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Wolff told onus on him to get Hamilton deal done

Wolff told onus on him to get Hamilton deal done

Wolff told onus on him to get Hamilton deal done

Wolff told onus on him to get Hamilton deal done

Daimler chairman Ola Kállenius and INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe have made clear it is up to Toto Wolff to get a new deal done with Lewis Hamilton.

Källenius has insisted it is Daimler's intention "to continue this partnership" with Hamilton that has lasted eight years, although it has previously been made clear that spending a purported £40million-per-season across a likely three-year contract is arguably not in the company's best economic interests.

The ownership of the Mercedes Formula 1 team has now changed considerably, however, with Daimler, INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Mercedes team principal and CEO Wolff all becoming equal partners.

Extolling Hamilton's virtues, Källenius said: "I think Lewis Hamilton is the greatest, one of the greatest race drivers of all time.

"I've known him since he was a teenager. I was a Mercedes guy at McLaren in 2002, 2003, and I went to HPP, and I could see Lewis move up the ranks in the different categories.

"I met him when he was 15 years old. We kind of back then used to joke here was the next Formula 1 world champion, and he didn't know what was to come.

"So I've known him for a very long time. I think his dedication and professionalism, when it comes to how he has dedicated his life to being the greatest, is remarkable and applaudable, and he's a nice guy too.

"We would like to continue this partnership, so it's up to Toto in his role to get that done."

Ratcliffe has also passed the baton onto Wolff as he said: "I'm very clear in my mind that Lewis is either the greatest, or one of the two or three greatest ever racing drivers. There's absolutely no question of that. He's just got immense talent.

"And he's a very likeable chap because I've got to know him a little bit, but at the end of the day, these decisions, for me, predominantly sit with Toto. Toto has to run that team.

"The one thing I would say about Lewis is that there has been no diminution of his skills. He clearly is at the top of his game. The fact he's 35, there's absolutely no sign of any change."

Given the intensity of a season in which Hamilton and Mercedes won their seventh drivers' and constructors' titles, as well as the Briton recently contracting Covid-19, negotiations have been delayed.

Hamilton recently expressed hope of getting the deal done before Christmas. Wolff has simply stated there is no rush, providing it is done before the sole pre-season test in Barcelona on March 2-4.

"We've had such a successful run at championships in the past seven years, there is no reason not to continue," insisted Wolff.

"As Jim said, he's on top of his game, and he will be for a while, and that's why continuing together is a no-brainer.

"Why haven't we got a signed contract? The reason is simple, we prioritised about getting this championship done, and not being distracted sometimes by difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation, and then Covid struck.

"Yeah, it's a little bit late but we are not worried about him eventually getting it done. We are putting no special date to it because we don't want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] as to why it's not done.

"Sooner or later it needs to be done, at the latest before we go testing."

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