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No timeline for Hamilton "announce" insists Wolff

NEWS STORY
16/02/2023

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff insists that there is no immediate pressure to secure a contract extension with Lewis Hamilton.

A year on from the 'will he, won't he' headlines that surrounded the Briton's future following the events of Abu Dhabi, Hamilton is in contract with Mercedes for the remainder of the season.

Despite some of the media talking of deals that would tie the seven-time champ to the Three Pointed Star for up to 13 more seasons, albeit for 387m ($478m), any new deal is likely to be for two or three years, while Hamilton is also thought to be requiring a future ambassadorial role.

Speaking at today's launch of the car which the Stevenage Rocket hopes will take him to a record eighth title, Wolff insists that there is no immediate rush to put pen to paper.

"We've done a few of these contracts in the past," said the Austrian, "and they change little from iteration to iteration. So it's not hugely complex, apart from the obvious terms.

"We've had a first chat," he continued, "but I don't want to commit to any timeline because it's not important for him nor for us at this stage. "It runs a full year and we're going to find the right time."

38 last month, Wolff doesn't see Hamilton's age as a potential stumbling block.

"His age plays no role for this next contract," he said. "If you look at how well top athletes in the world have pushed the boundaries, and I'm thinking about Tom Brady who is 45, and he's on the pitch throwing a ball and being tackled, so age plays no role.

"He knows what he has with the team," said the Austrian. "We won eight constructors' titles in a row and we got it wrong last year.

"The resource, the capability is there and we just need to continue to develop like we did last season. So I don't think there's any doubt in Lewis' mind the team can perform."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 17/02/2023 0:37

"@ChickenfarmerF1....You are simply too kind. My comments re Hamilton are quite simple...same old same old. I want to see some of the new drivers being introduced. With limits of 20 cars and long term contracts where do these exciting young chaps go? It's time for some radical changes in how we treat this problem. A left field solution. Set a time limit that no driver can stay longer than say 10years. Then create a second tier of F1 Masters to race sprints at certain F1 events where they can race until they are 90yo!!! That way there is an offramp and we can at least see an orderley intro of the young hotshoes. If a driver hasn't achieved what he wants in ten years it's a pretty safe bet that it's not going to happen."

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2. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 16/02/2023 16:45

"@kenji - I won't downvote that comment because I think it has some good points, though maybe for reasons that have nothing to do necessarily with Hamilton. As long as Hamilton is competitive, and has the "drive" (pun intended) he should be able to stay. Just because he's achieved a lot he has no duty to step away.

I think your comment is a great argument for more teams! Getting Andretti/Cadillac, and possibly one more, on the grid will do more than getting Hamilton to retire. I do think some drivers stick around far too long, when it's long past obvious they've lost the ability to compete (looking at you Alonso, Vettle, Raikkonen, Massa, Barrichello, etc). But Hamilton isn't there, yet."

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3. Posted by kenji, 16/02/2023 5:04

"Does anyone really care about what happens to Hamilton? I'd be more than happy to see him off at the end of this season, afterall we've lots of exciting new young talent rising in the ranks. Oscar Piastri was forced to sit out one year, Russell was forced to sit out one year, Liam Lawson has to race elsewhare and young Drugovich, a top driver, is reduced to a test role. and list goes on. You need to also take US drivers into account as well, the likes of Herta , O'Ward etc. These chaps are the future and keeping the old blokes on the grid is somewhat of a tragedy for them. Another two teams on the grid would be great to see....bring on the teenies."

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4. Posted by kenji, 16/02/2023 2:28

"@ Chicken FarmerF1....I may be totally wrong here but I do recall reading where Russell completely debunked the theory/excuse that Hamilton did more of the 'development role', thus costing him more points etc etc. Russell claimed that they took the development role equally, race for race. Russell was superior last season and it will be fascinating to see what happens this year. My guess is that if Russell dominates again that he will be muzzled as beating Hamilton again would sound the death knell for Hamilton's future. Then again I may have gone down the wrong rabbit hole!!!"

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5. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 15/02/2023 15:50

"I'm guessing that when he decides to hang up his helmet it will be for one or both of the following reasons. He's unwilling to be stifled by the FIA (note - I disagree with some of his stances, and I also disagree with the nature of the FIA's attempts to stifle his activism, though I'd also prefer to not have drivers wear their politics on their sleeve), or he doesn't see a path to any additional WDCs.

Toto might not say his age is a factor, but it is, maybe just not publicly. Every single human being cannot perform to the same potential, in terms of strength, reaction time, eyesight, endurance, etc at 45 as they do at 35 or 25. That there are occasional examples of people that can remain in top flight sporting categories at 45 doesn't change that. Tom Brady was stronger, faster, threw better, recovered from games faster etc at 25 than he does now. That he can still play competitively just shows how vastly superior he really was back then.

Eventually Hamilton will know that he no longer possesses the ability, physically, to beat the other, younger drivers out there. Last year he deliberately took the role of developing the car against the possibility of competing for the WDC, because he knew the car wasn't capable. He probably could have finished 1-2 places higher in the standings if he hadn't, but at the cost of an uncompetitive again this year. That was a very mature and strategic decision. Assuming that this year's car is capable of winning a WDC, it will be a fight with George. If he wins that fight then he keeps going. If he loses that fight, he will likely recognize the effects of age have caught up to him and retire. He might go one or two more seasons just because he could, or to support his teammate. But he's not going to slide down the order like Alonso or Vettle in quixotic attempts to regain glory."

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6. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 15/02/2023 14:55

"Hamilton is more concerned on the ambassadorship role to secure his post F1 driving future. "

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