Lewis Hamilton knows his marketing appeal is something Mercedes can’t afford to lose, according to reports. The Brit cruised his way to a seventh F1 Drivers’ Championship in 2020 but, despite his fine exploits on the track, he’s yet to sign a new contract. The Brit equalled Michael Schumacher last year but could now take a sabbatical given the new Formula One season is creeping closer.
Hamilton outlined a desire to stay with Mercedes at the end of last year.
But, despite doing everything right on the track, his Silver Arrows future is currently up in the air.
Hamilton was in terrific form last year, easing his way to a sixth F1 title in seven years, but the Silver Arrows are yet to tie him down.
That’s led to suggestions he could retire or, even more realistically, take a one-year sabbatical form the sport he loves.
And Racefans.net claim Hamilton is aware of his vast marketing appeal, something he believes Mercedes cannot afford to lose.
The 36-year-old is a huge sporting name, up there with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer and Tiger Woods in football, tennis and golf.
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And he feels that he gives Mercedes a vast edge over competitors Audi and BMW, knowing they boast no such assets in their respective sides.
The Silver Arrows are still confident they’ll get the Brit to commit to an extension, downplaying reports there have been bumps in the road.
But, the longer a new deal goes unsigned, the more speculation is sure to rumble on.
Hamilton reportedly previously held talks with Ferrari about a sensational move, but that won’t be happening with their roster of drivers already confirmed.
And what ultimately happens regarding his future is something only time will tell.
While retirement theories have arisen, Hamilton’s father revealed in November that his son was still committed to writing his name into more F1 history books.
“As far as I’m aware, he carries on racing,” he said.
“He loves racing, he loves what he does.
“He has a voice now in the sport, which is also fantastic, but as far as I’m aware he’s carrying on racing.
“It’s a definite, as far as I know, the last time I spoke to him yesterday, he’s definitely carrying on racing.”
Hamilton’s father also claimed the Brit was committed to chasing down his dreams, rather than pursuing targets he’s set for himself.
“It’s nothing to do with targets,” he added.
“He’s not racing for trophies, he races because he loves what he does and also he loves to inspire others.
“At the moment his achievements, we hope, are inspiring young kids who have a dreams they want to achieve.
“As far as Lewis is concerned, and we as a family as well, it really is about hope, opportunity, dreams, achievements, and not so much targets [on the track].”
Meanwhile, Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has claimed the Silver Arrows must be ready for ‘curveballs’ amid uncertainty over Hamilton’s future.
“It doesn’t worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis’s decisions,” he told Autosport.com.
“Whether this is staying with us for a long time, or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests.
“I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curveballs being thrown at us.
“But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together.”