Toto Wolff has said he will sit down with Lewis Hamilton later in February to continue discussions over signing a new deal with Mercedes.
The quiet off-season has allowed the rumour mill to be sent spinning into action again. Hamilton was reportedly close to agreeing a new two-year deal with the Silver Arrows, only for Spanish press to then say that the deal had broken down over a financial disagreement.
Hamilton said via Instagram that he had not even properly spoken to his boss over the winter and Wolff confirmed that contact had been minimal.
Discussions will continue again as teams progress through launch week and pre-season testing in Barcelona.
“The last time we met was at the Christmas party,” Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport.
“We chatted a bit about the future but since then we have only talked via WhatsApp.
“We decided to leave ourselves alone in December and January. When it starts again in February, we will sit down and discuss.”
One of the widely held viewpoints is that Hamilton holds all the cards in the negotiations given his status as the highest-paid driver on the grid and as a six-time World Champion.
Wolff agrees that Hamilton will never be short of approaches, but feels Mercedes do hold some weight in the discussions, too. As a result, he is quietly confident that a new deal can be agreed.
“As a driver at his level, Lewis always has options,” Wolff added.
“The same goes for us. As long as we build a fast car, we will always be in a situation where we can choose the drivers.”
“No matter how hard it was, in the end there was always a handshake.
“Lewis wants to drive the fastest car and we want the best driver.”