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Domenicali unsure of Hamilton's plans

NEWS STORY
22/01/2021

Despite having spoken to him, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali is unsure whether Lewis Hamilton will remain with Mercedes this season.

While both Hamilton and Toto Wolff suggested it was all about dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, there is growing concern that the seven-time world champion has yet to sign on the dotted line for the German team.

While Mercedes is publicly making light of the delay, earlier this week suggesting that its team pens - available at all good stockists - are good for designing cars and "signing things", behind the scenes there is said to be growing concern at the failure to agree a deal.

It's believed that the bottom line is money, and while Hamilton is likely to stand his ground in terms of his demands, Mercedes, especially since its stakeholder reshuffle, will be somewhat emboldened by the elephant named George who has sat quietly in the room ever since Sakhir.

Despite the fact that the coming season sees Fernando Alonso back on the grid, Sergio Perez alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel in an Aston Martin and McLaren once again powered by Mercedes, arguably the sport's biggest attraction remains Hamilton.

Indeed, we hear that the Briton's sense of his value to the sport led to some interesting, though ultimately unsuccessful, discussions with F1 bosses recently.

Talking of F1 bosses, Stefano Domenicali, who spoke to the world champion recently, admits that his unsure what his plans are.

"We spoke over the Christmas period," the Italian told Sky Italia. "He is not telling me if he will sign or not sign the renewal with Mercedes.

"Of course, he has a great opportunity to become the greatest in the records," he added, referring to the fact that Hamilton stands on the cusp of a historic eighth title. "He also has the opportunity to continue to have a role that goes beyond the sporting dimension.

"I am convinced and I hope, as an interested party, that everything can be resolved quickly," he admitted.

In terms of one of the sport's other major attractions, Domenicali, having spent much of his working life there, hopes that Ferrari can soon return to form.

"Compared to what happened last year, we all need a competitive Ferrari," he said. "I am convinced that things will improve, even if it will not be easy with the regulations that are stable.

"They were able to work a little on the power unit to make up for last year's gap," he added. "I expect a Ferrari that is close to the goal of being able to fight again.

"I think team principals like Wolff and Horner also wish it to have a show that is more attractive to everyone."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by CrazyF1People, 24/01/2021 4:16

"Every time an article on Lewis Hamilton comes out, you can be sure that he's haters are ready to pen their hateful opinions!
You and I know who they are!

What I take joy and pleasure in is the knowledge that every time that Lewis Hamilton takes pole position on the Saturday, and the race win on the Sunday, these haters will be having a miserable day or totally horrible weekend altogether!
And I really look forward to more such enjoyable weekends in the next 2 seasons too!

So, it's much better to love all the drivers on the grid and enjoy every race weekend! "

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 22/01/2021 5:27

"@Rock Doc - I agree, fun as Kimi is at times, it’s time to move on to WEC, DTM, Formula E, etc. Alonso should have stayed out. It’ll be like when Schumi came back, he’ll be a midfielder at best, partly because of the car, but also because you if you don’t use it you lose it, and he hasn’t used it for a couple years.

But, Vettle, I’m on the fence. If it was Ferrari that sapped his will he can come roaring back. If he’s as lackluster this year as last year, then yeah, time to retire and make way for someone on the way up.

I’ll disagree on Hamilton. He’s on top of his game. Eventually he’ll lose the edge, but I think he’s got at least this year, and likely 1-2 years after this one that can continue to perform at this level. I’d like to see him go out still on top, but if left now he’d be leaving a lot on the table."

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Rock Doc, 21/01/2021 23:58

"Personally I would not be disappointed if he moved on. Same goes for Vettel and Alonso (may be next year when they realize it for themselves). Great in the day but let's move forward.

The grid has some great talent coming through. Some genuine talent that might get spat out if they have a bad car or bad year. Behind the leaders it was always a fight every race. Norris, Russell, Gasly, Leclerc and not forgetting Max. These are the guys we want to see going head to head for wins.

Time to change the old guard I say. Sorry Kimi, but seriously."

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by @R1Racing71, 21/01/2021 20:00

"Why have I got a sneaky suspicion that there is more going on in the background than just money?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 21/01/2021 16:32

"I agree, mostly, with the first paragraph by Endre. That second paragraph though, come on! You don't win 7 drivers titles, even in a Mercedes, by being mediocre. Plus, consider the teammates he's left in the dust! He beat Alonso, already a 2x WDC and arguably at his prime, in his rookie season. Kovalainen and Magnussen weren't anywhere close to him. He beat Button 2 out of 3 years (the one he didn't he had a self-confessed loss of focus - I think we can all see that's been thoroughly resolved). He beat Rosberg, who was no slouch, every year except 1 and that was more down to reliability than driving. Bottas can't touch Hamilton most Sundays.

The McLaren team was really only dominant for a couple of the years he drove for them. They were somewhat competitive the other years, but you can't call them dominant. His first year at Mercedes was definitely not in a dominant car. It wasn't until the hybrid era that they dominated. "

Rating: Positive (9)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by The Canadian, 21/01/2021 16:29

"Lewis should prove he is the greatest. Trade seats with Russel and go win a Championship with Williams in 2021."

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7. Posted by Endre, 21/01/2021 13:37

"This is a typical case of trying to create news where there isn't any. Mercedes is clearly trying to beat him down on salary and while Hamilton holds out as if he mattered to anyone, ultimately will give in as he well knows he is nobody without Mercedes.

I would be glad to see him gone, a mediocre driver constantly whining and crying during a race who needs to be spoon fed everything by the pit-crew. Without the political push behind his entire career he may have never even made it to F1 or would have been driving for small teams accomplishing nothing like so many others. Unlike other drivers also pushed for political reasons (Prost - Balestre French connection or Schumacher - German money attraction) all his F1 career he had the privilege to drive only massively dominant cars, which never happened to anyone in the history of sport. Yet, he is the one complaining about discrimination ..."

Rating: Negative (-7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by kenji, 21/01/2021 13:16

"I am still of the opinion that a deal has been done and this 'stretch' is nothing more than marketing nonsense. The various possibilities being floated in the media are nothing short of sheer fiction at best! Some are even suggesting that he may not even participate in the forthcoming season. I mean, how ridiculous is that? Personally i'd be more than happy if he did. He contributes almost zip to the excitement of any race. That entertainment is provided by the lesser lights who are really racing. TBH...would he actually be missed on race day? Would anyone really miss Mercedes if they were to disappear altogether and be replaced by another team of real racers ? They feature for the first couple of laps...then they next appear at pit stops and then maybe for the last couple of laps. That's about it. All the shouting by Croft and Co. does nothing. Boring is boring."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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