Lewis Hamilton is about to complete his 16th season as a Formula One driver and given Mercedes poor form since the introduction of the new ‘ground effect’ aerodynamic cars there has been much speculation the British driver could retire at the end of his current contract ending next season. Further, Hamilton has other interests outside of F1 and his new “Dawn Apollo Films” company already has two projects in the pipeline.
Lewis has been speaking about his life after F1 before the Mexican GP telling journalists, “I’ve spoken to people who have said ‘look, when I stopped it all came crashing down, I wasn’t prepared to do other things, I hadn’t taken time to learn any other crafts, other skills, and I don’t know what my other passions are, so I didn’t really focus on trying to understand what those are and create pillars.’”
Hamilton wants to stay in F1
“So when I stop racing – which I don’t plan on doing for a while, I still feel I’m in a good place – I want it to be seamless. I want to be able to move on to fully focus on Dawn Apollo Films and to be able to jump in at a similar level to what I’ve been used to.”
Hamilton clearly enjoys the limelight and despite his poor season it appears he is staying in Formula One for a number of years to come
“We are going to do another deal,” said Hamilton.
“We’re going to sit down and we’re going to discuss it in these next couple of months.
Change of form for Lewis
This is a change of form for the British driver given his contract negotiations have often dragged on well into the season when a deal is coming to an end.
“My goal is to continue to be with Mercedes. I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13. And it really is my family. Mercedes-Benz have stuck with me through thick and thin.
“They stuck with me through being expelled at school. They stuck with me through everything that was going on through 2020 [and his determination to raise issues of diversity and inclusion in F1]. They’ve stuck me through my mistakes and with me through the ups and downs.
Will Hamilton stay the course?
Hamilton has been synonymous with Mercedes success since the start of the hybrid power unit era. One Sky F1 feature sees him discussing publicly how many “eyeballs” have been reading the sports page news because of his winning ways and teasing Toto Wolff that this should bode well for his salary negotiations.
“And so I really believe in this brand. I believe in the people that are within the organisation. And I want to be the best team-mate I can be to them, because I think we can make the brand even better, more accessible, even stronger than it is. And I think I can be an integral part of that.
However, Hamilton has to stand the test of time as to how he will perform if Mercedes can’t overturn the Red Bull advantage before the next big rule changes in 2026.
Both F1 world champions Vettel and Alonso have proven they can stay motivated while driving uncompetitive cars and Mercedes have faltered to deceive somewhat this season, rarely making the podium unless a Ferrari or Red Bull have problems during the race.
’10 years’ difficult to plan
“In terms of my plans for the future… Each year, at the end of the year, you sit there and I’m trying to, like, analyse my year and analyse my next three- to five-year plan. It’s difficult to do ten.
“But where do I see myself? What are the things I want to do? What are my goals? And things are being added. I have a lot of business going on. I have a lot of successful, really positive things that have lots of opportunity for success outside.
Yet will Mercedes indeed want to sign a long term deal with Lewis that see’s them committed to him well into Hamilton’s 40’s?
Lewis is clear that is his intention now
Do Mercedes feel the same?
“But I want to keep racing. I love what I do. I’ve been doing it for 30 years, and I don’t feel that I should have to stop. I think I’m currently still earning my keep, I would say. I want to do better, still.”
“I could stop now and I have lots of other things that I have in the pipeline that I will be super-focused and super-busy.
“I’m here for the sheer love of working in the organisation that I’m in. So, yeah, you’re going to have to stick with me. You are stuck with me for quite a bit longer.”
Were Mercedes to fail to find the silver bullet for their current car philosophy and were Hamilton to continue to score less points than his team mate, the ruthlessness of the F1 Piranha club might call time on Lewis’ career before he’s ready to go.
As F1 writer Byron young muses on twitter, “Interesting conundrum for Merc plc ref @lewishamilton re-signing. Obviously he’s an epic seven-time champ almost inextricably linked to the brand but you’ve got a £2m teammate doing the same and know Lewis has no other decent options. #Ferrari and #RedBull are no-goes.”
Maybe Lewis will have to take a hair cut on his pay if he wants Mercedes to give him a long term contract.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 26, 2022