Mercedes is using the “larger gaps” in the 2020 Formula 1 calendar to progress contract talks with Lewis Hamilton, but has no set date to finalise a new deal.
Six-time F1 world champion Hamilton is currently in the final year of his Mercedes contract, and is widely expected to sign a new deal to remain with the German marque.
Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff have regularly said they do not wish to be distracted by contract talks as they aim for another world title in 2020.
Hamilton said last month at Silverstone that it was “not a big effort” to get a new contract agreed and that he remained relaxed and excited about his future with Mercedes.
Speaking at Mugello on Friday, Wolff offered an update on contract talks with Hamilton, saying that the busy 2020 schedule with the triple-headers meant focus had to be given to the races and championship bid.
“This is a work in progress, and I wouldn’t want to commit to a specific date,” Wolff said.
“We get on very well, but then when it comes down to the detail, you just need enough time to do that.
“With one race after the other, we don’t want to really be distracted by contract talks. In between the larger gaps, like next week, we’re moving towards a satisfactory outcome.
“But I don’t know when it will announce.”
This weekend’s Tuscan Grand Prix marks the ninth race in 11 weeks for F1, but it will hold just two grands prix in the next four weeks, with Sochi and the Nurburgring both being standalone events.
Wolff said the new contract would naturally have to be signed before the end of the 2020 season as Mercedes “want to have certainty [on] how we race next year.”
Hamilton has raced with Mercedes in F1 since 2013, winning five of his six world championships with the team, as well as helping it win six consecutive drivers’ titles.
A seventh world title in 2020 would see Hamilton draw level with Michael Schumacher’s record tally, while he is also poised to break Schumacher’s benchmark of 91 race wins this year.
Asked if a new deal between Mercedes and Hamilton was a formality, Wolff said: “We didn’t look at the contract for the last three years, and never took it out of the drawer.
“Sometimes situations change, and the environment changes, and therefore this is a time where it’s another stint, another part of the journey that we want to go together. We’re just debating.”
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