For months, F1 fans have been spamming Mercedes social media accounts requesting to know when the team planned #AnnounceLewis in 2021.
Technically, Hamilton has lost his contract since January 1, when his previous two-year contract expired, but there was little concern that it wouldn’t continue this year.
Fans wanted clarity and confirmation.
That confirmation finally fell on MondayBut that surprised me. Unlike his previous multi-year contract, this contract was only for one year.
There was no doubt that Hamilton would continue to drive for Mercedes this year. There was no space left for the other teams, and the best teams on the grid never shunned the seven-time world champion.
Hamilton could have turned his back on the sport completely, but won a record eighth title and won his own position in F1 history ahead of Michael Schumacher in seven championships. What I did was a remarkable decision.
At an online press conference on Monday, team leader Toto Wolff said, “I never thought he wouldn’t sign, and I never suspected him. [he would sign].. “
So why wait so long?
First of all, negotiations began much later than Mercedes and Hamilton had planned. Initially, the two sides delayed negotiations due to a coronavirus pandemic, shortened the 17-race schedule to six months, and made it difficult to face off the circuit due to social distance measures.
In addition, both sides wanted the other to continue in 2021, so there was no urgency to put the pen on the paper as the season progressed.
Negotiations were first kicked back to the last three races of the season in the Middle East, as it seemed wise for Hamilton to focus on securing his seventh title first.
However, after winning the first race of these races, the Bahrain Grand Prix in November, Hamilton became infected with COVID-19 and was forced to sit in isolation from the penultimate race, the Sakhir Grand Prix. I did.
After a quick recovery in Bahrain and 10 days of quarantine, he returned to the F1 paddock on the eve of the final race weekend in Abu Dhabi, but again the race was prioritized over sitting around the negotiating table. ..
It delayed the start of negotiations until the week before Christmas, less than two weeks before Hamilton’s previous two-year contract was to expire at the end of 2020.
Again, both sides stayed calm, knowing that the 2021 deal was never suspicious, but Wolff, who caught COVID-19 in January, said it wasn’t easy to resolve. The time left on the long-term effort table, which needs to be considered for many other factors.
In the end, it was decided to sign the 2021 contract and postpone negotiations after 2022 at a later date.
“We jointly agreed on a one-year contract,” Wolff said. “First of all, we would like to see how the world will develop with a major regulatory change in 2022, and the company.
“On the other hand, I was so late that I wanted to discuss the deal between the races in Bahrain at the end of the season, but obviously Lewis felt sick and eventually started negotiations and conversations just before. It was important to finish Christmas and it as soon as possible.
“In that respect, I decided to postpone the conversation after 2022 to the later stage of 2021.”
We plan to set an early date this year to start negotiations, but it’s not yet entirely clear which factors are preventing us from putting together a long-term commitment. Wolff mentioned the new technology regulations for 2022. This poses the greatest threat to Mercedes’ F1 domination, but seems to be driven by the new post-pandemic economic reality.
“There are uncertainties in the world that affect how sports run, and they can affect our income, television money, and sponsorship income,” Wolff said between the present and the next set. The negotiations I explained when pushed about what would change in.
“Mercedes is undergoing a major transformation into electric vehicles, which means investment. Therefore, we are living in a very different economic reality than it was a few years ago.
“But that said, the situation is in perfect agreement with Lewis, myself, and the wider group of Mercedes. There was no contradiction. I just got a good signature on the 2021 contract. Start and find some time until 2021-this time around-to discuss the future.
“It’s not just until 2022, but even after that. That’s not what we wanted to do with video conferencing between Christmas and the end of January.”
However, Wolff emphasized that the reasons for staggered negotiations are more complex than just the financial figures of the contract.
“Lewis has always realized that this is a very difficult time,” he added. “There are topics that are difficult for everyone, difficult from a health perspective, far more important than F1 racing, and the automotive industry is in a period of change.
“So the topic of money wasn’t a particular point. It’s more. [getting a deal done to] Let’s get started as soon as possible for 2021. “
Wolff also had the opportunity to deny rumors that Hamilton refused to exercise his veto after his future teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who had a one-year contract with Mercedes until the end of 2021.
“I don’t know where it came from for certain clauses in the press, because none of them are true,” he said. “I actually read about this, I found it to be an interesting point of view.
“But the truth is, there wasn’t a second of debate about driver-specific provisions. He hasn’t asked for it in the last eight years and it’s a team decision.
“Other provisions [suggested in the media] The rumors were also unfounded that Lewis received a revenue share or revenue share. So it wasn’t part of our discussion. “
Will Hamilton be able to leave F1 at the end of 2021?
With no contracts beyond the end of the year, Hamilton will be able to leave the sport at the end of the season. By that time he was able to become an eight-time world champion, making him the most successful F1 driver in history and offering him the rare opportunity to take the lead.
“I think this is Lewis’s decision,” Wolff said. “As long as he enjoys the race, I think he can run longer.
“I don’t think it’s the ability to end in 2021 because he grows up as a driver and takes care of himself in terms of physical fitness and mental readiness, but in the end it’s his decision.
“I think Lewis needs to decide what his future will be, so I don’t want to comment on where Lewis stands.”
One sign that Hamilton intends to stay in Mercedes beyond 2021 is the creation of a charitable foundation to improve diversity and participation in motorsport as part of the new contract. Both Mercedes and Hamilton were F1 core champions of such cause in 2020, but such a change is a very long-term commitment.
The Hamilton-Mercedes joint foundation, first proposed by parent company Daimler CEO Ora Carenius, suggests that Hamilton will continue to engage Mercedes at some level over the next few years. Its involvement could be in the role of ambassador rather than driver, which suggests Hamilton has no plans to leave Mercedes for another F1 team.
Of course, Mercedes also needs to consider his own interests, and even if he chooses to sign different contracts in multiple seasons after 2021, he plans beyond Hamilton. The key to these plans is George Russell, who is currently on loan. From Mercedes to Williams. However, at the end of the year, the contract with Williams will end.
Russell represented Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, confirming that Mercedes may have suspected when he first began investing in his career in 2016, establishing himself as a future star.
Wolff said Mercedes would first talk to Hamilton and Bottas in the 2022 contract negotiations, but that doesn’t rule out bringing Russell to the team in line with F1’s regulatory review early next year. ..
“The team needs to make long-term decisions about what to do with the driver,” Wolff said. “Valtteri and Lewis have 100% commitment and loyalty towards 2021 and will support them with everything we have.
“Then, beyond this year, we’ll talk about the lineup we envision after 2022. The first talk is with Valtteri and Lewis, who respect the value of loyalty and integrity, but on the other side, young drivers. Is the future, so we need to consider how we want to set ourselves over the years to come. “
As a result, the hands both Mercedes and Hamilton had during the 2022 deal negotiations are unlikely to change from a forged deal announced on Monday. What has been blocking trading for more than a year in this round will continue to exist in 2022, but in the end there will be more time to find a suitable solution for both sides.
“He’s the best driver for me,” Wolff said. “He has gained a lot of support around the world, far beyond racing fans, and has won seven championships in the last three years without making big mistakes.” Many on the team Like a wider organization, he is an important pillar of a team’s success. .. Lewis, on the other hand, is one of the 2000 people in the team, the engine and chassis, not the two superstars, but the 2000 superstars, and each of us is a successful team. I am aware that I am contributing.
“And because he has this helicopter perspective, it was a very tough year for us personally, both in terms of health and economics. Despite his delivery from his side. I knew that, and there is an economic reality that is important to respect. “
Why did Lewis Hamilton sign a one-year extension?
https://www.espn.com/f1/story/_/id/30861521/why-lewis-hamilton-only-signed-one-year-extension Why did Lewis Hamilton sign a one-year extension?