What really does the seven-time Formula 1 world champion want to sign a new deal with Mercedes?
Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton is officially a free agent and no longer a member of Mercedes after the contract he extended by two years in July of 2018 expired last Friday, January 1, 2021. To this day, his Mercedes seat remains the only seat on the grid for 2021 without a confirmed driver as the 36-year-old Briton’s lofty demands having been rejected by Daimler, one of the three one-third shareholders of the team.
Hamilton reportedly asked for a four-year, $200 million deal, plus 10% of the team’s championship winnings, a limited production AMG One car and an additional role that “goes beyond being a driver and more than a mere testimonial”.
However, there has reportedly been a contract breakthrough that should result in Hamilton returning to the team in 2021 and beyond.
Hamilton may get exactly what he wants in his new contract after breaking Michael Schumacher’s all-time Formula 1’s wins record and tying his all-time titles record in 2020.
While Mercedes were looking to cut back on Hamilton’s salary as a result of financial repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, there appears to be a way for both sides to get what exactly what they want. This is due to the recent addition of Ineos as a one-third shareholder of the team alongside Daimler and team principal Toto Wolff.
The British multinational chemicals company are reportedly willing to pay a sizable chunk of Hamilton’s requested salary to keep him in Formula 1 with the Brackley-based team for years to come.
The deadline for a new deal is reportedly at the end of February, just days before preseason testing is scheduled to begin at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Tuesday, March 2.
Amid all sorts of speculation throughout the last several months, particularly after the team re-signed Valtteri Bottas in early August, both sides have remained confident that a deal would get done. This may be exactly what they need to speed up the process.
The 2021 season is currently scheduled to begin on Sunday, March 21, although it is believed that it will be pushed back to Sunday, March 28. The Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit will likely be pushed back to later in the year as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, which would make the season opener the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit