Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes rule out seeking replacement despite growing Ferrari links

Toto Wolff says Mercedes will not begin talks with other drivers, despite growing speculation that Lewis Hamilton could be lining up a move to Ferrari in 2021.

Hamilton did not deny rumours that he has twice met with Ferrari president John Elkann in 2019, while Wolff has said he will not stand in the six-time world champion’s way if he decides to leave Mercedes when his contract expires at the end of next season.

However, Wolff does remain confident of keeping Hamilton around, meaning drivers looking to replace the Briton at the Silver Arrows may have to wait for the chance for now.

And having lived through a recent shock departure when Nico Rosberg retired immediately after winning the world title, Wolff is calm about the situation.

“I know that sounds like a little bit like philosophical guru talk, but when Nico decided to quit my initial reaction was actually the opportunity provided to us,” Wolff said.

“I think that the choice with Valtteri [Bottas] proved to be the right choice for the team. So I still very much hope that our relationship continues. But I’m not entirely in control of that so if one important member breaks out that certainly provides risk and opportunity at the same time.

“I think that the values within the team are that loyalty and integrity are absolutely number one on the list. Understanding Lewis’ position and objectives will be key for any decision that we take.

“So we will not embark on a fishing mission with potential drivers out there before Lewis and us have had this discussion. And that hasn’t taken place because we wanted to wrap up the season, and then we’ll see how that goes.”