With Hamilton’s contract expiring at the end of 2020, many are wondering when the new deal will be agreed. Both Wolff and Hamilton have said that they will start negotiating once both championships are in the bag.
“I don’t want to drop a date [for a new deal] here because if I do everybody is going to ask at every single race,” said the Austrian.
“But this is what we agreed. I think it was important to make sure that we have both titles secured and then have a more relaxed approach to the discussion about the future.”
Asked if he is “feeling cornered” now that the end of the year is fast approaching and no deal has been made, Wolff said: “No, not at all cornered. There is a good dependence on each other.”
“We would like him in the car and I think he wants to drive the Mercedes because it is competitive. So, of course, there is a good balance.”
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Wolff’s own contract with Mercedes is also expiring at the end of the year and the Austrian already made it clear that he is pondering his exit from the team’s day-to-day operation and looking for a successor.
“I believe that each of us has a certain shelf-life as a team principal. It is not sustainable to do a few hundred races and be the best you that started on the journey.
“It is a job that involves being in an aeroplane for 20 or so races and then coming back on Monday, you have an office job. I did 250-odd air miles last year and 500 hours of flying and it is something I don’t want to do for the rest of my life.
“But I take enjoyment in what I do and I certainly don’t want to step away from the Mercedes team. I am a co-owner with Mercedes, it is something I am very proud of and the team functions very well but it has become quite a large company with our engineering arm, applied sciences growing strongly.
“I believe that I should hand over the baton to somebody who will start his journey with the same motivation and energy as when I started.
“That is a natural progression we have done on a technical level over the years and I will be very proud seeing somebody performing better than I do and I will be watching that from a different, more senior role.”
And did Wolff already identify this successor? In his own words: “Maybe.”