Mercedes issues preventing Lewis Hamilton from signing new contract

Lewis Hamilton’s current contract with Mercedes expires at the end of this season.

Over the winter break, it seemed all but certain that Lewis Hamilton would extend his contract with Mercedes, with both the Brit and his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff claiming that it was simply a matter of time.

Hamilton spent the majority of his off-season outside of Europe, making negotiations difficult, but with the 2023 season starting this weekend, nothing has been signed yet.

The lack of news has alarmed fans, who expected that the 38-year-old would have ironed out the details surrounding his new deal prior to pre-season testing in Bahrain.

The Brit has admitted that he dreams of retiring as a world champion but with Mercedes looking like they might struggle to compete for the championship again this year, former F1 driver Jenson Button has suggested that Hamilton could walk away from the sport.

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The former F11 champion has claimed that Mercedes’ issues with the W14 may be what is causing Hamilton’s negotiations with the team to stall.

“It has to be that, right? Why otherwise would you leave it this late?” Button told The Telegraph.

“He knows how annoying we all are asking [about the contract]. I mean, we’ve got to ask the question, but he’s going to hate answering it over and over again. It can only be because he’s wondering how competitive they will be.

“Is he going to sign if the car is uncompetitive because he wants it to be quick again before he retires? Or is he thinking, ‘If it’s not better, I’m just going to retire’. Who knows?”

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Toto Wolff suggested that negotiations with Hamilton would not take long once the seven-time world champion had returned from his off-season adventures, but something appears to be holding up the deal.

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The Austrian has confirmed that he has had an initial chat with his driver about a potential contract extension but so far, nothing official has been signed just yet.

Mercedes have struggled with the balance of the W14 in pre-season, with the car looking some way off of the performance levels of Red Bull and Ferrari at the moment.

Hamilton will be hoping that the team can quickly upgrade the car, as he targets a record breaking eighth world title this year.