No “flirting” with other drivers before talks with Hamilton on 2022 – Wolff

2021 F1 season

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Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff says he will begin talks with Lewis Hamilton on his next contract “much earlier” than he did last year.

The team only confirmed Hamilton’s latest one-year deal in February. He does not have a contract for the 2022 F1 season.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently claimed Max Verstappen would be Mercedes’ first choice if Hamilton were to leave the team. However Wolff made it clear Hamilton will take priority.

“The sheer fact that we have had so much success together in the past and the relationship that we have, the trustful relationship, will mean that any conversations we will have on 2022 and the future we’ll first deal with him,” said Wolff.

“The symbiosis that we have in the relationship is always that we have a mutual understanding of what we want to do in the future,” Wolff added. “And that will be also the case in the discussions with Lewis going forward.

“Max is certainly an outstanding young driver that will be on everybody’s radar in the future. But we are not flirting outside before we have a clear understanding with our two drivers.”

Hamilton said today he does not feel the need to commit to a long-term deal. However Wolff said both are determined not to leave their next deal as late as they did in 2020.

“We have agreed that we want to pick up the discussions much earlier this year to avoid a situation like we had in 2020 to run out of time and be in the uncomfortable position that there is no time left before the beginning of the season,” said Wolff. “That’s why we only did a one year contract, in order to allow us to discuss the future in racing and outside of racing longer and with the right amount of time.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “No “flirting” with other drivers before talks with Hamilton on 2022 – Wolff”

  1. Another year of weekly updates and no new control for Hamilton, I see. Something to look forward too.

    1. contract*

      to*

      My life for an edit-button.

  2. “We have agreed that we want to pick up the discussions much earlier this year to avoid a situation like we had in 2020 to run out of time

    We ran out of time? Hamilton has just come out and said the single year extension was his call.

    Mentioning Verstappen is basically saying they have interest in him, so it seems their future is Verstappen and Russell.

    1. He mentioned Verstappen because he was asked about Verstappen. That’s how these interview things work.

      1. He was surely asked about other drivers, too. That’s how these interview things work.

      2. @pastaman Even so, it was on everybody’s radar.

    2. Verstappen and Russell… poor Charles seems to have dropped from everyone’s radar after Ferraris 2020….

      But an interesting pairing .. who would be the better driver from those two?

  3. When Hamilton decides to leave F1 Verstappen will be on the call list for Merc. He is one of the top drivers and has matured quite a bit.
    Verstappen like every other driver on the grid will be always looking for an opportunity to move teams if they think it would improve the chances of a WDC.

    1. Absolutely correct @johnrkh I suspect that this year may well be make or break for Max because this year arguably should be RBR’s best opportunity for some time to start the season as competitively as it left off last season.

      If RBR actually bring a car capable of a WCC/WDC he’ll be reasonably comfortable, but if they again mess up (and yes they have messed up consistently since 2015/16) then I suspect he’ll start looking around to see if there are better options.

      I still believe that RBR’s failure was one of the big reasons Ricciardo left – you can only be super motivated for so long before other options start looking better.

      1. Yes, it was looking bleak for ricciardo, he noticed verstappen ever since he came to red bull became progressively stronger and knew that if red bull finally took out a title contender he would probably not be able to beat verstappen, plus he could’ve indeed been tired of the no-progress of the car in comparison to mercedes.

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