According to Sky Sports, it’s “business as usual” ahead of the 2021 season for Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
The seven-time World Champion’s contract with Mercedes ran out at the end of 2020 and it always seemed likely that Hamilton was going to sign again sooner rather later, though talks have dragged on much longer than many expected.
Wolff has played down any talk of hiccups in negotiations, saying last week that a new contract will be signed “soon” but the length of time taken has unsurprisingly cast doubt in the minds of many.
In the latest update on Hamilton’s situation, Sky Sports News reporter Craig Slater has explained the current position of both driver and constructor.
He said: “All is quiet still on the Sir Lewis Hamilton contract front but I can report that all is calm at Mercedes regarding that new contract. They understand that while there isn’t confirmation, the longer this drags on, the more speculation there will be. They say they are going to live with that.
“The plan is for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to continue to work together. That’s still the plan; that’s what they’ve said all along.”
When discussing pre-season engagements such as factory visits, Slater added: “As far as I understand none of that is obstructed by the fact he remains out of contract, so it is business as usual as far as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are concerned, contract or no contract.”
Slater explained that while Wolff has spoken of curveballs in negotiations, it is understood that these are not problems that have arisen, but just areas they felt should be “codified” within the contract.
The reporter also highlighted when Hamilton’s contract needs to be done by in order to take his place on the grid once the season begins at the end of March.
Slater said: “Toto Wolff has actually been talking about deadlines and what he’s said in an interview with German television is that the deadline is the day that they get on the plane for Bahrain and that refers to pre-season testing rather than the first Grand Prix of the season. So that would be the 11th of March to get that contract done.
“However, Mercedes today (Tuesday) announced that they would present their new car on March the second – that’s exactly four weeks. They promised contributions as well from the drivers at that launch so I think it would be a huge surprise if Sir Lewis Hamilton hasn’t agreed his new deal with his new title and signed it before that launch day.”