Here we go again. We’ve learned that Mercedes AMG F1 and their driver contract negotiations are not something resolved quickly. Toto Wolff threatened Lewis Hamilton with being replaced by Bottas earlier this year, as the discussions over the extension to the Brit’s contract dragged on and on.
It appears Nico Rosberg will suffer a similar fate. His contract to drive for Mercedes expires at the end of next season and Toto Wolff tells Autosport today that it may be some time before they agree any extension.
“The line-up is a great one,” says Wolff. “Both of them [Lewis and Nico] are a major part of the team and responsible for getting the team to where we are today. But it’s early days to discuss that [Rosberg’s contract]. I want to see how the season pans out.
“There are areas we want to develop altogether as a team, and let’s see how that goes.”
Wolff recently made it public that he was concerned about how the drivers’ relationship could be affecting the team. There is no love lost between Rosberg and Hamilton despite them growing up together in karting as rivals but friends. The Mercedes boss has threatened a driver line up change if things don’t improve, though the majority of the British press decided this was more a shot across Hamilton’s bows than Rosberg’s.
Toto Wolff recognises there will be tension between his drivers, given the fact they both have the best equipment and better chances than others to claim F1 driver titles. “It’s understandable because they are fighting in a car that is capable of winning the championship against each other.
“The guy in the other car cannot be your friend, but we need to be careful that it doesn’t spill over on both sides of the garage. We’ve seen teams in the past where there is a competition being created that is not good for the dynamics within the team.”
As if he didn’t need any incentive, Nico Rosberg now knows he is not just racing for a title, but possibly an extension to his 6 years with the Mercedes F1 team.