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Toto Wolff reveals he is considering stepping down from role as Mercedes team principal

 MERCEDES boss Toto Wolff is considering walking away from his job at the end of the season, but wants Lewis Hamilton to re-sign regardless.

The pair have developed a close understanding during a long period of unbroken success and Hamilton previously indicated that Wolff’s future was crucial in determining his own.

Both their contracts are due to expire at the end of the year and while Hamilton essentially wants to stay at Mercedes — ideally on a slightly improved contract worth £40million a year — Wolff yesterday hinted he may be about to go out at the top, having likely claimed the drivers’ and constructors’ double for a seventh straight season.

The Austrian said: ‘Lewis staying is the best thing he can do and what he wants to do. He has the possibility of achieving great success going forward.

‘It’s flattering that he says his future is dependent on what I do but he doesn’t need me. He has a great team there that will always support him.’

Turning to his own future, and contract discussions with Daimler chairman Ola Kallenius, Wolff said: ‘I am in a moment of reflection about where F1 is heading, what is happening with Covid, and my personal situation.

Turning to his own future, and contract discussions with Daimler chairman Ola Kallenius, Wolff said: ‘I am in a moment of reflection about where F1 is heading, what is happening with Covid, and my personal situation.

‘Susie (his wife) is in a good place running a Formula E team and that means she is away a lot. I have been to God knows how many Formula One races — about 120 in the last eight years — and that is something we are thinking about.

‘The discussions with Ola are very good. There are many factors that make me want to stay in Formula One.

‘On the other side, it takes its toll and this plays into my consideration.

‘We want to do the best thing for the team to continue to prosper. I never want to be in a situation where you go from very good to good.

‘This doesn’t mean I won’t be around as team principal or in another role; it is just that I am thinking about it.’

The Wolff-Hamilton axis was working perfectly in Barcelona yesterday as the world champion set the fastest time in practice for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, the sixth race in seven frantic weeks. 

Hamilton is looking to extend his 30-point lead after being beaten into second place by the brilliance of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and the durability of his tyres at Silverstone last week. The Dutchman was third in practice, behind the two Mercedes and eight-tenths off Hamilton’s pace.

One amusing riposte came from McLaren chief executive Zak Brown, who had been accused by Racing Point’s enterprising team principal Otmar Szafnauer of knowing more about historic racing than F1 — part of the spat over the legality of Racing Point’s car, which is based on the 2019 Mercedes. 

The copycat design landed them a €400,000 (£361,000) fine and a 15-point deduction, subject to appeal.

Brown said: ‘As far as historic racing, people know I enjoy it, and I would invite Otmar to come and join me because he has got an historic car that he is currently racing.’

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