Mercedes ready to resume Lewis Hamilton contract talks
"We would like to have the fastest man in the car and I know that Lewis wants to have the fastest car," says Merc boss Wolff
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 11/02/20 10:49am
Mercedes say they will resume contract talks with Lewis Hamilton once the 2020 F1 season starts - confidently calling it an "obvious pairing".
Hamilton is now in the last year of his deal with the team he has won five of his six titles with, and has yet to make a decision on his future.
At the end of 2019, rumours he could join Ferrari in 2021 ramped up as Hamilton plots the final years of his glittering career.
But speaking at the launch of their new livery, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he believes Hamilton will stick around with the Silver Arrows.
"I think it is the obvious pairing going forward," said Wolff. "We would like to have the fastest man in the car and I know that Lewis wants to have the fastest car.
"There is a mutual outcome."
Numerous reports regarding Hamilton emerged over the winter - some about his contract demands shot down by the six-time champion himself - and Wolff confirmed that team and driver had not spoken since Christmas.
"We travel around the world almost 10 months of the year and get on each other's nerves every other weekend and what we do over the winter is leave each other in peace," he explained.
"The last conversation I had with him was in the evening before the Christmas party, where we had a nice chat and said we would continue our discussion on his future once he is back from America and we start the season."
The new season starts in Australia on March 15.
Hamilton is aiming for Michael Schumacher's F1 records this season - he can break the German's win tally (91), while he can equal his amount of titles (7).
"I have great belief in the team to attract the best drivers and at the moment Lewis has proven he is the best current driver with his six titles," Wolff added.
"In the medium and long term we hope we can continue to provide technology to the best driver and attract them."
Can Silver Arrows deliver again in 2020?
Mercedes have already enjoyed unprecedented F1 success with their six consecutive clean sweeps of the sport's titles - but Wolff insisted the team would not be lacking motivation for the new season.
"Every year we try to set the right objectives," said Wolff. "I think it's so important to wake up with a purpose.
"I don't see a lack of motivation within the organisation. The pain of losing is so much more intense and lasts so much longer than the joy of winning. This is, in a way, what drives us strongly, and the sheer thought about losing makes you forget about all your previous achievements.
"Last year's record doesn't buy us any credit for the 2020 championship, so all lap times, all points go to zero and we are yet again in front of another challenge.
"In a way, there's a reason why six is a world record. Because it's very difficult! We want to push that needle further."
Mercedes in F1 for 'long term'
The one major change to the Mercedes livery is the addition of red, thanks to their new principal partners INEOS.
Mercedes have partnered with INEOS - a chemicals group with a growing sporting portfolio - for five years, and the length of that deal is notable considering the Brackley-based team currently do not have an F1 contract for next season.
Wolff said the partnership showed Mercedes are in the sport for the "long term", although he added they are yet to find a breakthrough in their negotiations with F1's owners Liberty Media.
"We like the platform, but at the same time we are in negotiations with the rights holders and things need to be sorted out," Wolff added.
"The partnership indicates our wish to continue our successful journey in Formula 1."
Mercedes' parent company Daimler recently shot down reports that their support of the F1 project is wavering, while Wolff insisted they were "nonsense".