LONDON (Reuters) – Mercedes expect to start contract talks with Lewis Hamilton in the next few days now the Briton has clinched a record-equalling seventh Formula One world championship, team boss Toto Wolff has said.
The 35-year-old Hamilton’s current deal ends next month.
“Flying back from a seventh drivers’ championship, you can’t talk about a contract. It wouldn’t do justice to the achievement,” the Austrian told the BBC.
“We’re going to give it a few days then we are going to talk about it.”
Wolff told reporters jokingly after Hamilton won Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix to clinch the title, and equal Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s seven, that Hamilton had “got really more expensive”.
He also indicated that there was still no rush.
“I think more than likely we are looking towards the end of the year,” the Austrian said of the timeframe.
“Not that we wouldn’t find time for each other but I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi we will announce a new contract because there isn’t any pressure. When it’s done it’s done.”
Formula One heads to Bahrain next week for races on successive weekends before the Dec. 13 finale in Abu Dhabi.
Both sides have said they want to continue but just have to put pen to paper.
“We’ve got three weeks in the Middle East — so, now it’s a bit more chilled but I still have three races ahead of me that I want to win,” Hamilton said on Sunday when asked about the talks. “It’s not done but we will get it done, I’m sure.”
Mercedes have won the last seven constructors’ and drivers’ titles and the cars and rules are substantially the same next year.
Hamilton is now Formula One’s most successful driver of all time, with a record 94 wins.
“He loves racing and the competition, as does the team and myself… so I see us going for more next year, maybe putting another great year on and then obviously we have this tremendous, challenging regulations change for 2022,” said Wolff.
“I see us going for a while.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)