Flexibility and a role in how Mercedes approaches their race team will be a big part of signing Lewis Hamilton through contract negotiations that likely won’t be finalized until the end of 2020, according to team principal Toto Wolff.
“I think more than likely we are looking towards the end of the year,” Wolff said, according to Formula1.com. “I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi that we will announce a new contract because there isn’t any pressure.
“When it’s done, it’s done.”
Wolff believes that continuing to provide Hamilton with the flexibility to pursue outside interests, such as his growing fashion line and acting as an ambassador for diversity in the sport of auto racing, will be a key component in getting the new contract across the finish line.
In 2020, Hamilton reached two important career milestones. He surpassed Michael Schumacher for the most career victories and tied him for the most championships at seven. Hamilton matched Schumacher’s career victory record of 91 in Round 11 at Nurburgring. He has won the next three races since for a total of 94 wins.
Keeping the reigning F1 champion with the team is a priority, and Hamilton still has milestones to reach.
Hamilton has at least nine wins in each of the last seven seasons. He almost certainly will pass the century mark in 2021. Hamilton has won six of the last seven championships and finished second once. An unprecedented eighth title is equally easy to visualize.
“I’m very conscious of the idea that I do want to continue with Mercedes,” Hamilton said.
“I’d like to help them in terms of pushing for diversity because within the organization – as with every organization out there – there’s not enough of it. There’s a lot to discuss and a lot to go through, but I think that’s something we’ll do if not after the job is done then particularly at the end of the year.
“At the moment I don’t feel like I’m finished.”
Hamilton still could reach another milestone in 2020. Last week’s Turkish Grand Prix victory was his 10th of the season in 14 rounds. Hamilton has won 11 races three times (2014, 2018 and 2019). With three races remaining in a season shortened by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he still has a chance to win as many as 13 events for a new career high.
Hamilton’s next opportunity to win will come Nov. 29 at Bahrain.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes taking their time to negotiate new contract originally appeared on NBCSports.com