Even if the future seemed relatively uncertain at the time of the announcement of the one-year contract extension which had been made at the beginning of the year after long months of negotiations, the question of the future of Lewis Hamilton was finally settled fairly quickly this year: the Briton extends his lease well with Mercedes for two additional seasons beyond 2021.
The stated will of both parties was not to embark on a process of discussions as extensive as last year. Recently, Toto Wolff, the executive director of the team, explained that the exchanges with his star pilot had not met “no major obstacle” and were at the details stage. Hamilton will therefore be driver from the marque to the star in F1 until the end of the 2023 season.
This means not only that Hamilton will have played a total of 11 seasons under the colors of the German manufacturer but also that he will address the new technical regulations, which will come into force next year, with the structure which allowed him to glean six of his seven world titles.
“It’s hard to believe that I have been working with this incredible team for almost nine years, and I am excited to continue our partnership for two more years.”Hamilton said. “We have accomplished a lot together but there is still a lot to accomplish, both on and off the track. I am incredibly proud and grateful for the support that Mercedes has given me in my quest for diversity and equality for our sport.”
“The team has taken responsibility and made consistent and significant progress in creating a more diverse team and an inclusive environment. Thank you to all the dedicated and talented people at Mercedes, whose hard work makes this possible, and to the board. Directors for his renewed confidence in me. We are entering a new technical era, which will be difficult and exciting, and I can’t wait to see what else we can accomplish together. “
Of course, the question now is who will team up with him from next year. The contract of his current teammate, Valtteri Bottas, ends at the end of the season and the Finn is in a difficult situation after a complicated start to the year. At Mercedes since 2017, he is now clearly under pressure both on the results side but also because George Russell, protected from the brand and which has been making its ranges for more than two seasons, pushes behind.
The young pilot Williams, whose contract with the Grove team also ends at the end of the season, is seen as the future of Mercedes but especially impressed last year at the Sakhir Grand Prix when he replaced Hamilton, affected by COVID , and had come close to winning the race. A decision is expected around the summer break on this second seat.