Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says if Lewis Hamilton's decides to retire from F1 ahead of the 2022, it would be "an indictment" for F1 as the Briton is the most prominent member of the sport.
Hamilton is rumored to be pondering his future during F1's winter break, the seven-time world champion feeling "disillusioned" according to Wolff by the controversial circumstances in which he lost the world title to archrival Max Verstappen last month in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton has remained out of the public eye since mid-December and provided no updates on social media.
Although he has given no indication that he intends on leaving F1, it has been reported that the Briton wants to know how the FIA will restore its credibility and enforce the sport's rules impartially in the future before he commits to 2022.
However, following the governing body's announcement on Thursday that it will release the findings of its inquiry into the Abu Dhabi GP - and presumably the actions it will undertake – on March 18, Hamilton no longer has the luxury of waiting upon the report's dissemination to decide his future.
Wolff offered no insight into his driver's current frame of mind, but the Mercedes F1 boss and co-team owner says that it would not be good news for Formula 1 if the Briton walked away.
"I really hope we will see him again. He is the most important part of our sport," said Wolff in an interview with Austria's Krone.
"It would be an indictment for the whole of Formula 1 if the best driver decided to quit because of outrageous decisions.
"No matter what hurdle has been put in his way, he has known all his life that he has to speak on the track.
"But it’s incredibly difficult for him until he finds a way between being right and being wrong. It just takes time."
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Wolff revealed that he is scheduled to soon meet with Hamilton.
"In February at the latest – and certainly not to drink tequila," said the Austrian . 'I had enough of that in Abu Dhabi.
Regardless of what the future may hold, Wolff admitted that the events that took place at Yas Marina last month and the dramatic outcome of the race "will never be forgotten".
"Because what happened to Lewis was simply wrong," Wolff stated.
"On that day he was unbeatable, until the stewards blew a fuse and decided on three infringements of the rules. It’s hard to understand.
"It will always stick with us, even though Max Verstappen is a worthy World Champion over the course of the season. But on that day, one was better than the other – and he didn’t win."