Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes taking their time to negotiate new contract

Lewis Hamilton contract negotiations
Photo by Kenan Asyali via Getty Images

Flexibility and a role in how Mercedes approaches their race team will be a big part of signing Lewis Hamilton through contract negotiations that likely won’t be finalized until the end of 2020, according to team principal Toto Wolff.

“I think more than likely we are looking towards the end of the year,” Wolff said, according to Formula1.com. “I don’t want to put ourselves under pressure to say before Bahrain or before Abu Dhabi that we will announce a new contract because there isn’t any pressure.

“When it’s done, it’s done.”

Wolff believes that continuing to provide Hamilton with the flexibility to pursue outside interests, such as his growing fashion line and acting as an ambassador for diversity in the sport of auto racing, will be a key component in getting the new contract across the finish line.

In 2020, Hamilton reached two important career milestones. He surpassed Michael Schumacher for the most career victories and tied him for the most championships at seven. Hamilton matched Schumacher’s career victory record of 91 in Round 11 at Nurburgring. He has won the next three races since for a total of 94 wins.

MORE: Lewis Hamilton sends message of support to struggling fans after winning seventh F1 title

Keeping the reigning F1 champion with the team is a priority, and Hamilton still has milestones to reach.

Hamilton has at least nine wins in each of the last seven seasons. He almost certainly will pass the century mark in 2021. Hamilton has won six of the last seven championships and finished second once. An unprecedented eighth title is equally easy to visualize.

“I’m very conscious of the idea that I do want to continue with Mercedes,” Hamilton said.

“I’d like to help them in terms of pushing for diversity because within the organization – as with every organization out there – there’s not enough of it. There’s a lot to discuss and a lot to go through, but I think that’s something we’ll do if not after the job is done then particularly at the end of the year.

“At the moment I don’t feel like I’m finished.”

Hamilton still could reach another milestone in 2020. Last week’s Turkish Grand Prix victory was his 10th of the season in 14 rounds. Hamilton has won 11 races three times (2014, 2018 and 2019). With three races remaining in a season shortened by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he still has a chance to win as many as 13 events for a new career high.

Hamilton’s next opportunity to win will come Nov. 29 at Bahrain.

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Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.