Mercedes team principle Toto Wolff has dismissed suggestions that he is looking to replace Lewis Hamilton with Sergio Perez.
After missing out on a record eighth world title on the final lap of the 2021 season to Max Verstappen, Hamilton has struggled for form this year and sits sixth in the current driver standings, two places behind team-mate George Russell and 112 points behind leader Verstappen.
The 37-year-old’s struggles this season have triggered suggestions that Mercedes may look to move him on at the end of the season, but Wolff, via the Independent, has branded the claims ‘complete bull****’.
Hamilton’s current deal with Mercedes runs to the end of 2023, but there have been suggestions he could leave the current constructors champions before then.
Several names have been brandished as possible replacements, including Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez, but Wolff has insisted he has never called the Mexican driver.
‘I never called Sergio’, said Wolff when questioned on the rumours in an interview with motorsport.com.
‘He’s a good guy and I respect him, but I never talked to him and I was not in contact with any other driver. It’s complete bull****.
‘Lewis and I, even in the face of a not-so-encouraging scenario like the beginning of this season, we are always aligned in wanting to try to make things better and be together next year.’
Mercedes’ car has proven to be inconsistent this season.
They are some way off last year’s rivals Red Bull, and have fallen behind Ferrari in the pecking order too.
The car struggled with bouncing earlier on in the season, the issues are seeimgly behind them and they are starting to improve, registering back-to-back double podiums before the summer break.
Wolff also suggested that Hamilton is nowhere near retiring, despite several suggestions that it is just a matter of time until the seven-time world champion calls it quits.
The Austrian put forward the idea that Hamilton could race well into his 40s as he chases an elusive eighth world title.
‘We’ve been telling each other for a couple of months that we could go on, maybe five or 10 years, right?’ he said. ‘None of that [the rumours] is true.’
The season will resume in just under two weeks’ time with the Belgian Grand Prix.