Toto Wolff expects negotiations with Lewis Hamilton regarding a contract extension to only take “a few hours” given how united they’ve been on future plans.
Hamilton is out of contract at the end of 2023 and has made clear his desire to continue with Mercedes, which Wolff has also publicly stated he is keen to see happen. The Mercedes team principal says he’s yet to speak to Hamilton about his extension, but is confident it will be agreed quickly.
“We have a full year to go,” Wolff said. “We’re so aligned, in the last 10 years our relationship has grown so that it’s just a matter of him physically being back in Europe, sticking our heads together, wrestling a bit and then leaving the room with white smoke after a few hours!”
Another topic that has yet to be discussed between Wolff and Hamilton is the FIA’s recent crackdown on drivers making personal statements, that was confirmed last month.
“We haven’t talked about the political situation because he’s in his off-season and I think that’s important to shield yourself from Formula 1, and this is what I’m doing – helping to shield. Once he’s back, these things will certainly be discussed with a positive mindset.”
Hamilton is most prominent of the drivers who have used their platform to promote causes they support in recent years, and Wolff said he doesn’t yet want to judge the impact of the FIA’s decision to add a new article to the International Sporting Code (ISC) that bans teams and drivers from making certain personal or political statements that aren’t pre-approved.
“We need to see how this really pans out,” he said. “We understand that sports are not here to make politics, but on the contrary, unite. I have no doubt that Mohammed (Ben Sulayem) and the FIA mean well to achieve the right things, it’s just about aligning that with the drivers who have been more outspoken in the past.
“Every time Mohammed has spoken to Lewis and the other way around, it’s ended up in a positive conversation. So I have no doubt that once people sit round the table together then things will not appears as harsh as when they are being written down in the off-season.”