Mercedes wary of rushing Hamilton contract talks
Lewis Hamilton will resume contract talks with Mercedes in the coming weeks after winning the title in Abu Dhabi last weekend, but team boss Toto Wolff is preparing himself for some "tricky" negotiations.
Hamilton entered contract talks with Mercedes earlier this year but they were put on hold to allow him to focus fully on the championship. He has a deal in place to stay at the team in 2015 but his future beyond that will be discussed in the coming weeks.
There were rumours earlier in the year that Fernando Alonso was angling for a Mercedes drive, but Wolff has always maintained Hamilton would get first refusal. When he joined Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton's management negotiated a deal believed to be worth £60 million over three years. This year he split with management company XIX Entertainment and will be keen to land an even more lucrative pay package with his next contract.
"We have really been on a great journey and the team we have now, with all its stakeholders and Lewis being super involved in that group, we want to keep it together," Wolff said. "We have discussed it a couple of times and we started those discussions a couple of months ago, but we agreed to stop for a while and restart after Abu Dhabi.
"We had those rumours around one and half months ago but decided again to do it after Abu Dhabi. We are now going to reflect a couple of days, go back to the factory and start those discussions in the next weeks in the spirit like we have had all year."
However, Wolff said there was still plenty to be discussed and it was not just a matter of signing on the dotted line.
"It is never easy because it is a decision with consequences for Lewis and for us as a team. Stability is a very crucial ingredient for us at the team and sitting down and discussing the future, it is clear that Lewis feels at home in the team, the car is the most competitive car and so we have ticked two boxes. Equally there is no guarantee and it is never quick in defining all the terms and making it happen.
"But to put the record straight, we would love to keep Lewis in the team. He's been an incredible part in the development and the rise of the team and we want to continue with both of them. It's not a matter of a couple of hours and ticking the boxes, I think it needs proper reflection and discussion."
Hamilton said he feels like Mercedes is his home, but also stressed there was no rush to sign a deal.
"I definitely don't feel like I'm looking for a new challenge. When I joined this team, I said I wanted to be a part of something that was growing and building towards the success the team had before. I feel that this is just the beginning. There's another year to go so there's no rush but this is my home, I feel very happy here."