Toto Wolff has sparked confusion with his latest statement on Lewis Hamilton‘s next Mercedes contract in Formula 1, saying the only thing stopping its completion is a signature.
At the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix Hamilton hinted the deal could be announced in a matter of days, but with the summer break looming there’s been no public movement from either side until now.
Hamilton is contracted until the end of 2023 but has form for leaving it late; he only announced his 2021 contract barely a month before testing was set to start.
“The status is we haven’t signed it but emotionally we have done it,” Wolff told Sky Sports at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton is now synonymous with Mercedes, having joined the team in 2013. He was a McLaren driver until then, having had a close relationship with former boss Ron Dennis from a young age and won his first championship with the team in 2008 before their competitiveness faded in the following seasons.
The announcement that Hamilton was jumping ship was one of the shocks of the decade in F1, but it’s certainly paid off in the form of six more drivers’ championships, 82 wins and one of the most dominant eras in the history of the sport.
Rosberg baffled by Wolff admission
However, speaking on Sky Sports, Nico Rosberg wasn’t impressed by Wolff‘s announcement.
Rosberg spent seven seasons at Mercedes, four of them alongside Hamilton and thus knows Wolff better than almost anyone else in the paddock.
“Can someone tell me what that means when a contract is emotionally done?” Rosberg said. “I have no idea where they are at, or why Lewis is taking so much time. All of us hope that he will continue of course, and it really seems to be the case.
“Especially with the car progressing now, that’s going to help that contract process also.”
Hamilton‘s previously said he feels he’s got another five years in F1, but has also proclaimed that if the calendar expanded to 25 races it’d be his cue to leave – there’ll be 24 grand prix in 2024.
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished at the Hungaroring, we move on to the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix which will a sprint weekend held between Spa-Francorchamps on July 28-30.