Toto Wolff addresses Lewis Hamilton contract stand-off as delays continue

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton with Toto Wolff. Silverstone July 2023.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton walks in front of team boss and CEO Toto Wolff. Silverstone July 2023.

Toto Wolff is not willing to put a date on when Lewis Hamilton will pen his new deal with Mercedes, as it is currently in a stage of “lawyers speaking to lawyers”.

Both driver and team have reiterated on a number of occasions that they will look to extend their decade-long association with each other beyond the end of this season, when Hamilton’s current deal expires.

Wolff recently stated that the negotiations have moved past the significant milestones of duration and finances, and are now into the minutiae of what is left to iron out.

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Toto Wolff: Lewis Hamilton contract ‘lawyers speaking to lawyers’

When asked directly about an update on negotiations with Hamilton when addressing media including at Spa on Sunday, the Mercedes CEO was not keen to put a concrete time on when an announcement will come.

“No, I don’t want to give you a date because it’s lawyers speaking to lawyers,” he said.

“It’s no material things anymore, but you’ve got to give it time and I don’t want to commit to a date.” recommends

Fastest F1 pit stops: Ferrari set Spa benchmark, backmarkers surge in pit lane standings

F1 penalty points: Lewis Hamilton dirties clean licence after Spa collision with Sergio Perez

Hamilton’s P4 finish at Spa on Sunday, coupled with his two points in the sprint on Saturday brought him to within a single point of third-placed Fernando Alonso in the Drivers’ Championship as Formula 1 heads towards its summer break.

But with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen holding a 125-point advantage at the top, and enough points in the bank to be leading the Constructors’ Championship on his own, there is no question about who the dominant force is in the sport at the moment.

Wolff admitted that Mercedes were caught in a “vicious circle” at Spa when the dreaded bouncing that plagued them in 2022 returned on the long straights in Belgium, but while Hamilton and the team can race Verstappen’s team-mate, the reigning World Champion is simply out of reach for now.

“I think you can even take [Sergio] Perez into the equation; we are racing each other,” Wolff said of the state of Mercedes’ competitiveness.

“We seem to be following similar development routes, but there’s just one car that is faster today that was one-and-a-half seconds a lap when he was pushing at the beginning of the stint.

“So we’ve got to get on top of it. I’ve just seen the data and spoken to the drivers, the main limiting factor today and yesterday was the bouncing, the car is just bouncing literally on every straight.

“Even Blanchimont was a corner that Lewis had to lift, which is an easy flat normally, and you’re bouncing on the straight, you overheat the tyres on the braking. So that is a vicious circle and was the main limiting factor this weekend.

“It’s frustrating to check out in the holidays like this, but tomorrow and after tomorrow, we’re going to understand more based on the data.”

Read next: Helmut Marko reacts to bickering Max Verstappen and Gianpiero Lambiase