(GMM) Toto Wolff has played down suggestions that it is Lewis Hamilton’s salary demands that are holding up a 2021 contract for the seven time world champion.
It is rumored that Mercedes is not willing to meet Hamilton’s demands amid the economic impact of coronavirus – especially with a salary cap looming in Formula 1.
When asked about that, team boss Wolff admitted that the financial aspect is “always part of the discussion, and it’s never much fun on either side”.
He told Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper: “But in this case, it’s not an essential parameter. It’s more about how he sees himself in this world and how his thought processes are running.”
At the same time, Wolff said the important thing for Mercedes is “how we can use him as a brand ambassador – how many days is he available off the track”.
He says the talks should have begun last week, but Hamilton has been holed up in a Bahrain hotel with covid-19.
“I take his health into account but we are absolutely in agreement on the general conditions,” said Wolff. “Now we wait for him to get back on his feet and then we’ll talk.”
Austrian Wolff played down the risk that 35-year-old Hamilton could take the opportunity to either retire or switch to another team.
“I don’t think Lewis will ever want to drive anywhere else,” he insisted. “I also think he has unfinished business.
“From my perspective, there is nothing that prevents him from continuing, so I assume that it is very likely. But I wouldn’t rule anything out.”
November 17, 2020
(GMM) Toto Wolff appears to have played down speculation that Lewis Hamilton could be shaping up to sign a mere one-year contract for 2021.
Top drivers like new seven time world champion Hamilton typically sign long and lucrative contracts, but the current situation is notably different.
For instance, Mercedes’ long-term future in F1 is unclear, the corona crisis is changing the sport, and Formula 1 has agreed to look into driver salary caps for the future.
It means that mere months before the start of the 2021 season, 35-year-old Hamilton is yet to put pen on paper, with team boss Wolff saying the Briton’s seventh title means a new deal will be “definitely more expensive” now.
“It’s not that we’re delaying it, but I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure and say that we will do it before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi,” Wolff, who has also flagged stepping down as team boss in the medium term, is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint.
“There is no pressure, so it will be when it will be. Lewis loves racing and competition, just as the team does. Without a race to fight for, life wouldn’t be as much fun which is why I see us going behind next year.
“I think it will be another great year in 2021 before the tremendous challenge with the rule changes in 2022. I see us going on for a while,” Wolff added.