Lewis Hamilton: ‘No concern’ he will sign for Mercedes next season – team boss Wolff
Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has “no concern” about Lewis Hamilton re-signing to stay with the team next season.
Hamilton is out of contract at the end of the year and has yet to start talks with Wolff over a new deal.
Wolff told BBC Radio 4: “If an asteroid hits the world, anything can happen.
“But at the moment there is no reason he wouldn’t want to be in the quickest car and we want him in the car so it’s a perfect match.”
Hamilton broke the all-time Formula 1 record for wins at the Portuguese Grand Prix, taking his 92nd career victory, and is likely to win his seventh world championship within two or three races, making him the most successful driver of all time.
He said before the race in Portugal that he does want to stay with Mercedes but that “there are many questions to answer” about the detail of the contract.
One of the issues delaying talks is the threat of coronavirus, and the desire to minimise any risk that Hamilton could catch the disease, forcing him to miss a race and threaten his title campaign.
Wolff said he had been in Monaco, where Hamilton lives, before the race in Portugal but had decided it was too big a risk to hold a meeting.
“Where we stand today is that everybody has the will to continue,” Wolff said.
“The situation is very simple, and I know there are some conspiracy theories in F1, but with Lewis and I, we are living like hermits and our team is particularly disciplined.
“We have another 11 cars for our staff, we are not allowing more than two people to have dinner together, the seven or eight system-relevant people are not allowed socialise with each other and the drivers are most exposed.
“I was in Monaco last week and we decided not to meet because the worst that could happen is that me dragging corona into our meeting.
“So it simply wasn’t the time to sit down and meet. I hope we can finish the next couple of races on a high and then concentrate on the contract.”
Wolff praised Hamilton for his determination to continually improve.
“What is most impressive for me is his development out of the car,” he said. “The Lewis Hamilton I met in 2013 when we both started at Mercedes is a totally different person from today.
“He is permanently questioning himself, developing out of the car, his personality, his skills, and that is truly inspiring. Every single day he wants to be better than the day before.”
Hamilton’s former team-mate, the 2009 world champion Jenson Button, added: “I think the important thing for Lewis through the years is that he was always willing to learn and that’s why he is where he is now.
“He’s always had the natural ability. That hasn’t changed. But I think he’s learned how to look after the car, the tyres, the fuel, the strategy; he’s grown as a driver.
“He’s had the best backing, he’s been with Mercedes for many years and they’ve given him a car to achieve but he’s the guy who comes out on top.
“He’s the guy that beats his team-mate so he’s done a fantastic job and I can’t see him retiring any time soon. When you’re in the best car, it’s always difficult to walk away.” – bbc.com