Lewis Hamilton retirement verdict given by Stefano Domenicali - 'F1 will react'
Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali believes the championship can survive without Lewis Hamilton, if the seven-time world champion decided to walk away at the end of the year.
The future of the Briton has been much discussed over the past few months, after Hamilton committed to a one-year contract extension with Mercedes.
However, recently Hamilton admitted "I plan to be here next year" but did conclude he was a 'spontaneous' person, and anything was possible.
Some believe if Hamilton manages to become the most decorated driver in F1 history with an eighth world title this season, he will retire from the sport altogether - something Hamilton has refuted.
Back in March, Hamilton said: "If I don't love racing, if all you're going for is accolades, all you're going for is titles I feel like I could potentially lose my way.
"Of course it's the ultimate dream [to win an eighth world title], but I don't think it's going to be the deciding factor as to whether I stay or keep going," he explained.
But Domenicali believes, whatever happens in Hamilton's future, F1 is strong enough to survive without the global sensation.
"For sure Lewis Hamilton is a great asset," said the Italian, speaking on F1's first quarter conference call.
"He is doing an incredible job on the sporting side in terms of image. He was able to grow F1 in other areas which were not really specifically related to F1.
"But F1 itself is strong, and drivers, champions, are always in a place where one day they may retire."
Domenicali made clear that he was not privy to any specific information regarding Hamilton's future.
"I don't know what Lewis is doing, we are talking with him, but of course, now he's focused on his actual season, he is fully boosted to make sure that he'll be the only driver that is going to win eight titles in the history of F1," he added.
"But you know, F1 is solid, robust, and for sure, whatever will be the decision of Lewis, F1 will react and move forward.
"The good news is that if Lewis, as we all hope, will stay, he will have an incredible season in front of him with the new cars, with a new challenge. And for sure, this may be very interesting for him.
"If he will decide a different way around, the good news is that in F1 we have so many good drivers today that are at least the challenge, the chance, will be even stronger.
"Therefore, of course, whatever will be the decision of Lewis, we will respect it. But F1 is really solid and strong."
Hamilton leads the Driver's standings by eight points heading into the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, with Max Verstappen keen to close the gap in the Red Bull.