Lewis Hamilton says he will think about the next stage of his career amid speculation he could consider swapping Mercedes for rivals Ferrari.
Six-time F1 champion Hamilton won the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
But he did not completely rule out leaving the German manufacturer, with whom he has raced since 2013, when speaking to reporters after the race.
He also refused to confirm or deny reports he has met with Ferrari chairman John Elkann earlier this year.
“Naturally, everything that happens behind closed doors is always private with whoever you end up sitting with,” said the Briton, whose contract expires at the end of next season.
“For many years I have never ever sat down and considered other options because we have been driving straight ahead on to the path and journey we have been on.
“We are still on that path and there is very little that is going to shift that. I love where I am so it is definitely not a quick decision to do something else.
“But it is only smart and wise for me to sit and think of what I want if it is the last stage of my career. I want to keep winning. I cannot tell you what is going to happen moving forward.”
Mercedes will doubtless be keen to keep Hamilton who has won five out of the last six F1 championships.
Team principal, Toto Wolff, appeared confident Hamilton would choose to stay with the team he has enjoyed so much success with in spite of the speculation.
But he also acknowledged there was a possibility the 34-year-old could move elsewhere.
“I hope that our relationship continues but, equally, there is a 25 per cent chance we are not in control of (it),” Wolff said.
“We will see how the next months pan out. We have not given ourselves a date, but we come back at the end of January, start of February and define the schedule as to when we want to discuss the future.
“A sports team is not static. It is dynamic. That means there is always going to be change, and change can provide opportunity.
“If one important member of the team breaks out, that provides risk, but also an opportunity at the same time.”
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