Hamilton not ‘begging’ for new contract – Wolff

Toto Wolff denies that Lewis Hamilton is effectively ‘begging’ for a new Mercedes deal.

For the past several weeks, rumours and reports have abounded as negotiations between the seven time world champion and Mercedes prepare to rev up.

One interpretation, as outlined by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, is that 37-year-old Hamilton is ‘begging’ for a new deal amid the impressive performance of his much younger new teammate George Russell in 2022.

“I don’t see it that way at all,” team boss Wolff insists.

“I said very early on that Lewis will always have a seat with us. A decision is always discussed between us and Lewis would be the first to say if he’s not enjoying it anymore or thinks he has deficits.

“In this respect, we want to continue and we will certainly negotiate as in previous years. I don’t see any indication that we need to change anything.”

What does need to change at Mercedes, however, is the performance of the car – with Wolff admitting that the Brackley based team missed a figure like Adrian Newey when designing last year’s single seater for the new ground effect rules.

“It was definitely a factor for Red Bull to have someone from the ground effect era on their team,” he said. “It’s definitely something we underestimated.

“But I still believe that our aerodynamics department is outstanding. So perhaps this development that we have gone through is something positive for us in the long term.”

Wolff also told Speed Week: “Our simulations say that we should have gotten to the bottom of our difficulties.

“But that was also the case last year, and then the car didn’t go well. We will start testing in Bahrain at the end of February and only then will we see if we have solved the problems.”

However, he played down suggestions that Mercedes obviously needed to change the 2022 ‘concept’ ahead of the new season.

“We had a discussion with a stakeholder,” Wolff told Auto Motor und Sport. “He asked us ‘Are you changing the concept?’ My answer was ‘What does concept mean?’

“Does it refer to what is visible from the outside – narrow or wide sidepods? Or does it mean things that are not visible?

“We mercilessly question everything, so if we had to do something that looked like another car, there’s no doubt we would do it.”

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