Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 February 2020

Mercedes determined to give Lewis Hamilton F1's fastest car to convince him to stay, says Toto Wolff

Hamilton's contract with Mercedes is up for renewal at the end of the year, and he has been linked with a move to Ferrari

Toto Wolff was speaking at the Royal Automobile Club in London where Mercedes' F1 team announced a new partnership with Ineos. AFP
Toto Wolff was speaking at the Royal Automobile Club in London where Mercedes' F1 team announced a new partnership with Ineos. AFP

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff is convinced Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will stay at the team if he is given the quickest car.

Hamilton's £40 million (Dh190m)-a-season contract with Mercedes is up for renewal at the end of the year, and he has been linked with a move to Ferrari.

Team principal Wolff, who revealed he has not been in contact with Hamilton for two months, was speaking at London's Royal Automobile Club as Mercedes unveiled a new sponsorship deal with Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos.

"We would like to have the fastest man in the car and I know Lewis wants to be in the fastest car so there is a mutual outcome," said Wolff. "It is the obvious pairing going forward.

"We travel around the world for 10 months every year, and what we do over the winter is leave each other in peace.

"The last conversation that I had with Lewis was on the evening of the Christmas party and we agreed that we would continue our discussions when he comes back from America and we have properly kicked off the season.

"I have great belief in the ability of the team to attract the best drivers and, at the moment, Lewis has proven that he is the best current driver with his six world titles.

"In the mid and long term I would hope that we are able to provide technology to the best drivers and attract them to the team."

Hamilton, 35, is in London this week ahead of his first taste of the Mercedes he hopes will fire him to a record-equalling seventh world championship during a behind-closed-doors event at Silverstone on Friday.

Like Hamilton, Mercedes' future is also uncertain, with the German manufacturer yet to formally commit to the sport beyond this year.

"We like the Formula One platform but at the same time we are in negotiation with the rights' holder and things need to be sorted out," Wolff said.

"It is an ongoing process with a complicated set of contracts and that needs time. The devil is in the detail.

"Clearly, there is the will and the wish for all of the stakeholders to reach a conclusion before we embark on the 2021 season because that would be an uncomfortable situation."

Mercedes' rivals Ferrari launch their new car in Italy on Tuesday, ahead of the first winter test in Barcelona next week. The season starts in Melbourne on March 15.

Updated: February 10, 2020 08:00 PM

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