‘There’s a worm in there’: Reason for Lewis Hamilton not signing Mercedes contract revealed

Lewis Hamilton is yet to ink a contract with Mercedes for 2024 and beyond despite the 2023 season starting this weekend.

Ex-Formula 1 drivers Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher have both shared their views on why seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton is yet to sign a contract extension with Mercedes, despite both Hamilton and team boss Toto Wolff having claimed last season that one would be signed.

With a new deal having not yet been signed, Hamilton has officially entered the final year of his contract with Mercedes, perhaps putting some drivers on alert that a seat could become available at the Silver Arrows next season.

Hamilton was expected to sign a new deal before this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, with Wolff having shared following the end of the 2022 season that a new deal would be sorted over the winter break.

With the winter break now over and no contract having been signed, it has raised the question, why?

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2009 F1 World Champion Button believes it has to be due to the performance of Mercedes’ new car, with the former team-mate of Hamilton’s predicting that the 38-year-old is waiting to see how competitive the team are first, before agreeing to another multi-year deal.

“It has to be that, right?” Button told the Telegraph.

“Why otherwise would you leave it this late? He knows how annoying we all are asking.”

Pre-season testing likely won’t have filled Hamilton with confidence, as Mercedes once again looked to be comfortably behind Red Bull, Ferrari and potentially even Aston Martin.

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There is a real chance that the Germans could slip to fourth until they address their balance and rear grip issues, which were both spoken about during the three days of testing in Bahrain.

Hamilton will want to see an improvement from Mercedes presumably before signing a new deal, with the 103-time race winner still having the target of claiming an unprecedented eighth title.

Whether he’s happy to continue in the sport but not be challenging for victory remains to be seen, with Schumacher predicting that Wolff could have a massive issue should the car not be able to challenge at the front.

“There’s a worm in there,” Schumacher told Sky Deutschland.

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“They’re not hitting their goals or they’ve set the wrong ones.

“The car is still difficult to drive,” Schumacher said after Bahrain testing.

“But the real question is, if Lewis is still behind, what motivation is left?”