Traditionally in the world of summer sport there were two iconic snakes, the ‘motley snake’ of the Tour de France peloton and the ‘summer snake’ symbolizing football. Now, the ‘silly season’ in F1 is in some respects a ‘soap opera’ that lasts for several months.
It seems logical, although with Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton it would not be surprising if they preach ‘uncertainty’ on the outside for a few more months as ‘the question is they talk about me’.
The ‘uncertainty’ is in quotes because from the outset he made it clear that Mercedes didn’t want to lose Lewis and Lewis didn’t want to walk away from Mercedes. Only personal anger or a decision to leave F1 to pursue his many other tasks could prevent renewal.
Clearly the ‘temptation’ of prolonging talks until the first pre-season test could be some fun for the heroes as well as a ‘smoke screen’ for other issues.
Toto knows that there are only a few drivers who can replace Lewis. And Hamilton is well aware that few teams will have what Mercedes offers him. Neither the salary nor the competitiveness of the environment.
It is true, the current Mercedes is not unbeatable, it is behind Red Bull. But landing in Max Verstappen’s fiefdom doesn’t seem possible. And other options, from Ferrari to McLaren or Aston Martin, are far less attractive from a sporting point of view, even though it is said that you can’t say ‘no’ to a Ferrari and being a ‘red’ driver gives you a special status. Can get it.
So the discussion was limited to tug-of-war on some details between the two parties who were and are doomed to understand each other. In any case, the topic of discussion is Lewis’s career after the race, not immediately, but in the context of the future.
Toto wants to sign now. “The contract should be biennial. I don’t want to spend another Christmas thinking about negotiations,” he said at the time. And you don’t want to waste too much time trading when you should be getting a few weeks off and planning for 2024 and planning for 2026. Must spend a lot of time thinking about.
Hamilton said in Canada that he wanted to sign for four years. Despite his age of 39, if Fernando is in the shape that he is over 40, he sees himself with the strength to do so. And we’ll probably end up with a ‘multi-year contract’ formula, which is usually 2+1 and includes results or performance clauses to activate an extension.