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"We are in negotiations", says Wolff of new Hamilton contract

NEWS STORY
22/12/2017

With a number of driver contracts expiring at the end of 2018, and with Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton likely to have extended their title-winning run, it comes as no surprise that the German outfit wants to retain its star asset.

Yet to put pen to paper, and occasionally teasing in terms of how much longer he will remain in the sport, Toto Wolff is confident that Hamilton will re-sign for his team.

"Of course he has it in him to want to be the very best and outscore all the results but equally he is a frei-geist - a free spirit - and he wants to keep his options open whether he stays a racing driver in 2019 or becomes a fashion entrepreneur," the Austrian told BBC Sport.

"We are in negotiations about a new long-term contract and hopefully Lewis can stay with us for many more years," he continued. "This is the wish of all the parties. He wants to be with us and we would like to keep him obviously but at the same time I think he just needs to have the peace of mind that whatever he decides to do in the future he can do.

"At the moment, he loves F1 and he doesn't want to do anything else and all the rest is hobbies but maybe in two or three or four years down the line he changes."

Assuming he does remain, there is the question of who will partner the Briton. A year after Nico Rosberg's departure, Hamilton still displays an almost pathological dislike of his former friend and it is clear the arrival of Valtteri Bottas has brought a new calm to the world champion and thereby his team.

"If you would have asked me one year ago I would have said having Lewis and Nico, two drivers who have a strong rivalry and are pushing each other and making the car faster," said Wolff. "But we have realised that the positive dynamics we had between Valtteri and Lewis in a difficult season like we had in 2017, was an asset.

"In so far as I would like the pairing to continue, we are committed to both of them in 2018 but having said that 2019 is a very exciting new year," he admits. "There are young drivers that will have gained more experience and some of the very good ones like Daniel become free.

"What we want to see is how the first third of the season pans out, whether our car is good enough and strong enough, and this is what we are actually concentrating on and then we will analyse and then take the right decisions hopefully."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ryanhellyer, 26/12/2017 14:54

"If I were them, I'd dump Hamilton and try to get Alonso to replace him."

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2. Posted by Hondaunearthed, 23/12/2017 0:49

"Sign Daniel and be done with it. Red Bull don’t deserve him and I’m sure Mercedes will still give them (Daniel and Hamilton) the opportunity to fight for wins. Personally I think Daniel or Alonso is the only ones that could challenge Hamilton consistently in the same car."

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