By: Ashley McCubbin
Usually by this point just a couple months away from the season opener, all contracts would be signed with the focus on the year ahead. However, it seems Mercedes is still holding up the party.
Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton still both insist the contract is just a matter of working out the terms and signing the dotted line, but was delayed as a result of the team boss testing positive for COVID-19.
“We had planned to be here for a few days and out of nowhere I got a positive coronavirus test,” said Wolff. “But everything’s fine. No symptoms, thank God. It could have gone badly, but we’re out of quarantine.”
So while they would have hoped to have negations wrapped up by Christmas, that has not happened. Instead, the deadline is set to happen by the season opener – of course.
“The lawyers are working hard. We don’t make life easy for them, of course, when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending curveballs to the lawyers,” Wolff added. “But [Hamilton is] in America now and I’m here [in Austria]. At some point we will finalise it. It’s how it is with negotiations. You always come from different corners, but that’s quite normal. We have a really solid basis in our relationship. We have celebrated great successes together and want to continue doing so in the future. But sometimes you have to talk things out in detail, and that took, or still takes us, some time.”
So what happens now? We wait, but fortunately have some entertainment along the away as the next silly season chapter opens with the car reveals. Thus far, two teams have announced their dates to show off their new rides.
McLaren looks to be first in line thus far as their reveal will take place on February 15 as Daniel Riccardo joins Lando Norris. It will be interesting to see what the new car looks like, considering they were the only team to switch engine suppliers for 2021, going from Renault to Mercedes.
Then seven days later, Alfa Romeo will pull the wraps off their ride, as Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi return once again. Their hopes are to move closer to the front of the grid, improving upon only scoring just eight points last year to finish eighth in points. Notably, though, they did place ahead of Haas and Williams.