Toto Wolff has explained that a new contract between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes is close to being signed, as rumours about negotiations continue into the Canadian GP weekend.
Throughout 2023, Hamilton has made sure to dismiss and speculation about his retirement – insisting that it is only a matter of time until a new agreement with the Silver Arrows is reached.
Considering that the 38-year-old continues to drive at an exceptionally high level, the chance to for another World Championship seems enough to incentivise his continuation on the grid.
Even in the early stages of the year, Mercedes are benefitting tremendously in the constructors standings from having two drivers that are capable of optimising the W14.
In addition, Hamilton’s suggestion over the winter to turn away from the ‘zeropods’ concept would have saved the German squad crucial time if they had followed this advice.
This is not to say that Mercedes anticipated last year’s struggles would repeat, but the value of having a top-tier driver that can lead and direct a team is clear to see.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC, Toto Wolff shed some light on the state of his negotiations with Lewis Hamilton:
“We are still talking, you know, we get this question basically every race weekend.
“We have such a good relationship, that we dread the moment we have to talk about money – it’s going to happen soon.
“I think we’re talking more days than weeks – but if I commit to a date now then everyone is doing to ask in Montreal on the weekend!
“Him and me joined in 2013 together, ten years it’s been, and from a professional racing relationship we’ve gone to a friendship.
“It’s been a wonderful time, he is the most important personality in the sport, he’s so multi-faceted.
“Not only the racing, but also off track. We need to keep him in the sport as long as possible.”
Despite the current dominance of Red Bull and the RB19, the outside possibility that Mercedes could close the gap and fight for a Championship is an attractive one.
Especially with the presence of Fernando Alonso and other elite drivers, Formula 1 is within touching distance of a mouth-watering battle at the very front of the field.
In any case, with the development war raging on, it will be crucial for Mercedes to build upon the encouraging performance of their upgrades in Spain and close the gap to the Austrian squad.
A combination of wind tunnel restrictions and limited budget cap will complicate the Brackley team’s efforts to make the necessary step forward, but they are still better placed than most to become a legitimate threat to Red Bull.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang