Mercedes ‘have not drawn up list of Lewis Hamilton replacements’ in major retirement hint

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Mercedes have reportedly not yet created a serious list of potential replacements for Lewis Hamilton should the seven-time world champion abruptly retire from Formula One. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is set to meet with new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Friday to discuss the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Wolff is reportedly set to demand FIA race director Michael Masi is sacked as Hamilton is considering his future after Red Bull star Max Verstappen secured a maiden world title in controversial circumstances last month. 

The Dutchman passed the seven-time world champion – who had dominated for much of the race – on the final lap of the season as a late Safety Car and tyre change swung momentum in his favour. 

Mercedes’ fury was largely aimed at Masi after he decided against allowing cars to unlap themselves, as is tradition, only to change his mind to set up the final lap showdown between Hamilton and Verstappen.

Mercedes reportedly dropped their appeal against the results of the race after agreeing a deal with the FIA, which said both Masi and FIA head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis would be removed from their posts ahead of the 2022 season.

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Wolff said last month that Mercedes would ‘hold the FIA to account’.

It appears likely that Hamilton will continue to race, particularly as the crushing defeat will likely spur him on as he pushes for a record eighth world title in 2022. 

And it is reported by the Daily Mail that Mercedes are yet to conjure up a list of potential replacements should the 37-year-old opt to walk away, in an apparent hint that the Brackley-based outfit expect him to stay on.

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The Silver Arrows have been linked with a move for AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, although the Frenchman is believed to be an option in the future. 

It would be almost impossible to drag Gasly away from his team this close to the start of the season, and so he is an unlikely option.

The far more likely prospect is Formula E champion Nyck de Vries, who is yet to be given a shot in F1.

The 26-year-old is currently both the test and reserve driver for Mercedes.

While it is likely Hamilton will return, neither he nor Mercedes team members have conducted any media interviews since the Abu Dhabi race.

Hamilton is also yet to post on his social media accounts since the events of December 12.

Ben Sulayem will address the incident in Abu Dhabi immediately, with a deadline of February 3 when the next World Motor Sport Council meeting will take place.

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