Hamilton wants less flying, more working from home in new Mercedes contract

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton wants to reduce the amount of travelling he does between races when he signs a new contract to drive for Mercedes next year.

With a record-breaking 23 rounds planned on the 2021 F1 calendar, Hamilton said maximising the amount of time he has to himself will be “part of the conversation” around his deal to remain at the team next year.

“This year’s shown that, for example, you can work from home,” he told the BBC. “So I’m sure there’ll be a lot of Zoom dates in the contract rather than actual present days which means I have to fly less.”

Hamilton was once renowned for criss-crossing the world frequently between races. He previously owned a private jet and made dozens of transatlantic trips in it every year. He later sold the plane and scaled back his travelling, which was further curtailed when the pandemic struck.

After winning a record-equalling seventh world championship on Sunday, Hamilton said he is eager to celebrate it with his family, most of which he has been unable to see this year due to the pandemic.

“Time with friends and family are the most important,” he said. “If we get to start travelling more [I want to] take my family somewhere and create memories with them and celebrate with them just being around. This year I’ve not been able to see them and that’s just been the hardest.”

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Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
2021 F1 drivers and teams
Hamilton is also pouring more of his efforts into promoting diversity in motor sport through The Hamilton Commission, which he announced in June.

“I want to find out what the real problem is first so we can fix it efficiently,” he explained. “I’m working with the Royal Academy of Engineering in London, we’ve got this incredible commission. Some great people, they’re all academics, some people working on the ground in black communities, some in politics.

“This research that we’re doing is trying to understand why there is a lack of young black kids applying to STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects. What are the barriers?”

While Hamilton has often commented on the lack of diversity within F1 teams, including his own, he said it is important teams practice “nonbiased hiring”.

“You want people to earn the position,” he said. “No one wants to be handed, we don’t want to create a position of forcing these teams to just hire people, minorities, for the sake of filling a space.

“We want to create an opportunity for those individuals actually who are educated and have earned the right [to be there].”

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2020 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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57 comments on “Hamilton wants less flying, more working from home in new Mercedes contract”

  1. Schumacher used to sleep at Fiorano, socialised with the mechanics. Different time now.

    1. Lando Norris regularly helps the mechanics after races. Maybe not so different after all.

      1. Lewis is said to be the last driver to leave a race because of time he spends de-briefing

    2. As did Frank Williams… and that was very moving.

    3. And, let’s face it, entirely different demands from the teams and sponsors. It used to be about driving, looking good with their logos and occasionally more. Now the drivers are expected to be brand ambassadors 24/7 for every sponsor.

      I can see why Vettel stays away from social media!

      1. He has literally signed a contract as Aston’s brand ambassador though.

    4. I guess the point Hamilton is making that you don’t get much work done while travelling or sleeping for that matter though.

    5. Once you have been in F1 for 12 years and won 7 championships and are in your mid 30s maybe it is OK to leave on time and spend a bit of time with your family. One can argue he is living the most efficient F1 driver life as he is winning every race. His experience makes it easier for him to dip in and out of his working life while doing other stuff. So, I am sure there was time when he was staying in the factory and socialised with mechanics.

      1. He doesn’t have a family of his own does he? Vettel has three children so I understand him wanting to be at home between races.

        1. You likely never had parents – hence your lack of respect for others – but parents and siblings are family. Just so you know.

          1. It’s pretty obvious what Darrens point was.

            I have a son, and I have parents and a sister. Can you guess which I see more often?

          2. @greenflag you likely don’t have kids with a comment like that.

    6. Senna used to show up the day before qualifying at the first race after 4 months off jetskiing in Brazil. Hamilton’s a better driver and has earned it.

      1. In your dreams he is!
        The reason Senna could turn up quite literally an hour before practice was that his GOAT talent allowed him to do so!

  2. Where does Lewis live these days?

    I can’t see how you can do any less travelling to get to the actual races (although Lewis will probably win next years title with a few rounds spare so maybe he can just sit the winter out).

    Is he saying he just wants a show-and-go contract? No factory visits? No promotional stuff (apart from.the stuff he is choosing to do)?

    1. In his motorhome on track who is driving to the next track so he doesn’t need to leave his house.

    2. @David Officially in Monaco.

  3. Hamilton could probably WFH for an entire Grand Prix weekend and somehow end up winning the race.

  4. I can understand his reasons to want to limit his work and get a better work-life balance but honestly, how entitled does this all sound? He knows his car will be the class of the field again and that nobody will get close to him next year (again). I mean, it’s not as though he’s got a family to balance like a lot of his fans, just some dog he drags around with him.

    If he doesn’t want to be in the sport and do all the work that it demands then leave…and stop moaning.

    1. It doesn’t make him sound entitled. It is a result of seeing that their ability to extract everything they need to from the package has not been affected by it not being possible to be in the same room as people. There was a quote from him in the last couple of weeks about wanting to do more for Mercedes after these negotiations – not sure if it was even reported on this site. This just says they’re finding ways to do the work better. With the budget cap coming, maybe all the drivers based in Monaco are going to do a lot more of their weekday work remotely.

    2. There’s always one.

    3. Yeah parents, brother, sisters are not family after all. No friends, so he’s got nothing better to do than drive and advertise.

      I’ve read some stupid comments on here, but you sir are (insert a lifetime ban comment here)

    4. Oh yeah forgot (edit option please Keith)

      You did read the article, where he’s talking also about no need to fly across the world for meeting that can be done via video chat?

      …of course you didn’t. You just saw the name Lewis and got your panties in a huge rage twisty.

    5. @joshgeake , ” it’s not as though he’s got a family” that of course might be a big part of the problem for Lewis, at his age he may be thinking about a lifetime partner and children rather than a series of short term relationships. Developing a long term relationship is not easy when you are working away most of the year.

  5. Less flying? Impossible. That car is programmed to be speediest by far.
    Lew will have to find another team.

    1. Is this another attempt by you to crowbar the same tirade of “Hamilton must drive for Ferrari”? Just wondering, will you throw that same tirade at other drivers too? Which other drivers will face the demand from you that they “must” drive for Ferrari?

      1. Nice try, Anon. I guessed you would find me here.
        Let me ask you, why did Schumacher go to Ferrari? He could have picked from a number of teams who were better prospects at the time. Did he, perhaps, consider a Ferrari title to be worth a bit more?
        A secondary thought: had he stayed with Merc and not retired when he did, would he now be a 12 title champion?
        Then there is Alonso and brave Seb who came a cropper there. It’s a challenge for the few who can dare. My question is, does Lewis dare?

        1. If you were going to any team at the end of 1995 hoping to succeed Ferrari would be your 4th choice after Williams, Benetton, McLaren (who had been transitioning from the Honda engine and now had a Merc one built by Ilmor who were hugely successful in Indy Cars at that time).

          Plus Schumacher could have stayed at Benetton and probably would have won 96 and 97 with that team intact. In all probability they would have stayed at the top of the sport for many years to come.

          What Hamilton did was move to the right place at the right time with the change of regulations.

          What Schumacher did moving to Ferrari was play the central figure in building the right team around him, changing the team’s culture, demanding the highest of standards from himself and everyone around him.

          Schumacher built two teams that had never had success or recent success into consecutive title winning juggernauts. You could make an argument he has responsibility in Mercedes current success — certainly the culture anyway.

          Hamilton has a lot of talent (fraction below the likes of a Schumacher or the raw talent of a Verstappen in my opinion), but lacks the capacity to bend a team to his will like Schumacher did. The whole team bought into his vision. He led by example in everything he did. He basically overcame and eradicated the most poisonous and political culture in F1.

          And ever since he left the team has basically regressed year by year.

          1. Nonsense, Ferrari had the biggest budget already and Marlboro pledged even more. It took them forever to reap the rewards, but still.

            Mercedes also wanted to spend more and were looking for the current F1 champion driver in their team. Hamilton built Mercedes up in no time at all. After Schumacher had been muddling around there for three years with out any progress.

          2. No bites b o n d o

          3. Hamilton got Merc to change the colour of their car in sympathy of a cause he was championing. If that’s not buying in to his vision I don’t know what is! As far as I know, Scumacher’s ferraris were always Red!

          4. If all it took was a big budget to win a championship then Ferrari wouldn’t have needed Schumacher.

            Schumacher performed miracles in the Ferrari 1996-98 then a broken leg cost him a championship in 1999.

  6. WFH – so e-racing then?

  7. I think he meant in terms of meetings for example. They have been having virtual meetings due to covid. Since its been working why not continue it. Im sure its also aimed at reducing carbon emissions and other stuff. While increasing personal time. But what ever works best for both parties.

  8. Hamilton is not being unreasonable. Work From Home has indeed worked! Not just in motorsport but across several industries. Companies across the globe are realizing that large corporate headquarters are not as necessary as previously imagined.

    If he desires that he does Zoom meetings from Monaco / Switzerland for all the regular stuff (debriefs, engineering meetings) and go to Brixworth / Brackley only for those activities which need him to be physically present (Seat fitting, simulator run); that is a request Mercedes should honor irrespective of whether it is Lewis demanding it or anyone else.

    Regarding non-driving duties (marketing events, brand ambassador events) are they even happening anymore? And even when they do, would we really get to see Hamilton attend one? Toto will never be ok with Hamilton hobnobbing with other jet-setters and potentially contracting the virus there and missing a race or two!!

    I think drivers’ non-driving duties are automatically going to be scaled down in the future. Perhaps having a twitch stream and socializing over internet would become part of their non-driving duties!! And that can also be done from home!

    1. I think these comments are correct and sensible. Then I think Lewis is being entirely reasonable.

      He’s been doing this for years now and he just wants to spend more time at home and doing the things he enjoys outside racing. He is allowed a private life even if this involves taking part in activities that are public facing.

  9. If you want to do less flying, I have a great idea. Stop getting on so many planes – it’s not compulsory. Trains go all over Europe (and have done for quite a while) or perhaps a nice motorhome like the one you have. Or get a hydrogen cell one and show just how poor the infrastructure is.

    But I can’t see the FIA changing the calendar to have 23 races within a bike ride of Monte Carlo.

    1. Or as an alternative to your well thought out suggestion maybe instead of flying to America after winning in Turkey to do the CBS morning show and Colbert, then onto Australia and finally the UK for more interviews on behalf of Mercedes and F1 he could sit in his bedroom and do them all online?

      1. You had me going for a moment.

      2. You legend :)

  10. He really wants work from home? Whahaha. Work from home kind of makes some feel too relaxed and it does give some sort of “laziness”. By the way, unless I am blind, or I might have missed the small details, it does not look like his words imply that he wants to work at home. He is saying that there is a chance contract talks could be engaged through the application of Zoom.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      19th November 2020, 13:14

      I think the complete opposite. I’m much more productive when working at home and the company I work for has seen productivity across the board go up since we’ve temporarily moved to working from home. It’s been such an improvement that it’s now being considered that we’ll be working from home 3 days a week once the pandemic is over.

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        19th November 2020, 16:40

        Is there not a concern that if your job can be done remotely, it can be done by someone in India on a 10th of your salary?

        1. I mean, that’s become a concern ever since outsourcing became a thing…in fact, the genie is out of the bottle, and if Pete’s colleagues went back to the office full time and productivity fell, that would make it MORE likely that outsourcing would occur.

          (obviously I don’t know what industry he’s in so I’m speaking generally)

  11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    19th November 2020, 13:17

    I think it’s a combination of factors – the first being that he hasn’t been able to see friends and family due to Covid. That’s affected all of us unfortunately, some to devastating effect. Second, I’m getting the sense that the “drive for success” has taken a toll on Lewis and also on Wolff who’s made comments about spending more time with family. Even Bonnington looked weary last Sunday. It’s not unlikely that Lewis will eventually start taking things for granted – it’s the human thing to do after a while. It’s like someone who is born on a gorgeous island and has lived there all their lives – after a while, they don’t even notice the beauty of the place.

  12. An F1 driver working from home? FIA would love that for their safety initiatives. Hook him up to the simulator with a low latency connection to the car on the track and it’s sorted!


  13. Funnily enough I was thinking about asking my boss for exactly the opposite.

  14. Roberto Giacometti
    19th November 2020, 19:20

    Yes please , stay at home – full time. So we do not have to hear all the polical rhetorical BS that has emanated. Let’s stick to the racing !!!!

  15. The article seems to imply he no longer owns a private jet, or does it mean he just no longer owns a long range ocean crossing jet? I can’t imagine a person of his wealth without a business jet of some sort.

  16. I mean his job is literally flying around the world to race cars competitively. I’m not sure he can do that and do less flying, unless he plans to go by boat or Mercedes have invented a transporter.

  17. As long as he’s bringing the results in, I don’t see Mercedes refusing any request of his.

  18. That Merc rocketship basically drives itself anyway, so maybe he can stay at home permanently….

  19. I guess many of us would love to do his job and get the money he gets.
    I would go as far as saying that many people are away from home almost as much as he is for less money.
    In the end everything has its price, getting a legacy to be one of the greatest of all time and getting rich so you can retire at the age of 40 to live a dream life probably means you have to invest a few precious hours then.

  20. Ok, so he’ll upgraded to simulator driver and will be doing more “homework” and less circuit work. Russell can take his place. Good bye!
    The arrogance of Hamilton has no limits!!
    Very good driver, awful person.

    1. Yep, decent driver but the reason Senna and Schumacher (even Alonso) will forever be regarded far better than him is because they lived and breathed F1, they embodied what it means to be a racing driver.

      Nobody wants to cheer on a pipsqueak crying about tyres and politics and slacking off at every opportunity!

  21. LOL! I love it. Lewis is just trolling all the other teams and drivers now. Just tell me when and where we’re racing and Roscoe and I’ll show up and kick your rears and head back home.

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