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Wolff fears Hamilton could walk away from F1

NEWS STORY
16/12/2021

As the seven-time world champion snubs FIA prize-giving, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff fears Lewis Hamilton could walk away from the sport.

Other than thanking Prince Charles after being awarded his Knighthood yesterday, Lewis Hamilton has maintained strict radio silence since last Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

As the Briton and his team boss, Toto Wolff snub tonight's official prize-giving gala, Wolff has admitted that he fears last Sunday's events could cause the Briton to leave sport.

"It's going to take a long time for us to digest what has happened on Sunday, I don't think we will ever get over it," Wolff told the media this morning, the first time he has spoken to the press since Sunday. "That's not possible," he admitted, "certainly not as a driver.

"We will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday, but many of the values and beliefs were kicked on Sunday. So I would very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he's the greatest driver of all time.

"When you look at it from the point of view of the last four races he was dominant, there was not even a doubt who won the race. And that was worthy of winning the world championship.

"So we will be working through the events over the next weeks and months. I think as a racer his heart will say 'I need to continue' because he's at the peak of his game, but we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday, also because he is a man with clear values and it's difficult to understand that that happened."

Asked specifically if he thought Hamilton could quit F1, Wolff replied: "I would very much hope Lewis continues racing because he is the greatest driver of all time.

"As a racer his heart will say I need to continue because he's at the peak of his game," he added. "But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday. He is a man with clear values."

On the eve of the Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes announced that Hamilton had agreed a two-year extension to his contract.

F1 bosses will frantic at the very thought of Hamilton walking away from the sport, for the fact is that he is the undisputed star, for even as Netflix encourages a whole new fan-base, Hamilton is the driver most instantly recognisable by those around the world who don’t even follow F1.

Previously denied when he allegedly sought a stake in the business, F1 bosses may now have to reconsider.

Despite the ongoing rage over last Sunday's events, the sport is already banking - in every sense - on 2022, when Hamilton not only resumed battle with Verstappen, but has the added threat of George Russell within his own team.

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1. Posted by kenji, 20/12/2021 10:21

"@ equator 180 I'm afraid that we 'reasonables' will have to endure the endless tirades from the 'lovers' for a very long time. They will never acknowledge the facts so we will have to 'just suck it up' as the saying goes."

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2. Posted by equator180, 20/12/2021 7:49

"When are all the Lewis fan boys on here going to realize all of this childish poor looser spiel would be non-existent if Toto had made the right decision and pitted Lewis! He is yelling and screaming to cover his miserable mistake and you fan boys are missing perhaps the root of Lewis defeat, so say a good number of F1 observers."

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3. Posted by kenji, 19/12/2021 1:26

"@Spindoctor...Thank you for your post.I knew that you'd enjoy it and at the same time learn something new and rewarding. In my experience, as a generalisation, the persona you see projected in front of the camera is almost inevitably different from the one you see in private. As an example, just watch Wolff in full thespian mode playing to the camera. Spielberg would sign him in a flash!!! "Indiana Wolff and the Temple of Gloom....need I say more. Have a nice day."

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4. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 18/12/2021 20:33

"As a driver, I cannot see Hamilton walking away without one season in the new format cars. It's such a departure from the current formula; he'll at least want to see if he's as good & is Mercedes that good.

I think one season will be it unless the season is a hoot & a renewed interest emerges."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/12/2021 12:51

"@kenji I'm sure we're all grateful for your incisive psychological profile of Lewis Hamilton. "

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6. Posted by Pavlo, 17/12/2021 15:46

"@phantom - I'm sure you are wrong. Masi knew exactly what would happen. Don't know about you and everyone, but personally I knew it even before, immediately after the crash of Latifi.
And I glad the director made the predictable and correct decision, in the no matter how "unfair" is the "bad luck" (or missed decision to box) is for someone. I agree it was from certain perspective "wrong" decision, but I don't see any more correct decision given previous agreements.
Sorry, but if Masi is not allowed to be a director anymore, next year is REALLY becoming a way bigger joke. The best for the sport if Masi finds some plausible "family reason", like "having a baby and spending more time not traveling". But if he is fired for the decision formally reviewed and confirmed correct, no one explains what should have been done differently and no one reviews the way teams interact with the director, the next director gets enormous pressure from all the parties. It will be just an impossible job to get it right."

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7. Posted by jo6pac, 17/12/2021 13:59

"I would think that the CEO of Mercedes doesn't like all this bad press. I would remove t. wolff and lewis h. from the team and bring new people. Saving some money to spend on next year. I would hire FA to drive;-)"

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8. Posted by phantom, 17/12/2021 12:55

"Pavlo: Not really talking about the 'rest of the season,' the discussion is about the last race. Nothing more. Masi DID gift the race to Verstappen. Especially when he didn't release (was it) Ricciardo from in front of Sainz. Wouldn't it have been fun to have Sainz on Verstappen's rear end, ready to pounce if anybody messed up? At those speeds with the resulting proximity 'pure speed' wasn't going to mean that much. Another 'first corner' in a good race for something resembling a real finish instead of a contrived one. Fact is, EVERYONE knew what would happen after Masi's second (or third or fourth, I lost track) edict.

Masi didn't. Maybe nobody suggested it to him. How many times had he changed his mind to that point? Sorry, but if Masi is even allowed to be a marshal next year it REALLY becomes a joke.

This tripe about 'don't blame Masi' means nothing. However he arrived at it (or followed up on someone else's demand), he MADE the decisioin. Live with it."

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9. Posted by kenji, 17/12/2021 11:20

"@ Pavlo...good post. I fully agree with most of your sentiments. Like Copit, I have been following F1 since inception and the GP races in the 50's, before that. I too have a passion for F1 and other forms of motor racing plus Moto GP in all forms. Despite this history I have to remind myself that at the end of the day...it's just a motor race after all and things don't always go to plan and to your favourite team which sometimes fails for many different reasons. This latest hoo har hinges not on what the masses are claiming but simply on the decision to roll the dice and pit for fresh rubber. It all seems too simple really. Playing the precious petal is not manly...IMO."

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10. Posted by Pavlo, 17/12/2021 10:14

"@copit - I know that British fans will rate my comment as "negative", but I still will write it :)
Max did in fact beat "the British driver" fair and square many times this year. We all would love to see the season finishing with something like we saw in Dutch GP. But there were also other races, and finishing the way how Silverstone, Hungary or especially Spa ended would be even worse a disaster. Hope you can agree with this.
Fact is, even in Abu-Dhabi Mercedes was not 100% on the winning path. They made a strategy with quite high probability of repeating Azerbaijan or Qatar. RB in opposite, while having not the best car on this track, compensated with strategy that increased the chances in case of the SC. They were lucky, but they were prepared to use the luck.
Lewis once won the title finishing 5th in not his best race of the year. Still in my eyes he was the real champion that time. I agree with you it's not the "most prominent" victory for Max, but he had most of leading laps, most poles (twice more), most victories, etc. etc. He had share of bad luck, without which (e.g. in Hungary) he wouldn't leave any chances to the competition. So he IS a real champion in 2021 season.
It will be a pity if Lewis stops, but same as with Nico, no one can prohibit him. It just doesn't prove anything.
Following the sport further or not? It's your decision. I will be watching next season and visit at least one race. It really was hard to love the sport when FIA helped Mercedes maintain their dominance (I hope unwillingly), and "the British driver" was easily cruising to victories. Like changing the procedures mid-season on request from Mercedes. Now Mercedes had a bad luck and FIA didn't step in to help them.
Well, if someone proves Latifi did deliberately crash, I would totally support you. But I don't really believe."

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11. Posted by copit, 17/12/2021 7:57

"The Dutch driver could not beat Lewis in a fair fight. So the FIA and their masters contrived the finish and we know the rest. Lewis was leading, Mercedes patently had the faster car and driver. They still have. But the game was cooked, the contest was skewed, the result came about by breaking the rules and we know the rest.
I don’t blame the Dutch driver and RBR. They did what they are paid to do. Ungraciously, smugly taking the gift they had not earned. “That’s racing,” as they say. But he will never be champion in my eyes. Not good enough to win fairly, not fast enough to beat Lewis squarely. Had to be given the points because he couldn’t make up the time himself.
It breaks my heart to have to walk away from the sport I have followed since the Bruce and Denny show in the 60’s. I will make my small protest in the only way I know how to convey my message to the people now ruining this once fine sport. In their putrid pockets.
I shall terminate my pay-TV subscription. I will not go to Melbourne next year, even though I already have the air tickets and the accommodation booked. I waited until the outcome of Mercedes’ possible protest and when that was withdrawn I decided that this is no longer a sport worth watching. Why cheer for anyone when you know the result will be manipulated? I will not go to Suzuka and Montreal as I was planning to. The small amount of merchandise I have bought at Grands Prix over the years will be burnt.
For those out there staring through their orange-tinted lenses, our family is far closer aligned to the Nederlands than to the Brits. I would normally cheer for any worthy winner no matter their nationality. But this is a matter of fairness, not parochialism. It is playing by the rules, not changing them mid-race to achieve an artificial, synthesised outcome.
I would understand if Lewis and Mercedes were to do what I am doing. Turn their back on it, refuse to participate in a tainted contest. You see, going back to fight again simply validates the actions of the cheats. It says “Despite your blatant bias, I will play, I will pretend you are worth fighting.” Who would blame them if they just said goodbye to all this BS? They will go back to the fight to make the point that they really are better than all the forces aligned against them. I wish them well but after this debacle can they ever again be sure of being treated fairly?
Lewis earned every championship he won. The Dutch driver did not. It was gifted, as he is not.
The difference is class versus ass."

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12. Posted by kenji, 17/12/2021 1:33

"@thecanadian/alvarezh...Yes, I too support your comments. Unfortunately I fear that he will continue as he lives and breathes his perceived adoration and not even the vigorous use of a 'stagehook' will remove him. All narcissists behave in a similar manner. It's their 'raison d'etre' after all. I actually believe that the series would be better off without him if I'm honest. For too long we've been denied an open challenge where one make plus pilot have dominated the series. I seriously believe that are more than a few drivers who are equally as good given the correct tools to compete and next year we may see some better competition with the new regs ?. There is little doubt considering that RB/Verstappen have proved the point that a good driver even in a slightly lesser machine can compete and beat the leviathons. Roll on...."

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13. Posted by equator180, 17/12/2021 1:28

"Calm your fears Toto, settle down and drop the drama queen facade, Hamilton isn't going anywhere. Where can he make the money or get the exposure (seemingly he craves) other than F1 with a top team and an @$$ kissing team manager..."

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14. Posted by alvarezh3, 16/12/2021 22:25

"@The Canadian

I thought I was the only one around here that detected that same behavior from Hamilton that you have clearly defined.

People from many different generations remember Robert Johnson, Nat King Cole, Little Richard, BB King, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few personalities, their work is on the airwaves every day. Only those with knowledge of the sport ever heard of Giussepe Farina or Juan Manuel Fangio, Include Usain Bolt and Lewis Hamilton with those two a few decades from now.

Once he is out of Formula One he can kiss being on the front pages of the news papers good bye, it will be very, very tough for him to swallow.

The Hamfosi are having a party giving out "Negative" reviews left and right. It's expected, but no need to worry, they can't errase your or anyone's else's words, nor change what we clearly see from Lewi's behavior."

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15. Posted by Pavlo, 16/12/2021 21:12

"The only real reason for Lewis to quit can be Toto.
Firstly if he keeps complaining and distracting everyone instead of working on the next year’s car and getting the team strategy department work, they may end up being in the midfield where 7-time WDC has no interest.
Secondly if he keeps criticising F1 he undermines the value of Lewis‘ achievements. Lewis was winning the same sport with the same rules that Toto so fiercely criticises now.
Thirdly now Lewis has motivation to prove something and try to get undoubtedly outstanding 8th title. I don’t see the motivation to go for „just next number“ against people whom you have beaten."

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