Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has given an update on contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton and hinted at strong progress being made while also revealing what the four-time Formula 1 world champion’s first move away from racing might be.

The reigning F1 world champion’s existing deal with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2018 season but Wolff is confident of securing the British driver on a new multi-year contract which is expected to be confirmed over the next few months.

When quizzed about a new F1 deal at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton was relaxed about negotiations over the winter but underlined his desire only to sign on his terms. Mercedes is eager to keep the “free spirit” F1 world champion and is taking careful attention to provide Hamilton with a deal that satisfies all parties.

“He is a 'frei-geist' - a free spirit - and he wants to keep his options open whether he stays a racing driver in 2019 or becomes a fashion entrepreneur,” Wolff told BBC 5 Live. “We are in negotiations about a new long-term contract and hopefully Lewis can stay with us for many more years.”

“This is the wish of all the parties. He wants to be with us and we would like to keep him obviously but at the same time I think he just needs to have the peace of mind that whatever he decides to do in the future he can do.

"At the moment, he loves F1 and he doesn't want to do anything else and all the rest is hobbies but maybe in two or three or four years down the line he changes.”

Speculation is growing on Hamilton’s new deal which is rumoured to be worth as much as £120m over three years, ensuring the British driver stays at Mercedes until the end of the 2021 season. Hamilton is already Britain’s highest-paid sportsman thanks to his current deal which sees him take in an estimated £30m a year.



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