(Motorsport) Seven time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is set to extend his contract with Mercedes. The 38 year old was linked with a sensational move to Scuderia Ferrari but those reports are nothing but rumours as Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had always intended to extend Hamilton’s contract, which is due to expire at the end of the ongoing season. Hamilton had previously said that Mercedes’ struggles isn’t influencing his desire to stay despite the car design failing in the last few years.
Hamilton said “This is the first time I have not been negotiating myself and I have a great team in the background doing all the work and I can focus on the job. I say what I want and that’s what we’re working towards. Naturally, when you are in contract negotiations, there is always going to be speculation and unless you hear it from me, that’s what it is. Maybe with the race (in Imola last weekend) being cancelled, they just got bored. My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto and we are almost at the point of having a contract ready. It is much more relaxing now because before I was doing it myself.”
Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur said “You know perfectly that at this stage of the season each week you will have a different story and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton. We didn’t do it. We didn’t have discussions. I think every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage – it would be rubbish to not say something like this.
“The most important (thing) for us is to stay focused on the development in the current season. We agreed that we’ll discuss the contracts later on and I don’t want to change because we had rumours from someone that Lewis could come or Charles could go or Carlos could go. We are dealing with our jobs internally and I will stay focused on the plan.”
Lewis Hamilton has said that he’s looking forward to trying the upgrades in the Mercedes car at the Monaco Grand Prix which will feature revised sidepods, floor and front suspension and has been inspired by Red Bull Racing. “It will be interesting to see how it works,” Hamilton said. “I don’t think we will be fighting for a win but hopefully we will be more in the fight. We are still a championship-winning team but we have had the wrong car and some decisions that have been made are not ideal.”
Mercedes driver George Russell has said that the upgrades should not be judged by the performance at the Monaco circuit due to the unique nature of the track. He said “We are aware this is a very one-of-a-kind circuit and we are not going to read anything into the performance that the new updates show this weekend. There are always outliers in teams who over perform around tracks like Monaco and teams that underperform. But ultimately we don’t design a car to be at its peak in Monaco.
“I trust in the team and I don’t think there will be anything scary with the upgrade that throws us off-piste. We will treat it as a one-of-a-kind and then re-evaluate in Barcelona (the following weekend). I am glad we are proceeding with it because you always want to put as much performance on the car as possible and it would have been a demoralising weekend for all of us had we known we had a bit of performance on the table.”
Also read: Formula 1: Could Charles Leclerc finally end his Monaco GP curse this weekend?