Toto Wolff reveals money talks behind Lewis Hamilton contract hold-up

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton reaches out to shake hands. Spain June 2023

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton reaches out to shake hands. Spain June 2023

Lewis Hamilton could yet have a new Mercedes contract in the bag before the Canadian Grand Prix weekend with Toto Wolff saying they just have to have the dreaded money talk.

Despite saying back in January he wanted to have Hamilton’s future secured before the new season began, months later Wolff and his star driver have yet to put pen to paper on a new contract.

Hamilton stated after his Spanish Grand Prix podium that it could be sorted on the Monday while Wolff spoke of a half an hour conversation. And yet more than a week later, there’s still nothing.

Wolff says that’s because they still need to have the dreaded money talk, never a fun topic between friends.

“We are still talking, we get this question basically every race weekend,” he told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street programme.

“We’ve got such a good relationship we dread the moment we have to talk about money.

“It is going to happen soon.

“Soon, I think we’re talking more days than weeks but if I commit to a date now then everyone is going to ask me over the weekend what happened to the days.”

Told the way to prevent that would be to have a new contract signed before the Canadian Grand Prix, he replied: “We are trying hard but at least I get to see him today and maybe we will talk about it.” recommends

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Hamilton has been with Mercedes since 2013 and prior to that raced Mercedes engines as a McLaren driver where he won his first of seven World titles in 2008.

Going onto add a further six with Mercedes, the Briton and his success have become synonymous with Mercedes.

“I think from a team perspective Lewis and Mercedes go back a long time. He’s never raced for another brand other than Mercedes,” Wolff said of the 38-year-old.

“We both joined the team in 2013 together, and from a professional relationship, we now have a friendship. It has been a wonderful time.

“Lewis is the most important personality in the sport.

“He is so multi-faceted, not only with the racing, but also off track, so we need to keep him in the sport for as long as possible.”

But keeping him in the sport, it has been suggested, means Mercedes need to give him a car capable of winning races.

Wolff says he’s so keen for that to happen, to see Mercedes back on the top step, that he would “give up every profit just to win on track. For a normal business owner that may sound crazy but it is how we are calibrated.

“It’s the stop-watch that counts.

“The cost cap has changed everything in our environment so we’re not allowed to spend above a certain amount.

“Mercedes have dominated for a dominated for a long time and now Red Bull are doing a better job, it’s meritocracy.

“The best engineering wins as long as you respect the rules, the technical, the sporting and the financial rules.

“We just need to stretch ourselves a bit.”

But according to the Daily Mail the hold-up is about more than just money, Hamilton also wants special clauses in place.

With a contract said to be worth £50m a year on the table, the seven-time World Champion is not only “seeking a multi-year, taking his driving career beyond the age of 40. His new terms may also contain clauses about his desired role as Mercedes ambassador when he finally decides to retire.”