Toto Wolff has hit out at “someone” for trying to destabilise his contract talks with Lewis Hamilton, the team boss adamant the recent Hamilton to Ferrari rumour was “placed”.
Earlier this month the Daily Mail reported that Ferrari had made Hamilton a £40 million-per-season offer to switch allegiances with Ferrari president John Elkann leading the charge for the driver’s signature.
The report added that it was Carlos Sainz who would be out if Hamilton accepted.
The Briton denied this, revealing his team was close to agreeing a new deal with Mercedes.
“My team are chatting, having discussions with the team in the background, and we’re almost there,” he said in the build-up to the Monaco GP race weekend.
His team boss Wolff reckons the rumour was in fact “placed” by someone in an attempt to upset Mercedes’ contract talks with the seven-time World Champion.
“We’ve had a pact,” he told Sky Sports, “and we’ve had that since many, many years, that we wouldn’t talk to any other driver before we have taken a decision to stay together or not, so I was never a millimetre in doubt that there were any discussions.
“Someone just placed that (story), maybe to, in a way, to play a role in what seemed to be negotiation, but it is not negotiation, it is sitting at a table and saying, ‘what is it we need to adapt to in the contract?’ So there’s nothing to it.
“The contract was ready in 2013, we’ve never really changed a lot of words in there… just the dates and the number of marketing days.”
Wolff added: “I think that how it is at the moment with us, we’re in a super happy position with Lewis. There weren’t any stumbling blocks with the contract negotiations.”
Earlier in the Monaco weekend Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur denied sending an offer to Hamilton, the Frenchman saying: “As a joke I could say that two weeks ago you were sending Sainz to Audi, one week ago you sent Leclerc to Mercedes – now I am alone.
“You know perfectly that at this stage of the season each week you will have a different story and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton, we didn’t do it. We didn’t have discussions.”
He did, however, concede that “every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage, it would be bull**** to not say something like this.
“If I discuss with Hamilton, the last 20 years I discussed almost every single weekend with Hamilton, I don’t want to have to stop to discuss with him because you are chasing me.”