The Scotsman

Mercedes F1 chief Wolff hints he may step aside

- By PHILIP DUN­CAN Sports · Motorsports · Mercedes GP · Lewis Hamilton · Valtteri Bottas · France · Emmanuel Macron · Formula One · Car Racing · Susie Wolff · Tsu

To to Wolff has dropped an­other hint that his ten­ure as Mercedes team prin­ci­pal could draw to a close at the end of the year.

Wolff, the Aus­trian who has over­seen five of Lewis Hamil­ton’s six world cham­pi­onships, has fewer than five months to run on his cur­rent con­tract. Hamil­ton’s Mercedes deal is also up for re­newal at the end of the year.

Hamil­ton, 35, is al­most cer­tain to ex­tend his stay with the sport’ s all-con­quer­ing team, but Wolff ’s fu­ture con­tin­ues to hang in the bal­ance.

Wolff con­trols Mercedes’ mo­tor sport pro­gramme across all dis­ci­plines and he owns a 30 per cent stake in the For­mula One team. His Oban-born wife, Susie Wolff, runs Mercedes’ For­mula E pro­gramme.

But a re­struc­tur­ing of Mercedes’ F 1 op­er­a­tion, could see Wolff re­lin­quish, or adapt, his role of team prin­ci­pal in 2021.

De­spite Hamil­ton fin­ish­ing only sev­enth at the Ital­ian Grand Prix, Mercedes are on course to com­plete the driv­ers’ and con­struc­tors’ cham­pi­onship dou­bles for an out­stand­ing sev­enth straight cam­paign.

“I love this team, I have a fan­tas­tic re­la­tion­ship with [Mercedes chair­man] Ola K al le ni us and this is my place,” said Wolff. “But it is just that eight years as a team prin­ci­pal is tak­ing its toll and it is some­thing I am re­flect­ing on.

“It is im­por­tant to take the right de­ci­sion for my fam­ily or my­self, but you can be sure I will be in­volved in this team in one way or an­other.”

Hamil­ton will head into Sun­day’ s Tu scan Grand Prix at Mugello, the ninth race in just 11 weeks, with a 47-point lead over team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas.

Hamil­ton was dealt a 10- sec­ond-stop-and-go penalty dur­ing the chaotic race at Monza to clear the way for Pierre Gasly to claim his maiden grand prix win.

Ga sly later re­vealed he had re­ceived a con­grat­u­la­tory phone call from France’ s Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron after he be­came the first French driver to win a grand prix in 24 years.

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