Toto Wolff has revealed he would accept if Lewis Hamilton looked elsewhere on the Formula 1 grid in the next two years, if Mercedes prove they cannot build a title-winning car.
Hamilton has been open about his disappointment that he won’t be able to challenge for race wins in the early part of this season, after he finished 50 seconds behind Max Verstappen at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
His current contract expires at the end of this year and he is in talks with Mercedes about a new deal.
“I don’t think that Lewis will leave Mercedes,” Wolff told the press. “He’s at a stage of his career, where we trust each other.
“We have a great bond with each other and I have no reason we have no reason to doubt each other, even though this is a difficult spell.
“So nice will it be when we come out of this valley of tears and come back to solid performances.
“As a driver, nevertheless, if he wants to win another championship, he needs to make sure that he has the car.
“If we cannot demonstrate that we are able to give him a car in the next couple of years, then he needs to look everywhere.
“I don’t think he’s doing at this stage. But I will have no grudge if that happens in a year or two.”
Wolff: There is no miracles in this sport
Mercedes took just one pole position and one victory in 2022, courtesy of George Russell as Hamilton went winless in a season for the first time in his career.
The seven-time F1 world champion has stated Mercedes are further back compared to last year and Wolff is simply looking for improvements this weekend.
“In motor racing, anything can happen,” said Wolff. “Bahrain is a track that is very different, so is Jeddah.
“There is no miracle in this sport. I hope that we can perform better than we did in Bahrain.
“At that stage of the season, and where we are with our position, is very much trying to find performance for ourselves.
“I don’t think that we can beat the teams in front of us. That’s the reality. It’s about tuning the car to the best of the abilities here on track and then see where we end up in qualifying and in the race.”