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"Curveballs" stalling Hamilton contract agreement

NEWS STORY
25/01/2021

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff says that "curveballs" are the reason for the delay in agreeing a new contract with the German team.

Towards the end of last season it appeared a new deal was merely a matter of dotting some Is and crossing a few Ts. However, it soon became clear that there was a little more to it than met the eye and as time passed it was claimed that a deal might not be reached until just before pre-season testing.

While money is understood to be at the core of talks it is believed that there are other obstacles, mainly from Hamilton's side of the table.

Though much has been made of George Russell following his impressive performance in the Sakhir Grand Prix, the bottom line is that - seven titles aside - Hamilton is effectively the star of the show, and we're not just talking Mercedes.

"The lawyers are working hard," Wolff told Austrian broadcaster ORF. "We don't make life easy for them, of course, when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending curveballs to the lawyers.

"He's in America now and I'm here," he added, "at some point we will finalise it.

"It's how it is with negotiations," he insisted. "You always come from different corners, but that's quite normal. We have a really solid basis in our relationship. We have celebrated great successes together and want to continue doing so in the future. But sometimes you have to talk things out in detail, and that took, or still takes us, some time. But before Bahrain at the latest, you have to sign something at some point."

Referring to Russell, Wolff said: "We've never played the Russell card. He did incredibly well and will one day be in a top car, but our long-standing partnership is not at all about making any threatening gestures.

"We know we want to race together. And now we have to negotiate the contract."

The Austrian also revealed that he recently tested positive for COVID, which has further compromised talks with Hamilton as what was intended to be a short break in Austria saw him out of circulation for longer than anticipated as he had to isolate.

"We had planned to be here for a few days, and out of nowhere I got a positive corona test," he said. "Now we've just been here for ten days.

"But everything's fine. No symptoms, thank God. It could have gone badly, but we're out of quarantine."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 27/01/2021 1:17

"@ Editor...Re your post...I did recognise the directions you gave in the first instance. In relation to the long past Tasman Series it's interesting to see the alternatives being considered by McLaren whereby they are broadening their competition base. It was mentioned sometime late last year that Zac Brown was looking at a 'wild card' entry to Bathurst, for Ricciardo and Norris, which is now a truly international event. I have first hand knowledge regards Bathurst as, apart from attending every race every year for a very long time, my company was given a co sponsorship by the 'show Runners', James Hardie who were the direct owners of one my 'joint venture' partners. McLaren are already firmly embedded into Indycar with Schmidt Peterson. I do like this approach as not only does racing in different hi profile disciplines give drivers an expanded repertoire but it also exposes them to a broader fan base...which must be good for them and motorsport in general. It would be great to see other F1 teams follow suit."

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2. Posted by Editor, 26/01/2021 14:16

"@ F1RacingFan

My post wasn't part of 'the debate', and therefore not open to response... I am sick to death of this nonsense, why on earth would I want to perpetuate it?

I'll leave your post in place... but you clearly don't get it."

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3. Posted by F1RacingFan, 26/01/2021 14:08

"@Editor

I should be given the right to reply, right?

I have supported Lewis Hamilton since the day it was announced that he was signed by Ron Dennis to race in F1 alongside the 2 time F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso!

After a few races, I recognised that Lewis had an incredible amount of raw natural talent!
At the end of his first season in F1, Lewis almost won his first F1 World Title, missing out by 1 single point!

I continued to support Lewis from then to now, and into the future as well!
I don't think anyone in 2007 would have thought that Lewis would be a 7 time F1 World Champion, and in my opinion, the absolute GOAT, because he doesn't cheat like Michael Schumacher did, nor imposed restrictions on his team mates beating him!
I am forever glad that I was able to support Lewis right from the start, but that was because I don't have one single racist cell in my whole body!
However, I do understand that Australians and New Zealanders have a different way of seeing the world, especially old ones!

As far as I'm concerned, I would rather stay away from them because their arguments are based on something else altogether! There is no reasoning to their arguments!
Black Lives Matter is not a violent movement, and it only promotes Black Equality, that's all!
The violence is perpetrated by violent people using the movement to do criminal activity!
To associate BLM with the violence and the cost of it is using this false argument to further one's own agenda!

Lewis Hamilton does not and never will support violence and nor does Mercedes, and that is why Toto is extremely eager to resign Lewis to continue driving for the team! "

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4. Posted by Editor, 26/01/2021 12:21

"@ Kenji

Please understand that my comment was directed to you as much as anyone.

As for the Tasman Series, only last weekend, which saw the New Zealand Grand Prix take place, I was discussing it with one of our regular readers.

I remember, as a schoolkid, running to the library during the lunch-hour to check the latest results in the Daily Telegraph.

It was indeed a great event during the winter break, for fans and drivers alike.

Sadly, much like drivers taking part in other series alongside their F1 commitments, it is a thing of the past, for contracts these days preclude such activities.

Until the wretched Motorsport network got its hands on it, the Race of Champions was a little bit of off-season relief, but Pascal Wehrlein's crash gave those team bosses opposed to such extracurricular activity ample ammunition."

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5. Posted by kenji, 26/01/2021 10:55

"@ Editor...A very clear and unambiguous outline of what is acceptable and what is not. I think that you are quite right when it comes to 'agendas'. We are bombarded unceasingly with myriads of agendas across a very wide spectrum, so much so that hardly a day,hardly an hour passes without something new and divisive being added. It becomes tiresome but there is a need to be aware of those who would usurp our way of life. A very sad fact. As for F1, well it doesn't escape either and that's a big problem especially when we are in a period of 'nothing much' at all happening.

Very many years ago there was a series called the Trans Tasman where most of the F1 drivers and their cars travelled to Australia to race in non championship races both here and in New Zealand. The drivers loved it, the fans loved it and it provided a platform for drivers to relax and enjoy themselves away from the pressure cooker atmosphere of the WC's. What a pity that we couldn't replicate that...at least it would give us something to look forward to whilst we await the main event."

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6. Posted by Editor, 26/01/2021 8:36

"Right. This ends here.

I have not devoted twenty years of my life to this site only to see it dragged down by people who appear not to have progressed beyond the 'my Dad's bigger than your Dad' style of argument.

Hamilton is a bore, he is in the best car, he's this, he's that. We've got it.

Hamilton is the greatest of all time, he has helped boost the sport, he's this, he's that. We've got it.

Courtesy of the pandemic, here in the UK the schools are closed. Here's a thought, find one, head to the playground and continue your discussion there, where it belongs.

Failing that, try social media, where an army of fellow 'fans' are waiting, sweaty fingers poised over their keyboards keen to join you on whatever side of the fence you may sit.

At the weekend I banned two users, not because of the side of the 'debate' they appeared to be on but because it was clear there was an agenda. After all, why else would anyone continue to post responses to an article over a month old?

I don't want to ban anyone else, but I will. You've made - indeed, laboured - your respective points and it is clear that there will never be agreement, instead you go on and on and on, spoiling it for others.

As I said, this ends here."

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7. Posted by Hippy, 26/01/2021 8:09

""F1RacingFan"

Well said!"

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8. Posted by Superbird70, 26/01/2021 2:45

"Olympics 1936, 1972, 1980, 1984. South African Grand Prix 1986-1991."

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9. Posted by kenji, 26/01/2021 1:28

"@F1Racingfan.... Your 'paean' to Hamilton doesn't address the boring element attached to this team/driver. In your post you actually supported my contention by highlighting the fact that most of the 'exciting bits' of last season were attributed to a group of drivers other than your favourite? Anyway that's your opinion and you have every right to express it. I'm not sure where the politics start and finish. Mercedes should disassociate itself with Hamilton's BLM antics. That would be a big negative. Why would a world class automotive giant want to be associated with the BLM movement. FYI check out the US image. It has been published that last years BLM riots have cost the American Insurance Industry somewhere between US$1.0 and $2.0 billion dollars in claims. Now why would Mercedes want to be seen to support this group's anarchy on the streets of America? Let Hamilton go somewhere else to promote his politics and keep it well away from F1. Politics and sport have no commonality."

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by The Canadian, 25/01/2021 20:10

"No George Russel? Having the say in who his partner driver is? Guaranteed Ambassador job in the future? Interesting side demands.... Tail is wagging the dog pretty hard on this one."

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11. Posted by F1RacingFan, 25/01/2021 19:45

"@Superbird70

Toto said there's not any particular issue but just the 'Curveballs' he keeps throwing at his lawyers, who obviously can't catch for sh*t! Hahaha

Well, we just don't know what the issues are, big or small, and there's no point in speculating really!
And it could be money, because of the new chairman/CEO! Who knows?

I am putting my trust into Toto being a man of integrity, and when he says that a deal will be done, then a deal will be done! "

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12. Posted by Superbird70, 25/01/2021 19:10

"It won't be money that causes the issues. What Hamilton is asking for amounts to one years' sales of the S-Class in Canada. Not a lot of money really, even in CDN $. "

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13. Posted by F1RacingFan, 25/01/2021 19:07

"
@ZJAY: Thank You for your Positive Message and feedback! "

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14. Posted by ZJAY, 25/01/2021 18:17

"@ F1RacingFan: Thank you"

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15. Posted by F1RacingFan, 25/01/2021 17:58

"Whether people here like it or not, the reality is that Lewis Hamilton is much loved and admired by the majority of racing fans in Britain and also many many fans around the world as well!
The reality is that even if Lewis Hamilton is long gone after the first corner and we hardly see him again until the end of the race, or in rare occasions, he starts the race in P6 and then storms to P3 into the first corner, but then slides off track and is then back into P6, but he perseveres lap after lap after lap, using he head and his talents, until eventually he overtakes Sergio Perez and goes on to win the memorable race so fitting and deserving of him winning his 7th F1 World Title!
This race more than any other shows the stark difference between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, who was driving like a desperate rookie madman, making mistakes after mistakes, that it was just too embarrassing to watch!
Same with Valtteri Bottas too!

The reality is that Lewis Hamilton gets the media coverage if not during the race, then most definitely before and after the race!
The 2020 F1 season was one of the best seasons in recent memory! It wasn't boring at all! We had Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez winning their first ever F1 race, and we also had Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon and Lance Stroll getting Podium finishes too!

When is extremely boring are the same people making the same repeated negative comments about F1 and Lewis Hamilton, and their wishful thinking that he be gone!

What really matters is that Toto and Lewis are both honest and sincere people, and we've heard it from both of them that Toto wants Lewis to drive for Mercedes for multiple years, and Lewis wants to drive for Mercedes for at least this year and probably more! And a deal will be done, end of story, and speculation!

So whether these negative people like it or not, it doesn't matter, you have no say in it! Even if you don't like Lewis, for your own negative reasons, or you want George Russell, you're not going get him, because basically, Lewis Hamilton is worth every Euro because of his immense talents, and his worldwide appeal, whether you like him or not, nobody cares!

The final point that people don't seem to want to understand is that Lewis is not pushing anybody or organisation to do anything they don't want to do! It is Mercedes and F1 who are wanting and willing to lead in the fight against prejudice and racism, and they want Lewis to promote diversity in F1 with them! "

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