Former F1 star David Coulthard has claimed that there is no way Lewis Hamilton will be leaving Mercedes at the end of the season, except for in the event of a ‘major fallout’ between himself and the team’s hierarchy.
The seven-time world champion is out of contract at the end of 2023 and is currently yet to sign an extension on his deal to keep him with Mercedes into 2024 and beyond, sparking speculation that there may be a disagreement behind the scenes at Brackley.
Hamilton has been driving for Mercedes since 2013 after making the jump from McLaren and has subsequently become synonymous with the German manufacturer’s F1 brand, forging a strong relationship with team principal and stakeholder Toto Wolff in the process.
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Speaking to the Irish News about the possibility of a split, Coulthard theorised: “I don’t think there is any realistic chance that Lewis will leave Mercedes unless there is a major fallout, and I can’t see that happening.
“Who would the major fallout be with? Even if it was with Toto [Wolff], Lewis’ relationship with Mercedes’ parent company Daimler is much longer than Toto’s emergence as team principal of Mercedes.”
The 38-year-old has known interest from elsewhere this summer, too. While there is no room at Red Bull until the end of the 2024 season, Ferrari have been willing to make changes in order to accommodate Hamilton’s presence at Maranello.
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According to reports from QN Motori earlier this summer, the Scuderia have made contact with Hamilton and his representatives on two occasions, with both team principal Fred Vasseur and president John Elkann attempting to lure the legendary Briton to Ferrari for the 2024 season.
Hamilton turned these approaches from Ferrari down and is believed to want to stay at Brackley, but no deal has been agreed between the British veteran and the Mercedes team despite Wolff suggesting over a month ago that there were but a few minor wrinkles to iron over.
The target for Hamilton remains clear. He is still pursuing his record-breaking eighth world title following the controversy of the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, and Mercedes will need to convince him that they are his best shot at achieving that if he is to sign on the dotted line this summer.
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