Lewis Hamilton has unveiled Mercedes new car for the 2018 F1 season, the W09, alongside Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff at an event at Silverstone, the United Kingdom on Thursday.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has blasted the new Halo cockpit protection device, saying he would like to ‘take it off with a chainsaw.’
In a bid to improve driver safety, the structure is mandatory for the 2018 season, but Wolff says it damages the looks of the cars.
‘I am not impressed with the whole thing and if you give me a chainsaw I would take it off,’ said Wolff.
In a similar vein, Mercedes began talks with Hamilton during the back-end of last season and he is expected to sign a new three-year contract, worth a reputed £120m.
“We’ve had very good discussions, ticking the dots and are expecting to come up with some news soon,” Wolff said at Silverstone at the launch of Mercedes’ new W09 car.
“The sooner the better. The minute you put the date out, you are going to be remembered about the date and it doesn’t make any sense to put ourselves under pressure.
“It is important to cover every angle of the corporation. Lewis has been with the team for six years, we are talking about extending that to a very long time.
“A couple of weeks would be a realistic target. Maybe a few weeks.”
Hamilton hopes a deal can be struck before the season-opening Australian GP on March 25, exclusively live on Sky Sports F1, but insists he is in no rush and has had no thoughts about leaving the team.
“[Toto and I] spoke very often and we were constantly saying how committed we are to each other. I know that there is no one better so he’s not going to be looking anywhere else, he knows that, and I know there is nobody better so I’m not looking anywhere else,” Hamilton said.
“We are comfortable and we are committed to each other. It’s just about sorting out the details always.
“Hopefully we will have something done by the first race but we are in no rush. There is no reason to rush anything, no panic, I’m not feeling under any pressure of any other drivers in there and Toto and Mercedes have no reason to feel that I’m talking to anybody else.
“In the whole six years that I’ve been here, I haven’t spoken to another team once and I think that shows my commitment.”
Hamilton added: “I’m very excited about extending with the team. I’ll continue to stay while I have that fire in my belly. I love this job.”
Hamilton returns for 2018 fully recharged after his longest winter break in F1 and Wolff believes the Briton is as hungry as ever as he attempts to match Juan Manuel Fangio tally of five world championships.
“For me, Lewis is the personalisation of hunger,” Wolff said.
“He is extremely motivated and coming back after the winter break and I don’t think that lack of motivation or complacency is an issue for him. On the contrary, he is eager to get back in the car.”
Wolff is also confident his star driver will not be distracted by the furore over his social media profiles.
“There’s so much crap going on social media, what’s big today has no relevance tomorrow. The best thing is to entertain yourself and ignore the haters.”