David Coulthard has advised newly-crowned world champion Lewis Hamilton to think twice about his pledge to spend the rest of his career with McLaren.
After winning the championship in Brazil and returning home to the UK, Hamilton told journalists: “I want to see my career through with this team (McLaren), so that’s my plan.”
“When I say I m not going anywhere, I m in the team I ve always dreamt of driving with, and when you re living your dream and you ve got the car you want to have why are you going to change?”
But Coulthard thinks it would be foolish to make such a commitment given that the team’s performance could take a downward turn in the future.
“In terms of trying to achieve wins it would be silly of him to stay there if the car wasn’t performing,” the Scot told BBC Radio 5Live.
“He wants to win grands prix and you would expect him to say that right now because they’re on top of the world.
“But I don’t think he needs to talk about the future beyond enjoying this World Championship at this moment and the battle of retaining that championship next year. None of us knows what the future holds.”
Coulthard isn’t the only ex-F1 driver to urge Hamilton to keep his options open.
Eddie Irvine said last month that the Briton should consider switching to McLaren’s rivals, Ferrari, at some point in his career.
“What Lewis has achieved in only his second season is great for Formula 1 and he is, to me, the first normal F1 Champion in a long time,” Irvine told his Virgin Media column.
“You look at (Michael) Schumacher and (Fernando) Alonso who were super boring out of the car.
“Lewis can talk, he looks good, he has a pop star girlfriend so he has a real appeal to the masses and that’s great for Formula 1.
“So he may win a couple more with McLaren and he’s loyal to Ron Dennis but he’s got to move to Ferrari at some point.
“Having been there, I’ve seen what it’s like and it’s a different situation to being with any other team. He’ll go there as a superstar already and ultimately I feel that’s where he’s got to go.”