In the round-up: Mercedes give an update about Hamilton’s next contract and what he will do once out of the cockpit, with Helio Castroneves doing the same.
Only “trivial things” holding back Hamilton’s contract signing with Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton is technically a free agent at the end of the 2023 Formula 1 season, but Mercedes are convinced he will be signing a contract soon that will keep him with them for at least the next two seasons.
However questions have been asked why his next contract is yet to be signed, and Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff recently answered them.
“We’re not talking about an ambassadorial role post his retirement, nor is part of the contract negotiations,” he said. “I think he has many years to go as a driver within this team and therefore it’s only about cleaning things up in the contract.
“I know it looks a little bit ‘why is this not being done and dusted’, but it’s simply down to trivial things that just need to be cleaned up in contracts and we need to find the time.
“He’s been a Mercedes driver since his beginning when he was, god knows, eight or ten years old. He had the AMG visor, and then over these years through McLaren within the Mercedes family and then these ten or 11 years in the Mercedes works team.
“I think he’s synonymous for Mercedes, which is synonymous for his career. We’ve gone through so many ups and downs, so many situations that were difficult on a human side, on a professional side and so many more hugely positive moments and I think that just made us stick together, trust each other, whilst being able to have tough love and the odd argument. I think there is such a strong bond that makes him so loyal and us too.”
Castroneves open to do more, not less racing with switch to part-time IndyCar drive
He has bought into MSR and committed to racing for the team in the 2024 Indy 500, having won the race with them in 2021, as well as helping Tom Blomqvist who will become MSR’s new full-time driver.
MSR are convinced that Castroneves will stay in the cockpit for several years beyond that, potentially in their sports car racing efforts.
“I want to be very clear: I am not retiring, OK?” said Castroneves. “I just want to make sure people understand that. Actually, my [schedule] is open now to do other series. I can do Superstar Racing Experience, IMSA, NASCAR, stock cars in Brazil, whatever the [opportunity].
“Obviously, the main focus is IndyCar in my role [with] different hats and also [the Indy 500]. I still have a lot of fire inside me, a lot of energy that I want to burn. A great thing is the experience that I [bring] and built all these years.”
FIA to get involved in land speed record attempt
The FIA, the global governing body for car-based motorsport , has announced it is collaborating with its motorcycling counterpart the FIM this week in an attempt to break a land speed record.
Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt lake, will be used to form a 24-kilometre course and it’s hoped that this week’s runs will make the venue a rival to the famed Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.
Jim Knapp will drive a 3,500 horsepower car which he hopes will exceed 737.794kph, which is the FIA-recognised record for the top speed achieved by a wheel-driven car (as opposed to jet-powered record-breakers). Higher speeds have been achieved, as a world record-breaking 776.744kph run was achieved at Bonneville in 2019, with a top speed of 810.034kph at the mile exit of a one-way run.
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