Hamilton, Mercedes dismiss rumours over contract, team's F1 future

Jonathan Noble
Autosport
Hamilton, Mercedes dismiss F1 future rumours
Hamilton, Mercedes dismiss F1 future rumours

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have dismissed rumours over contract talks and the manufacturer's future in Formula 1.

A number of reports since the start of the year have suggested Mercedes' driver line-up and future may not be secure.

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Stories in recent days have claimed that talks between Hamilton and Mercedes over a new contract had stalled over pay, with the inference being that it could prompt him to consider a Ferrari switch for 2021.

However, posting on Instagram, Hamilton rubbished talk of a clash over contracts, and said discussions had not even started with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

"FYI Toto and I have not even spoken about contract yet," he said.

"Nothing is being negotiated currently, papers making up stories."

Those reports come amid ongoing rumours about Mercedes' own long-term future in F1, which is not guaranteed until it signs a new Concorde Agreement.

A report in Autocar this week said Mercedes was poised to discuss a withdrawal from F1 at the next board meeting of Daimler, which it suggested would take place on February 12.

However, it is understood that no meeting has been scheduled for that date.

Daimler chief executive Ola Kaellenius also shot down any suggestion that the company was getting ready to withdraw.

Hamilton, Mercedes dismiss F1 future rumours
Hamilton, Mercedes dismiss F1 future rumours

Asked by Reuters at a German Auto Industry annual reception in Berlin if Mercedes was preparing to pull out of F1, Kaellenius said simply: "Not true."

Mercedes has been evaluating its future in F1 ahead of the 2021 technical rules overhaul and cost cap, but team boss Toto Wolff said at the end of 2019 that it was likely that Mercedes would commit - albeit that until contracts were signed nothing was definite.

Speaking to Autosport at the time about what happens to Mercedes from 2021, Wolff said: "Everything indicates that we will stay. But it's not a given.

"We are in the middle of discussing the new Concorde Agreement.

"In connection with this - and independently of it - we are discussing the development of the automobile and its effects on sport."

Autocar's report suggested one option for Mercedes could be to sell its works team to Aston Martin but remain in F1 as a customer engine supplier.

It already has long-term deals in place to supply Racing Point and Williams, and McLaren from 2021.

But such a scenario has previously been dismissed by Wolff, who said it would make no sense for Mercedes to remain involved in F1 if it did not have its works team.

"We have four teams that we supply, including ourselves," he said.

"You can be only pregnant or not pregnant, not half pregnant. So either we participate in the platform or we do not."

Pushed on the issue of staying as an engine supplier if its works team quit, Wolff said: "I don't think anyone would decide that [to leave F1].

"But if that were to happen, it [stopping customer supplies] would be a consequence."

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