The final piece of the F1 2021 jigsaw was placed on the table when Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton announced a contract extension.
The new contract for the seven time world champion is rumoured to be worth £40million, however it is only a one year deal.
ONLY ONE YEAR!
The contract length between the two parties was the biggest talking point on social media, I had to read the Mercedes press release twice to make sure that it was indeed only one year.
With the deal gaining so much scrutiny, it prompted Mercedes F1 team principle Toto Wolfe to clarify some points regarding the deal and the negotiation process.
Wolff said they “jointly agreed on a one-year deal” after delays to their discussions led them to postpone agreement on 2022 and beyond.
“First of all there is a substantial regulations change in 2022,” Wolff explained. “We also want to see how the world develops and the company.”
Their negotiations were disrupted by the late end to last season and Hamilton’s Covid-19 diagnosis in December.
“Because we kept it very late, we wanted to discuss the contract at the end of the season between the Bahrain races, and then Lewis obviously didn’t feel well. At the end we started out negotiation conversation just before Christmas.
“It was important to get it done as soon as possible and in that respect we thought let’s postpone the discussion about 2022 an onwards to a later stage in 2021.”
Despite the late timing of the agreement, Wolff said there was never any doubt on either side that they would agree a deal.
Toto’s statement has cleared up some speculation regarding the process and the deal, however it does raise a couple of questions, firstly Covid 19 disrupted the contract discussions as Lewis fell ill during the Bahrain double header this delayed the discussions.
A telling comment by Toto was “We also want to see how the world develops and the company.” reading between the lines, it suggests that the contract agreed is a suitable contract for 1 year, however it may not be a suitlable contract for the longer term. Of course this is speculation but it is telling that this was mentioned.
Love Lewis or hate him, he is arguably the best Formula 1 driver of our generation. He has matched or surpassed just about every modern Formula 1 record, any record yet to be broken, could be done in the upcoming season. The one that he certainly wants to break is the 8th World Drivers Championship, in doing so he will surpass the German legend Michael Schumacher with who he currently ties on with seven.
The 2021 season is using a large amount of the 2020 car due the effects of the Covid-19. Combining the sheer dominance of the
Mercedes car in 2020, few will bet against Lewis Hamilton securing his 8th title.
If Lewis does secure the 8th title, what else would he have to prove?
It is well known that Lewis has
numerous interests outside of Formula 1. He collaborated with Chirstina Aguleria under the XDNA name, he also takes a keen interest in Fashion, launching a fashion line with the Tommy Hilfiger brand.
Lewis made his F1 debut in 2007 at 22, now 36 with 7 (possibly 8) championships under his belt, he must be looking to a future outside of Formula 1.
It would be logical to think that his other interests are becoming more attractive, a new challenge.
Lewis Hamilton the Activist.
In 2020 we saw a more political Lewis, he has aligned himself with the Black Lives Matter movement. Mercedes showed their support to end racism by altering the colour of the cars from the traditional Silver to Black. Lewis used his stance at the top of Formula 1 to draw attention to social issues such as the the Breonna Taylor shooting in the America.
He has also started a new initiative under the newly formed Hamilton Commission,
with a Partnership with The Royal Academy of Engineering, is to increase the representation of black
people within UK motorsport.
“Despite my success in the sport, the institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist. It is not enough to point to me, or to a single new black hire, as a meaningful example of progress. Thousands of people are employed across this industry and that group needs to be more representative of society.”Lewis Hamilton, Hamilton Commission
Whether you agree with Lewis Hamilton’s political stance or his interests outside the Formula 1 sphere, it is clear that when he decides to hang up his crash helmet for the final time, he will be pretty busy for a number of years to come.
Are Mercedes Playing the long game?
Mercedes will always play the long game, however having Lewis Hamilton as part of the brand is just as important.
Mercedes are one of the few teams, if not the only team that are (soon to be) profitable.
In an article for SportsPro, in 2019 Mercedes posted a profit of £14.7million, despite a spend of £333million. This was in part because of great sponsorship and marketing revenue, which cannot be solely attributed to Lewis Hamilton, however it does help to have one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers at your disposal to sweeten the deal for the sponsors.
The Sportspro article can be seen here https://www.sportspromedia.com/news/mercedes-f1-finances-profit-turnover-spend-2019-toto-wolff
There won’t be many brands/businesses that wouldn’t want to have their name associated
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes know this all too well.
The future is bright the Future is George.
Another factor for Daimler and Mercedes is George Russell. The talented British driver is starting his last year with the Williams team in 2021. After his brilliant performance in the Mercedes at Bahrain in 2020, it has given Mercedes a solid option for the future.
There are few people that dislike George, he gets his head down and gets on with the job. Stick him in front of a pack of journalists he will say all the right things, in the right way. He is dependable, trustworthy and importantly he is very very
2022 could be a new era in more ways than one ..
For the first time in a long time (if ever) Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton’s contracts will end at the same time. We could see a very different line up at Mercedes in the not too distant future. It is not out landish to think that Mercedes will have two new drivers in the garage for 2022, with the Hamilton years consigned to the history books and a new era beginning.
With the new regulations ushering in a new era for Formula 1 in 2022, if Lewis decides to walk away, an already exciting time in Formula 1 would have an added layer of excitement.
Whatever happens, contract talks involving Lewis and Mercedes are going to rumble on throughout 2021.