The Hamilton saga goes on and on, even though the driver’s contract with Mercedes-AMG Petronas expired at the end of last season. Will Lewis sign or not?
Lewis Hamilton won a new World Championship title with Mercedes, his seventh and the team seems unstoppable. But the driver is yet to negotiate his future with the team’s executives. Unofficial sources claim that he received a deadline for signing: the end of February. So there is still plenty of time until he gets his signature on a new contract. But Lewis Hamilton is currently asking more than Mercedes is willing to pay.
Rumors have it that the Briton even threatened to quit Formula 1 if the team continues to decline his financial claims. It would not be the first time the team loses a world champion. In 2016, the then-newly crowned champion Nico Rosberg announced the team he was not willing to continue.
Team Principal and shareholder Toto Wolff has been keeping in touch with Lewis Hamilton throughout the winter holiday. The Austrian claims that everything remains transparent between him and the driver. Wolff though avoids pressuring the 7-time champion to make a decision.
Fans are furious as Mercedes keeps postponing the closure of the saga. Yet various VIPs, formerly or currently involved in the competition slam the brilliant driver, annoyed by the delay: “If I were Mercedes, I would show him the door. Either you drive on our terms or you go”, says former team boss Eddie Jordan.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas has got backups if Hamilton waves good-bye
Apparently, the Hamilton saga has not caused any anxiety within the team. “It doesn’t worry me at all because I will always respect Lewis’ decisions. Whether this is staying with us for a long time or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests. I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curve-balls being thrown at us”, Toto Wolff warns.
If the negotiations with Lewis Hamilton fail, Mercedes-AMG Petronas would easily surpass the crisis. Currently driving for Williams, George Russell proved capable of keeping up with the team during the Sakhir Grand Prix. A terrible mistake of the mechanics, that gave him the wrong tires, sent him from the lead to the opposite end of the ranking.
The now 22-year old has been part of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Junior Driver Program since 2017.