The BIG Question | Will Lewis Hamilton be on the grid next season?

05-11-2020 12:00 | Updated: 05-11-2020 16:59
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The BIG Question | Will Lewis Hamilton be on the grid next season?

It's November and with just four races of 2020 left, attention is quickly turning to 2021. With such little time until the start of the next Formula 1 season, you'd have thought that Mercedes would have sorted out their driver lineup. They haven't. Which leaves many asking the same question. Will Hamilton be here next year?

Lewis Hamilton is set to win his seventh driver's World Championship this season and could even clinch the title with a good result at the Turkish Grand Prix. He will match the record of Michael Schumacher and cement himself as one of the best drivers in history. He is flying high and with the 2021 cars and regulations staying pretty much the same, he looks like the favorite to win the championship next year if he does decide to stay on. 

But Hamilton made some strange comments about his future after Imola saying that it is not certain that he will even be on the grid next year and the internet has picked up on this and ran with it like Usain Bolt doing the 100 metres. 

So why hasn't he signed up for more success with one of the most dominant teams the sport has ever seen? 

Here's a look at what could be going on and why Hamilton has not signed with Mercedes. Yet... 

Toto Wolff

It is clear to see from the outside how close and successful Hamilton and Toto Wolff's relationship is. There is no doubt that without either of those two individuals the team would not be the one we know today and therefore they are both key to the German company's future. 

However, Wolff has admitted to being burnt out by the relentless nature of Formula 1 and recently spectators of the sport have started to notice that Wolff seems tired and he has spoken about how Formula 1's season is getting too long and how he would prefer a role higher up in Mercedes that doesn't require him being at every single Grand Prix. 

This is interesting and could be why Hamilton is yet to sign a contract. Could Wolff be using Hamilton as a bargaining chip to get the more executive role he desires? Hamilton has said that his future at Mercedes is dependent on Wolff staying at the team and perhaps Wolff has only agreed to stay on if he gets a more senior role and he can therefore go to Daimler with the bargaining chip of getting Hamilton to stay at the team?  

This is pure speculation but could be a reason as to why a deal is yet to be done. 

Could Hamilton actually be considering leaving? 

Stranger things have happened in 2020. A sportsman deciding to bow out at the top of their game wouldn't be enough to compare with some of the things that have happened this year! Remember Nico Rosberg? He shocked the F1 world when he retired after his Championship success in 2016. There can't be a better way to retire and perhaps Hamilton thinks that the time has come and that he doesn't want to damage his legacy by not winning in the year that he does decide to bow out.

Will one extra World Championship to his name really make anyone think any differently of him? There is a feeling that Hamilton isn't too bothered by breaking records and when you've got the money and legacy that he has already, what's the real point in carrying on? 

He has a number of interests outside of the sport and he could be wanting to explore different avenues. Hamilton has interests in music, fashion and the recent anti-racism campaign could be something he could spend more of his time on.

There is also the Extreme E team he has set up and with his brand being so focused on sustainability with him adopting a vegan diet, does Formula 1 really match the image he is trying to create of himself? 

It doesn't. Hamilton could well feel that the sport is not representative of the views he has and is therefore seriously considering leaving.

Will a deal be done? 

Perhaps we are looking into this too much. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been unable to meet due to the nature of the virus. Formula 1 drivers are keeping in their bubbles and doing all they can to avoid people so that they can continue racing and not get a positive test. 

For the last contract negotiations, Hamilton and Wolff had a 10-hour face-to-face meeting and maybe this is how they want to do it this time? They could want to wait until the season is over so they can actually meet in person and not have to put up with the glitches of a Zoom call! 

Hamilton has the best job in the world. Why wouldn't you sign on to get paid to drive the fastest car on the grid? You are a long time retired and either he is trying to get more money out of Mercedes or he is being a good friend to Wolff who is using him as a bargaining tool with the company. 

It would be very unlikely for Hamilton to not be in the sport next year. BUT. Perhaps if he does leave F1, the driver out of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg who doesn't get the Red Bull drive could end up in a Mercedes? Stranger things have happened. It is 2020! 

@louis1999shaw

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