Is Lewis Hamilton really stepping down? This question is currently on the minds of Formula 1 fans all over the world. The record world champion has not spoken publicly since the controversial 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi. And even Toto Wolff cannot guarantee that Hamilton will continue his career in 2022.
“I very much hope that we will see him again,” says the Mercedes team boss in an interview with the ‘Krone’ and emphasizes: “He is the most important part of our sport. It would be an indictment for the whole of Formula 1 if the best driver because of outrageous decisions decides to stop.”
What happened in Abu Dhabi “will never be forgotten,” Wolff clarifies and explains: “Because what happened to Lewis was simply wrong. He was unbeatable that day. Until the race control blew the fuses, they to three rule violations. It’s hard to understand.”
Wolff wants to give Hamilton time
“It will always lag behind us, although Max Verstappen is a worthy world champion over the season. But on that day one was better than the other – and he didn’t win,” said Wolff, who leaves no doubt that at least he will attack again in the new season with Mercedes.
“I’m able to differentiate that. We draw our own conclusions from this and want to give the right answers on the track,” said Wolff. But does that also apply to its driver? “No matter what obstacle was put in his way, he has known all his life that he has to speak on the racetrack,” he recalls.
“But it is incredibly difficult for him to find a way between what is right and what is wrong. It just takes time,” said Wolff, who did not want to put pressure on Hamilton when making his decision. He will meet the record world champion again in person “in February at the latest”.
Groundbreaking meeting on Friday?
However, a decision could already be made on Friday in which direction Hamilton is going. The ‘Daily Mail’ reports that there will be a meeting between Wolff and the new FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. Among other things, this should be about the position of race director Michael Masi.
The outcome of this meeting and the outcome of the FIA investigation into what happened in Abu Dhabi could play a role in whether the 37-year-old will compete in Formula 1 again in 2022.