(GMM) Toto Wolff has denied that his contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton are going off the rails.
In Austria, the seven – time world champion made headlines for his radio traffic during the race over the thorny ‘track limits’ controversy – earning him a public rebuke from his boss when he said the 2023 car is “slow”.
“Lewis the car is bad, we know. Please drive it,” Wolff told the 38-year-old.
Former Red Bull driver Robert Doornbos thinks Hamilton’s complaints were disrespectful.
“You have 1500 guys at home in England who work their socks off to build that car,” he told Ziggo Sport. “It’s not a good car, but you won’t achieve anything by shouting that over the radio.
“Ok, the car is not fast enough, but Toto was right to have said what he said.”
But when asked why Wolff felt the need to intervene on Sunday, Hamilton was quoted as responding by RMC: “I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.”
However, Wolff defended Hamilton’s frustration.
“It was only about the interests of the team,” he said of the rebuke. “Sometimes there are moments when you have to calm things down but I did it with the best intention.
“You should hear how we talk to each other on the phone,” Wolff smiled. “This was nothing at all.
“Of course it doesn’t help if you get penalties, but the car was simply slow and it wouldn’t have changed much.”
And Wolff also insisted that the public radio exchange does not indicate that his protracted contract negotiations with Hamilton are going off the rails.
“I am still confident that everything will work out,” said the Austrian. “We just want to make everything clear to the smallest detail.
“It is not a discussion about money or duration anymore. It’s about the future and ensuring that everything is optimized. We are talking about other details.”
Recent rumors have suggested that Hamilton was pushing for a five-year deal and then an even longer stay as a Mercedes ambassador, with CEO Ola Kallenius reportedly having to get involved in the talks.”
When asked how long Hamilton’s new contract will be, Wolff answered that it will be for a “while”.
As for how long the negotiations will take now, he answered: “I’m sure it won’t be long. We want it to go perfectly, so every detail has to be right.”