Even though Lewis Hamilton has won his seventh world championship, and become the most successful F1 driver of all time equalling Michael Schumacher's record, it is quite befuddling that he still doesn't have a contract for the 2021 season. And it appears, he will need to wait a little longer - after the season has ended for that renewal.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has revealed that Hamilton's contract will likely be closed only after the 2020 season is concluded at the end of the year.
"I think more than likely, we are looking towards the end of the year," he is quoted by Motorsport.com. "Not that we wouldn't find time for each other, but I don't want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi we will announce a new contract," the Austrian added.
"So I see us going for more next year, maybe putting another great year on, and then we have this tremendous challenging regulation change for 2022. We'll go for a while," Wolff explained.
Hamilton has also said that he is quite confident that the new contract will happen. He feels he's not hit his peak yet, even though he has conceded that he doesn't see himself racing in his 40s. At 35, he is not the oldest driver on the grid. In 2021, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will be older than him.
"I just always think, through the year just that I've got a job to do, I've got a contract in place, I don't feel like I should add pressure. I wanted to put it aside and wait until the job is done. So, probably over these next weeks - we've got three weeks in the Middle East - now it's a bit more chilled, but I still have three races ahead of me that I want to win. It's not done but we will get it done, I'm sure," Hamilton explained.
Wolff had earlier indicated that the contract will be closed after both the world championships are closed. But this marks another delay. This also comes in the wake of some posturing from Hamilton. Wolff for his part has also admitted that he is planning on taking a back seat from a day to day role at the team, moving into something for an executive chairman or CEO type role.