Mercedes is right at the heart of swirling speculation under Singapore’s lights. And it’s not all about Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
German sources Auto Motor und Sport, and the SID news agency, are reporting rumours the Stuttgart carmaker could withdraw from F1.
“Whilst the second driver is not named and the Concorde Agreement is not signed, it is normal that there are rumours,” insisted Mercedes’ Norbert Haug on Friday.
The big rumour is that Briton Hamilton is simply waiting on Mercedes to commit to the sport before also putting pen to paper.
“We would prefer to clarify the driver question sooner rather than later, but we’ve always said that we will make a joint decision, and this will probably be in October,” said Haug.
That is a clear sign that Schumacher is intent on exercising the full power of his existing contract and options. Haug, though, is not denying the Hamilton rumour.
“We need to think about our alternatives and options, otherwise you are not being prudent. And as long as the facts are not delivered, we have to live with the speculation,” he added.
Schumacher, meanwhile, might not be pushed into retirement if Hamilton links up with Mercedes. Peter Sauber told Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday that he would give the seven time world champion a lifeline.
“I think many teams would be willing to talk to Michael,” the Swiss has now told Blick newspaper.
Dr Helmut Marko thinks Schumacher does indeed need to start shopping around.
“The thing about Hamilton and Mercedes is more than a rumour,” the Red Bull official said in Singapore.