Lewis Hamilton was in intense talks with Mercedes about drafting a lucrative contract extension, but his plans were torn apart when chief Toto Wolff is reported to step down.
Since Wolff took over the position of Mercedes team boss in 2013, the Silver Arrows have won six double championships in a row, ending Red Bull’s dominance.
The 48-year-old should remain in charge of the German constructor to help Hamilton beat Michael Schumacher’s records.
Those plans could be shaken, however, as Auto Bild claims Wolff will step down from his position when his contract expires at the end of the year.
The Austrian owns 30 percent of the Mercedes F1 team and Daimler has 70 percent of the majority shareholders.
Auto Bild adds that Wolff could seek a supervisory role by buying more shares alongside his good friend Lawrence Stroll, who is an investor in Aston Martin who will take over the Racing Point position in 2021.
Hamilton previously indicated that his future with Mercedes could be based on Wolff remaining in charge.
Earlier this year, Wolff hinted that he could leave his post by the end of the year.
“My contract with Mercedes runs until the end of 2020 and we are still in good discussions about what we want to do together,” he said.
“All of this has been pushed into the background by the coronavirus because now we all have bigger problems to solve – human problems in our companies.
Sebastian Vettel will move from McLaren to Charles Leclerc with Carlos Sainz.
There may be a vacancy at Red Bull as Alex Albon’s seat has not been confirmed.
But riding next to Max Verstappen could set off fireworks as the two of them got hit at times last season.