Merc hope for Lewis deal before Aus GP

Date published: February 11 2015

Mercedes insist there is no deadline for finalising talks with Lewis Hamilton over a new contract, but they are hopeful he will sign a deal before the start of the season.

Hamilton's three-year contract with the Brackley squad runs out at the end of this season and the team initially opted to delay negotiations until after the final race of the 2014 campaign.

However, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix came and went with Hamilton winning the title yet no confirmation came from either party about the 30-year-old signing an extension.

It seems talks are about to get serious though with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff admitting they hope to have things done and dusted before the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne over the weekend 15 March.

"It is always beneficial you have a clear situation, for the driver and ourselves," he told Press Association Sport.

"That is the best case, but you want to get it right as well, so it needs time.

"There is no reason for us to believe it is not going to go in the way we think is right, and Lewis thinks is right.

"Therefore we should aim to finish the discussions before the start of the season.

"But this is not a deadline we have set ourselves because the moment you set deadlines you put yourself under pressure, and we don't want to put him or us under pressure."

Hamilton split from management company XIX Entertainment last year and will handle his own negotiations, but Wolff is confident it won't be a problem.

"Contract discussions are extremely important, both for Lewis and ourselves. It's about discussing how the next couple of years are going to go," he said.

"This is not something that happens from one day to the other, and you cannot expect it to be easy.

"But because of the great relationship we enjoy with Lewis and the very transparent way we deal with each other, so far it has been very good.

"We (the team) have been very open and honest with the way we see the future panning out, and he has been the same.

"He is an intelligent driver, has developed as a personality – I hope we have played our part – and so far the discussions have been as expected."