Wolff revealed that the discussions only started when Hamilton recovered from COVID19 post the closure of the season around Christmas.
In an interview with SkySports after the announcement of the 1-year extension with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 boss, Toto Wolff has dispelled some rumours that were bringing the 7-time world champion a lot of negative press. The Austrian said that Hamilton had never demanded a veto on who his teammate will be nor did he ask for a split from the commercial revenue Mercedes made.
“On the specific clauses that were out there in the media, I don’t know where they came from because none of that is true,” he said.
“I actually read about this, and I found it interesting, but the truth is that there was not one second of discussion about any driver-specific clause. He has never asked for that in the last eight years. And it’s a team decision. And the other clause about a revenue share. That came out of nowhere. That rumour was baseless, too. So none of that was ever part of our discussions,” the Austrian revealed.
Toto Wolff who is also the 33 per cent co-owner of the Mercedes F1 team also revealed the reason for a 1-year contract.
“There are uncertainties in the world that affect the way that the sport can operate, that have an influence on our revenue, TV monies, and on sponsorship income.
“Daimler, Mercedes, is in a huge transformation towards electric mobility and that means investments. So we are living in a financial reality that is very different to what it was a few years ago,” said Wolff citing the changing landscape of the automotive industry.
“But having said that, we are totally inline, Lewis and me and the wider group at Mercedes about the situation. So there was never any discrepancy in opinion. It was just that we felt we could get a good signature on the 2021 contract because we just need to get going and then find some time during 2021, earlier than this time around, to discuss the future,” he added.
“And it’s not only specifically to 2022, but also beyond. And that is not something that we wanted to carve out via videoconferencing between Christmas and the end of January,” explained Wolff citing the longer-term scenario around the relationship considering Hamilton is already 36.
Wolff revealed that the discussions only started when Hamilton recovered from COVID19 post the closure of the season around Christmas. Then the distance between Hamilton’s base in the US, the lockdown in the Brackley and Brixworth operations of Mercedes in England and his own location of Austria were challenges that added to the delay.