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Formula 1 Italian GP

Wolff: Avoiding escape clauses behind Hamilton's two-year Mercedes F1 deal

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff says it has signed Lewis Hamilton for a further two seasons in Formula 1 because it didn't want to get mired in escape clauses if the team doesn't perform.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Hamilton and Mercedes signed an agreement for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, that will extend his stay at Brackley, where he won six of his seven world titles, to 13 years.

Hamilton previously hinted at being happy to stay in F1 for a number of years, but in the end both parties only settled on a fresh two-year-deal.

According to Wolff, the shorter-term deal gives both parties flexibility for the future, with no need for complicated exit clauses.

As F1 heads to a crunch 2026 rules shift, that means Hamilton can first assess just how competitive he thinks Mercedes will be with its new car and power unit before committing to the team for another term.

"This is a dynamic environment and signing a five-year contract means that you need to discuss about [if] there is any escape clause in case we're not providing him with a car that is performing," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"So, we didn't entertain that. We said we see the foreseeable future is two years. And that's what we are committing to each other."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Wolff states he believes Hamilton will continue with the team until the end of his active F1 career and beyond, in a different capacity, and doesn't think the seven-time world champion will ever entertain moving elsewhere.

"I think first of all, his role with the team will go on for a longer period even when he decides not to drive anymore," he added.

"I can't see him driving for another team and he's going to be always this iconic racing driver and personality outside [the sport], so I very much hope that our careers and our journey continues beyond the racing."

Mercedes has also signed George Russell on a new deal that runs until the end of 2025, meaning both drivers are free ahead of the 2026 rules shift.

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But Wolff is not worried he could lose both drivers at a crucial crossroads, as it is simply on Mercedes to provide a quick car that the best drivers will want to drive.

"I believe in the fact that if it's of benefit for both parties, then you're staying together," he said.

"We need to make a quick car, we need a quick driver. Like a very famous football coach once told me, if a good player wants to go elsewhere then he's never stopped him going elsewhere.

"So, when somebody wants to move either the team or the driver then you've just got to move."

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