Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on Lewis Hamilton talks, 'long-term' 2021 plan
"Our mid-to-long-term strategy is being considered," Wolff tells Sky F1 with Mercedes considering Bottas, Russell, Ocon before Vettel; Also says Merc and Hamilton "won't let each other down"
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 09/06/20 1:10pm
Toto Wolff has told Sky Sports F1 that Mercedes are in "good hands" with Lewis Hamilton expected to sign a new deal, but says the team need to think about the "mid-to-long term" when considering their 2021 line-up.
Mercedes, unlike rivals Ferrari and Red Bull, don't have a driver signed up for next season - and although Wolff spoke positively about Hamilton's talks he has admitted that Sebastian Vettel is a contender for one of their seats.
But first, F1's world champions will be looking internally, with Valtteri Bottas, who has partnered Hamilton since 2017, George Russell (currently at Williams) and Esteban Ocon (at Renault) set to be given priority.
And Mercedes' influential team boss hinted to Sky F1's Martin Brundle that the team's younger drivers have a very strong chance.
Told by Brundle that Mercedes were "spoiled for talent" to choose from, Wolff responded: "Yes, but we must not be complacent.
"Red Bull has two very talented drivers, Ferrari has very talented drivers - I think the combination they've chosen is very good.
"We need to make sure our short-term future is in good hands, and there are no better hands out there than Lewis', and then our mid-to-long-term strategy is being considered.
"It's not an easy situation but we are in a good place."
Bottas enjoyed his best-ever F1 season last year and is hoping to challenge for the title in a shortened 2020 campaign. Russell, meanwhile, shone at Williams despite being at the back of the grid and has helped build his reputation with some stellar Virtual GP victories.
Ocon has been a contender to replace Bottas since shining with Racing Point two seasons ago, and is now back on the F1 grid with Renault.
Wolff on Mercedes & Hamilton's 'trust'
Wolff also revealed contract discussions with Hamilton, whose current deal expires at the end of the year, haven't yet started but that an agreement should be reached "pretty swiftly".
"We're keeping in contact with each other regularly," the team principal explained. "We have been in different parts of the world but very much keep ourselves in the loop of what is happening.
"The moment Lewis touches down back in Europe we will carve out what needs to be carved out. We have been together for eight years now and the agreements don't need to be reinvented. There is a good basis and I believe we could come to a point pretty swiftly."
Asked by Brundle why Mercedes were leaving it this late with their star driver, Wolff added: "If you trust, and I think our relationship is based on trust, you know that your partner is not going to let you down.
"We are all aware Formula 1 is a tough business but I think what this teams does different is that loyalty and trust are important values and we live by them every day."