Paris (AP) – For the record project eighth world title, now only Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has to renew his contract.
At the latest after Hamilton’s confidant has announced Toto Wolff as team principal for another three years, the perfect framework for the precious signature has been created. After Sergio Perez changed jobs to Red Bull, only the position of the seven-time World Championship champion in the Formula 1 drivers field has not been officially assigned.
“It’s not going to be a difficult discussion. We want each other because we need each other,” Wolff said on Friday in a video link to announce the Ineos group’s entry as a shareholder in the race team.
Hamilton’s contract with the Silberpfeil team will expire at the end of the year, but further cooperation is considered certain. “Personal relationship aside, of course, it’s a community of convenience,” Wolff said, referring to Hamilton’s chance to become the only record-breaking champion with eighth title victory next year.
On Friday evening Mercedes had already published a tweet with the hashtag #Announce, which means “to announce” in German. Behind it was a hand with a pen. “I plan to be here next year. I want to be here next year,” Hamilton was quoted as saying in the tweet.
Wolff has increased his interest in the racing stable. In return, Daimler is reducing the number of shares so that Ineos will be an equal partner with the other two partners. “This team is like family to me,” the 48-year-old director said in a statement.
Wolff previously speculated for months that Wolff would retire as team boss. He himself said that the search for a successor was underway. Now Wolff will continue beyond the 2023 season and will then take on another operational management role “as soon as he thinks the time is right,” he said.
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Hamilton also wants to prove the timing. Mercedes and the 35-year-old agreed not to negotiate the contract until after the title decision. But then Hamilton became infected with Corona. Now they want to “calmly pick up where we left off to complete the contract,” said team boss Wolff. Hamilton would like to arrange the formalities with the tour “before Christmas”.
Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler, referred to the decades-long connection between Mercedes and Hamilton. “Lewis feels like part of the family,” he said.
Ineos board member Jim Radcliffe would like to continue to work with the British. “I’m an admirer of Lewis. He’s a master of racing and stands out from all the others,” said the founder of chemical giant Ineos.
Sergio Perez is excellent at least in stages. Following his retirement for Sebastian Vettel in the future Aston Martin team, the Mexican will also get the long-awaited Formula 1 cockpit for 2021: The 30-year-old leaves Racing Point and becomes the new Red Bull teammate of Dutchman Max Verstappen.
Perez is thus given preference over the Rhinelander Nico Hülkenberg, who was recently also exchanged as a candidate for the cockpit. Thai Alex Albon, so far the second regular driver, is a substitute after an unsatisfactory season.