The 2021 F1 season is less than a couple of months away from beginning in Bahrain. Yet Mercedes remains the only team to not announce their driver lineup. The reason being their failure to reach a contract agreement with Lewis Hamilton.
Talks are at a stalemate and it’s no longer a secret why – the Briton has made demands that the Daimler group deems unacceptable. According to reports, Hamilton wants to retain his base salary of 40 million euros per season despite the COVID-ravaged finances, causing most of the drivers on the grid to take a pay cut.
However, that isn’t the end of it. On top of it, he wishes to take a 10% cut of the prize money, should they win the World Title once again. He also wants a greater role in the team’s electric division. The Daimler Group apparently gave Toto Wolff the responsibility to negotiate the contract within some constraints.
But, according to Motorsports, Toto made promises that he now cannot keep to Hamilton. Daimler AG’s president, Ola Kallenius, is not willing to free up extra funds for him. Otherwise, they would have sealed the deal by now.
The Contract duration not an issue with Lewis Hamilton as originally reported
The original reports stated that the Briton demanded a lengthy contract. He desired a three or four-year deal instead of a more sensible two-year deal. And understandably, Mercedes doesn’t want to commit itself to more than a couple of years with him considering his age and the new regulations that may potentially reset the order of the grid in 2022.
However, the main obstacle is not the time period of the agreement. He is willing to put pen to paper on a two-year deal like his previous one. 2021 confirmed, with an option to extend for 2022.
So what happens now?
Team Principal Toto Wolff broke out of his shell recently and hinted at an announcement sooner or later. The two parties want to continue their successful partnership. And they are giving themselves the time until the pre-season starts in Bahrain to reach an agreement.
It would be a major travesty if we see any other driver next to Valtteri Bottas other than Hamilton. He is gunning for a record eight-world title to overtake Michael Schumacher from the top of the pile. So, this is not how he should be denied a shot at recreating history.
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