Published: Thu, June 04, 2020
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Wolff - Mercedes keeping options open over Vettel

Wolff - Mercedes keeping options open over Vettel

Mercedes said on Twitter that Hamilton will be in his title-winning 2018 Mercedes W09 auto on Wednesday (June 10), with team mate Valtteri Bottas driving on Tuesday, to practise protocols for the July 5 Austrian opener.

Red Bull has already rejected suggestions of pairing him with Max Verstappen, but Mercedes, which now has no drivers under contract for 2021, has been careful to keep the door open.

The marque also supports Williams racer George Russell.

Vettel, a four times world champion with Red Bull, is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his next move uncertain.

Wolff stressed that his current drivers are his priority but pointed to the shock retirement of Rosberg at the end of 2016.

Hamilton has won six world championships, five of them with Mercedes, but he has not yet signed a new contract with the team beyond this season. "He once asked me: 'Have you had the active thought that you are white?' I said: 'No, I have never thought about it, ' and he said: 'I need to think about it [my colour] every day because I am being made aware of it'". "We owe it to him as a four-time world champion not to come out straight away and say no".

"On the other side, we have a fantastic line-up and I've very happy with both our pilots and George [Russell], but you never know".

"First of all I wouldn't do it to him as a driver, to be that blunt, and on the other side I've seen black swans appearing when nobody expected".

"It's very tricky to develop a vehicle without having that driver be part of it, and every single driver needs to be a team player as well, and that becomes second priority in my opinion for the relevant guy".

A tweet from the Brackley-based team said that its drivers will get one day of running each in a 2018 Mercedes vehicle.

"And beyond that, you need to not discount any driver".

'Once racing resumes we will spend some time together, take the contract out of the cupboard, look at the timings, the numbers, the rights, and hopefully have something pretty soon.

"If I would have told you in January that we would not have any racing in the first half of the year nobody would have believed it. We have Max [Verstappen] on a long-term contract and our ideal is to continue with those two drivers, not just for the next season but beyond that into 2021".

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