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Wolff: Hamilton negotiations only starting in February

  • Published on 06 Feb 2020 12:02
  • comments 4
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff insists that he has not yet entered negotiations with Lewis Hamilton over a contract renewal.

Hamilton's current deal with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the 2020 season, leading to rumours that he could be set for a change to Ferrari.

The six-time world champion recently took to social media to state that both himself and Mercedes "have not even spoken about a contract yet. Nothing is being negotiated currently." 

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Wolff backed up Hamilton's comment, asserting that they agreed to only talk about a future deal once the season gets back underway.

"The last time we met was at the Christmas party," Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport. "We chatted a bit about the future but since then we have only talked on Whatsapp. When you are so busy for ten months, it is important to take a break.

"That's why we decided to leave ourselves alone in December and January. When it all starts again in February, we will sit down and discuss it."

'Hamilton's stay at Mercedes a question of financials'

It has been suggested that Hamilton is seeking to sign a financially record-breaking deal at Mercedes, with early rumours suggesting a two-year contract valued at $50m per year.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner spoke out about the difficulty of signing large figure deals due to the strained load the auto industry is under at the moment.

In November of 2019, Daimler, who owns Mercedes-Benz, announced that it would be cutting at least 10,000 jobs worldwide.

"The logical conclusion would be that Lewis will remain with Mercedes if they can agree terms," Horner said.

"Mercedes will be keen to keep him but it is a question of the financials. The automotive sector is under pressure at the moment and when redundancies are being made, it is difficult to justify record-breaking salaries."

However, should Mercedes find itself in the situation of losing Hamilton, Wolff says that his team will be prepared to fit a worthy replacement.

"A driver at his level always has options," Wolff said. "The same goes for us. As long as we build a fast car, we will always be in a situation where we can choose our drivers.

Replies (4)

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  • Is Merc confident enough in their car to use Vettel as the bargaining chip for 2021? 120 million or Vettel?

    • + 0
    • Feb 6 2020 - 16:11
  • Interesting Hamilton is leaving concluding negotiations till after the cars revealed and tests underway....Verstappen signed up way before all of that - different philosophies. Personally I think Vettel's stock is diminished after a couple of poor years, just thinking from a marketing perspective ....... Hamilton will bring in more dollars globally, I still think he has the edge in a negotiation but Horner is right, in very difficult economic conditions, he could easily wrong foot himself this year. Be interesting to see how this ends up - my money's on him staying put.

    • + 0
    • Feb 6 2020 - 20:08
    • Hamilton is not 10-20 million dollars better than Vettel on track. He's better but not enough to justify that amount. However, as you mentioned, Hamilton is an incredible marketing asset. He's by far the most well celebrity in F1, he is a brand ambassador for multiple big brands, he'd probably carry Tommy Hilfiger with him. Seb on the other hand is the complete opposite., fiercely private, other than race weekends, you rarely see him in the news. He has a quiet lifestyle that's uninteresting for branding purposes.

      My guess is that Lewis will stay, will get a raise but not what he wanted. Leaving Mercedes for Ferrari would be stupid, even if it pays an additional couple of million. Going anywhere other than Ferrari would be unthinkable.

      • + 0
      • Feb 6 2020 - 21:43
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,168

      Those are good points. However I would have gone another way. It's the story that you sell in F1. As a mass marketing tool it allows to do something different. Bottas still beat Hamilton in the first part of the season and do they really need to beating Ferrari? I would have moved Russell up if Hamilton is outpricing himself. That would have brought some excitement to the championship. Hamilton is very good but Mercedes will be fine without him.
      My guess is that he will stay also since he has no place to go. Verstappen might beat him this year, Ferrari hasn't got a clear no 1.

      • + 0
      • Feb 8 2020 - 07:28

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