Toto Wolff has hinted that Mercedes will not be able to pay Lewis Hamilton more in 2021.
The six-time world champion's lucrative current contract runs out this year, and both have rubbished rumours that Hamilton is pushing for as much as $70 million per year for the new one.
"Obviously every driver tries to negotiate a good contract," Mercedes team boss Wolff told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
"But for two reasons, money is not the decisive factor in our forthcoming talks.
"First, Lewis knows that we are going through a major transformation process in the Daimler family. Times in the entire automotive industry are difficult and we on the way to electrification," said Wolff.
"Secondly, it is much more important for Lewis that he gets a fast car and therefore the best possible tool to win world championships," he added.
Wolff was also asked about F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn's recent claim that because of the current stability in the rules, the sport should enjoy a closer season than ever this year.
"If he believes that, then I wonder why he changed the rules for 2021," Wolff said.
"It has always been our point of view that stable regulations are better. Not because it keeps our advantage, but because it's exactly as Ross says - the longer the rules stay the same, the closer the teams move together."
But the F1 rules are definitely changing, prompting suggestions that Mercedes' dominance may finally end.
"Most of the time, an era such as the one we are having ends because an important part of the team breaks away. But it doesn't look like that will happen at the moment," Wolff insisted.