The saga over the new contract between Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton has been going on for months. Even last season it was announced that the issue would be resolved after the new driver's and constructor's title was confirmed, then at the end of the season it was mentioned that the new contract should be done before Christmas, and today is exactly one month from Christmas and still no official signature between the seven-time world champion and the team that has absolutely dominated Formula 1 for the last seven years.
Where it actually "stuck" was explained by the head of the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff, in an interview for the Austrian ORF. He says it is a matter of logistics, not some serious problem in the negotiations.
Wolf on his contract
“Lawyers work hard.
We don’t make their lives easier, of course, because we discuss through Zoom and lawyers are constantly creating new complications, but he’s in America, and I’m here. At some point, we will finalize everything.
” "It simply came to our notice then. Each side has its own view, but that’s pretty normal. We have a really solid foundation in our relationship. We have celebrated remarkable successes together and we want to continue to do so in the future.
But sometimes you have to discuss something in detail and it took us a while. We will have to sign something before Bahrain at the latest, ”says Wolff. According to one of the unconfirmed theories, Mercedes tried to reduce Hamilton's salary in the negotiations, using as a negotiating tool the appearance of George Russell in the Mercedes car at the Sakhir GP last year.
Russell then replaced Hamilton and delighted with the performance, and it is clear that his engagement would have cost Mercedes much less than the amount demanded by the seven-time champion. Wolff, however, claims that there is no truth in this: “We have never played the George Russell card.
He was outstanding and will one day drive a top-of-the-line car, but our long-standing partnership with Lewis is not based on such threatening gestures. We know we still want to race together, and now we just have to negotiate the details of the contract.
” We expected much earlier that there would be an extension of cooperation, but that did not happen. Looks like it could happen soon though. Mercedes will have to do everything to save Hamilton, who is currently by far the best driver in the world.