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Lewis Hamilton Has “No Guarantee” He’ll Still Be in Formula One Next Year

If one takes Lewis Hamilton’s most recent statement at face value, it sounds very much like he’s hinting at an early retirement. 2021 in Formula One is “no guarantee,” the champ has said.
Lewis Hamilton scores another victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 5 photos
Lewis Hamilton wins his 92nd F1 title, sets new world record at 2020 Portuguese Grand PrixLewis Hamilton wins his 92nd F1 title, sets new world record at 2020 Portuguese Grand PrixLewis Hamilton wins his 92nd F1 title, sets new world record at 2020 Portuguese Grand PrixLewis Hamilton wins his 92nd F1 title, sets new world record at 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
Speaking with the media after his most recent victory at Imola, during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton addressed the rumored departure of boss Toto Wolff as team principal, and dropped an apparent bomb about his own intentions – or, better yet, musings – on retiring from the sport. “I don't even know if I am going to be here next year so it is not really a concern for me at the moment,” he said, as cited by ESPN.

“We are in November and Christmas is not that far away. I feel great, very strong and that I could go on for plenty of months but, Toto mentioned about ‘shelf life’ and there are multiple things on the top of my mind,” the 35-year-old British driver continued. “I would like to be here next year but there is no guarantee of that. There is a lot that excites me about F1's afterlife, so time will tell.”

Journalists then asked Wolff what he thought about Hamilton’s apparent teasing a retirement, and he pointed out the obvious: if Hamilton does retire, there will be a “frantic driver market out there.” That said, it could be that Hamilton was just speaking vaguely because his contract with Mercedes is still being negotiated.

Industry analysts believe he will probably continue in Formula One at least for another while, even if leaving when he’s at the top of the game would mean he could practically go whichever direction he wanted. There is “no guarantee” for the next season because there’s no signature on the dotted line with Mercedes – not yet, at least.

The fact that Formula One plans to cap salaries at $30 million starting with 2023 could also have had a part in Hamilton’s unexpected revelation. His salary for this year was an estimated $45 million and he’s believed to be trying to get more for another season, somewhere around $52 million. The proposed salary cap wouldn’t go into effect for another three years, but it would still hit him pretty hard – if he was still around.

That last part is just speculation at this point, though. Now that he’s passed Michael Schumacher in most F1 wins, Hamilton has said that he was just getting started. Wolff told the media pretty much the same thing on Sunday: “We want to continue this journey and we are not finished. Lewis and I and the whole team know that we are not finished.”



 
 
 
 
 

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