F1: Mercedes-AMG Reveals 2018 W09 EQ Power+ Championship Successor

Lewis Hamilton's current contract expires at the end of the year

When asked about the state of the negotiations with Mercedes during the launch of its new vehicle, Hamilton said: "Me and Toto have been talking for a while".

In fact on first inspection, the W09 - which Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff hopes will be their "new diva" - does not appear to have any radical design changes compared to last year's W08.

When asked for his thoughts on it, Wolff replied: "I'm not impressed with the whole thing and if you gave me a chainsaw I would take it off.

We need to look after the drivers" safety but what we have implemented is aesthetically not appealing.

In ominous news for the competition, Hamilton, 33, also looks set to extend his six-year stay at Mercedes with both driver and team hopeful of extending his current contract, which expires at the end of the year, before the season's opening race in Australia on March 25.

"This is the new world now".

Speaking at the launch of the 2018 Mercedes Formula 1 auto on Thursday, Hamilton, who features as a driver coach on the new Gran Turismo game, said that while e-gaming may producer some good simulation drivers, he finds it hard to believe that it will produce a Formula 1 victor. "I have spoken with (Mercedes executive director) Toto Wolff, and we spoke about how we are committed to each other".

There's also four of them - one for each championship Hamilton has won. "So I think you're going to see a tougher battle". "The heavier they are they will always continue to get slower".

"We won the championship a year ago but it was hard at times, some really strong opposition. So I think we'll see a tougher battle this year".

And while the competitive picture for 2018 will not start to be revealed until winter testing begins next week, Hamilton is anticipating the new campaign to start how the last finished.

He added: "Hopefully we will have something done by the first race but we are in no rush".

Mercedes- AMG Petronas Motorsport took the wraps of its 2018 Formula 1 vehicle at the Silverstone International Circuit in England.

Hamilton is now the third-oldest driver on the grid but says "the longest break I've had in 10 years" has left him feeling "great" and ready to tackle the new season.