What Lewis Hamilton’s 1 Year-Deal Could Mean For Mercedes & Him

Published 02/08/2021, 7:30 AM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: ART Grand Prix Formula 2 driver George Russell of Great Britain and Williams F1 and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 22, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


After months and months of deliberation, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have finally reached an agreement to continue their successful partnership today. The long wait meant there were a few sticking points in the negotiation, and now, a major detail of the contract is hinting towards a compromise between the two parties.

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It was earlier believed that Lewis would at least be getting a two-year contract from the Silver Arrows. However, they sprung a surprise when the official confirmation came for just 2021.

But what may have been the reason for this solitary year deal?

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An impending retirement for Lewis Hamilton

The former McLaren driver is a veteran of the sport now. While he remains at the peak of his powers, at 36 years of age, the clock is winding down on his glorious career.

Time and time again, he has given various subtle hints of walking away from the sport. Hamilton was contemplating retirement during the COVID lockdown before coming back rejuvenated to clinch a record-equaling seventh world title.

While it aspires him to change F1 and the community for the greater good, from a sporting perspective, his only real motivation is to dethrone Michael Schumacher from the top of the Driver’s Title charts. So, he may walk after reaching that goal in the upcoming season.

Mercedes looking to develop Hamilton’s successor – George Russell or Max Verstappen eyed

Given that Lewis’ retirement is a likely possibility in the next couple of years, Mercedes will need to have an eye towards the future as well.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton speaks with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Jose Sena Goulao

Plenty of young guns like Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are in their early 20s and threatening to rule F1. Then, there is the curious case of George Russell; the Mercedes Academy graduate set the paddock alight with his performance in Sakhir. He is the favorite to take over from Lewis.

Incoming technical regulations (reduced budget & potential salary cap)

The much-awaited 2022 regulations will apparently reset the order of the grid. But not just aerodynamic changes, they are also meant to change the financial landscape of F1. A salary cap of $30 million for both the drivers in the team is being discussed in the room. His current salary alone (close to $40 million) is beyond that.

AUSTIN, TX – OCTOBER 21: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes WO9 is pushed onto the grid before the United States Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2018 in Austin, United States. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

We see a development in the near future, not only with the budget cap [from 2021] but also with the technical rule change [for the 2022 season], where I think you have to keep your eyes open. But let’s put it this way: We are not far away,” Wolff told RTL.

Dynamic driver market for 2022

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The 2022 driver market will definitely see a lot of movement. Ace driver Sebastian Vettel is on an optional basis for 2022 with Aston Martin, meaning he could potentially opt-out and seek greener pastures, yet again. That may be the reason for also giving Valtteri Bottas a deal for just 2021.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP and Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talk on stage at the F1 Live event during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

They are keeping their options open for both the race seats. Perhaps, we might see an all-conquering partnership of Max Verstappen and George Russell in the garage. Whatever it may well be, Mercedes have kept their options open with this shrewd move.

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Bharat Aggarwal

753 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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