Toto Wolff has played down suggestions that it is Lewis Hamilton’s salary demands that are holding up a 2021 contract for the seven time world champion.
It is rumoured that Mercedes is not willing to meet Hamilton’s demands amid the economic impact of coronavirus – especially with a salary cap looming in Formula 1.
When asked about that, team boss Wolff admitted that the financial aspect is “always part of the discussion, and it’s never much fun on either side”.
He told Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper: “But in this case, it’s not an essential parameter. It’s more about how he sees himself in this world and how his thought processes are running.”
At the same time, Wolff said the important thing for Mercedes is “how we can use him as a brand ambassador – how many days is he available off the track”.
He says the talks should have begun last week, but Hamilton has been holed up in a Bahrain hotel with covid-19.
“I take his health into account but we are absolutely in agreement on the general conditions,” said Wolff. “Now we wait for him to get back on his feet and then we’ll talk.”
Austrian Wolff played down the risk that 35-year-old Hamilton could take the opportunity to either retire or switch to another team.
“I don’t think Lewis will ever want to drive anywhere else,” he insisted. “I also think he has unfinished business.
“From my perspective, there is nothing that prevents him from continuing, so I assume that it is very likely. But I wouldn’t rule anything out.”