Wolff: Interest in Vettel justified by risk of ‘black swan’ event
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff isn’t dismissing Sebastian Vettel as a candidate for a seat at the championship winning outfit as a “black swan” event could suddenly open up a vacancy at the team.
Mercedes has yet to decide its 2021 line-up, with the contracts of both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas expiring at the end of this year.
Speaking to the German media on Wednesday, Wolff said that Mercedes can’t dismiss Vettel’s availability as unforeseen circumstances could promote the four-time world champion from outsider to prime candidate if unforeseen circumstances suddenly materialized.
“Sebastian is of course a great personality and, with four world championship titles, one of the most outstanding drivers of his generation,” said Wolff.
“He is an outsider candidate for a cockpit at Mercedes.
“Our priority lies with the Mercedes drivers, Valtteri and Lewis, and then obviously George [Russell] and the Williams situation we’re looking at with interest. Beyond that you do not discount any driver.
“This is why I said I don’t want to discount Sebastian, because who knows what happens in the next months?
“If I had told you in January that we would not have any racing in the first half of the year nobody would have believed it.
“I’m happy with both our drivers, and George. But you never know. One of them may decide that he doesn’t want to go racing any more, and suddenly you have a vacant spot.
“And this is why I don’t want to come out in June and say, ‘No chance, Sebastian is not racing for us.’
“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.
“Remember Nico Rosberg. In that respect we’re just keeping our options open, but of course concentrating our discussions with our current drivers.”
Horner: Vettel at Mercedes ‘would be great for all of us to see’
Regarding Hamilton’s future and an extension of the Britain’s deal with Mercedes for 2021 and beyond, Wolff said that no contract talks had yet been held with the six-time world champion.
“We didn’t see each other during the lockdown, but we were in regular contact. But we didn’t work on any agreement. Between us there is a lot of trust.
“We have been together for a long time, and never in these years together we had to take the contract out and actually read what was written in there, because it comes so naturally.
“And therefore, once racing resumes we’re going to spend some time together, pull the contract out of the cupboard, look at the duration, the numbers and the terms and hopefully have something pretty soon.”
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