Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says talks are continuing over Lewis Hamilton’s new contract as the two sides work toward what he is confident will be a continuation of the sport’s most dominant team/driver partnership.
Hamilton’s previous deal expired at the end of 2020, and the world champion has yet to agree terms with Mercedes.
“The lawyers are working hard,” Wolff told Austrian broadcaster ORF at Kitzbuhel. “We don’t make life easy for them, of course, when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending curveballs to the lawyers. But he’s in America now and I’m here. At some point we will finalize it.
“It’s how it is with negotiations. You always come from different corners, but that’s quite normal. We have a really solid basis in our relationship. We have celebrated great successes together and want to continue doing so in the future. But sometimes you have to talk things out in detail, and that took or still takes us some time. But before Bahrain at the latest, you have to sign something at some point.”
Wolff insisted that George Russell’s impressive one-off appearance for Mercedes late last year, which came after when Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19, has not been a factor at all in negotiations.
“We never played the George Russell card,” he said. “He did incredibly well and will one day be in a top car, but our long-standing partnership is not at all about making any threatening gestures. We know we want to race together. And now we have to negotiate the contract.”
Wolff also revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19 himself a few weeks ago, and spent time in quarantine with no symptoms.
“We had planned to be here for a few days and out of nowhere I got a positive corona test,” he said. ” But everything’s fine. No symptoms, thank God. It could have gone badly, but we’re out of quarantine.”