Mercedes F1 team says new Lewis Hamilton deal is a priority

Mercedes has promised Lewis Hamilton that it will not even consider other Formula 1 drivers for 2016 until it has sorted out its plans with him

Mercedes F1 team says new Lewis Hamilton deal is a priority

Amid the intensity of the world championship battle, Mercedes and Hamilton have agreed to put a hold on new contract talks until the season is finished.

But that has not stopped Fernando Alonso making a push to secure the Mercedes seat for 2016 as he tries to sort out his own future.

Hamilton's current contract only runs until the end of 2015.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has made it clear, however, that his priority is to finalise a new deal with Hamilton, and only if talks break down will he start thinking about other options.

"We have a contract with both our drivers for 2015," he said. "We want to continue with the current line-up because these two boys are part of the success of the team.

"They have known each other so well and they respect each other. The moment you get somebody else in that fight, it could be detrimental to the team's performance.

"Therefore our main priority is to continue with Lewis and with Nico [Rosberg] beyond 2015."

Wolff said that he was unmoved that Alonso's situation had ramped up interest in his team's driver plans - and he was sticking to the promise he made Hamilton to hold fire on contract talks for now.

"We have agreed with Lewis that we want to concentrate on the championship and give him the exact same possibility [as Rosberg]," he said.

"We do not want to get involved in some commercial, financial, or legal discussions until Abu Dhabi, and my commitment is we are not going to talk with anybody about any terms or contracts until then."

Wolff also insisted that he was under no pressure from either his Mercedes boss or F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to take Alonso.

"There is no such pressure," he said. "I think one of the reasons why this team has progressed forward is that we are Mercedes-Benz and we have this huge mother ship in the back ground helping us.

"They are also leaving us to the do the business and take the decisions that are the right ones for this tiny little entity, this tiny little unit for Mercedes.

"We can call their opinions when we think it is important and Dr. [Dieter] Zetsche and the board are part of the decision-making process, but there is no pressure."

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