“We thought let’s postpone the discussion about 2022”- Why Lewis Hamilton penned down an only one-year-long contract extension.
Lewis Hamilton now signing the contract extension with Mercedes has finished the tiny curiosity of the final 2021 drivers’ lineup on the grid. Though, the reigning champion has signed only a one-year-long deal, questioning his future commitments.
But Toto Wolff in his recent interview has revealed that why Mercedes has given him only a one-year contract, discounting the plans of 2022, as even Valtteri Bottas is on a year-long contract.
“First of all there is a substantial regulations change in 2022,” Wolff explained. “We also want to see how the world develops and the company.”
Then Hamilton being diagnosed with COVID-19 shortened the window of negotiating the contract. Hence, Mercedes and the Briton never had time to discuss 2022 possibilities.
“Because we kept it very late, we wanted to discuss the contract at the end of the season between the Bahrain races, and then Lewis obviously didn’t feel well. In the end, we started the negotiation conversation just before Christmas.
“It was important to get it done as soon as possible, and in that respect, we thought let’s postpone the discussion about 2022 an onwards to a later stage in 2021.”
A deal would’ve been done irrespective
Despite the hurdles in negotiations, Wolff believed that an agreement would have reached eventually, confirming that Mercedes only wanted Hamilton in 2021.
“There are uncertainties in the world that affect the way the sport can operate that have an influence on our revenue, on TV monies, on sponsorship income,” he said.
“Daimler and Mercedes are in a huge transformation towards electric mobility, and that means investments. So we are living in a financial reality that is very different from what it was a few years ago.”
“But having said that we are totally in line, Lewis and me and the wider group in Mercedes, about this situation. So there was never any discrepancy in opinion.”
“It was just that we felt we’ve got to put signature on the 2021 contact because we need to get going and then find some time during 2021, earlier than this time around, to discuss the future.”
“And it’s not only specifically to 2022 but also beyond and that is not something that we wanted to carve out via videoconferencing between Christmas and the end of January.”