Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff insists he does not feel cornered following delays to negotiations over a renewed contract for star driver Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton can clinch a record-equalling seventh world title at this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix but is heading into the final months of the year without his future being secured, with his current deal expiring at the end of 2020.

The Briton caused a stir at the last race at Imola when he suggested there was “no guarantee” that he would remain with Mercedes in F1 next season, before strongly indicating that he will stay when he faced the media on Thursday in Turkey, with Hamilton explaining that the delays are simply down to him considering “the bigger picture” in his Mercedes contract talks.

Wolff played down any concerns over Hamilton’s future and reiterated that negotiations would ramp up once both world championship titles were secured.

Asked if he felt cornered in any way due to the lateness of the negotiations, Wolff said: “No, not at all cornered.

“It’s a good dependence on each other; we would like him in the car, and I think he wants to drive the Mercedes because it’s competitive, so no, I think there is a good balance.

“I don’t want to drop a date here because if I do everybody’s going to ask at every single race, but this is what we agreed.

“I think it was important to make sure we had both titles secured and then have a more relaxed approach to the discussion about the future.”

Wolff has been in talks with Daimler for some time about his own future having recently acknowledged that overseeing Mercedes’ streak of domination has taken a toll on him.

“I believe that each of us has a certain shelf life as a team principal because it’s simply not sustainable to do a few hundred races and be the best [version of] you that started on the journey,” Wolff told the media in Turkey.

“It is a job that involves being in an aeroplane, on 20 or so races, and coming back on Monday you have an office job. And I did 250 hotel nights last year and 500 hours of flying and it is certainly not something that I want do for the rest of my life.

“But I take enjoyment in what I do and I certainly don’t want to step away from the Mercedes team.”

Asked if he already had a successor as a future Mercedes team principal in mind, Wolff, after a long pause, replied: “Maybe.”

 

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