Mercedes hopes to complete their contract talks and agree on a new deal with Lewis Hamilton during the upcoming mini-breaks in the congested Formula One calendar, team chief Toto Wolff has revealed.
One connection in the wake of the Ineos rumour is whether Hamilton, who pushes an eco-friendly agenda, would feel uncomfortable driving for a team that was outright owned by a company that produces petrochemicals and plastics.
But there’s been no public indication that Hamilton is unhappy with anything regarding the team’s future, or opposed Ineos’s arrival as a team partner. And given the steadfast denial of Ineos’s interest in a takeover, it is also just a hypothetical question.
What is known is that Hamilton is yet to commit to the team beyond 2020 but he and Wolff have made it clear new deals for each of them are the plan.
Negotiations have been postponed by the delayed start to the season and the intense schedule of nine races in 11 weeks since the championship began.
Wolff hopes the upcoming gaps in the schedule will provide an opportunity to get things nailed down on Hamilton’s side.
And Wolff has made it clear Mercedes cannot move into 2021 not knowing what their driver line-up will be.
“It must be this season. You can’t start a new year without knowing what your driver line-up is,” he told Channel 4.
“Having said that, I’m pretty sure it’s going to continue like it is.
“With the intensity of this season we just didn’t have the time to spend the day properly with each other because you want to recover in those days between.
“We keep it pretty loose, and at a certain stage we’ve already said we’ve got to sit down and take the old contract out that we haven’t looked at since three years ago and say ‘okay, what do we want to change in that?’”
“He was always the highest-earning driver of his generation and he always will be,” Wolff confirmed.
“What we have allowed him to do is to follow his other hobbies and passions. We totally embrace his way of living, his travelling, which is totally different from any of the other racing drivers, and I respect that.
“The deal is performance. The performance from our side, to bring him a car that is able to win, and performance from his side to be the quickest driver out there, and he’s never failed to do that and I hope we’ve never failed him either.”
WOLFF ON HAMILTON’S CONTRACT : IT MUST BE THIS SEASON WOLFF ON HAMILTON’S CONTRACT : IT MUST BE THIS SEASON
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F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 14:18||1st Qualifying|
|14h25 - 14h40||2nd Qualifying|
|14h48 - 15h00||3rd Qualifying|
|13:10 - 15:10||Race|