Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has spoken in the recent past about the Silver Arrows’ desire to extend Lewis Hamilton’s contract beyond 2023, but the deal is yet to be signed.
From the looks of things, there is a clause that Hamilton ‘doesn’t want’ in his contract and this is the main reason why talks have not progressed despite the two parties coming together and speaking on three different occasions.
Wolff made these comments on the day the new Mercedes W14 was finally unveiled in front of fans.
Some fans are already applauding Mercedes for ‘bending the rules‘ to find a loophole that could bring Mercedes success following a disappointing 2022 campaign.
“The talks have always been going okay, I’ve think we’ve done it three times now,” said Wolff.
“We are just changing a sentence, a word or a number here or there. All is going to be good.”
The interviewer then quipped back, saying, ‘you could change a zero’.
Wolff is no stranger to humour and had a response ready.
“He wouldn’t want to have a zero less!”
Hamilton had already claimed at the end of last season that he was looking to end his racing career at Mercedes.
Why is Hamilton not signing the deal?
Naturally, that has facilitated a more relaxed negotiation process, with Mercedes not necessarily worried about another team prizing their star driver away.
For the team’s part, they have also confessed that Hamilton is ‘far more than just a driver’ for the Silver Arrows, with the Stevenage-born man’s success synonymous with the rise of Mercedes in F1.
Perhaps one of the reasons for a delay in any announcement surrounding Hamilton’s future at Mercedes is in the finer details surrounding the involvement of the seven-time world champion following his retirement from racing.
Mercedes is apparently keen on Hamilton signing on in an ambassadorial role for the Silver Arrows after he decides to call it time.
Wolff spoke about the team’s thought process with regard to Hamilton’s future.
“We’ve done a few of these contracts in the past, and they change little from iteration to iteration, so it’s not usually complex apart from the obvious terms,” Wolff said.
“We’ve had a first chat. But I don’t want to commit to any timeline, because it’s not important for him nor for us at that stage. It runs a full year, and we’re going to find the right time.”
Hamilton has been a constant at Mercedes since making the switch from McLaren back in 2013.
As far as Wolff is concerned, there is no reason why the deal will not be ironed out soon enough.
“We’ve always found good solutions that reflect his value for the team and for the sport, and on the other side, I think Mercedes is the place he wants to be,” he said.
“These things have never been a contentious point. Within us, it was no problem to sort things out over the winter before actually going racing.
“It was always clear they were going to do that. It’s almost not like a first priority in sitting down, because this is going to be a journey that will continue.”