Hamilton could be F1 team boss or CEO – Wolff

Sat, 2 September 2023, 09:00

Sep.2 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton could become CEO of a top company, or a Formula 1 team principal, once his racing days are over.

That is the view of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who has finally concluded a new two-year contract to keep the seven time world champion at the team from 2024.

While George Russell revealed that talks over his similarly-extended deal took “two hours” from start to finish, Hamilton’s negotiations stretched out months.

Wolff, though, insists: “It wasn’t difficult to discuss Lewis’ renewal.

“We were also talking about the phase following his career in F1, about long-term sponsorships, and things apart from the money, the marketing aspects and the length of the contract,” he told Sky Italia at Monza.

Hamilton will be 40 by the time his new deal expires, and Wolff thinks he will still have plenty to do if he then decides to hang up his helmet.

“Team principal? I don’t know,” the Austrian said. “What I can say is that he will end his career with Mercedes. I don’t see him with another team.

“After that, he can do many things – from team principal to being CEO. And I hope he stays with us,” Wolff insisted.

Marking his long-awaited contract extension at Monza, Hamilton sat down for an exclusive and explosive interview with Sky Italia.

At present, Formula 1 is being utterly dominated by his 2021 title nemesis Max Verstappen, but Hamilton questioned just how dominant the Dutchman really is.

“I was thinking about it this morning while running,” said the Briton.

“When I qualified half a second or six tenths ahead of Valtteri (Bottas), the story in the media wasn’t the same as when Max now qualifies six tenths ahead of Sergio (Perez).

“It’s much more hyped up now,” Hamilton added.

“In my opinion, Valtteri and actually all of my teammates were stronger than the teammates Max ever had. Jenson (Button), Fernando (Alonso), George (Russell), Nico (Rosberg).

“All those guys were very strong and consistent, and Max has never had to fight like that.”

Wolff said recently that he suspects Red Bull has tailored its 2023 to suit Verstappen rather than Perez – a claim dismissed by Max as “bullshit”.

“I completely agree with Max,” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said on Friday.

“If Toto thinks we’re developing a car around a single driver, it shows a total lack of understanding of how a race car and a team develop.”

As for Hamilton’s views about supposedly weak teammates for Verstappen at Red Bull, Horner snarled: “I think there’s quite a lot of drivers who don’t even want to be Max’s teammate.”

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