Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says that Lewis Hamilton staying with the team beyond the end of this season is “the obvious pairing”.
The six-time champion’s contract runs out at the end of 2020 and he has so far made no decisions on his future.
Wolff said: “We would like to have the fastest man in the car and I know Lewis wants to be in the fastest car so there is an obvious mutual outcome.”
But added he had not spoken to Hamilton since the team’s Christmas party.
Wolff said: “We travel around the world 10 months every year but over the winter we leave each other in peace and the last conversation I had with him was at the Christmas party.
“I have great belief in the abilities of the team to attract the best drivers and Lewis has proven he is the best driver and in the mid- and long-term. I would hope we can continue to provide technology to the best driver.”
Wolff and Hamilton are likely to begin initial conversations over a new contract when they meet this month – the 2020 Mercedes runs for the first time at Silverstone on Friday before pre-season testing starts in Spain on 19 February.
What about Mercedes’ future?
Mercedes’ contract to race in F1 also ends this year but Wolff said that they were committed to F1 “for the long term”, and described reports that parent company Daimler would discuss its future in the sport as “complete nonsense”.
However, he stopped short of absolutely committing Mercedes beyond 2020 because of ongoing negotiations over the terms of the teams’ agreements with F1.
“F1 provides a great marketing platform for our brand,” said Wolff, who was speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ new partnership with Team Ineos, which they say will include technology transfer with Ineos boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s energy business, and teams in cycling’s Tour de France and sailing’s America’s Cup.
“This is what we do. We build race and road cars, F1 is the halo platform.
“We like the platform but at the same time we are in negotiation with the rights holders and things need to be sorted. But the partnership indicates our wish to continue.”