Toto Wolff breaks silence on replacing Lewis Hamilton with Charles Leclerc

Lewis Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of the 2023, with no certainty over his future at Mercedes or in Formula 1.

With rumours swirling in the paddock over the future of Lewis Hamilton’s seat at Mercedes, Italian media reports have claimed Charles Leclerc is being lined up with a move to the Silver Arrows.

Hamilton’s contract at the Silver Arrows is due to expire at the end of the current season, with the seven-time world champion’s future currently unknown.

Leclerc, who is under contract at Ferrari until the end of 2024, is understood to be frustrated with the team after his shot at a maiden Drivers’ title was lost last season due, in part, to poor strategy calls.

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur and Leclerc have admitted the frustration is real but have explained that it is only natural to feel that way as a driver when you are not at the front of the grid.

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With speculation mounting, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has waded in to offer his take on the situation, revealing his only communication directly with Leclerc came at Melbourne airport.

“I think nobody doubts Charles’ ability,” Wolff explained. 

“He is a good guy.

“The only time I talked with him was when we discussed where the gate is in Melbourne when we boarded the plane. No contact otherwise.

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“I think he’s 100%. committed and loyal to Ferrari. And it’s his contract. And in the same way we are 100% committed to putting pen to paper with Lewis.

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“Charles is a super guy and for the long-term future, someone you need to always have on your radar.”

Leclerc has mounted somewhat of a comeback in Azerbaijan, taking pole position in both the Sprint and Grand Prix.

However, despite the strong one-lap pace, Leclerc couldn’t covert the pole in the sprint race to victory in the Sprint, as he lost out to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.