Mercedes-AMG team principal Toto Wolff says the team has “no doubts” about Lewis Hamilton’s commitment to Formula 1 following the delayed signing of the 7-time World Champion.
The Briton signed with the team for another year, until the end of the 2021 season, which raises questions about his future with the silver arrows. Wolff, however, says he understands a driver like Hamilton wants flexibility with contracts.
Hamilton had previously said he had “no real need necessarily to plan too far ahead in the future.”
“I just wanted one year,” he said. “Then we can talk about if we do more and keep adding [to] it if we have to.”
Toto Wolff then commented on Hamilton’s commitment to the sport, saying such a short contract doesn’t raise any questions about it, and that it’s only a matter of flexibility.
“No doubt about his commitment,” he said. “First of all, he enjoys racing a lot. We enjoy working with each other and we discussed that a lot, but he’s absolutely right. Times change.
“[There are] new priorities for all of us in terms of the way we live our health. He’s very passionate about his initiatives, against racism and inequality.
“I think it’s fair enough for a driver that has won seven championships, to give himself the flexibility in his mind to decide what he wants to do in the future. Whether this is racing or outside the circus.”
Wolff also talked about deciding his 2022 driver line-up, saying the decisions will come way earlier than they did for this year.
“We have agreed that we want to pick up the discussions much earlier this year, to avoid a situation like we had in 2020, to run out of time and be in the uncomfortable position that htere is no time left before the beginning of the season,” he said.
“And that’s also why we only did a one-year contract; in order to allow us to discuss the future in racing and outside of racing longer and with the right amount of time.
“As a matter of fact, I think if Lewis continues to race, we will want to do this together. And we will discuss it shortly.
“With Valtteri, we know exactly what we have and we appreciate this.
“At the same time the landscape changes with new cars, new regulations, and we’ve got to take the right decision for the team going forward.
“That also means that we will have the discussions with our two drivers firt, and then we will see where that goes,” he concluded.