As time dragged on, and with Lewis Hamilton yet to agree a new deal with Mercedes, the media did what it does best, began imagining the various issues that could be preventing the seven-time world champion from signing on the dotted line.
Among the various reasons put forward over the last few weeks was that the Briton was demanding a stake in the team, a share of the team’s TV money and the right to veto potential teammates, with Max Verstappen said to be the Briton’s principle concern.
In the wake of today’s confirmation that Hamilton continues with Mercedes, albeit on a one-year deal, team boss, Toto Wolff was keen to dispel some of the recent speculation.
“On the clauses that were out there in the media, I don’t know where they came from because none of that is true,” said the Austrian.
“I actually read about this, and I found it interesting,” he continued, “but the truth is that there was not one second of discussion about any driver specific clause. He has never asked for that in the last eight years. And it’s a team decision.
“And the other clause about a revenue share. That came out of nowhere,” he insisted. “That rumour was baseless, too. So none of that was ever part of our discussions.”
Referring to the fact the deal is for just one year, he explained: “We jointly agreed on a one-year deal. First of all, there is a substantial regulation change in 2022. We also want to see how the world develops, and the company. Plus on the other side, it’s because we kept it very late.
“We wanted to discuss the contract at the end of the season between the Bahrain races and then obviously, Lewis didn’t feel well,” he said, referring to the fact that the Briton tested positive for the virus. “And in the end, we started our conversation, just before Christmas.
“So it was important to get it done as soon as possible. And in that respect, we thought, let’s postpone the discussion about 2022 and onwards to a later stage in 2021.
“There are uncertainties in the world that affect the way that the sport can operate, that have an influence on our revenue, TV monies, and on sponsorship income,” he added. “Daimler, Mercedes, is in a huge transformation towards electric mobility and that means investments. So we are living in a financial reality that is very different to what it was a few years ago.
“But having said that, we are totally in-line, Lewis and me and the wider group at Mercedes about the situation. So there was never any discrepancy in opinion.
“It was just that we felt we could get a good signature on the 2021 contract because we just need to get going and then find some time during 2021, earlier than this time around, to discuss the future.
“And it’s not only specifically to 2022, but also beyond. And that is not something that we wanted to carve out via video-conferencing between Christmas and the end of January.”