Hamilton contract delay a matter of ‘cleaning up trivial things’ – Wolff

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In the round-up: Mercedes give an update about Hamilton’s next contract and what he will do once out of the cockpit, with Helio Castroneves doing the same.

In brief

Only “trivial things” holding back Hamilton’s contract signing with Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton is technically a free agent at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 season, but Mercedes are convinced he will be signing a contract soon that will keep him with them for at least the next two seasons.

However questions have been asked why his next contract is yet to be signed, and Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff recently answered them.

“We’re not talking about an ambassadorial role post his retirement, nor is part of the contract negotiations,” he said. “I think he has many years to go as a driver within this team and therefore it’s only about cleaning things up in the contract.

“I know it looks a little bit ‘why is this not being done and dusted’, but it’s simply down to trivial things that just need to be cleaned up in contracts and we need to find the time.

“He’s been a Mercedes driver since his beginning when he was, god knows, eight or ten years old. He had the AMG visor, and then over these years through McLaren within the Mercedes family and then these ten or 11 years in the Mercedes works team.

“I think he’s synonymous for Mercedes, which is synonymous for his career. We’ve gone through so many ups and downs, so many situations that were difficult on a human side, on a professional side and so many more hugely positive moments and I think that just made us stick together, trust each other, whilst being able to have tough love and the odd argument. I think there is such a strong bond that makes him so loyal and us too.”

Castroneves open to do more, not less racing with switch to part-time IndyCar drive

Four-times Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will return to being a part-time IndyCar driver next year after two full seasons with Meyer Shank Racing, but the 48-year-old denies that it means he’s headed towards retirement.

He has bought into MSR and committed to racing for the team in the 2024 Indy 500, having won the race with them in 2021, as well as helping Tom Blomqvist who will become MSR’s new full-time driver.

MSR are convinced that Castroneves will stay in the cockpit for several years beyond that, potentially in their sports car racing efforts.

“I want to be very clear: I am not retiring, OK?” said Castroneves. “I just want to make sure people understand that. Actually, my [schedule] is open now to do other series. I can do Superstar Racing Experience, IMSA, NASCAR, stock cars in Brazil, whatever the [opportunity].

“Obviously, the main focus is IndyCar in my role [with] different hats and also [the Indy 500]. I still have a lot of fire inside me, a lot of energy that I want to burn. A great thing is the experience that I [bring] and built all these years.”

FIA to get involved in land speed record attempt

The FIA, the global governing body for car-based motorsport , has announced it is collaborating with its motorcycling counterpart the FIM this week in an attempt to break a land speed record.

Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt lake, will be used to form a 24-kilometre course and it’s hoped that this week’s runs will make the venue a rival to the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.

Jim Knapp will drive a 3,500 horsepower car which he hopes will exceed 737.794kph, which is the FIA-recognised record for the top speed achieved by a wheel-driven car (as opposed to jet-powered record-breakers). Higher speeds have been achieved, as a world record-breaking 776.744kph run was achieved at Bonneville in 2019, with a top speed of 810.034kph at the mile exit of a one-way run.

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Comment of the day

Our look back at our favourite retro racing games sparked many memories for readers, including this comment from Streydt

The Geoff Crammond GP series and especially the Grand Prix 2 game played a quite significant role in my life. When GP2 was released I was a young teenager and I loved playing the game with friends. Back then you had to wait several years for a new game and there were no season updates so you were always driving in cars, teams and on tracks that were outdated – which was a bit frustrating and this sparked a whole community of people modifying the game themselves, some even wrote small programs for it. For example- The game already had a rating system (database) for ranking the drivers and teams and if you found out where in the database this was you could happily adjust this yourself. Mind you this was way before handy tutorials on YouTube etc – so you had to figure out a lot of things yourself. When I first started modifying the game I was nervous as hell about touching or chancing anything on a computer (my dad’s computer) but I soon found I had a knack for it and learned by trail and error. This also sparked an interest for graphics – chancing the liveries of the cars or helmets of the drivers meant having to learn PaintShop Pro – it turned out to be a stepping stone into Graphic Design and the modding gave me a lot of confidence and knowledge of software and operating systems – things that helped me a lot in life and my career and still do. So if by any chance they might read this – thank you Geoff his (MicroProse) team and all the people from the modding community!!

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Luts and Electrolite!

On this day in motorsport

  • On this day in 1968 Jackie Stewart won the non-championship International Gold Cup at Oulton Park in a Matra

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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18 comments on “Hamilton contract delay a matter of ‘cleaning up trivial things’ – Wolff”

  1. The FIA, the global governing body for car-based motorsport , has announced it is collaborating with its motorcycling counterpart the FIM this week in an attempt to break a land speed record.

    Well I, for one, certainly hope they get involved, as they are the official sanctioning body for land speed records.

  2. Trivial things that will take until december to clear up, such as getting 20 or 30 mil a year, that kind of trivial!

    1. I think Tot said this already twice…. So No contract extension for Zandvoort?

  3. He’ll continue anyway & I’ve had zero doubts about this the whole time.

  4. There’s a bit of hysteria around Hamilton’s contract this year, which didn’t seem to be the case even in 2020 when negotiations dragged on into pre-season testing.

    For example, Hamilton’s brother Nic (who seems to be having contractual woes of his own – he abruptly left his BTCC team in between practice and qualifying at Croft – no one’s talking about what happened but it doesn’t look good) jokingly posted a photo on social media of a phone call from “Toto Wolff,” suggesting that Toto wanted him to “partner Lewis” at Mercedes in 2024. The Internet’s disembrained immediately leapt on the post as proof that Hamilton had indeed signed for 2024, although – as Wolff’s comments now make clear – it was nothing of the sort.

    1. There’s a bit of hysteria around Hamilton’s contract this year,

      There is??
      Can’t say I’ve actually paid that much attention, except to note the usual suspects popping up on various race related forums with the usual negative comments – usually non sequiturs.

      People round here seem to have taken it in the usual “yawn-uh-what, why-did-you-wake-me?” style.

      1. Yeah, there was more buzz about it in 2020. This time it’s generally accepted he’s continuing for a few more years regardless and it’s just “meh, whatever.”

    2. No hysteria, just fulling the summer break with ‘news’.

      It’s a no-brainer anyway, Mercedes can’t get a better driver than Hamilton right now, and Hamilton can’t get a better car than Mercedes.
      Just the haggling bit left over how many millions he gets.

  5. Oh god, bore off!

    Hamilton contract negotiations are the most boring subject I genuinely think I’ve ever experienced.

  6. Something about Wolff insisting on how Hamilton is ‘synonymous with Mercedes’ and being ‘so loyal’ makes me read it as a warning: don’t even think about losing that ‘post-F1 Mercedes eternal corporate legacy ambassador deal.’
    Hmm. If we are set for another 1-2 years of Verstappen and Red Bull dominance, Hamilton switching to another team would at least make the next season(s) more interesting. And really, who wants to be a corporate pet?

  7. Great COTD!

  8. I hope this is not a violation of the term of use of the site, if so please just delete this message.

    The media The Race just posted an excellent youtube video about the infamous 2013 tyre test involving Pirelli and Mercedes. It is often referred to as “Mercedes cheated to gain an unfair advantage, helped by Pirelli” (especially by Mercedes haters) when the details are much more complicated. I don’t even remember that there was an official hearing at Paris involving Red Bull and Ferrari. Remember the time when Ferrari had an official Horse Whisperer to dig at others anonymously? 2013, what a time that was…

    1. Another reason to ban car manufacturers from participating in F1. The relation between the commercial entity of such teams and their suppliers is just too important that favoritism is always present. The presence of such teams creates unfair advantages in more than one way and undermines the sport.

      1. Mayrton, “Another reason to ban car manufacturers from participating in F1”

        Grand Prix racing has its origins in car manufacturers wanting to compete against each other to see who could build the better car. Without car companies, we wouldn;t have F1. I would rather see car companies more closely linked to F1, not banned from it.

        1. Grand Prix racing has its origins in car manufacturers wanting to compete against each other to see who could build the better car. Without car companies, we wouldn;t have F1.

          F1 was conceived for teams to build cars and compete against each other – it just so happened that many became sponsored by, and/or run by, manufacturers. Manufacturers were neither the goal, nor the reason for the series existence.

          Without car companies, there would absolutely still be F1. Not only that, but it would likely be almost universally better than it is today.

        2. As S said it was actually about chassis builders. The car manufacturers just delivered an engine at request of the chassis builders. Distorting in all of this is Ferrari’s legacy in the sport. This makes it imho difficult to get to a pure chassis builders competition since it would mean Ferrari can also no longer be part of F1. Maybe an exception can be made to only allow car manufacturers the like of Ferrari, Lamborghini.. the ones only building supercars… still it would be thin to make that exception, especially since they are nowadays owned by mass car manufacturers as well.

  9. Hope springs eternal

  10. So expect Rumours will say a contract extension for one year with an option for 2025.
    No compensation for the lost wdc bonus as requested by Lewis and no payment by Mercedes into a fund supporting young drivers.
    No Mercedes ambassador function.
    So only a extension in the contract deal periode until next year…
    But only a rumour

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