Lewis Hamilton is unlikely to agree a new contract with Mercedes before the end of the season, despite clinching the world championship at the previous race.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, whose own future at the team is yet to be confirmed, said he did not want the two parties to be under pressure to conclude a deal over the final three race weekends of the year.
Seven-time world drivers’ champion Hamilton is in the unusual situation of not having a deal in place to drive in Formula 1 next season, despite his and Mercedes’ continued successes this year.
Hamilton has said he wants a change of pace in a new contract, with less travelling where possible. He has indicated his next deal may be for less than three years.
Both Wolff and Hamilton have said they are setting no deadlines for renewing his contract. At the Turkish Grand Prix Wolff said Hamilton’s renewal may come after the end of the season.
“I think, more than likely, we are looking towards the end of the year,” said Wolff, stressing there was no rush to negotiate the deal.
“Not that we wouldn’t find time for each other, but I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say ‘before Bahrain’ or ‘before Abu Dhabi’ we will announce a new contract because there isn’t any pressure. When it’s done, it’s done.”
Despite Hamilton leaving it late to commit for next year, Wolff is confident the world champion will return for the 2021 F1 season and beyond. “He loves racing and the competition, as does the team and myself,” said Wolff.
“I think if we wouldn’t have that competition against the stopwatch, life would be not as fun. So I see us going for more. Next year maybe putting another great year on and then obviously we have this tremendous challenging regulations change for 2022. So we’ll go for a while.”
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