“And whether it is CEO or Chairman, we haven’t decided. But Daimler has very much given me the choice. But before me transitioning into a new role, I need to make sure that somebody else is doing the 23 races. And I can enjoy myself in front of a Zoom screen.”
Fresh from breaking Michael Schumacher’s all-time race win record last time out, Hamilton’s 93rd win of his career in Italy on Sunday helped break yet even more records.
With Hamilton finishing first and his teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing second, Mercedes won the Constructors’ Championship for a record seventh consecutive time.
It had previously shared the record with Italian team Ferrari, which had won six straight titles between 1998 and 2004 when Michael Schumacher was at his dominant best.
But following his ninth win of the season, Hamilton was in a reflective mood.
“We are in November and it’s crazy that Christmas is not that far away. Naturally, I feel great and feel very strong. I feel like I could keep going for plenty of months.
“I would like to be here next year but there’s no guarantee of that for sure. There’s a lot that excites me of the afterlife, so time will tell.”
Hamilton’s comments were put to Wolff following the race and the Austrian, who is head of Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, said he hoped that the British racer would continue with the team.
“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, I think we are going to have a pretty frantic driver market out there,” he said.
“But I think it’s the moment and the emotions, we are all happy but very tired also. It’s the same for me. I completely relate with his feeling, that you question yourself and you think about all the other things that matter when you switch on the new in the morning and you switch it off in the evening it is all about the struggles that we all face.”