BY WAGNER GONZALEZ
One season, this is the term of the most recent contract signed between the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and equipment Mercedes de F1. This interval and the fact that the contract with Valtteri Bottas also ends at the end of 2021, they suggest further changes by the German brand and the strongest name to fill one of these vacancies is English George Russell.
Although the list of participants is complete (see box), the season schedule is still subject to “rains and storms”, including the Brazilian stage scheduled for November 14 in Interlagos, and there is already talk of the possible arrival of a new team.
A multi-million dollar business like F.1 requires the most complex strategic planning to maximize the minimum investment required to become part of the network. For those who remain as the invincible team for seven years in a row, this job is even more demanding and complex: Toto wolff made it clear in a statement published by the US portal racer.com: “Lewis needs to decide what he expects from his own future and for that reason I would not like to comment on what he thinks. Our team, on the other hand, needs to define in advance what we want to decide in relation to the drivers… ”.
The Austrian went further and made it clear that during the 2021 season both Hamilton and Bottas will have all the dedication and commitment from Mercedes and that both will be the first to be summoned to discuss the 2022 vacancies.
The first part makes sense after all, why sabotage an exercise that involves more than 1.000 highly qualified employees and what moves hundreds of millions of dollars? The second part does not offer any guarantee that one or the other will be kept.
The bottom line from this story, at least as far as Hamilton is concerned, is that he will be free to sign with any team by 2022.. Such a situation already causes sleepless nights on the part of team owners, sponsors and avid fans to count on their services regardless of whether the vacancies for this season are defined or not.
An interesting detail of the agreement that ensured Hamilton's continuity at Mercedes was the manufacturer's commitment to actively support action in favor of greater diversity and inclusion in the motorsports labor market.. This translates into a joint foundation between the pilot and the brand whose main mission is to promote projects that provoke and consolidate these achievements.
Regarding the calendar this year, the resurgence of the pandemic of the COVID-19 en Portugal practically annulled the possibilities of the Iberian country being on the 2021 agenda. The race that could replace the Chinese Grand Prix it has a chance to be held… in China, but on a date that is not yet included in the calendar.
Looking further into the future, the one who can win in 2022 is the F.1 grid: Salvatore gandolfo, an Italian businessman living in Monte Carlo, already openly comments that he will be able to enter a new team in next year's championship.
If all goes well, he will be the first addition to the grid since the team's arrival. Haas in 2015. Designers and technical staff are not discussed in more detail yet. On the other hand, it is clear that the success of the venture depends on a change in the legislation regarding the deposit of 200 million required to enter the championship, a deposit that is refunded at the end of the first season. According Stefano Domenicali, the new CEO of FOM, if there is a time to change this policy, the time is now.
FORMULA 1 PILOTS FOR 2021
- Alfa Romeo-Ferrari: Kimi Räikkönen (7) and Antonio Giovinazzi (99)
- AlphaTauri-Honda: Pierre Gasly (10) and Yuki Tsunoda (22)
- Alpine-Renault: Fernando Alonso (17) and Estebán Ocón (18)
- Aston Martin-Mercedes: Sebastian Vettel (5) and Lance Stroll (18)
- Ferrari: Charles Leclerc (19) and Carlos Sainz Jr (55)
- Haas-Ferrari: Nikita Mazepin (9) and Mick Schumacher (47)
- McLaren-Mercedes: Daniell Ricciardo (3) and Lando Norris (4)
- Mercedes-AMG: Lewis Hamilton (44) and Valtteri Bottas (77)
- Red Bull-Honda: Sérgio Pérez (11) and Max Verstappen (33)
- Williams-Mercedes: Nicholas Latifi (6) and George Russell (63)