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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mercedes and Hamilton had ‘first chat’ over new F1 contract

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Seven-time F1 world champion Hamilton is getting into the ultimate 12 months of his present Mercedes contract in 2023, having signed a two-year deal in the course of the 2021 season.

Mercedes F1 chief Wolff mentioned final month that each the crew and Hamilton remained aligned on their objectives, and that he anticipated it will take “a couple of hours” to get a brand new settlement in place.

Requested by Autosport on Wednesday following the launch of Mercedes’ 2023 F1 automobile for an replace on contract talks, Wolff mentioned whereas there had been an preliminary chat, there was no rush to get one thing finalised.

“We’ve completed a couple of of those contracts up to now, and so they change little from iteration to iteration, so it’s not normally advanced other than the plain phrases,” mentioned Wolff.

“We’ve had a primary chat. However I don’t wish to decide to any timeline, as a result of it’s not vital for him nor for us at that stage.

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“It runs a full 12 months, and we’re going to seek out the best time.”

Hamilton and Mercedes beforehand left contract talks as late because the low season again in 2020-21 earlier than agreeing to a one-year deal to cowl the 2021 season.

The Briton, who’s getting into his eleventh season with Mercedes in 2023, has at all times been open about his want to proceed his long-standing relationship with the crew. He has gained six of his seven world titles with Mercedes, and can also be engaged on new campaigns to assist enhance range by way of each the crew and wider motorsport.

Wolff denied that talks with Hamilton have been “dragging on”, saying: “We’ve at all times discovered good options that mirror his worth for the crew and for the game, and on the opposite aspect, I feel Mercedes is the place he needs to be. This stuff have by no means been a contentious level.

Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Mick Schumacher, Mercedes Reserve Driver, Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1 Workforce Workforce Principal and CEO, Mercedes W14

Photograph by: Mercedes AMG

“Inside us, it was no drawback to kind issues out over the winter earlier than truly going racing, as a result of it was at all times clear they have been going to do this.

“It’s virtually not like a primary precedence in sitting down, as a result of that is going to be a journey that may proceed.”

At 38, Hamilton is the second-oldest driver on the F1 grid, solely behind Fernando Alonso. However Wolff had zero issues about his age, saying it “performs no function” in contract talks.

“If you happen to take a look at how properly prime athletes on the planet have pushed the boundaries, I’m occupied with Tom Brady who’s 44, 45, and he’s on the pitch throwing a ball and being tackled,” mentioned Wolff.

“So the age performs no function.”

Wolff additionally didn’t really feel there was any stress on Mercedes to show it was succesful to battle for wins and championships once more regularly, having endured a tough marketing campaign in 2022 that noticed Hamilton undergo the primary winless marketing campaign of his F1 profession.

“He is aware of what he has with the crew,” mentioned Wolff.

“We gained eight constructors’ titles in a row, I’m not saying something you don’t know, and we received it incorrect final 12 months. So the useful resource, the potential is there, and we simply must proceed to develop like we’ve completed final season.

“I don’t suppose it performs on Lewis’s thoughts any doubt that the crew can carry out.”

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