MAY 10, 2015
Wolff happy to give Hamilton his freedom
Toto Wolff says he is happy to give Lewis Hamilton his freedom.
In the three week 'break' between Bahrain and Spain, the reigning world champion racked up the equivalent of a full circumnavigation of planet Earth in his red, $30 million private jet.
Reports say he hopped from Bahrain to Monaco and then to London, Mallorca, Monza, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York before returning to the UK and finally arriving to race in Barcelona.
"He's single -- he can travel," smiled Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
"If it helps him to be fast on the track, let us never stand in his way," he said in an interview with Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper.
"Lewis is restless, he has many passions and he pursues them," Wolff continued.
Hamilton's travels might be capturing attention at present due to his contractual status, amid persistent rumours he is not ruling out a switch to Ferrari for 2016.
The repeatedly-delayed confirmation of a new Mercedes deal is the subject of frenzied speculation in Barcelona.
There are rumours the 30-year-old is demanding he be able to keep his F1 cars at the end of each season, all of his trophies and be paid a staggering $66 million per year.
It might explain the presence at the Spanish grand prix this weekend of Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche.
German-language commentator Christian Danner says those sorts of demands will be giving even Mercedes-Benz pause to reconsider.
"The team needs to decide as soberly as possible if the cost-benefit works out," he told Bild am Sonntag.
"Ok, you would pay a driver tens of millions more to drive a second faster than the competition, but Mercedes must also be thinking that Nico Rosberg can win in this car, and the same for other drivers as well.
"Is Hamilton really worth that much?" Danner wondered.