Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok has claimed it would be "very damaging" for the sport should Lewis Hamilton retire as a result of the events of last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton has maintained his silence since the chequered flag fell on the 2021 season following a controversial last-lap shootout between himself and Max Verstappen for the world title.
During this time, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has been able only to state his "hope" that Hamilton will return to the paddock after conceding the Yas Marina race had left both he and the seven-time champion "disillusioned" with F1.
“Ultimately only he knows what's going on in his head," Chandhok told Express Sport.
“In my opinion, I think it would be very, very damaging for the sport if he walked away.
“Essentially he would be walking away because he didn't think the sport was fair or credibly run. That would be extremely damaging for the reputation of the sport and the FIA.
“For the sake of the sport, I hope he doesn’t walk away at this point."
Although it is likely that F1 would recover and continue, Chandhok is less confident of the ability of the sport's governing body, the FIA, to bounce back from such a situation.
“Honestly, if that did happen, it’s quite hard to see how the FIA would recover from that very quickly, to be honest," added Chandhok.
“It's the sport's biggest star basically questioning their integrity. So I hope that doesn't happen.”