Toto Wolff clears up sticking point rumour about Lewis Hamilton contract

Thomas Maher
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff in the paddock at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff in the paddock.

Toto Wolff has offered an update on Lewis Hamilton’s contract negotiations with Mercedes, as the saga rumbles on.

With Hamilton a free agent at the conclusion of the 2023 F1 season, Mercedes are embroiled in contract negotiations with the seven-time World Champions’ representative lawyers about thrashing out a new deal for 2024 and beyond.

Both sides have indicated a willingness to continue working with each other, but the ongoing delay in announcing a new deal suggests a sticking point on negotiations – a recent rumour being that Hamilton is seeking an ambassadorial role with Mercedes as a brand after the end of his F1 career.

Toto Wolff denies ambassadorial role rumours

With Hamilton smashing records during his career to become the most successful F1 driver ever, he’s in the unique position of having done so entirely with Mercedes power. From his first days in the sport as a McLaren-Mercedes driver, the three-pointed star have provided the engines, and later the entire team, with which Hamilton has dominated the sport.

Indelibly linked to the point of eponymity with Mercedes as a result, the suggestions that the powers-that-be wouldn’t be eager to continue with him as a brand ambassador don’t make much sense.

After all, two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen served as a long-term Mercedes brand ambassador following the end of his career, while David Coulthard, 15 years on from the end of his racing career, remains a brand ambassador for both Mercedes and Red Bull Racing.

Asked whether Hamilton is seeking such a role, or whether the negotiations are hitting delays due to the requirement of involving a separate entity in Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, in figuring out the ambassadorial side of things, Wolff said such a deal is not up for discussion.

“No, we’re not talking about an ambassadorial role post his retirement, nor is that part of the contract negotiations,” he told media, including, during the Belgian GP weekend.

“I think he has many years to go as a driver within this team and, therefore, it’s only about cleaning things up in the contract.

“I know it looks a little bit like ‘Why is this not being done and dusted?’

“But it’s simply down to trivial things that just need to be cleaned up in contracts and we need the time.” recommends

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Toto Wolff hails ‘strong bond’ that has earned Lewis Hamilton’s loyalty

While Hamilton is a free agent next year, there has been little indication that the seven-time World Champion is interested in moving to another team – aside from a brief flurry of rumours about a switch to Ferrari back in May.

But Hamilton has previously outlined how loyal he feels towards Mercedes, including stating that he is “Mercedes for life”.

“I plan on staying longer. It’s just not set in stone how long. I plan on staying with Mercedes for the rest of my life, that’s a definite,” he said at the end of 2022.

“It’s more figuring out what we are going to do down the line, even beyond racing I want to be building with Mercedes and there is a lot that Mercedes can do, it’s not just a car manufacturer.”

Wolff spoke of the long-term bond he’s had with Mercedes, which dates back some 30 years, and said there is no flippancy being taken regarding the contract negotiations.

“He’s been a Mercedes driver since its beginning, when he was eight to 10 years old – he had the AMG visor and then obviously the years through McLaren within the Mercedes family and then 10 or 11 years in the Mercedes works team,” he said.

“I think he’s synonymous for Mercedes, as we’re synonymous for his career -we’ve gone through so many ups and downs, so many situations that were difficult on a human side, on a professional side, and so many more hugely positive moments.

“That just made us stick together, trust each other, whilst being able to have tough love and the odd argument and I think that is such a strong bond that makes him so loyal, and us too.”

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