Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he remains in the process of contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton and expects a deal to be struck soon.
Hamilton’s previous two-year deal expired at the end of December, meaning the seven-time title winner finds himself in the unusual position of being out of contract less than two months before the new season is scheduled to begin.
Speaking in Austria over the weekend, Wolff – who revealed he had contracted coronavirus earlier this month and had now completed a period of quarantine – said the talks were continuing to take time between F1’s champion team and driver.
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“We don’t make life easy for them, of course, when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending curveballs to the lawyers,” said Wolff to Austrian broadcaster ORF.
“He’s in America now and I’m here. At some point we will finalise it (the deal).”
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By ‘curveballs’, Wolff is thought to be referring to new items of discussion brought up in the ongoing talks, rather than potential obstacles.
Mercedes and Hamilton, who have been in tandem to hugely-successful effect since 2013, have remained relaxed about the contract discussions amid the expectation from both sides that a new deal will ultimately be agreed.
“We have a really solid basis in our relationship. We have celebrated great successes together and want to continue doing so in the future,” added Wolff.
“But sometimes you have to talk things out in detail, and that took or still takes us some time.”
Pre-season testing starts in Bahrain on March 12, with the season’s first race at the same venue on March 28.
Speaking at the Kitzbuehel Alpine skiing World Cup downhill, Wolff said he had shown no symptoms after testing positive for Covid-19 in his homeland earlier in January.
“We had planned to be here for a few days and out of nowhere I got a positive coronavirus test,” said Wolff.
“But everything’s fine…it could have gone badly, but we’re out of quarantine.”
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