Toto Wolff says a new deal with Lewis Hamilton will be finalised despite recent rumours that the two parties are at a negotiating deadlock.
Mercedes and Hamilton are yet to sign a contract to continue together for the 2021 Formula 1 season as preparation begins for pre-season testing in March.
"I already threatened Lewis that I am next in line who will take the seat. But we need to adjust the car, that is the only problem," joked Wolff in an interview with Austrian television network ORF.
Wolff was asked if a plan B was under discussion or whether an agreement with the seven-time world champion was simply a question of time. "We never played the George Russell card on him. George did extremely well and will someday sit in a top car but in our long-term partnership, it's not about making any threatening gestures," Wolff said.
"We know we want to drive together and now we just have to negotiate the contract. As is the case with negotiations you come from different corners, it's quite normal.
"We have a solid basis in our relationship, we have enjoyed great success and we want to continue that but sometimes you have to talk things out and that took us some time or is still going on, but before Bahrain at the latest we have to sign something."
The Mercedes team principal was then asked if there was a final deadline. "No the lawyers are working hard, of course we don't make life easy for them when we both keep on discussing like crazy over Zoom and keep sending curved balls to the lawyers. But he is now in the USA and I am here and at some point we will finalise it," he concluded.