Why does Hamilton renew only one year with Mercedes?

The shorter contract of the champion, who previously signed three at a time, does not extinguish the debate about his future. Meanwhile, Ferrari or Red Bull have drivers until 2024.


Mercedes chose a day eight to announce that Lewis Hamilton renewed for one more season, that of 2021, to aspire to the eighth Formula 1 World Championship. The news was due to its delay, in the Great Circus contracts are signed around the summer and they are advertised, at the latest, in December, but never for the current year. The news, in fact, would have been the opposite, that the newly appointed British gentleman had fired without warning from the sport that has made him great. But the soap opera has not ended, if it has just begun, because this agreement between the team and the manufacturer leaves two questions, how much and why, and does not solve the future beyond the year that begins.How much, a single campaign, seems like a short time when this midfielder guarantees victories every weekend and in the face of the profound rule change of 2022, which will be better faced from a winning team. The champion is 36 years old, Raikkonen passed the quarantine and Alonso is approaching, both are still on the grid. That leads to why: there is intrahistory in a negotiation that was officially delayed by the pandemic, but over which disagreements have had to occur when until February 2021 the lowest common denominator was not reached.

According to the British press, the Englishman demanded a salary at the height of his record and of the highest paid athletes of all specialties and came face to face with the economic crisis that affects all sectors, including the automobile industry. Although figures will leak or rumors will be published, it would be implausible that Hamilton would have signed for less than 45 million a year, which was his previous salary, when he has won the seventh title and has broken all other records of Schumacher. As for the possibility of vetoing a teammate (Russell at the Bottas site is one of the wishes of the paddock, also at Mercedes), that condition, as is evident, has not been included in the agreement.

Red Bull and Ferrari do think long-term

Brackley's team, owned by Toto Wolff, Ineos and Daimler in equal parts, will find themselves faced with the same questions again as summer approaches because their drivers, again, end their contract in December. On the part of Valtteri Bottas it was usual, always conditional on his performance, but Hamilton until now had signed three at a time. Russell, the Mercedes-trained driver who almost won the Sakhir GP when he replaced Hamilton, will spend a third year at Williams who apparently has little to contribute to him anymore. He is prepared to fight for more than avoiding the red lantern, but the German firm does not have the hand to place him in a better team.

Meanwhile, direct rival theorists do think long-term. Ferrari tied Leclerc until 2024 and has Sainz signed for 2022 as well, with hopes of pinning a lineup for the long term. Max Verstappen will be a Red Bull driver until at least 2023 and is the cornerstone of the project even without knowing what engine they will have next year. But Mercedes is entrusted to a champion who has doubts, unmet demands and many interests outside of racing, and to a squire who offers no resistance. Until now they have played a card that no one else had: they make the best car and the rest end up conforming to their demands. Starting with the 2021 Bahrain GP (March 28), the first race of the year, it will be necessary to see who has to convince whom. Car or pilot.

Photos from as.com
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