Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said a new contract for Lewis Hamilton may be delayed until after the 2020 season.
Both Wolff and Hamilton are out of contract at the end of 2020, but with the pair crucial to Mercedes’ seven Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles in a row, you would have been forgiven for thinking new deals for both would have been an urgent priority for Daimler.
Also, there is no stronger brand in Formula 1 right now than Hamilton after he secured a seventh World Championship at the Turkish Grand Prix, putting him level with Michael Schumacher’s tally.
But Wolff said a new deal for Hamilton may well be thrashed out after the 2020 season has ended.
“I think more than likely, we are looking towards the end of the year,” he is quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Not that we wouldn’t find time for each other, but I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi we will announce a new contract.
“There isn’t any pressure. When it’s done, it’s done.
“He loves racing, and the competition, as does the team and myself.
“I think if we wouldn’t have the competition against the stopwatch, life would be not as fun.
“So I see us going for more next year, maybe putting another great year on, and then we have this tremendously challenging regulation change for 2022. We’ll go for a while.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 15, 2020
Hamilton said he is “sure” that a new deal will be signed, adding that he wants it to be “organic and not something that’s forced”
“I just always think through the year, just that I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got a contract in place, I don’t feel like I should add pressure,” he explained.
“I wanted to put it aside and wait until the job is done. So, probably over these next weeks – we’ve got three weeks in the Middle East – now it’s a bit more chilled, but I still have three races ahead of me that I want to win.
“It’s not done but we will get it done, I’m sure.”
Originally Wolff was saying a new deal would be sorted out for Hamilton once both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships were secured, which Hamilton secured at the Turkish Grand Prix, making it the seventh year in a row that the Silver Arrows have won the Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles.
The fact that Wolff is now saying a deal will be likely sorted after the season could be cause for concern.