With the new season of Formula 1 less than two months away, many expected Mercedes and 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton to have finalized a new deal by now. However, nothing has been announced yet and there have even been suggestions that Mercedes may not want to meet Hamilton’s new demands. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff who also happens to partly own the team has now revealed the latest developments in this regard
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0:00 - Wolff Explains Legal Curveballs behind Hamilton’s Contract Delay
1:42 - Fast Feed
I'm your host Dillon Shelley and first up on Formula World:
Wolff Explains Legal Curveballs behind Hamilton’s Contract Delay
Wolff started off by reiterating that they will finalize the new deal
“At some point we will finalize it. It's how it is with negotiations. You always come from different corners, but that's quite normal”
He then explained why it is taking so much time
“We have a really solid basis in our relationship. We have celebrated great successes together and want to continue doing so in the future. But sometimes you have to talk things out in detail, and that took, or still takes us some time”
Wolff then explained how the lawyers are having a difficult time with the negotiations taking place over Zoom
“The lawyers are working hard. We don't make life easy for them, of course, when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending curveballs to the lawyers. [Hamilton is] in America now and I'm here [in Austria]”
Wolff then confirmed a timeline by which the new deal will be signed
“[It should be sorted] before Bahrain at the latest - you have to sign something at some point!”
He summed up his words by elaborating on why they don’t need any threatening gestures
“We never played the George Russell card. He did incredibly well and will one day be in a top car, but our longstanding partnership is not at all about making any threatening gestures. We know we want to race together. And now we have to negotiate the contract”
Former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan thinks that Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll “has the speed to be a world champion, he really, really does”
Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer, meanwhile, added that their other driver Sebastian Vettel “will bring out the best in Lance, with Lance pushing Sebastian hard in return”
He further feels that “it’s the ideal blend of experience, race-winning knowhow, and raw talent”
McLaren's production director, Piers Thynne feels that their “switch to the Mercedes power unit” has “driven a huge amount of change and, essentially”, they’ve “been building a new car”
He further revealed that “the number of new parts on the” 2021 “MCL35M is about the same as when” they “built the” 2020 MCL35
He also confirmed that “there are some challenges in certain areas at the moment - but that’s F1. If you’re not encountering any problems, then you’re probably not being aggressive enough”
Toto Wolff definitely thinks that “Red Bull, with [Sergio] Perez, will be a much stronger opponent in terms of the constructors' championship”
He also expects “Sergio to be very strong. It will also be interesting how he faces Verstappen. It's a new opponent”
He further thinks that “Honda will really step on the gas to compete for the championship in their last year as a manufacturer. That's why it will be quite interesting”
Head of engineering at AlphaTauri Jody Egginton, feels that they “should have been sixth in the championship” as “the car was good enough for it”
He also accepts that they “didn't live up to it. There are many things” they “improved with, but unfortunately” they “didn't deliver the performance”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner thinks that the “Hydrogen Class at Le Mans offers an exciting glimpse into the future of sustainable motorsport”
This is because it “promises both to advance the use of hydrogen in transportation, and also deliver exciting racing”
McLaren’s technical director James Key thinks that their “strengths have been typically the high-speed corners” and “in terms of weaknesses”, they “still need to improve” “a bit in low speed”
FIA president Jean Todt confirmed that they “are facing a difficult start to the season, because it is a difficult time for the whole planet”
He added that “creativity is the key word when organizing major sporting events at this time”. They “need to have a different vision, and above all solidarity”
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