Since the dawn of 2021, F1 has been witnessing one of the most unexpected scenarios; Lewis Hamilton still left without a drive for the upcoming season, despite being a defending world champion.
Hamilton’s contract expired with the 2020 season, and since then, the Briton has been in talks with Mercedes over an extension to his dying contract.
However, his demands were just too much for the team to handle financially. Additionally, the recent COVID-19 misery forced the entire F1 community to focus on cost-cutting. Hence, it was practically impossible for the Silver Arrows to meet Lewis’s demands.
Consequently, both the parties met with a stalemate.
Although initial rumors were that Lewis kick-started his contract talks with Mercedes following his seventh title win at the Turkish Grand Prix. However, Mercedes later clarified that the talks began after the Christmas break.
It has been over 2 months, and either of the parties is yet to utter a word over the final agreement.
This specific news did not go well with the former F1 driver, Ralf Schumacher. The German slammed the seven-time world champion for his over-the-roof salary demands.
“Now it’s February and the most important man at the time of Formula 1 – the seven-time world champion – is still not fixed,” he is quoted as saying by Sport1. “I find it almost a bit embarrassing and a shame, must I honestly say.”
Of course, it could only be a matter of time before Mercedes announces their contract extension with Lewis, considering the recent developments.
Irrespective of the outcome, such a delay shouldn’t happen to a driver who is on the verge of securing his 8th world championship title. And this points to just one possible reason; Mercedes and Lewis are losing their plot following a strong 8-year relationship.
Michael Schumacher‘s brother was quite vocal with his opinion over Lewis. He warned the 36-year-old that F1 is much stronger than an individual athlete.
“One thing is also clear: Formula 1 is stronger than any individual,” he said. The former F1 driver also reckoned that Lewis must “give himself a jolt.”
As of now, rumors suggest that Lewis will be signing a 2-year contract with the Silver Arrows until the end of the 2022 season.
But what after that for the seven-time world champion? Will he be able to stick around the paddock as a driver? Or will F1 move on and opt for other rising young talents?