LONDON – Team boss Toto Wolff said Mercedes is confident of getting a new deal done with Lewis Hamilton when they begin contract talks later this week.
Hamilton, the most successful Formula 1 driver in history with a record 94 race wins, clinched a record-equalling seventh world drivers’ title when he won the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday in Istanbul.
But his contract expires this year, and he has indicated he wants to stay at Mercedes.
“Flying back from a seventh drivers’ championship, you can’t talk about a contract,” Wolff told BBC Sport. “It wouldn’t do justice to the achievement.
“We’re going to give it a few days then we are going to talk about it.”
He added: “Our relationship is much beyond business, it is one of friendship, one of trust.
“This one day of negotiations is something we don’t enjoy as it’s the only time where we are not having shared objectives. The best deal is one where both parties walk off not completely satisfied.”
Wolff said the two sides have been talking about a new contract for some time now, but they had put off contract talks because they wanted to secure the drivers’ and constructors’ championships first.
Now that they have achieved that objective, the Mercedes boss said they only needed to find the time to sit down and have a purposeful discussion.
“It’s a bizarre situation because we’ve been talking about it for a while, we’ve really just got to find a day where we sit down,” said Wolff in a Five Live special on Hamilton broadcast on Monday. “I think more than likely we are looking towards the end of the year.
“Not that we wouldn’t find time for each other, but I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi we will announce a new contract because there isn’t any pressure. When it’s done it’s done.”
Formula 1 heads to Bahrain next week for races on successive weekends before the December 13 finale in Abu Dhabi.
Wolff said both sides want to continue together, but it just a matter of putting pen to paper.
“(Lewis) loves racing and the competition, as does the team and myself…so I see us going for more next year, maybe putting another great year on and then obviously we have this tremendous, challenging regulations change for 2022,” said Wolff. “I see us going for a while.”
Wolff hailed Hamilton – whose family hails from the Spice Isle of Grenada – as one of the greats of Formula 1 and said there was much more for him to achieve.
“We are all thinking of Michael (Schumacher) very often and his achievements,” he said. “There’s very few great drivers – [Juan Manuel] Fangio in the 1950s and then [Ayrton] Senna and then obviously Michael, who set the record, and now Lewis.
“It’s very difficult to compare them, but I guess that with Lewis it’s history in the making and sometimes it’s difficult to really acknowledge that. Only when a career comes to an end, people will say we were part of the history making and I think this is what’s happening.”