The fate of Britain’s seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton is still shrouded in uncertainty. With his contract with the Mercedes team expiring, speculation is rife about his next move.
While both Hamilton and the Mercedes team have expressed their desire to continue their partnership, negotiations have dragged on. However, there is now a glimmer of hope on the horizon for those keen to see their man remain in F1 at Mercedes.
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As time ticks down on Lewis Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes, the F1 world is abuzz with speculation. Amid ongoing negotiations between Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, there have been rumors of a possible move to Ferrari. However, recent reports suggest that Hamilton has rejected offers from Ferrari, even if they double his actual salary of $40 million.
These reports suggest Hamilton is firmly committed to staying at Mercedes.
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The agreement with Mercedes has not yet been concluded
The latest analysis by Lawrence Barretto on the Formula 1 website suggests that while the Mercedes seat is technically open for the 2024 season alongside team-mate George Russell, the timing of Hamilton’s signing remains the main question. The feeling is that it’s not a matter of if, but when Hamilton will put pen to paper.
The delay does not appear to concern either Hamilton or Wolff, who said the basic terms of the contract had been agreed. The finalization process is mostly a matter of settling small details before the deal is formalized.
Hamilton’s history of signing new contracts relatively late in the negotiation process is not lost on observers. In 2021, he signed a one-year extension just before preseason, followed by a two-year deal just six months later.
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Five more years trying to secure the 8th title
Despite being 38, Hamilton believes he has five years of competitive racing left in him as he pursues a record-equalling eighth world title. Given his long association with the Mercedes family, from his karting days to his Formula 1 debut with the Mercedes-backed McLaren team and the following decade with the Mercedes works team, it is highly likely that he will continue his journey with the Silver Arrows.
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Two attempts by Ferrari to secure Hamilton
Reports emerged earlier this month that Hamilton had rejected a contract offer from Ferrari chairman John Elkann. Later reports indicated that Ferrari team principal Fred Wasser had also approached Hamilton. However, all indications are that Hamilton remains committed to Mercedes and has no intention of changing teams. Michael Schmidt, the German publication’s motorsport editor, insists Hamilton’s contract talks are a thorough process that cannot be rushed.
Schmidt also claims that even if Ferrari were to double Hamilton’s £40m salary, he would not be affected by the financial incentive as he has no competitive advantage over Mercedes. Schmidt claims Hamilton is astute and acknowledges that Ferrari’s car is not superior to Mercedes in terms of performance.
Schmidt also predicts that the transition from Mercedes to Ferrari may not be seamless for Hamilton. The challenges he faces at Mercedes could be exacerbated at Ferrari due to the increased scrutiny the team faces.
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Ferrari’s performance is not impressive enough
Ferrari’s performance has been inconsistent, with the team ahead of Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship in 2022 but behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin this season. On the other hand, Hamilton’s Mercedes appear to be on a roll, with consistent top-four finishes in the last eight races.
Although some in Formula 1 have supported the idea of Hamilton moving to Ferrari, the Scuderia’s management, led by Vasseur, face an uphill battle to retain Hamilton’s loyalty.
With the clock ticking down on his quest for a record eighth F1 championship, Hamilton recognizes the urgency of his quest. The dominance of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who is on course for a third consecutive title, poses a formidable challenge for Hamilton to regain control of the championship. This dynamic also underlines the pressure on Mercedes to rectify its recent struggles and deliver a competitive car capable of supporting Hamilton’s championship ambitions.
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Dutch GP: Contract signing deadline with Hamilton Mercedes
Hamilton has been an integral part of the Mercedes team since 2013, securing six world championships during his tenure. However, the current season has seen the Mercedes team struggle with pace issues, which have hindered Hamilton’s ability to challenge for wins. Despite these setbacks, Hamilton was quick to announce his intention to extend his contract with Mercedes. In the midst of these discussions, persistent rumors of a possible deal with Ferrari have emerged.
However, Hamilton has made it clear that Ferrari is not in his future plans. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff had initially promised a quick resolution to the new contract negotiations, but this did not materialise. Recent reports from Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport suggest that the culmination of these talks is now imminent.
According to Corriere dello Sport, the contract could be signed before the Dutch Grand Prix. Both sides are said to have agreed on the terms of the contract, including the salary and length of the new deal. While the exact length of the contract remains uncertain, it is rumored to be a multi-year deal, possibly with a buyout clause. This expected resolution could mark a turning point in Hamilton’s career, ensuring his continued presence with the Mercedes team in the next chapters of Formula 1.
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