Lewis Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 season; the seven-time world champion and his team have both repeatedly expressed their desire to extend their contracts; Mercedes boss Toto Wolff hopes that the negotiations can be concluded soon
Last updated: 01/13/23 06:19 PM
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff remains confident that Lewis Hamilton will sign a new contract with the team ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season.
The seven-time world champion’s current contract expires at the end of the 2023 season, but both driver and team have repeatedly expressed a desire to extend it.
Hamilton has been traveling in the off-season and has recently shared videos of himself walking alongside penguins and a sea lion in Antarctica.
“As far as the contract talks are concerned, we still have a whole year ahead of us,” said Wolff on Friday.
“We are so matched – over the last 10 years our relationship has grown.
“It’s just that he’s physically back in Europe, puts our heads together, tussles a bit and then after a few hours leaves the room with white smoke.”
On Thursday, Mercedes confirmed a February 16 launch date for the new W14 car, which they hope will be a significant improvement on the W13 model that ended their streak of eight consecutive constructors’ titles.
Pre-season testing will take place in Bahrain from February 23rd to 25th, followed by the season opener at the same venue on March 5th.
Wolff ready for ‘positive’ discussion with Hamilton over FIA rules
A big topic of conversation ahead of the new season has been how drivers will react to the FIA’s announcement that they will not be allowed to use the sport’s platform to make statements about their own ‘personal agenda’.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem said in early January that following an update to the International Sporting Code, drivers will need prior written approval from the sport’s governing body to make “political, religious and personal statements” from next season.
Unless the FIA gives written approval, drivers who make such statements are now breaking the rules.
Hamilton has previously campaigned for human rights and racial equality, and has also campaigned for LGBTQ rights in conservative countries like Saudi Arabia, which has hosted two races since 2021.
Wolff said he has yet to discuss the new rules with Hamilton but is optimistic the laws will not be as “tough” in practice as they appear on paper.
“We didn’t talk about the political situation because he’s in his off-season and I think it’s important to shield yourself from Formula 1,” said Wolff. “That’s what I do a lot, helping shield.
“Once he’s back, these things will certainly be discussed with a positive attitude.
“I think we’ll have to see how that really pans out. We understand that sport is here not to make politics but, on the contrary, to unite.
“I have no doubt that Mohammed and the FIA mean well in achieving the right things, it’s just a matter of balancing this with drivers who have been more open in the past.
“Every time I know that Mohammed has spoken to Lewis and vice versa, it has ended in a positive conversation.”