Lewis Hamilton Is Questioning His Future In Formula One

Illustration for article titled Lewis Hamilton Is Questioning His Future In Formula One
Photo: Joe Portlock (Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton took victory at Imola this morning, and his performance allowed Mercedes to take its seventh Constructors’ Championship. But he still hasn’t signed a contract for the 2021 season, and it doesn’t sound like he’s in any rush to do it.

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“I don’t even know if I’m going to be here next year,” he said in a post-race press conference.

Team boss Toto Wolff is also evaluating his future at Mercedes, and asking Hamilton about Wolff inspired the defending champion to open up about his own questions. Here’s more:

Naturally, I feel great, I feel still very strong, I feel I can keep going for plenty of months.

But you mentioned about Toto and shelf life. There’s multiple things that stay on the top of my mind. I would like to be here next year, but there’s no guarantee of that for sure. There’s a lot that excites me of the outer life, so time will tell.

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So, the press had to ask Wolff what he thought about Hamilton’s comments. Wolff noted that Hamilton’s considerations go beyond just racing—it’s more about the global climate. Stepping back at the pinnacle of his career, while he’s still a massively popular name, would essentially give Hamilton access to any other path he wants to take. Whether that would be activism, team ownership, or something else, we don’t know.

“We are here in our little happy place, but we try to bring some entertainment into households. But then you’re back in the more difficult reality the next day,” Wolff said. “All of that is something that affects us. And in that respect, it’s normal for somebody who’s empathetic to have these feelings.”

I have to say, I find it difficult to imagine Hamilton retiring from F1 so early, but that might just be down to the fact that I really want to see how far he can go. How high can he set the bar? How long can his records last?

But at the same time, I understand the motivation behind leaving while you’re still on top of the world, especially in Hamilton’s case. He’s been exploring what it means to be an activist athlete for the past few years, and I can see him moving on to pursue something else.

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Whatever the case, Hamilton just gave us another piece of the silly season puzzle to start playing with.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

The guy is worth OVER $300,000,000. That’s in addition to his many other money making ventures outside of an F1 cockpit. Do you really think his motivation is to score a bigger paycheck? The guy is in the catbird seat with options up the wazoo; he’s set for life and has NOTHING to prove. He can literally do whatever the hell he wants. I think he truly isn’t sure what he wants to do next. And can you blame him?

As for Nico Rosberg; he didn’t walk away from F1 at the peak of his career, he *ran*.