Toto Wolff has said that Lewis Hamilton’s age is a non-issue with the length of a future deal with the Mercedes F1 team, comparing the seven-time champion to NFL legend Tom Brady.
Hamilton, who turned 38 in January, is yet to sign a new contract with Mercedes and his current deal runs out at the end of 2023. There are questions about whether he will be offered a multi-year contract given the Briton is in the twilight of his time in F1.
Hamilton is currently the second-oldest driver on the F1 grid, but Wolff does not believe that reflects his athleticism and ability to handle the physicality of racing Formula 1 cars.
Hamilton’s body has indicated in recent years that age might finally starting to be catching up, notably at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix when he was visibly exhausted during the podium ceremony, but this does not worry Wolff.
“I think the age, 38, plays no role for this next contract,” Wolff told select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com.
“If you look at how well athletes, top athletes in the world, have pushed the boundaries, I’m thinking about Tom Brady who is 44/45, and he is on the pitch throwing the ball and being tackled so the age plays no role.”
Motivation to carry on?
After winning seven world titles, 103 races and enjoying 191 podiums, Hamilton’s legacy as one of the greatest ever drivers to grace the sport is sealed and unquestionable.
Also known for having dozens of interests outside of the paddock such as fashion, music and his growing involvement in other sports, he has previously faced questions about whether F1 is his leading focus.
“How he appears to me is that he is in great form,” Wolff continued. “Very positive. Motivated. Energised. Maybe the best so far, I have seen in those 10 years.”
As the 2023 F1 season dawns upon us, one could expect that both Wolff and Hamilton would like to enter the season with minimal distractions, as they look to bridge the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari.
“I think, as I said before, it is like it is when we’ve done a few of these contracts in the past.” Wolff said. “We’ve had the first chat and I don’t want to commit to any timeline because it’s not important for him, nor for us, at this stage.”
The pair have previously spoken about their openness in discussions and their trust in each other that when the time comes, they will both be ready to sit down and talk about serious terms.
Moving onto the Mercedes car, the Austrian was candid about the performance of the W13.
“We got it wrong last year,” Wolff said. “The results, the capabilities are there, and we just need to continue to develop like last season, so I don’t think it plays on Lewis’ mind. Any doubt that the team can perform? We will, eventually.”