Lewis Hamilton’s lack of a manager is making contract negotiations with the reigning world champion more difficult.
That is the admission of Toto Wolff, who after the split between Hamilton and his manager Simon Fuller is now having to tread the fine line between maintaining good relations with the British driver and negotiating hard.
Talks between Hamilton and Mercedes about a new deal beyond 2015 were thought to have accelerated recently at Jerez, but a few weeks later, a deal is still not done.
“It has been much more difficult,” team boss Wolff smiled to the Finnish broadcaster MTV3, contrasting negotiations with a manager versus speaking directly to a driver.
“I cannot say to him … I do not want to say ugly words,” the Austrian laughed.
“Lewis is part of the team and he has to stay motivated and in a good situation, so I have to choose my words carefully,” Wolff added.
“He is a very smart guy. It is actually very good,” he revealed, “and we do not have any pressure.
“We know what he wants and he knows what we want. In the end, we will find a common vision.”
In the midst of the negotiations, Wolff ‘rocked the boat’ recently when he mentioned Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas as ideal alternatives to Hamilton.
“You must rock the boat all the time,” said the Mercedes chief, “but in this case, no.
“I want to maintain a good relationship with Lewis, and so if you start to play negotiating games in the media, it is a recipe for disaster,” said Wolff.
“I was asked who I would take if Lewis goes somewhere else, and I said that although it is not likely, in my opinion Fernando and Valtteri would be logical options.
“I said nothing more than that,” Wolff insisted.
“If you trust your relationship, you do not need to play these games, even though this is a business.” (GMM)