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Why Hamilton has yet to sign a new Mercedes deal

Why Hamilton has yet to sign a new Mercedes deal

Why Hamilton has yet to sign a new Mercedes deal

Why Hamilton has yet to sign a new Mercedes deal

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have yet to commit themselves to a future together beyond this season.

It has always appeared inevitable Hamilton would again put pen to paper on a new contract. After all, there is nothing else available for the six-time F1 champion who stands on the brink of equalling Michael Schumacher's all-time tally of seven titles.

Of course, there have been certain constraints this year, with time being one of them as Formula 1 has constricted 17 races into the space of six months, meaning those days in between races have become even more pertinent for rest and recuperation.

That squeeze has been due to the grip Covid-19 has on the world, leading to F1's 'bubbles' once a driver leaves the paddock.

Of course, in this digital age there is no reason for Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff to have not connected via Zoom, WhatsApp video, or any other such medium.

But when you are talking about discussing the extension of a multi-million-pound contract, and the minutiae that go within it, not just the numbers, then such talks have no place over the internet and need to be conducted face to face.

Asked whether there was anything, in particular, that was causing a delay or whether it was all a formality, Hamilton replied: "Not particularly. Anything? Just haven't really spoken much about it.

"A formality? I don’t know. Probably. At some stage, I guess we have to sit down and have the conversation but it’s not a priority right now.

"Getting the job done for me this year personally is the priority. That’s what I’m solely focused on right now.”

Behind the scenes, it has to be remembered Wolff is also negotiating his own terms and conditions on a new deal with Mercedes' parent company Daimler.

Wolff has made clear his desire is to remain with Mercedes, often professing his love of the stopwatch, but also mindful he has a family he wishes to nurture, and so it is his aim to dilute his role.

As to what form that takes remains to be seen, but the fact he is not now leaving - after previously being linked to F1's CEO role and a potential position with Aston Martin - ensures that Hamilton also stays.

While Hamilton and Wolff are close, they are not inextricably tied together, but their bond is such that as Hamilton states they are far from finished working together.

"When the time's right we'll do it and get on with it," said Hamilton of the talks.

"At the end of the day, I've always been committed to this team, always been completely transparent. That's always been a key.

"If you don't have communication for a while then people can start to hear whispers or fear that someone...I could, for example, worry that Toto is speaking to somebody else. I don't think that, but that's what people can do.

"So it's always been important for us to be really clear with each other, with our intentions.

"I haven't spoken to anybody else, I don't plan to, and at some stage, Toto and I will sit down and work out our path moving forward.

"We've achieved quite a lot together. I think it's quite remarkable what we've done together, these years, and we're still not done."

In the background has been the effect Covid-19 has had on Daimler as a company, and the suggestion it cannot afford to spend the $40million per year it has forked out to Hamilton over the past three years of his current deal.

If belts have to be tightened, then paying such an extravagance to Hamilton surely can no longer be considered and the 35-year-old will have to take a pay cut.

That would contradict the fact Hamilton's stock has arguably risen this year given his pursuit of equality and diversity in the wake of the racial injustice he has witnessed across the world, in tandem with his record-breaking performances on track.

Hamilton, though, is mindful of the effects Covid has had, and that he cannot be perceived as being greedy.

It means there is every possibility he may only sign a one-year deal, and then when the world has hopefully righted itself in 12 months or so, he and Wolff can talk again and focus on a new era of F1 from 2022.

"I do want to stay," said Hamilton. "Normally we plan for three year periods. Of course, we're in a different time. Do I want to continue for three years is also a question? There are many, many questions still to be answered.

"We're also going into a new era of car in 2022, so it kind of excites me what could happen in 2022 in terms of what the cars are like.

"Mercedes is also on the climb back, they're in a much better place. Everyone's had a big hit this year, but if you look at the future, it's bright.

“These are all things that we will naturally speak about, but I think I've earned the position to be able to stay for a decent amount of time, so time will tell. I can't really say too much more."

One thing is clear, there appears to be no rush, as Hamilton concluded: "Hopefully, you'll hear something in the next couple of months."

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