Towards the end of last season, Lewis Hamilton was adamant that he would be extending his contract with Mercedes over the winter break, a claim which was backed up by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
For one reason or another, the 2023 season has now begun without Hamilton extending his contract, which is set to run out at the end of this season.
Mercedes have faltered right from that start this season, with both Wolff and Hamilton admitting that the team’s decision to stick with their 2023 concept was a huge mistake.
The Silver Arrows look to be the fourth fastest team on the grid so far this season, with Hamilton finishing nearly a minute behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
With Hamilton dreaming of winning a record breaking eighth world championship before he retires, it has been rumoured that the 38-year-old is stalling on a contract extension to see exactly how competitive Mercedes become this year.
Should the Silver Arrows continue to falter, it has been rumoured that the Brit could head over to Ferrari, with quotes re-emerging that suggest Hamilton would be keen on this switch.
“Ferrari has shown that they know how to create a great car. And then Charles [Leclerc] is very strong,” he told Corriere della Sera last year.
“Anyway, I would add one thing, if I could sit down with the fans over there, I would support Charles. I’m a Ferrari fan.
“Of course it would be nice to race for Ferrari during my career, but things happen because of a reason.”
Sky Sports presenter Simon Lazenby has theorised that a move to Ferrari could materialise for Hamilton, should Mercedes not pick up the pace this year.
“How can you rule out a move to Ferrari if [Mercedes] stay like this,” he said.
“He’s so desperate for that eighth, that if Ferrari did manage to stay on the coattails and they were the nearest to Red Bull.
“He’s not put his pen to paper yet on his contract. He’s definitely waiting to see how this year’s car felt. I don’t think you can ever rule out a move to Ferrari for racing drivers because it’s their dream and he’s said it before.”
Whilst Hamilton has repeatedly confirmed that he will be with Mercedes next year, the rumours will continue to circle until he officially extends his contract with the team.