GUEST COLUMN: Finally, Toto Wolff speaks on Lewis Hamilton’s contract

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

By Carol M. Creasey

Toto Wolff spoke to ORF’s Sport am Sonntag programme explaining that he is in Kitzbuhel, where he has spent the last ten days after testing positive for COVID 19.

“No symptoms thankfully,” he said, “and we are now out of quarantine.”

He explained that a new “deadline” for getting Sir Lewis Hamilton‘s contract signed is by the time the Bahrain Grand Prix rolls around. Obviously the Press will see this as another story that they can latch onto and create drama around, and will surely bring up George Russell as a potential replacement.

Looking from the outside as a fan, it seems to me that because of their close friendship and trust, Sir Lewis and Toto both know the deal will be done, and indeed Toto has said the lawyers are currently working on it. Toto has even joked with Lewis that he himself might be in the car next year, so they obviously find the speculation amusing. Furthermore, Toto has insisted that in their relationship there has never been any room for threats.

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Toto also said on several occasions that, as good as George Russell is, it is still too early to give him a Mercedes seat. It is too much pressure to put on a 22-year-old, as every mistake and non-finish in a top team would be highlighted by others.

Getting back to Lewis’ contract, Toto acknowledges it needs to be signed at some point, when both him and Lewis are free to do it. Their relaxed attitude leads me to believe that the main part of the negotiations has been done, and the signing is just a formality. In recent days Sir Lewis has posted various pictures and videos of himself training hard and telling his fans to stay positive. He told them he looks forward to seeing them at some point soon. Does that sound like somebody who is unsure if he will be on the grid in two month’s time?

The 2021 season will be another exciting one, as Lewis will bid to become the world leader with eight championships, and I can’t wait for it!

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