Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has conceded he does not know if Lewis Hamilton will race in 2021 or call time on his glittering career.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff made clear throughout last season that he and Hamilton would begin talks over a new deal once both the drivers' and constructors' titles had been wrapped up.
However, the congested calendar, Hamilton's positive Covid test in Bahrain and the winter break resulted in a situation where, with 50 days remaining before the start of pre-season testing, Mercedes is without a confirmed driver line-up for the season.
Domenicali revealed, although he has spoken with Hamilton, he too remains in the dark over the future of the seven-time champion.
"We spoke in the Christmas period," he told Sky Italia. "He is preparing. He did not tell me if he will sign or not sign the renewal with Mercedes.
"Of course, he has a great opportunity, not only speaking in a sporting sense, to become the strongest in the world."
With a large carryover of machinery, suggested to be around 60 per cent of the car, Mercedes is expected to be tough to beat.
With the carrot of a record-breaking eighth world championship title dangling, Domenicali said he hopes the situation can be "resolved".
"He also has the opportunity to continue to have a role that goes beyond the sporting dimension and he will be able to do it also in the future, in other situations.
"I am convinced and I hope, as an interested party, that everything can be resolved quickly "
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