Toto Wolff is convinced Lewis Hamilton will remain loyal to Mercedes beyond 2020 and not be swayed by a move to Formula 1 rivals Ferrari.
Mercedes recently won its sixth consecutive constructors' championship in Japan, and now Hamilton is poised to clinch his sixth drivers' title, and fifth with Mercedes, potentially as early as this weekend in Mexico.
In 2020, in what will be the final season of his current contract with Mercedes, he will attempt to equal Michael Schumacher's record haul of seven titles.
Although Hamilton has been associated with Mercedes, in one form or another, for two decades, it remains to be seen whether he will opt for one final career-ending deal with the team - he will be 36 when the new contract commences - or switch to Ferrari.
Assessing the situation, Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff said: “What we have said is that we would like to finish this season on a high, breathe for a moment and then discuss what happens in 2021.
“Loyalty and integrity are things that bind us together, and the most important discussions about 2021 will be with Lewis and Valtteri (Bottas, Hamilton's team-mate), but they have not happened yet.
"Yet the relationship we have built is a very strong factor in keeping the team together and a real asset of the Mercedes Formula 1 team.”
Despite Hamilton's dominant position in the championship at present, leading Bottas by 64 points, Ferrari has finally taken the fight to Mercedes and been the better team since the August summer break.
A continuation of that form into next season could sway Hamilton, although with new wide-sweeping regulations due to come into force from 2021, at this stage it is impossible to predict which team will then lead the way.
Wolff knows it will be down to Mercedes to show Hamilton why it will be worth remaining loyal.
With Sebastian Vettel also out of contract with Ferrari at the end of next season, Wolff added: "Ferrari will also look at the options they have.
"They have a good line-up now that causes hiccups sometimes, so they will be thinking 'What do we want for 2021?'
"We're having the same thoughts. What do we think is the perfect line-up for 2021? As long as we are able to provide the winning car, Lewis has no reason to consider other teams, and we have no reason to look elsewhere.
"But obviously there is a dynamic and a reality that everybody will be looking at their options for 2021. Most important will be to stick to our values, and that is the loyalty and integrity towards the people that work with us today, and that we are working with."
Loyalty cuts both ways, however, and it remains to be seen whether Wolff will also be in charge in 18 months' time. It has been suggested at times this year he will succeed Chase Carey as head of F1.
Addressing his own loyalty to Mercedes, Wolff said: "When you do something you need to do it wholeheartedly, to be 100% committed, or not do it.
"If I dreamed of another role, I shouldn't be doing this one.
"I really enjoy running a sports team. I really enjoy the business part of it, I like the brutal honesty of the lap time that shows you whether you are good enough or not, and most importantly, I enjoy the relationships within the team."
Wolff sees himself as a vital cog in Mercedes' continued success. He added: "It is all linked. The reason why we are all performing in the team is that we all play well in our respective positions.
“We are not like a pack of six-year-olds playing football, all running behind the ball, but we are trying to let the ball run in our positions.
“And it is not just about myself, Lewis or Valtteri. There are so many people who play very well in their positions who have contributed to the team’s success, keeping it together.
“But at the same time, staying motivated and energised is also very important. This is a question you have to ask yourself, whether you are contributing the right amount.
“None of us wants to be contributing and go from great to good because that will create a place for someone else.”
The best of US Sport with Tailgate
Featured from our writers