Hamilton leaves his options open

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have announced a deal for 2021 – but not beyond that.

It will be Hamilton’s ninth season with the team, during which time he has won six World Championships. The deal includes a joint commitment to diversity will take the form of a joint charitable foundation, which will support greater diversity and inclusion in all its forms in motorsport. 

“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates,” Hamilton said. “Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track. 

“I’m equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue. I’m proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport. I am inspired by all that we can build together and can’t wait to get back on the track in March.”

What is interesting is that the deal is just for one season, which was not expected. It had been thought that Lewis would agree to another three years. Having said that, there is no real need for him to commit in the longer term as the team will obviously still want him in 2022 and so year-by-year deals make sense for him. This will allow him to set a new record for F1 World Championships, if he can win again, with eight, compared to Michael Schumacher’s seven. If he then chooses to retire to do other things this allows him that possibility. Mercedes will not be short of replacement candidates if that happens…

The only odd things is that the 2022 season will be a new formula with new cars and it might have been logical for Lewis to commit to the first season and then decide whether to stay on move on, if Mercedes is no longer dominant.

“We have always been aligned with Lewis that we would continue,” said Toto Wolff, “but the very unusual year we had in 2020 meant it took some time to finish the process. Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity within our sport. Lewis’s competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners. The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it.” 

47 thoughts on “Hamilton leaves his options open

    1. So Josh, do you know him in order to judge his personality ? Maybe his public image isn’t to everyone’s liking but by all accounts Michael Schumacher was different away from the track and so is Kimi. From what I know about you Josh, I am not going to pass judgement. Have a very nice day, get out more, chat up some women / men / not so sures / eitherways / Brexiteers.

      1. What an idiotic reply. Josh was clearly referring to his public persona, which is what we see, or try to avoid as sportsman can no longer just be good at their day job. If he finds that tiresome that’s his opinion, and just like you have yours he is entitled to it without woke twits like you taking him to task for expressing an opinion, you say is judgemental and then end by being judgemental on Josh. Put on your sandals, eat your nuts and tofu and get back to the joghurt knitting.

        See what I did there?

        1. My dear Andrew, please be aware that I do not own any sandals, don’t like nuts, never tried tofu and don’t know how to knit. Please can you provide a new list of activities to keep me quite so I don’t have time to post idiotic replies to my new friend Josh?

      2. According to The Former Mrs Larrington Michael Schumacher’s public persona, at least in the earlier part of his career, was very different when he was being interviewed in his native language.

      3. It is perfectly possible to admire someone’s skills and yet find them tiresome. In fact, I’d say there’s a good chance I’d find you tiresome, Rod.

        1. Josh, I am delighted for you and grateful for your words of wisdom that will one day help to save the planet. By the way, do you know the best way to get yoghurt out of my jumper?

  1. Imagining that the Honda is as powerful as the Merc next year, or close to it, could you see Lewis at Red Bull? And similarly, could you see Red Bull wanting Lewis and willing to pay for him. Would he shift extra cans?

  2. “The only odd things is that the 2022 season will be a new formula with new cars and it might have been logical for Lewis to commit to the first season and then decide whether to stay on move on, if Mercedes is no longer dominant.”

    I don’t know if it’s that odd given how well Seb was served staying at Red Bull through the 2013/2014 upheaval, or Ayrton beyond the Honda days at McLaren.

  3. If the car is competitive and can win every weekend why does Mercedes “have” to pay top dollar for Lewis Hamilton?

    1. They don’t “have” to, they want to.

      They want him to drive, he won’t and shouldn’t do it for nothing. Other soports people are pain 4-5x more, so not top dollar?

  4. Considering the fact that the contract is only for one year, what do you think were the stumbling blocks to the signing of a new contract, do you think maybe Mercedes wanted a longer contract (2 years for example) or do you think it was something else?

    1. I have absolutely zero insight into this, and if Joe doesn’t know, what do any of us…. however….

      I don’t think it would be beyond reasonable to surmise that the delay could have been at least in part as a result of a) a new player being at the table, as part owner, and b) the structure of this charitable diversity commission

      Keep up the good work (resting) Joe, you deserve it after last year!

  5. Could the 1 year only deal signify the possible departure of (or at least the inability to give firm commitment for longer by) Toto.

    The motor industry is undergoing seismic upheavals, with further large scale changes to come. Daimler Benz to become Mercedes Benz! (Which we thought Mercedes was already) Trucks to become separate again (MAN perhaps?) So there will be more reorganisations over the next year.

    Stellantis must have a very long list of changes, somewhat akin to a multi-way version of Richard Osmond’s “Answer smash” which may affect their sporting involvement, particularly with a great deal of their focus now on electric vehicles. Profits will be down as production (let alone sales) is affected by industry wide chip shortages.

    When F1 is finally fully electric shall we see a team from Mr Musk? (At least someone must be working up to a sponsorship deal)

  6. Your analysis Joe indicates that you think that it was Hamilton’s desire to only endorse a one year deal, It was my understanding of the rumours that it was Hamilton who wanted a three year deal and it was Mercedes who was unwilling to commit for longer.

  7. Would it not taint his legacy if, upon finding out the merc 2022 car wasn’t dominant, he leaves at end of 22? The calls of it being the car not him would be louder than ever.
    Surely much better to leave on a high after winning his 8th title this year.

  8. Excellent decision. Hopefully this will be his final racing contract. I also hope that in 2021 he’ll amass his 100 wins & a 8th titles then retire gracefully. One thing that is missing in the announcement, is a statement stating that at the end of the contract Hamilton would join the Company as its Director or VP of Diversity Outreach. . This way, he would continue to occupy a high perch in the company pursuing his new quest to get more minorities into Formula One. Fulfilling this goal is a very, very daunting challenge indeed. We already know the macro reasons he is the only one; In Karting its funding, in Engineering it’s STEM

  9. Seems to be good from LH´s viewpoint. I think he´s looking beyond F1 now, an 8th title would be finished business and that happens next year 7/8 with MB, his ambassadorial value will be enormous.

    As per Fangio before the term was invented! But I think LH will do more than just car stuff with the rest of his life.

  10. Like always, you knew Lewis re-signing was the ultimate outcome. That is why we come to you Joe. Although, it is fun for me to see the other pundits out there wail and moan and make up “has Lewis overestimated his worth to Mercedes?” type stories, only to know what you have told us will come to fruition 99.9% of the time.

    I honestly cannot fathom how anyone could legitimately have believed this partnership was not going to continue in ’21.

    Kudos to both for getting it done. F1 minus LH44 would have been missing a lot had the nuclear option actually been taken. Yes, I would love to see someone usurp Lewis for the title, just for the competitive nature of things but, he will probably again win and show why he is the best of this era of F1.

    I hope you are enjoying your downtime, Joe.

  11. The one year duration of Sir Lewis’ contract will no doubt spark another frenzied round of speculation regarding Hamilton and Ferrari. For once there might just be something to it.

    1. That’s all been done. He’s stopping at the end of this year. Doubt he’ll fancy it elsewhere and I doubt any other big teams fancy him either. Lots of factors make Lewis driving for anyone else very unlikely indeed.

      1. All the other drivers would no doubt applaud his retirement. They might finally get a shot at the WDC. He’s only 36 and my view is that he could well want to continue. Last year I would also have said he would never drive elsewhere however the protracted nature of the negotiations for this year and the views of the bean counter Kalenius might spur him to look elsewhere.

  12. Hoping that you’re weathering these lean times well, Joe.
    I wish that Lewis would take inspiration from Schumi and move on to endeavor to restore a fallen name, like Williams for instance, back to glory. However, my impression is that, however favorably one views his strengths, Schumacher-level talent for assembling a winning team around him isn’t among them.

    1. Engineers often considered Schumacher a friendly primadonna. I can imagine their experiences with Sir Lewis to be even more acute.

    2. “however favorably one views his strengths, Schumacher-level talent for assembling a winning team around him isn’t among them.”

      MB have won 7 constructors titles in a row, and Lewis won 6 WDCs out of 7. MB were not a winning team before 2013.

      1. That’s called “post hoc ergo propter hoc.” I can credit Sir Lewis’ driving and racecraft to the heights of Mount Olympus for what you pointed out. I still have trouble believing that his influence away from the track is in the same league as Michael’s was, though. If he left MB to go to another team, how many MB team personnel would follow him?

  13. F1 is one of the most secretive sports. Knowledgeable journalists like Joe, work hard to discover what is happening within the teams. I’ve found the last few months fascinating as thousands of social media experts have been coming up with so many ‘facts’ about Lewis Hamilton’s current and future decisions. In the last 12 hours many have gone full barking, led by headline seeking scribblers, who appear to be paid by the word.

    Face it, Lewis knows what he wants, so does Toto and they ain’t telling. Not that it won’t stop months of supposition, lies and nonsense being written in the chase for clicks. Please bring on the racing.

  14. I reckon Hamilton will probably do another 2 seasons then quit . I think George is a shoe in for a 2022 promotion unless his standards at Williams in 2021.

  15. In a year when the average person hasn’t been able to make plans to go for a beer I don’t find it surprising that they put an interim contract in place. The longer term may involve complexities that just require more time and thought to sort. Mercedes and Hamilton have no better options, than each other, if they want to race. I believe that the seat at Mercedes is King Lewie’s as long as he wants it.

    1. Yep I think I might want to know if bubbles and quarantine are going to be the long term future of this travelling circus before committing beyond my 8th title.

  16. Most of us are making the assumption that LH44 will win the championship this year and then retire. What if he does not win? Easy to think of another 5 drivers who are desperate (and have the machinery to enable them to do it) for that championship….what would LH44 and, come to it, Toto do? worth pondering….

  17. Nice to see Hamilton’s political ambitions to have been satisfied elsewehere. Black t-shirts on the podium are not my cup of tea.

  18. my guess is he moves to Formula E as an owner/driver anticipating that F E is the immediate future of all motor racing

  19. Surely Lewis Hamilton being of mixed heritage is already a recruiting call as it shows just what can be achieved by a parent willing to make huge sacrifice and in LH’s case Ron Dennis seeing the bigger picture and putting up the money when the 000’s to be competitive got big.

    Formula One in particular has gone through a number of changes where in the 1950’s it was a nationalistic sport to a large extent. When the Cosworth was a game changer in the late 1960’s, you still had the 🇮🇹 dominated Ferrari, the 🇫🇷 with Matra and then as it became Ligier. The rest of the “garagista’s” were 🇬🇧, 🇳🇿 and 🇦🇺. Since then countries with motor sport history have come through and the sport is more diverse now than before, and hopefully when the world returns to some form of normality will continue.

    What LH sees as diversity is happening already, just not fast enoug and it needs to be on merit or the sport just gets less competitive..

    Like most things the real starting point needs to be improving life outcomes from an earlier age and improving education for people to get out of poverty through being skilled to be an “Adrian Newry”, “Ron Dennis” “Bernie Ecclestone” of the future.

    Look at the Team Principle role, there was a time when the majority were British, now only Christian Horner is. We have even had a woman of Indian heritage fill that role, her loss through pit lane politics is the sports loss too. Much like Eric Boullier was a loss to the pit lane, although he seems busy with other motorsport projects.

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