Seven-time Formula One champion and Thursday’s birthday boy, Lewis Hamilton, begins the year in a very unusual way: unemployed. His contract with Mercedes expires in late 2020 and a new deal is yet to be announced. It is not that the 36-year-old driver’s place on the grid is threatened. Team changes ownership control: Petrochemical company INEOS bought a third of the team and boss, Toto Wolfe, not only renewed its contract for another three years, but also increased its shareholding, becoming the owner of one of the team. Third. The remaining shares are with Mercedes, reducing its stake.
Hamilton always made it clear that he wanted to know the team’s scenario before starting negotiations, especially in relation to Wolff, who said he was looking for a successor for his middle-term role. Nevertheless, at least a year ago, rumors were published that the agreement had already been signed, with varying values and duration.
In January 2020, Gazzetta dello Sport of Italy published that the “final details” of the two-year extension were being finalized. In the United Kingdom, since late December, newspapers such as The Sun, Daily Mail and The Times have been publishing details that are being finalized, with values ranging from $ 55 million to over $ 60 million annually (from R) Over $ 292.4 million to R $ 319 million), and by extension “over at least one year” to three.
To complete the round of speculation, the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has published in recent days that Mercedes refused a four-year contract for $ 50 million per year (R $ 265.8 million) and then Reported that “most likely” would be that INEOS would accept a share of the millionaire salary “. The same Italian newspaper published in April, that Hamilton wanted a “four or five-year” contract and in January, the pilot was seeking $ 67 million (R $ 356.2 million) a year.
However, given Hamilton and Wolff’s statements over the past few months, three things were clear: the need to resolve the team’s situation as Mercedes is implementing a worldwide plan to reduce spending and it was not known How far this will affect the financing of the Formula 1 project and the automaker’s own involvement; This negotiation could go ahead as well (Wolfe stated that the contract should be sealed before the “pre-season test” scheduled for March); And more than that money, Hamilton is asking for more influence to continue defending its inclusion and sustainability guidelines.
Soon after the announcement of INEOS, the driver stated that he has “a great commitment from Mercedes, with the added bonus of INEOS. It is great to see that they will be part of this team and the team’s stability to get better in the future.” Will help with. ” A push is needed so that we can make this organization something better. “
On the team’s side, Wolff said Hamilton “is at its peak and will stay at its peak for a while. So it’s a very easy decision to stick with.” It is clear that Hamilton, who has spent the last few days in Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean, has, despite rumors, and, the value of his contract, which he said is likely his last in Form 1, will most likely be under. Privacy.