Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has suggested the team could wait until the eve of pre-season testing to announce Lewis Hamilton’s new deal.
The seven-time World Champion is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the year, and as of yet no new deal has been struck.
Friday has been full of key announcements – Sergio Perez was confirmed by Red Bull as Max Verstappen’s team-mate for 2021, while Wolff himself struck a new three-year deal to remain team principal and CEO of the Mercedes team, while Daimler, Wolff and INEOS have all become equal owners of the Mercedes F1 team.
And it appeared that the confirmation of a new deal for Hamilton was also imminent after Mercedes tweeted the following on Thursday.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 17, 2020
Wolff, though, still appears to be in no rush saying Mercedes have given themselves until the eve of 2021 pre-season testing to sort out new terms for their star driver.
“From my point of view, we had such a successful run of Championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue,” he told reporters.
“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.”
Mercedes chairman Ola Kallenius also said he wants Hamilton to continue with the Formula 1 team, but said it’s over to Wolff to “get that done”.
“I think Lewis Hamilton is the greatest, or one of the greatest race drivers of all time, I’ve known him since he was a teenager,” said Kallenius.
“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.”