Lewis Hamilton contract: Toto Wolff reveals one last obstacle to overcome

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton pointing next to Toto Wolff. Paul Ricard July 2022.

Lewis Hamilton pointing at a screen next to Toto Wolff in the Mercedes garage. Paul Ricard July 2022.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari is definitely not happening, as all the Mercedes contract extension needs now is the date and signatures.

Talk about Hamilton’s Mercedes future has naturally rumbled on considering his current deal will be up at the end of the F1 2023 campaign, and no fresh contract has yet been confirmed.

The rumour mill went into overdrive though ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix when a report emerged claiming Ferrari were attempting to snare Hamilton with a £40-million-per-season contract.

That claim has since been firmly shut down, by both Hamilton and Ferrari’s team principal Fred Vasseur.

Of course the line cannot be fully drawn underneath the Hamilton talk though until that contract is signed, sealed and delivered to be made public knowledge.

And Wolff’s suggestion would mean confirmation is coming soon, as he says all that remains is for the date and signatures to be added and then the contract is official.

Asked by Channel 4 if Hamilton to Ferrari is not happening, Wolff replied: “No, not happening.

“We just need to put the date on the contract and sign it.”

That then of course poses the question of why has that not yet been possible to do? After all, Hamilton and the wider Mercedes team were in Monaco over the weekend just gone for the Monaco Grand Prix, both Wolff and Hamilton calling the Principality home.

Wolff though would reveal that the pair had not actually crossed paths in order to seal the deal.

“We didn’t see each other these last few days,” Wolff affirmed.

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Not for the first time in contract talks between Hamilton and Mercedes, the eventual announcement of a new deal is taking its time to emerge.

At this point though, Wolff’s claim that just the date and signatures are needed, while perhaps seeming like a very minor and quickly resolvable detail for the hold-up, is at the very least a reflection for how nailed-on Hamilton seemingly is to extend his Mercedes stay.

The seven-time World Champion has said publicly that he wants to be at Mercedes for life, so that in itself is more than enough reason to disregard any potential remaining thought that Ferrari could still be playing a part in the delay.

And in addition, there is no viable team to leave Mercedes for. Ferrari have denied an offer will be made, Max Verstappen shut the Red Bull door on Hamilton and Aston Martin have Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll firmly embedded as their driver pairing.

Racing on with Mercedes then is the only outcome for Hamilton, we are just having to wait a long time for that to appear in writing.