Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff still isn't putting a deadline on the team securing a new contract with its star driver Lewis Hamilton, as talks continue.
In Abu Dhabi, Hamilton hoped to have a new deal with his employer done and dusted before Christmas, and while there's appears to be no doubt that the seven-time world champion and Mercedes will continue their successful partnership together in F1, talks continue between the two parties.
"From my point of view, we had such a successful run at championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue," Wolff said on Friday in the wake of the announcement of team sponsor INEOS taking a stake in the Mercedes team and of the Austrian extending his role as team principal for an additional three years.
"He [Hamilton] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that's why continuing together is a no-brainer.
"If you refer to why haven't we got a signed contract? The reason is simple. We always prioritized about getting this championship done, and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation. But then COVID struck.
"So it has delayed us a little bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done."
Wolff said that, at the latest, Hamilton could put pen to paper on the eve of the start of winter testing in early March.
"We are putting no special date to it, because we don't want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] while it's not signed yet. So sooner or later, it needs to be done. At the latest before we go testing."
Daimler chairman and Mercedes chief executive Ola Källenius, the man who will ultimately sign off on Hamilton's deal and the Britain's heft eight-figure salary, is fully expecting team and driver to continue their winning path together.
"I think Lewis Hamilton is the greatest, or one of the greatest race drivers of all time," said Källenius. "I've known him since he was a teenager.
"I think his dedication and professionalism when it comes to how he has dedicated his life to being the greatest is remarkable and applaudable. And he's a nice guy, too.
"So we would like to continue this partnership. And then it's up to Toto in his role to get that done."