Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have had a “first chat” about a new Formula 1 contract but remain relaxed about the timeline to get a deal finalised, according to Toto Wolff.
Mercedes F1 chief Wolff said last month that both the team and Hamilton remained aligned on their goals, and that he anticipated it would take “a few hours” to get a new agreement in place.
Asked by Motorsport.com on Wednesday following the launch of Mercedes’ 2023 F1 car for an update on contract talks, Wolff said while there had been an initial chat, there was no rush to get something finalised.
“We’ve done a few of these contracts in the past, and they change little from iteration to iteration, so it’s not usually complex apart from the obvious terms,” said Wolff.
“We’ve had a first chat. But I don’t want to commit to any timeline, because it’s not important for him nor for us at that stage.
“It runs a full year, and we’re going to find the right time.”
Hamilton and Mercedes previously left contract talks as late as the off-season back in 2020-21 before agreeing to a one-year deal to cover the 2021 season.
The Briton, who is entering his 11th season with Mercedes in 2023, has always been open about his desire to continue his long-standing relationship with the team. He has won six of his seven world titles with Mercedes, and is also working on new campaigns to help improve diversity through both the team and wider motorsport.
Wolff denied that talks with Hamilton were “dragging on”, saying: “We’ve always found good solutions that reflect his value for the team and for the sport, and on the other side, I think Mercedes is the place he wants to be. These things have never been a contentious point.
“Within us, it was no problem to sort things out over the winter before actually going racing, because it was always clear they were going to do that.
“It’s almost not like a first priority in sitting down, because this is going to be a journey that will continue.”
At 38, Hamilton is the second-oldest driver on the F1 grid, only behind Fernando Alonso. But Wolff had zero concerns about his age, saying it “plays no role” in contract talks.
“If you look at how well top athletes in the world have pushed the boundaries, I’m thinking about Tom Brady who is 44, 45, and he’s on the pitch throwing a ball and being tackled,” said Wolff.
“So the age plays no role.”
Wolff also did not feel there was any pressure on Mercedes to prove it was capable to fight for wins and championships again on a regular basis, having endured a difficult season in 2022 that saw Hamilton go through the first winless campaign of his F1 career.
"He knows what he has with the team,” said Wolff.
“We won eight constructors’ titles in a row, I’m not saying anything you don’t know, and we got it wrong last year. So the resource, the capability is there, and we just need to continue to develop like we’ve done last season.
“I don’t think it plays on Lewis’s mind any doubt that the team can perform.”