The most talked about topic during the off-season of F1 has been concerning Sir Lewis Hamilton and his contract negotiations with Mercedes. Believe it or not, the man who won his seventh world title last year doesn’t have a drive for 2021 yet.
The Briton and the German team seem like they can’t find even ground to conduct negotiations. The latter believes Hamilton’s demands are a bit too excessive. According to reports, Lewis is demanding a $49.4 million deal. Along with that, he wants a 4-year long deal, a 10% cut from Mercedes’ championship-winning earnings, and a role in the team’s electric division, going forward.
Despite no clarity about a breakthrough in negotiations, INEOS, who had recently bought a 33.3% stake in the team, confirmed that they won’t be involved in the final decision-making process.
INEOS’ CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe said (translated via Google), “Ineos will not be involved in the negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes for the renewal of the contract. Every decision on Lewis’ future passes through Toto Wolff’s choices.”
Ratcliffe, like most others, had only glowing things to say about Lewis. “Certainly his abilities have not changed. He is still at the absolute top, the best in the starting grid despite the age of 36. His performance curve hasn’t changed at all.”
Hamilton certainly is still at the very top of his game. Based on the kind of performances and consistency he has shown in the V6-hybrid era, you wouldn’t bet against him from winning an eighth world title this year.
However, to achieve that, he’d need to ink a new deal, and Mercedes are the only option he has. Surely, it only seems like a matter of time before the two parties can find a common ground.
It’ll be interesting to see the final deal and the terms Mercedes are willing to offer. One could argue that Lewis has done enough for the team to be given what he demands for.
But could the Silver Arrows be thinking differently? We’ll find out in the coming month or so.