LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One champions Mercedes must consider Sebastian Vettel’s state of affairs when deciding their 2021 lineup, workforce boss Toto Wolff mentioned on Tuesday.
Ferrari introduced earlier that the 4 occasions world champion can be leaving Maranello when his contract runs out on the finish of the season.
“Sebastian is a great driver, a major personality and an asset to any Formula One team,” mentioned Wolff, in quotes offered by Mercedes.
The Austrian is presently in negotiations with six occasions world champion Lewis Hamilton over a brand new deal.
“When looking to the future, our first loyalty lies with the current Mercedes drivers but naturally we must take this development into consideration.”
Hamilton and Finland’s Valtteri Bottas are out of contract with Mercedes on the finish of the season and Wolff’s feedback shall be famous by each.
Hamilton, 35, has been linked to Ferrari in media hypothesis, however the Briton has indicated he plans to stick with the workforce that has received the final six drivers’ and constructors’ titles.
The mere truth Vettel is out there might give Mercedes some helpful ammunition on the subject of negotiating salaries at the least.
Bottas completed runner-up final yr and has been a stable workforce mate for Hamilton, who has loved a straightforward relationship with the 30-year-old.
That has been an entire distinction to Hamilton’s near-feud with Nico Rosberg, his former German workforce mate who retired instantly after successful the 2016 title.
That went from pleasant to close frozen as Mercedes, who had returned as a constructor in 2010 by shopping for the Brawn GP workforce, grew to become extra aggressive.
Hamilton himself changed seven occasions world champion Michael Schumacher, who received 5 of his titles with Ferrari, within the lineup in 2013.
Mercedes even have Williams driver George Russell, the 2018 Formula Two champion, on a long-term contract as one other contender.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Ken Ferris