Mercedes are poised to open contract talks with Lewis Hamilton having stressed they foresee ‘no reason to doubt’ an extension will be agreed with the F1 world champion.
Both Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas are currently contracted for just one more year with the Silver Arrows – Hamilton after signing a three-season deal in 2015 and Bottas after being handed a one-term extension this summer.
“We will start those discussions now,” Toto Wolff said of new contract talks with Hamilton.
The new deal is forecast to see Hamilton earn as much £120m over three years.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that we are the team of choice for Lewis and Lewis is the driver of choice for us. we have performed well together and l think we will want to continue for a few more years,” Wolff added.
The Mercedes boss said after qualifying at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP that “there is no reason to doubt” an extension would be agreed.
Hamilton himself has previously indicated he expects to sign a new deal with the team which is likely to mirror the three-year extension Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel finalised in August.
After Sunday’s race, the four-time champion told reporters: “I am really excited about continuing my journey with the team and continuing to improve.”
Bottas on the right path to a new deal
The prospect of Bottas also being handed a new deal have been strengthened by the Finn’s strong finish to 2017 after he took pole position in Brazil and then secured both pole and victory in Abu Dhabi.
Following his driver’s sudden slump in form immediately after the summer break, Wolff praised his driver’s “strength of character” to sign off 2017 with a flourish.
“Very important,” Wolff said of Bottas’ win. “He won in fair and square racing. Carrying momentum into the winter is just what the doctor ordered.”
Speaking immediately after Bottas’ pole position on Saturday, Wolff had already indicated he would be minded to retain Bottas if the Finn could continue to deliver in 2018 his early- and late-2017 form.
“We have never doubted Valtteri’s raw speed,” said the Mercedes boss. “The difficulty is the direction of the tyres with the chassis and finding the optimal set-up sweet spot. This is something which has worked much better for Lewis
“It is important to see that he continues what he has done in the first half of the season, what we saw in Brazil and what we have seen here, then it is a no-brainer. We like working with Valtteri, and Lewis, and the two fit well together. There is a good dynamic in the team and l see no reason to change it if we continue where we are now.”