With the deal of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc late last year, the door for Lewis Hamilton driving for the Scuderia was slammed firmly shut – the Italian Formula 1 team putting all it’s focus on the young Leclerc.
Where does this leave the British Champion? At present, Hamilton is after a new deal with the Mercedes F1 team but he might well find that the strategic direction of the German marque is at odds with Hamilton’s ambitions.
Sources in Italy, most notably yesterday’s edition of Il Corriere dello Sport, claim that talks for an extension have stalled somewhat. The sources say that a deal was close to being finished until Lewis Hamilton decided to demand more money and an even longer contract to keep Hamilton on until 2025, forcing Mercedes to halt proceedings.
Up until now, Hamilton was set to resign on a 2 year deal, but now it is thought that Hamilton wishes 60 million dollars a year for 5 years and exclusivity as brand ambassador after retiring from F1.
TJ13 reported quite some time ago that Mercedes was seriously considering leaving F1 as a works team. And the reason for this is driven by the requirement for Mercedes to reduce costs, drastically. A policy clearly at odds with Hamiltons’ demands.
Mercedes CEO (Daimler) Ola Källenius is said to want to save around 1.4 billion euros in personnel by 2022, but also wishes to remain in Formula 1, despite some shareholders and employees demanding that they must cut costs.
Indeed, if Mercedes ultimately sell their team, possibly leading to Mclaren returning to Mercedes works team status, a Hamilton deal that lasts until possibly 2025 isn’t compatible.
Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff remains bullish about proceedings when asked about the team’s future without Hamilton.
“A sports team is not static, it’s a dynamic structure,” he told FormulaRapida.
“That means there is always going to be some change, and change is something that can also provide opportunity.”
“I know that sounds like a little bit of philosophical guru talk, but when Nico [Rosberg] decided to quit [in 2016], my initial reaction was actually the opportunity provided to us, and I think that the choice with Valtteri [Bottas] proved to be the right choice.
“So, I still very much hope that our relationship [with Hamilton] continues,” the Austrian added. “I think there will be no doubt that Lewis is our priority.
“But understanding Lewis’ position and objectives will be key for any decision that we take and I am not totally in control of that.”
— Roy van Rijn (@royvanrijn) January 25, 2020