Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has revealed that the delay in Lewis Hamilton signing a new Formula 1 contract with the side was due to discussions surrounding marketing.
Hamilton’s previous deal expired at the end of this year, but both he and Wolff had repeatedly declared their shared intention to extend the hugely successful partnership that stretches back to 2013.
The Briton insisted after the Spanish Grand Prix in May that he was ready to commit his future to Mercedes, while
Wolff said one month later it was “more days than weeks” until an announcement was forthcoming.
However, it was only confirmed ahead of last month’s Italian Grand Prix that Hamilton had signed a new two-year extension with Mercedes, partnering current team-mate George Russell until the end of 2025.
Wolff says the two parties were aligned on the main terms of his new contract earlier in the year, but marketing commitments were responsible for the hold-up.
“I think Lewis and I, we were clear on the major terms in June, July,” Wolff said via
Autosport. “And then just things were bubbling along, and then it was summer break.
“In the end, it was things about marketing, not really the big relevant topics, that took a bit of time. Sometimes with lawyers, it can take time, although ours are obviously splendid.”
Meanwhile, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is delighted that Hamilton will remain in the sport, highlighting the value he brings both on the race track and outside it.
“I am very happy with Lewis’ decision,” said Domenicali. “He is an extraordinary driver and I believe he has only one objective today: his eighth world title.
“I’m sure he feels in great shape, he has a lot of confidence in the team and, from a sporting point of view, it’s nice to know he’s there.
“Furthermore, Lewis has been able to connect Formula 1 with very different worlds, which is undoubtedly positive news for Formula 1 as a whole.”
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 leaves the pits. 25.08.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 14, Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Netherlands, Practice Day.
After becoming disenchanted with McLaren’s failure to sustain a title bid beyond his maiden championship success in 2008, Hamilton opted to depart the Woking squad for Mercedes at the end of 2012.
Since the move Hamilton has become a seven-time World Champion, equalling Michael Schumacher, whilst also setting new records for the most race wins and pole positions in F1 history.
But amid the German marque’s failure to get a handle on the current regulations, Hamilton has not added to his tally of 103 race victories since December 2021.
The 38-year-old currently sits fourth in the Drivers’ standings this year, 200 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen, who pipped Hamilton to the ’21 crown.