Toto Wolff says he is trying to convince Lewis Hamilton to return to Mercedes in 2022 amid concerns that he may leave F1.
On Thursday, Mercedes announced that they would not be going ahead with their appeal regarding the events of the Abu Dhabi GP. However, team principal Toto Wolff revealed that the entire team was very hurt and ‘disillusioned’ following the weekend.
He also hinted at the fact that Lewis Hamilton may not return to the sport. The F1 race director’s decision during the closing stages in Yas Island left Hamilton in ‘pain and distress’ according to Wolff. Both him and Hamilton were not present at the FIA Prize-Giving Ceremony in Paris on Thursday night.
— FIA (@FIA) DECEMBER 17, 2021
The Mercedes chief admitted that he’s in talks with Lewis over his future in the sport. Hamilton is contracted to drive for the Silver Arrows until 2023, but recent developments have cast doubt over his stay in F1.
“I’m in a daily dialogue with him. But I also respect there is not a lot to talk about at the moment.” said Toto. “Each of us copes in our own way with the feelings that we have at the moment.
“I just need to do the utmost I can to help him overcome these imminent feelings he has in order for him to return strong, with a love of the sport and trust in the decision making of the sport next year.”
Wolff said that Hamilton asked the team to go ahead with the initial protests following the race, but was also apprehensive about going ahead with the appeal. According to Wolff, the team made every decision together with their star driver.
“Every step on the way it was joint decisions.” said Wolff. “We decided together with Lewis to protest, to launch the appeal and to withdraw the appeal.”
“As you can imagine, not only for him but also for us as a team. It was terrible to be confronted with a decision that decided the outcome of the world championship.”
LEWIS HAMILTON HAS FOUGHT ADVERSITY AND TACKLED EVERY CHALLENGE HEAD ON THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER.
I DON’T THINK HE WILL QUIT, I THINK THIS WHOLE FIASCO WILL ONLY MAKE HIM ACTIVATE BEAST MODE AGAIN.
BUT IF HE DID RETIRE, IT WOULD BE A SAD DAY FOR F1. ?
— PERS / SAMMY ? (@MADEBYPERS) DECEMBER 16, 2021
“But none of us, neither him nor us, want to win a world championship in the courtroom. On the other side, we were deeply wronged on Sunday. And it wasn’t just a case of a bad call. It was freestyle reading of the rules and it left Lewis like a sitting duck.”
“It was tremendously hard for him and for us as a team. To withdraw the appeal because we were wronged and we deeply believe that in Formula 1.”
“So my soul and heart cry that this should have been judged in the right way. The legal situation would have given us some right. But this is the difference between being right and obtaining justice.” he concluded.