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Formula 1

Emphatic Hamilton declares new Mercedes F1 deal will be done

by Matt Beer
4 min read

Lewis Hamilton has pledged to get a new contract with Mercedes done after securing the 2020 Formula 1 title.

Hamilton’s current deal runs out in a few weeks and the wait to negotiate a new one for 2021 and potentially beyond has led to speculation about the reason for the delay.

That was fuelled by Hamilton recently saying there was no guarantee he would still be in F1 next year, however even that was accompanied by an insistence he wants to continue with Mercedes.

His team boss Toto Wolff first said contract talks would wait until after both titles were won, but Hamilton then indicated it could be once the season is finished entirely in mid-December.

Wolff has now agreed it will likely be after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, creating the prospect of Hamilton going into 2021 without a new contract yet agreed. But Hamilton says it will happen.

“Definitely it’s something that we do need to get onto,” said Hamilton after becoming a seven-time champion in Turkey last weekend.

“I always think through the year that I’ve got a job to do, I’ve got a contract in place, I don’t feel like I should add pressure. It has to be organic and not something that’s forced.

“There are days when you think, what happens if you start making mistakes? What happens if you get worse all of a sudden, you don’t put in these great performances? Does your value decrease? Does your bargaining power decrease? Does your reputation go off a cliff?

“I know there are scenarios in life where you’re like ‘let’s sign up real quick’, so you guarantee your future.

“I’ve bet on myself. I do the work. I know myself better than anyone and I know what I can do, and I know how to do it. Better than ever.

“So, I wanted to put it aside and wait until the job is done.”

Lewis Hamilton Toto Wolff Mercedes F1 2020

Hamilton suggested that the process will begin “probably over these next weeks” because F1 has a Middle-Eastern triple-header to end the season with two weekends in Bahrain and then Abu Dhabi.

“Now it’s a bit more chilled,” he said. “But I still have three races ahead of me that I want to win.

“It’s not done but we will get it done, I’m sure.”

Hamilton has enjoyed a historic year in which he surpassed Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record and matched Schumacher on seven world championships.

He is likely to have the chance to eclipse Schumacher and fight for an eighth title next year, while also shooting for a century of victories.

Hamilton said after Istanbul he feels like “I’m just getting started” and “physically and mentally in great shape”.

In addition to achieving more as a driver, he is also motivated to continue by the various off-track initiatives as well, after a year in which Hamilton became a vocal proponent of equality and diversity campaigns to add to his existing support of environmental projects.

Hamilton said he wants to lead F1 and Mercedes in their efforts to encourage equality, diversity and sustainability.

“I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here, I feel like we’ve just begun our work to push to hold ourselves accountable as a sport,” he said.

“To realise that we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues that are around the countries that we go to and how can we engage with those countries and help them, empower them to do more, to really change – not 10 years from now or 20 years from now, but now.

“I want to help F1, I want to help Mercedes in that journey and also particularly moving more sustainable as a sport.

“We need to be more sustainable and I want to try and see if I can be part of that, at least the initial phase of that, for a little bit longer.”

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 2020

Hamilton’s participation in the resurgent global anti-racism movement and his own initiatives like founding The Hamilton Commission have led to accusations of virtue signalling.

He has been criticised for not being as vocal on these issues in the past, despite the evidence that the anti-racism matter is very personal to Hamilton, F1’s only biracial driver.

Hamilton has also said that the unusual nature of this year, with the coronavirus pandemic not only placing the season on a hiatus but subsequently forcing drivers into unusual living and travel arrangements, has made him find a new perspective.

“It gave me so much drive and so much focus to able to utilise it and realise, OK, we’ve really got to use this platform that we have,” he said.

“Being in a bubble in a championship, it’s been horrible. I’ve not really been around anybody, not been out to dinner, not been socialising at all, that’s been a really big challenge.

“But on the other side, I’ve been on a lot of Zoom calls with F1, with the teams behind F1, with the FIA, talking about what we can do in the sport to do more.

“So it’s definitely given me time to work on things that I didn’t have time previously to do and reflect on certain things and what I want to do and what I can do with the voice that I have, with the platform I have.

“It’s given time to realise those things.”

Nov 15 : Turkish Grand Prix review
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