Lewis Hamilton has downplayed the potential impact on his future plans should Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff leave the team.
Wolff admitted in Barcelona on Friday that he is still discussing his options with Daimler AG chairman Ola Kallenius, including a change of role within the organisation.
Hamilton has not yet agreed to stay with Mercedes beyond 2020 and despite his close relationship with Wolff he insists that the Austrian’s future involvement at the team will not impact his own decision-making process.
“What you’ve got to remember is that it’s a team of so many people,” said Hamilton. “There’s almost 2,000 people in the team, or something like that. It’s not just down to one person, one individual. So yes, that’s not determining whether or not I stay.
“I’ve been a part of growing with this team and growing with that growth. The strength is there through and through, so, as I said, it’s not just one individual.”
Hamilton said Wolff was right to consider his options: “I think everyone has to do what’s best for them. What’s best for their career and happiness at the end of the day.
“I think it’s smart for him. I think everyone needs to sit, take a moment and evaluate what they want to do moving forwards. Whether it suits them and their families and their future dreams. We’ve done so much already together in this period of time.
“I hope he stays, because it’s fun working with him, and it’s fun negotiating with him and fun having the ups and downs. So, I’m truly grateful to Toto and I’ll be fully supportive in whatever he decides to do.”
Valtteri Bottas, whose own career has been heavily shaped by Wolff, expressed similar sentiments.
“I think Toto has been a really important part of the team and being a big part of helping the team to get to the state where it is now,” Bottas said.
“But just like Lewis said, it’s not all about one person, we’re a big team, there are so many important personnel in the team, and everyone needs to be able to work together so I really agree that whatever he does, I just hope he makes a decision what he really wants to do and it makes him happy.
“That’s it, that’s what life’s all about – only do things that make you happy, follow your dreams. But of course, it would be a shame to see him go. I have no idea, to be honest, what’s happening in the background.
“I’m just focusing on driving and yes, I would definitely sign with the team even though Toto wasn’t here because, as Lewis said, it’s not about one person.”