NOBODY NEW UNTIL CONTRACTS 'SORTED': Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton (left) and Nico Rosberg are the team's drivers until contracts for 2016 are signed. Image: AP / Antonio Calanni
AUSTIN, Texas - Mercedes will not consider talking to any other driver while it is sorting out a new contract for 2014 Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton.
Team boss Toto Wolff made that clear on Thursday (Oct 30 2014) ahead of the 2014 US Formula 1 GP in which the 29-year-old British driver hopes to reel off a fifth consecutive win and his 10th of the season on his way to a second Drivers' title.
Wolff said: "We have a contract with both our drivers for 2015 and we want to continue with the current line-up because these two boys are part of the success of the team. They know each other so well and they respect each other. The moment you get somebody else in that fight it could be detrimental to the team's performance.
"Therefore our main priority is to continue with Lewis and with Nico [Rosberg] beyond 2015." Hamilton and Rosberg have raced together since they were karting teenagers but so far in 2014 have delivered a furious, sometimes acrimonious, scrap for the championship.
The team has also said it had put all talks about future contracts on hold until the end of the 2014 season: Hamilton's current contract ends in 2015. Despite the emergence on the drivers' market for 2016 of double champion Fernando Alonso, who is expected to leave Ferrari, Wolff said he was sticking to a promise he made to Hamilton to leave talks until the title race is over.
"We've agreed with Lewis that we want to concentrate on the championship and give him the exact same possibility [as Rosberg]," he said. "We don't want to get involved in some commercial, financial or legal discussions until Abu Dhabi and my commitment is we are not going to talk with anybody about any terms or contracts until then."
Wolff also dismissed reports that he was under pressure to take Alonso in a move that would keep the highly rated 'box office' racer in the sport.
"There is no such pressure," he said. "I think one of the reasons why this team has progressed is that we are Mercedes-Benz and we have this huge mother-ship helping us from the background. It is also leaving us to the do the business and
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 US GP weekend.