The 36-years old British Champion came to end the 2020 F1 season with a series of record-breaking achievements. He helped his team, Mercedes AMG Petronas, win their seventh consecutive constructors’ title; he equalled and surpassed Michael Schumacher’s 91-wins and, just like the German icon, he’s now a seven-time World Champion.
He also stood out for his battles away from the track — Indeed, he has multiple times pointed out the lack of diversity and inclusion in the paddock, trying to use his role and following to shed light on such pressing issues.
At the end of such a great, as much as weird season run in the midst of the COVID pandemic, Hamilton was designated as Laureus World Sportsman Of The Year, BBC sports personality of the year, GQ’s Game Changer Of The Year and was named in Time Magazine 100 most influential people.
On top of that, he has received one of the highest honours bestowed in his homeland, i.e. the honorary title of knighthood.
Nevertheless, if there’s one thing that Hamilton was not able to secure is his contract renewal. His contract with Mercedes AMG Petronas has expired on December 31st 2020 and there seems to be still no renewal at sight.
The team principal and CEO Toto Wolff, who has extended his relationship with the team for the next three years appeared confident that a “deal will be agreed”.
The parties appear to not have found an agreement yet; however, as reported by TheGuardian.com, Wolff claimed that:
“[Lewis, ndr] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that’s why continuing together is a no-brainer...We are putting no special date to it because we don’t want to be put under pressure while it’s not signed yet.”
The main issues surrounding the contract renewal are, of course, of economic nature.
The seven-time World Champion would like a contract with a salary at least equal to that of last season. Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz, Ola Kallenius, however, made it very clear that the German car manufacturer “does not intend to go crazy” while it is reducing its workforce in a very critical scenario on the car market front.
Some rumours in the circus had that Ineos, after having acquired 33% of the shares of the Mercedes team has offered to take on a part of Hamilton's salary, covering the gap that German car manufacturer was not willing to grant. The divorce between the parties seems averted. Nonetheless, no announcement has been made to date and speculators are still talking.
Fans and competing teams would probably be eager to experience F1 without their greatest and most feared rival — Indeed, the 2020 season has shown how compelling races can be when Mercedes lost his star due to Hamilton testing positive to COVID-19 a couple of days before the Sakhir GP.
The odds of the Briton leaving the Circus are apparently very low, though.
Certainly, Hamilton could win his 8th World Title in 2021 and reach imaginable records in the foreseeable future. Moreover, he has claimed multiple times that he has absolutely no intentions of retiring and that he’s “very excited of moving forward with the team”, as reported by the Formula 1 website.
In conclusion, unless some unexpected plot twists happen, Hamilton’s future lies in the sport and his contract deal should be announced by the end of February 2021...Otherwise, we'll have a nice surprise when the pre-season testing in Barcelona start!