Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes Lewis Hamilton’s delay in signing a new contract is down to what could be “a grotesque amount” of money.
Hamilton repeated on Wednesday that there is no rush to finalize a new deal with Mercedes, despite his current contract running out at the end of the season and talks having gone on for some time. Asked if he believes Hamilton to be on the verge of signing the deal or if he sees the four-time world champion as available, Horner — who was sitting alongisde Toto Wolff — replied: “Well, I can only imagine that a delay can only involve money.
“And I should think it’s such a grotesque amount of money that Toto’s talking about, it probably is what’s making his and Niki [Lauda]’s eyes water at the moment. So, yeah, he’s got an expensive lifestyle. He’s a four-time world champion and I doubt he’s cheap. I can only envisage that that’s probably got something to do with the delay.”
Horner’s comments came after Wolff had again insisted that the conclusion of a new deal was only a matter of time.
“It’s a funny situation because we have been discussing for a long time,” Wolff said. “We get together and sort things out and then get busy in our daily operation jobs – us on the team side and Lewis on his preparation. It shows that we have great confidence in each other; nobody is pressuring each other. We haven’t set a fixed date where we want to announce but I can tell you that I don’t see a reason why this shouldn’t be happening.
“It is in the process of just closing. There is a bit of an email ping-pong on details. I don’t want to set a date because then you will be asking me why, why hasn’t it been done, but maybe we choose one of the nice grands prix in the future, in the next couple of months.”
And Wolff also tried to direct attention to Daniel Ricciardo’s future at Red Bull when asked if Hamilton has the power to decide on his new contract whenever he wants.
“This is, as I said, a pretty normal procedure, that you talk to each other and you negotiate in a completely normal procedure, similar to what happens in some of the other teams. I mean, Daniel’s and Christian’s situation is maybe similar.
“This is work in progress and we see no hurry to pressurize each other into signing a document that will eventually anyway happen. I don’t know what he said yesterday but we’ve had very good conversations and there is no desire for him to leave the team and we have no desire for us to lose him.”