New Hamilton deal unlikely to be agreed before end of season – Wolff

2020 F1 Season

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Lewis Hamilton is unlikely to agree a new contract with Mercedes before the end of the season, despite clinching the world championship at the previous race.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, whose own future at the team is yet to be confirmed, said he did not want the two parties to be under pressure to conclude a deal over the final three race weekends of the year.

Seven-time world drivers’ champion Hamilton is in the unusual situation of not having a deal in place to drive in Formula 1 next season, despite his and Mercedes’ continued successes this year.

Hamilton has said he wants a change of pace in a new contract, with less travelling where possible. He has indicated his next deal may be for less than three years.

Both Wolff and Hamilton have said they are setting no deadlines for renewing his contract. At the Turkish Grand Prix Wolff said Hamilton’s renewal may come after the end of the season.

“I think, more than likely, we are looking towards the end of the year,” said Wolff, stressing there was no rush to negotiate the deal.

“Not that we wouldn’t find time for each other, but I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say ‘before Bahrain’ or ‘before Abu Dhabi’ we will announce a new contract because there isn’t any pressure. When it’s done, it’s done.”

Despite Hamilton leaving it late to commit for next year, Wolff is confident the world champion will return for the 2021 F1 season and beyond. “He loves racing and the competition, as does the team and myself,” said Wolff.

“I think if we wouldn’t have that competition against the stopwatch, life would be not as fun. So I see us going for more. Next year maybe putting another great year on and then obviously we have this tremendous challenging regulations change for 2022. So we’ll go for a while.”

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2020 F1 season

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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46 comments on “New Hamilton deal unlikely to be agreed before end of season – Wolff”

  1. So the original deadline was during one of the two-week gaps between races at the start of the season.

    Then it was after Hamilton had sealed the championship.

    Now it’s beyond the end of the season.

    Something odd is going on here, and the collective lack of curiosity among F1’s usually dedicated cohort of journalists is very strange.

    1. @red-andy Maybe because there is nothing to be curious about. Hamilton will re-sign with Mercedes, both parties and everyone in F1 knows this, it’s a question of “when” rather than “if”.

      1. I’m not sure @mashiat, I think @red-andy is right. This is all starting to sound a bit odd. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 99% sure Hamilton will re-sign with Mercedes, but Nico Rosberg proved (albeit in different circumstances I grant you) that being reigning world champion in the best car isn’t necessarily enough to keep you in your seat for the following season.

        1. I am quit sure that Lewis is going to sign it’s the small extra’s which seems to be haggled for. I think the list is big enough they want to talk about which is taking much more time then normal.
          Mercedes does want to have Lewis do promo work, Lewis want less AND much less traveling
          2 or 3 year could be used to haggle.
          Money is probaly not the problem here that is probally a small increase.
          Also Covid-19 rules makes it hard to meet each other taking lots more times to setup meetings

        2. I agree that this certainy doesn’t look like a normal “we’ll tell you when we are there” but more like the “still talking” vibe we get from the EU-UK talks over finding a mode of cooperation after Brexit (though without the “we are tough, they will bend to our demands” grandstanding) @red-andy

          Off course most of us expect Hamilton to sign on in the end, but it certainly seems those talks are not going as easily as they might have thought them to go at the start of the year @geemac, @macleod, @mashiat

  2. Calm down dears! Just the standard maneuvering between contractual parties involved.
    Mercedes are wincing at the cost of a new contract for sure. LH isn’t sweating this one at all.
    My money’s on LH signing a 2 year mega deal with Mercedes.
    That’ll give him time to see if Ferrari can give him a real racing car for 2023!

    1. Save your money!

      It would be a great timing for Hamilton to stop. The world is currently appealed by his achievements, will it be similar in a year or two… we never know.

      They talk about that contract way too much and even though Mercedes have been questioned about it more often than not lately, they can still brush the answer off. Just do a Raikkonen and just say it when it’s actually done.

    2. How can he sign a ‘mega deal’ when there’s a salary cap?

      Knowing how he has reacted this year, his demands will be different and probably beyond F1.

      He is a flip flop and always blows with the wind, sure it will be about human rights now that’s centre stage……lol

      Love how he’s been racing there for years and has always said ‘I’m not here to talk politics, only race’ but now it’s central news, he wants more done…..he has no original thoughts! 🤣🤣

  3. Hmmm Mercedes unable to issue paydays on time? LOL

  4. Lewis is taking time to ponder on a crucial choice: 1- to carry on reaping easy titles that other drivers can’t contest because their machinery is inferior; or
    2- to go the glamorous historical team and gain real glory with a title there.

    1. Ferrari don’t deserve Hamilton. Simple as that.

    2. They dont come much more “glamorous and historical” than Mercedes.

      1. I can’t say I’ve got much love for Ferrari, but I wouldn’t for a second claim Mercedes has even remotely the romantic appeal the Italian team has.

    3. Rodber, people are getting fed up with you constantly demanding that Hamilton must drive for Ferrari – do you have anything else to say at all, or are we going to be treated to this boring rant forever?

      Do you think that only titles with Ferrari count? Only you seem to be this hung up about Hamilton apparently needing to win glory with Ferrari – who cares?

      1. So, I’m winning you over at last.

        1. Rodber, what do you mean by “winning me over”?

          You’re not putting forward any attempt to reason your point, nor explaining why it is so important to you that you need to keep going on about it. Instead, I, and a number of other posters, are finding your posting style to be increasingly antagonistic – rather than “winning over” people, you’re pushing them in the polar opposite position because your behaviour is annoying people and making people think ill of you and your doctrine.

      2. He has a point though imo, not in the sense he must drive for ferrari, but why not red bull? He gets the chance to compete against one of the other 2 best drivers of this era, and if mercedes goes with 2 bottas-like drivers might even win the title, a challenging title for once, looks like hamilton didn’t have many of those, 2008, 2018? Wouldn’t say more.

        1. Meh, 2018 would’ve been challenging if not for vettel’s “performance”.

    4. Rodber Amongst many other reasons for LH to not go to Ferrari, there is the simple fact that he is too old to wait for them to make him the necessary WCC car.

  5. I suspect a fair but imperfect offer has been made by Mercedes. One that Hamilton would prefer not to accept but probably will to continue racing. And Merc are okay to keep rolling the deadline given there are plenty of great drivers who would jump in the Merc tomorrow if a spot opened.

    1. That’s my thinking – Hamilton wants to be paid what he thinks he’s worth but Mercedes are trying to cut costs and know they could have any driver they want. I doubt wages and a fee to buy a driver out of his contract would be more than signing Hamilton. They could probably have anyone excluding Leclerc (no chance Ferrari would agree) and Verstappen (unless they give RB Merc engines)

    2. I don’t think Lewis will stop but I really could not see him going to RBR. I think Lewis enjoying life there is very, very unlikely. Almost the most unlikely choice for him among any of the top 5 or 6 teams.

      All silly season I know but were Lewis to leave, Merc should try to get Daniel off of McLaren. He’s there best option outside Max and Charles and Merc are supplying them with engines from next year.

      1. Whoops. ‘Their’.

  6. So Checo and Bottas at Mercedes. Max and Lewis at Red Bull.

    We might actually get a 4 way championship fight if that happens you know :)

    1. that was a dream i had last weekend is it going to be true?………….Nope enough daydreaming

      1. Yes, would be nice indeed, I’m pretty sure hamilton and verstappen in a little worse red bull than merc can compete with bottas-like drivers.

  7. Imo Hamilton is looking to expand his freedom to take on social issues, while Daimler Benz is looking to the future as the first and oldest vehicle manufacturer in the world. The motoring world is about to make fundamental changes to how vehicles are powered into the next century. I think Hamilton will be given and supported in his drive for equality while continuing his ambition to be the most successful F1 driver of all time. While Daimler Benz will use his success to promote their new tech into the 22nd century.

  8. LH probably just delaying any agreement to a new contract as long as possible in the hopes it will maximise what he gets offered. Don’t think he is for 1 second thinking about not racing next year, why would he not? He basically knows 2021 is a near certainty for another WDC, since there is minimal development allowed over this winter, and he knows Bottas has no chance of beating him in a straight fight in the same machinery. Plus there is no sign of either his driving skills, or Mercedes as a racing team being on the decline at all, and I am sure he is curious about testing himself under the new 2022 regulations as well. So I think he will sign for 2021 + 2022 with the hope of taking both those WDC, probably not beyond that, because if Merc messes up and somehow ‘does a 2020 Ferrari’ for the 2022 car, he will not want to tie himself down to race for more than 1 season in what they produce.

    1. Mercedes has $40M reasons to not resign him. How much would paying Russell $3M decrease the chances of winning the constructors championship? All teams need to cut costs and saving $37M would be a good start.

      I also think that Hamilton’s social activism is bad for business. Mercedes doesn’t want to upset anyone and lose customers. So my prediction is that Hamilton will not be staying.

      1. Hamilton always did that social activism, I would like it if he changed team, it’s not good for the sport to not have competition, but I just don’t think so, cause otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed that long if social activism mattered.

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        26th November 2020, 13:54

        Merc CEO disagrees with you Joe Vers! Daimler Benz fully support Lewis’s activism. Lewis will sign for at least 2 more years as he has already stated he wants to drive the 2022 cars.

  9. There’s lots of things at play here that are all being balanced against each other, however I feel the one certainty is that of Lewis’s desire to continue racing

    1, Lewis wanting more freedom to develop his campaigning outside of the sport, and how Mercedes would support him in those endeavours
    2, Getting confirmation of Toto’s role in the team. As a part owner he isn’t going anywhere soon, but he has voiced on many occasions his desire to remain relevant and not allow his own development and position prevent others from attaining opportunities
    3, How will the drivers inclusion in the cost cap affect the teams budget?
    4, Lewis is astutely aware of his own platform regards sustainability. He will also be aware therefore of the impact that a prospective stake in the team being taken by INEOS. Personally, and I stress this is just my own view, Lewis will not wish to be increasingly involved, nor paid, by a firm with such a track record

    Just my tuppenth however

    G

  10. Hamilton would race for Mercedes for free given he just has to beat Bottas to win an 8th championship.

    If he didn’t go to Mercedes at the end of 2012 he’d still be on one solitary championship.

    He’s not about to turn his back on Mercedes now.

    If he wanted a real challenge though he’d be looking to go back to McLaren to take them back to greatness.

    1. Yes, or red bull together with verstappen, that would be a challenge both in team and out of team since they’re strong enough to beat drivers similar to bottas at merc.

      1. Bottas is terrible in the wet. Merc has locked out the front row in all but three races with two of them being wet.

        1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
          26th November 2020, 13:55

          Joining Mercedes was the real challenge. Done and reaping the rewards. Next!

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      26th November 2020, 14:17

      For those who are interested read Mark Hughes interview with Lewis for The Race entitled “How Hamilton has transformed himself after leaving McLaren”
      Lewis has evolved beyond just being a driver so sees challenges outside the car as equally important. Maybe for Max or the younger lot it’s just about driving the car, as it was for Lewis up to 2012. Lewis left McLaren for a bigger challenge, to help build a winning team at Mercedes and he has done just that. His challenge now is to keep improving and help the team continue to improve. For details about how he does that, read the article. What greater challenge is there than being part of history in the making? He could leave with 9 or 10 WDCs stamping his name firmly as the most successful driver ever and helping Merc become the most successful team ever.
      For those who think he should go back to McLaren as a “true challenge” understand A. What you are asking would take a few years and it’s the end of his career. (Who thinks Alonso is going to win a WDC in 2 years, anyone??)
      B. He is one of the lucky ones who can retire from a winning position instead of being bumped further down the grid for better talent. Why on earth would he actually choose to do what most drivers don’t want to do but don’t get a choice? Mercedes is his team and he ain’t leaving!

  11. At least £150 Mil for 2021-2023 my wishful thinking is..of course without any valid data to collaborate with.

  12. Did nigel mansel and Damon Hill.leave Williams because they wanted to much money

    1. Mansell left because Williams signed Prost. Williams wasn’t keen on offering him more money as they knew Prost was the quicker out of both of them.

      Hill was actually already replaced by the end of 95, when Williams found him to be underperforming. They kept it a secret, even to Hill, but it had nothing to do with money. Hill performed better in 96, probably because the car was that much quicker and Villeneuve was well… Villeneuve.

      1. Villeneuve actually had a great rookie season, not many drivers except hamilton did better, he was up to speed immediately.

  13. Waiting for the potential knighthood to squeeze more millions out of Mercedes

  14. Hamilton has said he wants a change of pace in a new contract, with less [traveling] where possible.

    This suggests to me that he doesn’t want to attend all the races next year, meaning another driver will have to drive the Number 44 car for some Grands prix. It may even be he wants to furlough for a year or two to see how the pandemic and Brexit runs their courses. Then when Britain has finally rejoined the EU and the pandemic is waning, he can rejoin F1.

    1. I doubt this is his point, how can he predict he can even afford to miss races to win title? Predicting to win title is a thing but to do so with 3-4 less races..

    2. @drycrust Couldn’t disagree more. I’m pretty sure when LH says he wants to travel less, he means for the promotional stuff.

  15. My bet on a one-year contract with a possible extension for 2022. I don’t expect Hamilton to stay at Mercedes for 2023.

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