LISBON: Mercedes expect to start contract talks soon with Lewis Hamilton after the seven-times Formula One world champion indicated he intends to race on next season, team boss Toto Wolff said yesterday.
The sport’s most successful driver is out of contract at the end of this year but at the Portuguese Grand Prix on Thursday Hamilton told reporters: “I plan to be here next year”.
Hamilton and Mercedes spent much of last year negotiating before they announced a one-year deal in February, with the season starting in March, and Wolff has said they would not leave it so late again.
“I think we are in a very good place,” the Austrian said yesterday.
“Our relationship is growing stronger every year and it’s about time to really give it a little nudge and start to speak and this is what we are going to do soon,” he added. Wolff answered ‘no’ to a question about whether negotiations had already started.
Teammate Valtteri Bottas is also out of contract at the end of the year with Mercedes-contracted driver George Russell a possible replacement.
Asked what any decision between the two might come down to, Wolff smiled.
“I hope one day I wake up and it becomes clear,” he said on a video call.
“I think we need to look into the season, how the races unfold and then it is a judgement call, I think. Not a very scientific response but I haven’t got any at the moment.”