Mercedes still not worried by Hamilton contract but is ready for 'curveballs'

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Mercedes remains unconcerned as the wait for Lewis Hamilton to sign a new contract continues.

Currently, the seven-time world champion's seat is still TBC for 2021 after talks were delayed by the hectic 2020 calendar and after Hamilton tested positive for Covid-19 last month.

Since the turn of the year however, Italian media has suggested talks have hit a stumbling block over Hamilton's salary, with speculation he is demanding $40m-per-year and a cut of Mercedes' prize money.

A spokesman for the team later denied that as "pure fiction", but with the days ticking down until team boss Toto Wolff's deadline of pre-season testing for a new deal to be signed, such rumours are only likely to grow.

"It doesn't worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis's decisions," the Austrian said via this past weekend.

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"Whether this is staying with us for a long time, or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests. I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curveballs being thrown at us.

"But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together."

Of course, while Hamilton has won six of the past seven championships, Mercedes do have Williams driver George Russell in their pocket as leverage in negotiations.

And while most expectations being that a deal will be done eventually with Hamilton, Wolff has indicated Mercedes' continued success is not solely dependent on the 36-year-old.

"It's not one dimensional," he said. "Formula 1 has always been about best man in best machine wins.

"The best man means the quickest driver and the most intelligent driver, the one that understands how the dynamics in a team works, its technical ability, and on the other side seeing himself in the right context within the organisation and not like a solar system where everything revolves around the sun.

"Equally, the organisation around the driver needs to be on its absolute A-game in order to deliver performance in the various areas. This means on the engineering side, on the commercial side, on the political side, and on the communication side, in order to keep the wheels rolling.

"This is a business without a silver bullet, contrary to what most people think - even within the industry.

"It's a business around marginal gains where everything needs to be in the right place for a team to be successful."