Mercedes Formula 1 team principal Toto Wolff has dismissed claims that Lewis Hamilton demanded a driver veto in his new contract to block a potential move for Max Verstappen.

The long-running saga over Hamilton’s future was finally put to bed on Monday when Mercedes announced the seven-time world champion had agreed a one-year extension to continue racing for the team in the upcoming 2021 season.

Continued delays over the past few months had only fuelled a number of rumours about what could have been behind the hold up in what was considered to be a straightforward renewal.

 

Such speculation ramped up in recent weeks as the 2021 F1 season loomed closer with no deal agreed, with reports claiming that Hamilton wanted to avoid being partnered with another star driver such as Red Bull’s Verstappen.

There was also a suggestion that Hamilton was pushing for a share of Mercedes’ revenue income as part of his salary, but Wolff was quick to rubbish both claims.

“There was never a moment where we thought he wouldn’t sign, and there was never a moment where he doubted it,” Wolff said in a press conference on Monday afternoon.

“The curveballs [comment] was meant about the situation with him having coronavirus in the time where we expected to sit down face-to-face in Bahrain.

“On the specific clauses that were out there in the media, I don’t know where that came from because none of that is true.

“I actually read about this, I found it an interesting perspective but the truth is there was not a second of discussion about any driver-specific clause. He has never asked for that in the last eight years and it’s a team decision.

“The other clause about a revenue split or revenue share… it came out of nowhere and that rumour was baseless too, so none of that was ever part of our discussions.”

Wolff explained the reason only a one-year extension was agreed was down to both parties wanting to take the time to discuss the situation regarding 2022 and beyond at length once the 2021 season has got underway.

“We jointly agreed on a one-year deal," he said.  “First of all, there is a substantial regulation change in 2022.

"We also want to see how the world develops, and the company. And on the other side, because we kept it very late, we wanted to discuss the contract at the end of the season between the Bahrain races and then obviously, Lewis didn't feel well.

"In the end, we started our conversation just before Christmas so it was important to get it done as soon as possible. And in that respect, we thought, let's postpone the discussion about 2022 and onwards to a later stage in 2021."

 

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