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Lewis wants same mechanics

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 19/12/2016

Morpheus Bulletin

Morpheus Bulletin
© Provided by BSkyB

Lewis Hamilton has asked Mercedes not to complete another reshuffle of mechanics across their two cars ahead of the 2017 season.

In a bid to avoid any factions developing inside the team, and to aid the development of team members' careers, several mechanics and engineers were switched over between Hamilton and team-mate Nico Rosberg's respective sides of the garage last winter.

Hamilton spoke out against the change on several occasions during the season and, ahead of the arrival of a new team-mate for 2017 after Rosberg's retirement, says he wants an unchanged line-up on his car for next year.

"Next year I'll speak to Toto [Wolff] and say 'look, I don't want my guys being changed'," Hamilton told Channel 4.

"I want to keep all my engineers, there's not a single person that needs to leave. All my mechanics, there's not a single person that needs to leave.

"There's at least one thing that they changed into the year which they didn't do on the other side which needs to change, and I don't know why they did that.

"But otherwise, let's go racing. I'm committed, hopefully they're committed to me, I'm now their only world champion so hopefully they respect and appreciate that and the commitment that I'll put into next year."

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Hamilton may have already directly made the request to team boss Wolff during a meeting at the Austrian's house on December 11, the day after his TV interview took place.

Appearing in an Instagram video alongside Wolff after the meeting, a smiling Hamilton described their discussions as "amazing".

"I just wanted to send on a message to let you know that we are going to be the strongest partnership next year and we look forward to fighting for this championship again," Hamilton told his followers.

Until Rosberg stunned Mercedes' management, and F1 at large, by retiring within days of winning the world title, Hamilton's relationship with the team had been under the spotlight after his controversial deployment of 'backing up' tactics on Rosberg in the Abu Dhabi title decider.

But, having initially suggested all avenues were open to the team in how they dealt with Hamilton, Wolff subsequently admitted to Sky Sports that Mercedes should not have interfered in their drivers' handling of the race.

"How the race panned out, we should have communicated differently and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate," said Wolff.

Hamilton, who has suggested he contractually must be told Mercedes' shortlist to replace Rosberg but is not involved in the decision, is set to learn of his 2017 team-mate in the New Year.

Sky Sports understands Mercedes are closing on a deal to sign Valtteri Bottas from Williams, with the Grove team opening talks with Felipe Massa to see if the Brazilian veteran is willing to perform a U-turn on his decision to quit F1 to provide an experienced replacement.

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