Talks over Hamilton’s next Mercedes deal to begin “much earlier” in season

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In the round-up: Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff says the team will begin talks over Lewis Hamilton’s contract earlier than it did last year, having taken until February to announce his latest deal.

What they say

Wolf was asked when Mercedes will begin work on Hamilton’s new deal for the 2022 F1 season:

Definitely earlier than the 2021 deal. It’s always tricky to find some times whilst racing, but we have learned the lesson that there could be external factors that can delay discussions and we don’t want to end up in January again. So probably we are going to pick up chatting about 2022 much earlier.

We agreed jointly that we didn’t want to drag it on us as much or as long as we did this time around and we’re trying to find some facts together during the season.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

With three Saturday sprint events potentially joining the schedule this year, we could have 26 Formula 1 races in 2021. Is that ‘too much of a good thing’?:

I am aware that the plural of ‘personal anecdote’ is not ‘data’, but, for what it is worth, for me this could be yet another step towards too much of a good thing.

When F1 moved beyond 15-16 race seasons, I started skipping some races – there is a limit to how many afternoons I will spend in front of the TV. Once I started skipping races, my interest in the next races started to decline as well. The number of races that I watch has dropped below that original baseline number.

Psychologically, it stopped being a continuing flowing ‘story’ over the season.

If the number of actual races to watch, to keep up with the story, again increases to two races per weekend (plus qualifying), I think, for me, I will miss more chapters of the ‘story’, the flow will be even more broken up, and less compelling to follow.

But, I am aware that F1 does not exist to target me specifically, so if that is what Liberty wants to do, they are of course welcome to it.
Bob C

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33 comments on “Talks over Hamilton’s next Mercedes deal to begin “much earlier” in season”

  1. OK I’m a bit confused Wolff and Hamilton are going to start negotiations I would guess soon for his next contract. So why only a twelve month contract now?
    Could it be that there was a sticking point that wasn’t a deal breaker but they could not agree on. So they decided to get a short term contract in place to give them time to sort out what ever the issue is?

    1. If Merc let it drag out they won’t have a shot at getting Verstappen, Russell will be out of contract at Williams.

      1. @Dean Franklin What makes you think that Mercedes want Verstappen ? Mercedes have Russell and don’t want nor need Verstappen, get that out your head.

        1. Verstappen is guaranteed to be quick. He is the best in the sport.

          Takes away RBR’s huge weapon as well.

          1. As long as current hybrid motors stay in F1 Mercedes will not touch Verstappen and RBR. It’s the only thing that is keeping the sport interesting, and Merc know that they can still win with a racing driver like George. They are happy to give 2-3 wins to other teams in a season.

          2. @Dean Franklin Max is not the best, i don’t know where you get that from, don’t tell me you call Max the best for beating inexperienced and unproven drivers like Albon and Gasly and the Turkish wet GP showed you who’s the best, no contest really.

          3. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            10th February 2021, 19:32

            Max is a top driver for sure but there are a few drawbacks which make him less attractive for a team like Mercedes. The first is, given a competitive teammate he has demonstrated a propensity to crash into them rather than be overtaken. Mercedes have been there, done that. Second, he doesn’t bring the all inclusive eco friendly aspect that Mercedes are trying to associate their brand with. He also says some rather questionable things from time to time. He’s still too young from a marketing perspective and marketing is what Mercedes have really hit the big time with in the hybrid era.
            The team knows very well how Lewis and George would interact. Max is a wild card and as such a risk. I can’t see Max joining Mercedes until Lewis retires.
            Smart money would bet on Lewis extending through 2022 and probably 2023 with George joining him in 2022. I think both Max and Checo will be a significant problem for Mercedes in 2021 and will force a driver change in 2022. The guy they wave goodbye to will be Bottas, not Lewis.

        2. @noname
          “What makes you think that Mercedes want Verstappen ?”

          His achievments on track. Is it really that hard to understand?

          Lol, ignorance is bliss, right?

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            10th February 2021, 20:11

            There is another thing I don’t particularly respect about posters on this site. If you’re going to @ someone, have the balls to provide an @ to reply to.

          2. What achievements on track ? And Germany 2019 ? Whoxwas leading the race until he was forced to pit and put on the wrong tyres ? Let’s talk about the most recent wet race at Turkey, Verstappen had the best car but could do nothing with it. Max is too overhyped and simple minds like you believe that SMH

      2. According to Helmut Marko, Russel is tied with Toto Wolff with a 10 years contract. Even though he will be out of his Williams seat, breaking that management contract with Wolff will require a considered amount of money. I can’t see any of the non-Mercedes powered teams wanting to spend that extra money for Russel.

        1. @noname
          “ and the Turkish wet GP showed you who’s the best, no contest really.”
          A bit like Germany 2019, right?
          With the one exception that in Turkey the guy in the most dominant and allround piece of machinery in F1 won, opposed to Germany 😂😂😂

    2. @johnrkh As Wolff explained, they wanted to close the deal and including 2022 would make it take longer. So they will just do a deal for 2022 later when they do have the time.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        10th February 2021, 19:51

        @f1osaurus exactly. If you consider the months leading up to the new season are all about the car development and driver prep, it is not the ideal time to get into the weeds on contract details. Likely it’s a case of, “we know we want to work together but this is the wrong time. Let’s race under the previous agreement this year and sort it out by the summer.”
        There is a consistent failure on this forum to understand that these people are running a business, not a fan site. Sure, lots of people can have valid takes on who’s better at this and that. In my opinion Checo will outperform Max on tyre preservation which Max will have to take note of. Bottas will continue to push Lewis on one lap pace which Lewis will continue to need to focus on. George will continue to put the Williams where it shouldn’t be on a Saturday which Mercedes will continue to note in its deliberations and Max will continue to put his Redbull in uncomfortable places for Mercedes. These are all factors.
        The one missing piece of the puzzle for many is that a driver is no longer just a driver. That concept died after tobacco revenue left the sport.
        Jenson Button became the face of Santander in the UK. Lewis Hamilton is the face of Tommy Hillfiger, Playstation, The FIA, Petronas and now Ineos.
        Alonso markets his own brand etc. etc. Drivers need to bring more than driving skills to the table.
        A top team in a knife fight for a title will always want the best driver, but when there is a choice between two or three of equivalent skill, they will always choose the most marketable.
        Leave Lewis aside for a moment because he really has wiped the floor in this metric.
        A wholesome George or a controversial Max. Which driver can build your brand better?

  2. It’s doesn’t matter when the talks start, it’s more about how long the talk about “the talks” drag on, and on, and on…

  3. If anyone really believes Hamilton’s contract talks didn’t begin until after the end of last season, I have a bridge to sell them.

    1. @red-andy The difference would be in starting talks with “We should work on a contract for 2021” vs “ok now lets discuss specifics”

      1. I actually think that they had been in talks since sometime 2019 most likely. I do think that a lot changed over the last year in the specifics, and there will be more changes. But this 2021 one year deal is more like “ok, we did not finalize things, so let’s just nail down that and continue for the longer term deal @red-andy, @f1osaurus.

        Hamilton clearly has things he wants to achieve (both in racing, but also in a wider sense), and Mercedes would be completely bonkers to not try and keep Hamilton as their racing driver, and for the long term as a brand ambassador. Pretty sure Ineos will also be happy to try and get a chunk of that shining off on the brand too. So they will have a lot to agree on.

    2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      10th February 2021, 20:28

      @red-andy Enlighten us on when they did start! What were the discussion points, when and where were they discussed?
      Occam’s razor. The simplest explanation is the most likely.
      We don’t know a single thing about this dynamic other than what we have been told by the various protagonists. If it didn’t come from Lewis or the team it’s just speculation.
      If it did come from Lewis and the team, it’s what they want to put out there.
      There is little to no investigative journalism that has provided any real facts on this.
      Which particular rumour of the many actually stuck? None of them!
      I’m absolutely sure there has been a back and forth for a while as Lewis formed thoughts in his head. I credit him with a lot but mental acuity is not one of those! I think if you look at Lewis as a person, he is organic, and changing, always evolving. There are subjects I know chapter and verse about that he has been asked about and I’m shocked at his lack of knowledge.
      I genuinely don’t think he knew what he wanted until very recently. That would support the late negotiations.
      He’s evolving in his understanding and prioritising.
      Not too far a stretch if you keep your finger on the pulse.

  4. COTD speaks to me – it may be anecdotal but it’s an experience shared by me. 16 races has always felt like the right balance between enough races to allow variety on the calendar and a concise enough season to keep the drama of the title narrative alive throughout.

    Now we seem to have little variety and a season that drags (though 2020 was a vast improvement). Sometimes less is more…

    1. This rings true for me too.

      As it stands with 20 odd races per year, I need to spend pretty much half of a year’s weekends watching F1. But F1 isn’t like football, you need to at least watch the highlights of the other sessions to know what’s happening in the race, so it’s a lot of commitment.

      Like most F1 fans my other half doesn’t like it at all, so I have to negotiate my F1 viewing. What makes it worse is that if I don’t watch it live I find it near impossible to find a full race rerun anywhere legally.

      What the increase in races has shown me is that several tracks are not worth the effort at all (Spain, Abu Dabi, Russia)… The more time commitments F1 asks its fans to take the more these crap circuits will struggle for viewers.

      I really enjoyed the schedule from the end of the 90s, 15 or so races a year. Each race feels special, you get a couple of weekends between each one for the family (and for the engineers to actually see theirs). Each race was like a cupfinal even if you didn’t follow the championship the race had gravitas. Sadly now, F1 fans are fewer and fewer and admitting to seeing all the races in a season either means you work in the industry or have nothing else to do with your free time.

    2. David Kilpatrick
      10th February 2021, 23:13

      Adding 3 sprint races definitely so, 23 is too much as well.

      Also, I am beginning to have doubts about the term”good”.

      Liberty are over milking F1, trying to recoup investment. They paid far too much.

  5. In other words, Magnussen would only return even for a one-off substitution if it were for Mercedes or a top car in general, which is an understandable approach. Since both drives at Mercedes are free for 2022 at present, he could try and ask if the team were interested in him, although the same applies to several other drivers too. Perez only has a single-year deal at RBR, so he could also be an option for Mercedes in some scenarios.

    Regarding the Red Bull Racing YT upload: At one point, during the factory tour, he said ”I used to have the DRS in here,” referring to the top-left corner of the steering wheel. This prompted me to wonder, won’t he get to have it there at RBR as well? RBR, based on my observations, has seemed to be one of several teams that don’t let its drivers choose how they’d want to activate DRS nor even the DRS indication light pattern. At Sauber, he activated DRS like most drivers from the back around the downshift paddle, so if I’m correct, it’d be a return to this way for him. Hopefully, the light pattern wouldn’t be the same as Albon and Gasly, though, for variety’s sake, LOL.

    1. Yeah, I can certainly understand this too @jerejj. He’s enjoying his racing, focussing on the next chapter and winning races again. Why disrupt that for a weekend toiling around being frustrated in a badly handling Haas to deal with a sunday of seeing blue flags.

  6. Let’s dissect what Wolff actually said:


  7. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    10th February 2021, 9:40

    The sheer amount of race weekends devalues the sport. It’s less of an event and more of a weekly treadmill. Like football for example (which I suppose does alright) but F1 should be a much different and grander event. Another problem for me is the sheer amount of races takes away the anomaly factor, seasons like 99 where Frentzen and Irvine somehow took the title race to Hakkinen’s much faster Mclaren over Mclaren tripping over themselves and a few errors, 2010 Seb would have won easier, 2012 Alonso dragging that inferior car to the title decider, 2016 even, Lewis was faster and his end of season run if continued for a couple of extra races would have ironed out the poor race season start.

    Some of the above examples may be good or bad depending on opinion but the point is we got entertainment and the occasional upset due to drivers and teams being defeated or at least challenged through consistency and making the most of an opportunity. That opportunity would be diminished by more races to average out the ‘mean.’

    I’m sure the gimmick of sprint races will do that further.

  8. That article about the McLaren testing cooperation really shows how an intensive testing regime can help avoid further spread! Also, good that it helped finance testing for other people who needed it in an emergency.

  9. Young Master Fittipaldi is not going to Indy Lights, but Indy PRO 2000. A step under

  10. Erena is a rather ediotic name.

  11. I never understand the concept of ‘too much of a good thing’. I remember when Gasly won Monza someone wrote they felt it was good but wouldn’t want races like that all the time and that confused me too – why would you *not* want it to be continually exciting? Same with more races, why would you *not* want more?

    My only thing is I would want more of races like Monza, Spa, Austria, Brazil, etc and significantly less of Abu Dhabi, Sochi, Spain, etc. More races at tracks that are enjoyable and promote good racing would be great but more races at ones that are unfortunately known for being a bit of a snooze isn’t really worth it, unless they change the format of those extra races.

  12. Re cotd, I just don’t think of these potential sprint qualifiers as anything but a qualifying session done a different way. If one always watches the qualifying on Saturdays, then no added ‘burden,’ which is what some people seem to think it is, is placed on a fan’s time constraints. If you already watched qualifying you can still do so and then go about your day. It’s an hour. To call this now “26 races” like it is now 26 race weekends or something, seems silly to me. And if they get to 23 races and that is too much, and you would prefer 16 either for your own reasons or because of family time, so be it, just watch that many then. Personally the more the merrier for me, as long the the F1 circus isn’t being overly taxed personnel wise. I’m just grateful we have F1 at all.

  13. I’d watch F1 if they raced every weekend. I’d watch every quali too. Devalued for some, maybe. For me, it’d be the best year ever!

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