Hamilton has first chat with Wolff over new Mercedes deal
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 15th February, 2023 - 10:50pm
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has confirmed holding an initial chat with Lewis Hamilton over a new contract.
The seven-time F1 champion heads into the new season with only a year remaining on his current deal.
Wolff has previously stated he expects there to be few issues with regard to Hamilton extending a stay that now runs into an 11th year.
From Hamilton’s perspective, he has also made clear his desire to build on the diversity and inclusion programmes set up with Mercedes beyond the end of his racing career.
“We’ve done a few of these contracts in the past and they change little from iteration to iteration,” said Wolff, when asked for an update on the situation following the launch of his team’s 2023 F1 challenger.
“So it’s not hugely complex, apart from the obvious terms.
“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 this stage.
“It [his current deal] runs a full year and we’re going to find the right time.”
Hamilton “knows what he has” with Mercedes
Now 38, Wolff does not see Hamilton’s age as a stumbling block, especially after declaring the British driver to be “maybe the best I’ve seen him after the winter”.
“His age plays no role for this next contract,” insisted Wolff.
“If you look at how well top athletes in the world have pushed the boundaries – and I’m thinking about Tom Brady who is 45 – and he’s on the pitch throwing a ball and being tackled, so age plays no role.”
Nor does Wolff believe Mercedes has to prove itself to Hamilton this season on the back of its poor performance last year during which the team struggled to adapt to the heavily revised aerodynamic regulations with its W13.
“He knows what he has with the team,” said Wolff. “We won eight constructors’ titles in a row and we got it wrong last year.
“The resource, the capability is there and we just need to continue to develop like we did last season.
“So I don’t think there’s any doubt in Lewis’ mind the team can perform.”
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