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Wolff "not cornered" by Hamilton contract talks

Wolff "not cornered" by Hamilton contract talks

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Wolff "not cornered" by Hamilton contract talks

Wolff "not cornered" by Hamilton contract talks

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has dismissed concerns that leaving contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton to the eleventh hour could leave him "cornered".

Hamilton could secure his record-equalling seventh Formula 1 world title on Sunday and is widely expected to sign a contract extension with constructors' champions Mercedes.

Throughout the year, Wolff has maintained it was "always the plan" to wait until both the championship titles were secured before entering into negotiations, but despite with Hamilton's deal up at the end of 2020 - just 48 days away - the Austrian remains calm.

"I don't want to drop a date [for a new deal] here because if I do everybody is going to ask at every single race," said Wolff.

"But this is what we agreed. I think it was important to make sure that we have both titles secured and then have a more relaxed approach to the discussion about the future."

Pressed on whether the rapidly shrinking timeframe in which to complete a deal left him "feeling cornered", Wolff added: "No, not at all cornered. There is a good dependence on each other.

"We would like him in the car and I think he wants to drive the Mercedes because it is competitive. So, of course, there is a good balance."

Of his own future, and on the topic of appointing a successor, Wolff commented: "I believe that each of us has a certain shelf-life as a team principal.

"It is not sustainable to do a few hundred races and be the best you that started on the journey.

"It is a job that involves being in an aeroplane for 20 or so races and then coming back on Monday, you have an office job. I did 250-odd air miles last year and 500 hours of flying and it is something I don't want to do for the rest of my life.

"But I take enjoyment in what I do and I certainly don't want to step away from the Mercedes team. I am a co-owner with Mercedes, it is something I am very proud of and the team functions very well but it has become quite a large company with our engineering arm, applied sciences growing strongly.

"I believe that I should hand over the baton to somebody who will start his journey with the same motivation and energy as when I started. That is a natural progression we have done on a technical level over the years and I will be very proud seeing somebody performing better than I do and I will be watching that from a different, more senior role."

Asked if his successor had already been identified, Wolff replied: "Maybe."

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