Lewis Hamilton seat put at risk as Mercedes advised to sell F1 team when 2020 season ends
Lewis Hamilton may face having to find another seat if Mercedes chief Ola Kallenius follows Bernie Ecclestone’s advice and sells the Silver Arrows F1 team. Mercedes have been the dominant force during the turbo-hybrid era and have won title doubles for the past six years.
Hamilton has won five of the past six World Drivers’ Championships, with the other going to his ex-team-mate Nico Rosberg shortly before his retirement in 2016.
Mercedes showed during pre-season testing in February that they’re set to be the team to beat this time around, with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas impressing in the new W11.
Ecclestone, who ran F1 for almost 40 years prior to Liberty Media’s takeover, says though that Mercedes should sell up at the end of the coming campaign.
That would leave Hamilton, who is soon expected to sign a new contract, potentially looking for a new team who would definitely be in contention to compete – although the six-time champion definitely wouldn’t be short of offers.
“I’ve met Mercedes boss Ola Kallenius when he was still in charge of Mercedes’ F1 engines factory in Brixworth,” Ecclestone told F1-Insider.com.
“So he knows what it is about. At the moment, however, he has other problems than his Formula 1 project.
“But what I am deeply impressed by is how he is leading the company through the emissions scandal and the corona crisis into the future.
“If I were him I would sell my team at the end of 2020. What does Mercedes have to prove after six titles in a row? Nothing.
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“Every world champion after that would have to live with the shortcoming only to have won the title because of the exit of Mercedes.”
Hamilton and Mercedes’ bids to defend their respective titles have been put on hold due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The spread of Covid-19 has seen the Australian, Chinese and Monaco Grands Prix wiped off the 2020 schedule entirely.
Races in Bahrain, Vietnam, Holland, Spain and Azerbaijan, meanwhile, have been postponed and await rescheduling.
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Ecclestone is confident F1 will make it through the crisis, which has seen current chief executive Chase Carey plan a scaled back 15-18 race calendar.
“Formula 1 will survive in whatever form,” Ecclestone said. “Despite the difficult times, the green zeitgeist, not only because of corona.”
The 2020 F1 season is now due to start in Montreal on June 14 with the Canadian Grand Prix to be the opening race.
Promoter Francois Dumontier revealed last week that he is optimistic about the race going ahead, despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in North America.
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