With the back end of the 2022 Formula One season seeing one of the most exciting driver markets for years, one key issue remains outstanding. Despite flirting with notions of retirement, Lewis Hamilton finally called on his team for a multi-year deal as the season drew to a close. Toto Wolff recently revealed in reality the negotiations should take just “a few hours” given the relationship he has with his star driver, though things may just have got little more complicated for the Mercedes’ team boss.
Despite there being no official white smoke on the Hamilton contract extension, Sportune the sports’ business publication is reporting Mercedes have made Hamilton an offer.
Lewis Hamilton gets 50% pay rise
Lewis current £40m a year will be upped to £62m though looks to be compensation for the bonus of £22m in his current contract for winning the F1 world drivers’ championship.
The contract is a rolling year one year deal though its unclear whether Hamilton has an option to remain with the team until the end of the 2025 season.
Hamilton is allegedly also looking for an ambassadorial role with Mercedes that will stretch until he reaches 50 years of age. At £22m a year this would see his final agreement with Mercedes stretch in total to £350m.
Will Hamilton race as long as Alonso?
Fernando Alonso will be 41 years of age when he takes to his Aston Martin F1 car for the Bahrain test and this is often used as the benchmark as to how long Hamilton may continue in the sport.
However, Lewis has 7 world championships and is coming offf the back of one of the most dominant periods any F1 driver has ever known.
Questions are repeatedly asked over whether Lewis will have the motivation to continue particularly if Mercedes fail to deliver him a car capable of winning races and more titles.
Toto Wolff recently revealed the team would not be creating a revolution from their poorly performing W13 challenger developed fr the 2022 season. Rather that evolution would occur and the all new W14 may still be some way off challenging the Red Bull team’s car for 2023.
Mercedes 2023 car may be as far behind leaders as in 2022
“I think we have understood how we fell back, where the shortcomings are, and where we have gaps in understanding,” explained Wolff in a recent team video.
“We’re working hard on putting a car on the ground that has addressed all of that. But we will only see when starting testing whether we have unlocked the potential that we believe has always been in the car.
“We have no doubt, when you’re starting behind by half a second, that it’s going to be difficult to catch up to such great organisations like Red Bull, or Ferrari.
“Now, having said that, we are super determined in doing just that. But we need to set our expectations at a realistic level.”
Hamilton irritated by poorly performing Mercedes car
Hamilton was visibly irritated by the lack of performance in the W13 and despite the team announcing a number of false dawns when bringing new components upgrades, the Mercedes was as far away from pole position at the final race in 2022 as it was at the first.
How long Lewis will put up with driving for a team that is a distant third in the costructors’ race is anyone’s guess, though Toto Wolff tries to bring some hope to his 7 time world champion driver.
“If we perform in the way we hope, then we’d like to be part of the racing at the very front,” Wolff added. “I think that would be a starting point.
“But we don’t take that for granted. It could well be that the gaps are like they were at the end of last season.
“I think there is so much potential still that within our car, within the concept, the way we drive the car, etc, that maybe our development slope can be steeper in the months to come.”