Sochi (dpa) – Lewis Hamilton keeps the future waiting. The Formula 1 superstar could set Michael Schumacher’s supposedly unattainable victory record in Sochi on Sunday, but the 35-year-old is in no hurry with his next contract of employment.
“I’m not someone who wants the same thing over and over,” Hamilton said recently. The fact that the Brit is conducting his negotiations mainly directly with team boss Toto Wolff could make the royal staff at Mercedes a little more complicated. Because the Austrian has not yet signed for next year and is probably playing with a new role at the industry leader.
Hardly anyone has any serious doubts that the Silver Arrows can continue to rely on the services of their two key figures for the dominance of previous years. But even given the open contract situation, there is persistent speculation in the paddock that the Swabian automaker is preparing to sell the team and possibly even withdraw from the racing series.
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The Daimler Group does not want to hear about it. “We will continue with the team, and that will also be a Mercedes team. We have no plans to go out there,” said a spokesman for Daimler of the German news agency for the Russian Grand Prix. Team co-owner Wolff had previously denied rumors that British chemical giant Ineos would take over the majority.
Instead, Daimler wants to continue with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who are already on their way to 2021, both as a driver duo and with Wolff, as the company’s spokesperson assured, “We don’t plan to have another team boss.” The move of 48-year-old Wolff to the position of general manager of Formula 1, which has been brought into play time and again, is probably now off the table. Former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali will of course inherit Chase Carey as head of the racing series next year.
It’s possible that Wolff will continue to rise in the hierarchy and give up some of his duties as team boss on the track. Hamilton will also want clarification on such questions before continuing to commit to Mercedes. “You have to make sure that our values are in harmony, our goals and desires are in harmony,” said the defending champion, who, like last time, negotiates his contract himself.
“Once the small details are sorted out, the big questions come,” Hamilton said. “We just need some time,” said Wolff, referring to the race calendar that was so tight in the Corona emergency season with nine World Cup races in eleven weeks: “We don’t want to be distracted with one race after another. through contract negotiations. ” In the longer breaks before and after the guest appearance in Russia, there is more opportunity to do that. “But I don’t know when we’ll announce it,” Wolff said.
For Hamilton it is already the eighth year with the Mercedes factory team, even before that he had a Mercedes engine in the car at McLaren. An end to this partnership seems unthinkable, especially as the World Cup leader could break Schumacher’s title record in the coming year. “It feels unreal. It’s a privilege to be in this position and to have such a great team and a great car every weekend,” he said.
Prior to the race on the Russian Olympic site, Hamilton leads the World Cup with a 55-point lead over stable mate Bottas and is on course for a seventh title win. With his 91st Grand Prix victory, he was able to match Schumacher’s record in Sochi. The statistics clearly speak in favor of the Silver Arrow pilot. In the six races in Russia so far, a Mercedes driver has always won.