Hamilton unconcerned by rumors linking Vettel to Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton has said that he is not concerned about his future with Mercedes despite reports in the paddock this weekend suggesting that Sebastian Vettel may be on the German marque’s radar.

According to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, Vettel has been subject to approaches from both McLaren and Mercedes for 2016, which would appear to leave Lewis out in the cold following Nico Rosberg’s contract extension. The Briton’s contract runs out at the end of next season.

As a German team, Mercedes may be keen on having the two best German drivers in the sport on its books, but Hamilton is not bothered by these stories.

“I’m not worried about it, but another German driver, I’m not sure if that’s something Mercedes would like, but at the moment I’m here until the end of next year, so it’s not going to be any time soon,” Hamilton said. “But that’s normal, Mercedes is the best, and so everyone is going to want to drive a Mercedes.”

With just 18 months left on his contract, negotiations for a fresh deal should begin shortly. Hamilton confirmed that there is interest from both parties to extend the partnership, but no official talks have taken place yet.

“My representatives haven’t, but we’ve both shown an interest in sitting down and talking,” Hamilton said when asked if any negotiations had begun. “We haven’t sat down yet, but the team know that I would like to push to continue, and I think they made clear that they would like to do the same.

“I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13, so I very much feel like I have Mercedes imprinted on my chest. It’s very much a family for me, but you never know what’s going to happen in the future, but I can’t particularly see myself anywhere else.

“If they happen to want someone else, that’s the way it is, I’m not going to whinge about it. There’s places for everyone.”

As the 2014 F1 season reaches its summer break, silly season is starting to get underway. It says a lot about the reputation Mercedes has now created in the F1 community that drivers are being linked to seats with the team for the season after next; the car is that good.

Would Vettel really walk away from Red Bull? “I think any offer has to be considered but nothing has changed,” he said on Thursday in Hungary.

It’s going to be a long summer of wild rumors, and frankly, silly season is only just getting started.

Mercedes: F1 teams need to work together to avoid split

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said Friday that Formula One teams have a responsibility to try to overcome their differences over the future of the sport in the face of a threat by Ferrari to quit because of a number of proposed changes.

Bernie Ecclestone, who ran F1 for 40 years before being replaced by new owners Liberty Media last year, has raised the possibility that Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne could walk away from F1 and form a breakaway series over Liberty’s future vision for the sport.

Ferrari is unhappy with Liberty’s proposal to simplify engines and redistribute prize money among F1 teams after the current contract with teams expires at the end of 2020.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene would not comment on the specifics of Marchionne’s previous comments at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on Friday, but said: “My only suggestion, please take him seriously.”

Wolff is also taking the possibility of Ferrari walking away seriously. He told Britain’s Press Association before the Australian GP that he agreed with Marchionne’s concerns and that Formula One can’t afford to alienate Ferrari or lose the team.

“Don’t mess with Sergio Marchionne,” he said. “Formula One needs Ferrari much more than Ferrari needs Formula One.”

Wolff was more diplomatic on Friday, saying he hopes all sides could come together for the good of the sport.

“I think this as much a battle on track as much as it is a fight off track for an advantage,” he said. “It is clear the current governance and how the rules are being made is not very functional. There’s too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021 for the best interest of the sport.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed there are too many competing agendas, suggesting that the FIA-Formula One’s governing body-and Liberty Media come together to decide on a set of regulations and financial framework for the next contract and the teams can then decide if they want to accept it or not.

“Trying to get a consensus between teams that have varying objectives, different set-ups, is going to be impossible,” he said. “It’s history repeating itself. It happens every five or six years, every time the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal.”

Tempers also flared during Friday’s media conference over another issue of contention between the teams – Ferrari’s recent hiring of FIA’s ex-safety director, Laurent Mekies.

Horner believes Ferrari broke an agreement among teams at a recent meeting to institute a 12-month waiting period for any former employee of FIA or FOM (Formula One Management) to be able to start working for one of F1’s teams. The concern is that former FIA staff who go to work for a specific team could share secrets from other teams.

“Certain teams were pushing for that period to be three years, but in the end it was agreed upon being 12 months,” he said. “It almost makes those meetings pointless if we can’t agree on something and action it.”

Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s move, saying Mekies would not join its team until after a six-month “gardening leave” period.

“There is nothing wrong with that because we were absolutely respecting the local law, the Swiss local law where Laurent was hired,” he said.