(GMM) The uncertainty about Lewis Hamilton’s future will be “cleared up in the next few days”.
That is the view of Felix Gorner, the F1 correspondent for the German broadcasters RTL and n-tv.
His comments come after Toto Wolff broke his recent silence on the matter to admit he and Hamilton have been “arguing” over the seven time world champion’s 2021 contract.
“We don’t make life easy for the lawyers when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending them curveballs,” the Mercedes team boss told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
“But he’s in America now and I’m here in Austria. At some point we will finalize it. It’s how it is with negotiations.”
Wolff said the final deadline for all the signatures is Bahrain – where both pre-season testing and the first race of the season will take place in March.
But Gorner doesn’t think the world of F1 will wait that long for official news.
“The problem will be cleared up in the next few days,” he predicts, adding that the probability that the negotiations will ultimately collapse and fail is “zero”.
“Both sides want to work together, Hamilton wants his eighth world title. That’s why the contract will be signed in January,” said Gorner.
Former F1 driver David Coulthard predicts that the major stumbling block in the negotiations is probably money – the actual value of the contract, plus Hamilton’s desire for more freedom in his marketing rights.
“Business is business,” Coulthard told Express newspaper. “Nobody just gives money away because somebody is nice or somebody is good at what they’re doing. There has to be an agreement on what the perceived value is.”
January 25, 2021
(GMM) Toto Wolff has set an eleventh-hour deadline for the conclusion of contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton.
Dr Helmut Marko is regarding the obviously troubled negotiations as a potential boost for Red Bull, telling RTL that he hopes the “unrest works in our favor”.
“The lawyers are hard at work,” Mercedes boss Wolff told ORF’s Sport am Sonntag program.
He was speaking from Kitzbuhel, where he spent the last ten days in quarantine after testing positive for covid-19.
“No symptoms, thankfully,” said the Austrian. “We’re out of quarantine now.”
As for the Hamilton talks, Wolff is setting a worryingly late deadline for their conclusion.
“We have to sign something at some point before Bahrain at the latest,” he said.
Wolff insists that he is not making any serious threats in the negotiations, amid rumors George Russell is the obvious favorite to step in.
“In our long-term partnership it is never about any threatening gestures. I did threaten him that I am next in line for his seat,” he joked.
“We will pull out the pen at some point. We have such a solid basis in our relationship, and we want to continue to have more successes in the future.”