Following the announcement on Friday that Toto Wolff will be staying on as Mercedes team principal and CEO for at least another three years, all eyes are on Lewis Hamilton as the F1 community waits for him to ink a new deal with the Silver Arrows.
Commenting on the matter, Wolff has said he believes Hamilton will sign a contract extension “sooner or later” and insisted the only reason the seven-time World Champion is yet to commit to Mercedes beyond 2020 is because there have been other, more pressing matters.
“From my point of view, we had such a successful run at Championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue,” Wolff said when asked about Lewis Hamilton’s future at Mercedes.
“He [Hamilton] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that’s why continuing together is a no-brainer.
“If you refer to why haven’t we got a signed contract? The reason is simple. We always prioritised getting this Championship done, and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation. But then COVID struck.
“So it has delayed us a little bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.
“We are putting no special date to it, because we don’t want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] while it’s not signed yet. So sooner or later, it needs to be done. At the latest before we go testing,” he explained.
As a result of the 2020 F1 season finishing later than usual, pre-season testing won’t get underway until March, just a few weeks before the season opener in Melbourne.
So, according to Wolff, it could be another few months until Hamilton signs a new deal with Mercedes for 2021 and beyond.
Meanwhile, Daimler chairman Ola Kallenius has said they would like Hamilton to continue driving for the Silver Arrows:
“I think Lewis Hamilton is the greatest, or one of the greatest race drivers of all time,” Kallenius said.
“I’ve known him since he was a teenager. I think his dedication and professionalism when it comes to how he has dedicated his life to being the greatest is remarkable and applaudable. And he’s a nice guy, too.
“So we would like to continue this partnership. And then it’s up to Toto in his role to get that done,” the Swedish executive added.