I have to be consulted on F1 team mate: Hamilton

Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:36pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes have an obligation to consult him on who should replace retired world champion Nico Rosberg as his Formula One team mate next season, but he will have no say in their ultimate decision.

"Basically, once they've dwindled it down to five drivers, or whatever it is, the shortlist, contractually they have to discuss with me," the triple world champion told Channel 4 television.

"But I don't have a say who it is."

Mercedes have been seeking a replacement for Rosberg since the German stunned the sport by announcing his retirement five days after winning the title in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

His departure leaves Hamilton as the clear favorite to regain the title next year.

The Briton, whose relationship with Rosberg was highly competitive, sometimes glacial and frequently fraught, has said he does not care who his team mate is but he clarified that in the interview as being "a little bit out of context".

"It is important who we have in the second car -- it's important for the team's morale," he said.

"We've seen in other teams and times where it can be a poisonous effect on a team, the arch rivalry between drivers. And so for sure that's really important, because I'm really happy here, I love being where I am.

"We've got to make sure that whatever we bring is at least as good as what we had, if not better, in terms of creating that energy," he added.   Continued...

Formula One - F1 - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - 27/11/2016 - Mercedes' Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the race. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed -