Toto Wolff and Christian Horner deliver updates on star drivers’ contracts
Neither Mercedes nor Red Bull expect to be looking for replacements for Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen any time soon, Toto Wolff and Christian Horner offering encouraging updates.
Hamilton is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of this season with Wolff having stated back in January that he wanted to get a new deal sorted out before the winter was over.
But months later and five races into the season, Mercedes have yet to announce a new deal with their World Championship-winning driver.
Hamilton did say in the build-up to the Miami Grand Prix that it’s only a matter of time, the Briton seeking a “long term” deal, with Wolff adamant “eventually” a new deal will be signed.
“It’s been 11 years that I’ve that we’ve been together, and every single time when we talk about Lewis contract, it’s six months of ‘where are we and what is happening?’ And we keep seeing the same thing; that we’re just rolling on,” he said.
“It’s not any difficult contract negotiations, it’s just putting a different timeline and a few different numbers in there. And that’s what we do. And we’re working on this.
“It’s a work in progress, bouncing emails back and forth. And eventually we’re going to sign it.”
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But while questions about Hamilton’s future are to be expected given he is in the final year of his current deal, those about Max Verstappen’s are not.
The reigning World Champion has a deal with Red Bull Racing that runs through to the end of 2028 but he’s cast doubt on that with his comments about quitting the sport if the calendar expands to include what he considers to be too many sprint races.
That was put to his team boss Horner, the Briton making it clear Verstappen won’t be leaving before his current contract expires.
“Well, thankfully, his contract has many years to run on it, so we don’t see that as an imminent risk,” he said. “But of course, he has an opinion on it and he’ll always speak openly on it and voice his opinion.
“I think that it’s so hard to look too far down the road. Did Fernando Alonso think he’d be racing at 42? Probably not. I mean, Lewis Hamilton is in his latter 30s. So the future is just so difficult to predict.
“But I think it’s great that drivers do have opinions and they don’t just become stereotypes.”
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