LEWIS HAMILTON and Mercedes have struggled to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari this season
Toto Wolff has revealed Sergio Perez will not replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes as he sets a retirement deadline for the seven-time champion. Wolff claims Mercedes have “never talked” to Perez or any other driver as a replacement for Hamilton.
The Austrian boss said the pair had spoken about Hamilton’s F1 future and concluded the Briton could go on for up to a decade. Wolff made the assessment after he was asked whether the rumours Mercedes were searching for a replacement for Hamilton at the start of the season.
Speaking to Motorsport.com Italy, he said: “It’s complete b******. I’ve never called Sergio, he’s a good guy and I respect him, but I’ve never talked to him and haven’t been in contact with any other rider.
“Lewis and I, even in the face of a less encouraging scenario like the start of this season, we are always aligned in wanting to try to improve things and in wanting to be together next year. And for a couple of months we have been telling each other that we could go on, maybe five or 10 years, right? So none of this is true ”.
Pundits claimed Hamilton could walk away from F1 after Mercedes became uncompetitive at the start of the season.
However, Hamilton quickly addressed the rumours and stressed he was 100 per cent committed to Mercedes as it was not in his DNA to quit.
Wolff has also suggested he had talked to Hamilton about his F1 future and suggested he could win more titles with the Silver Arrows.
He explained: “Of course, he would have been the only [driver] to hold this record, but I think he can be equally proud of having seven titles like Michael [Schumacher], I think this milestone is also very historic and important.
“But the goal is to get back to having the right performance soon, and if we return to providing Lewis with a good car, why just think of eight world titles? Why not ten?”
Wolff’s comments come after Dutch racing star Tom Coronel also claimed Mercedes were eyeing up Nyck de Vries as a possible successor to Hamilton.
He claimed Formula E star De Vries was Wolff’s “insurance policy” should Hamilton walk away from the sport.
The Dutchman has got behind the wheel of F1 cars twice this season after taking part in FP1 at the Spanish Grand Prix with Williams and during practice for Mercedes in France.