Formula 1: Concerning Lewis Hamilton contract detail?

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

There is one interesting detail that has been rumored to be included in Lewis Hamilton’s reported new Formula 1 contract with Mercedes.

Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton hasn’t officially signed a new contract to return to Mercedes for the ninth consecutive season in 2021.

But recent reports indicate that he and the team have agreed to terms after a lengthy negotiation period during which his seat was the only seat without a driver on the upcoming season’s 20-car grid.

Reports, which have been cited by 1996 world champion and current Sky Sports pundit Damon Hill, indicate that the 36-year-old Briton has signed a multi-year deal with the Silver Arrows after his previous contract expired on Friday, January 1, making him no longer a member of the team for the time being.

But there is one thing in that reported contract that stands out, and it has nothing to do with length or money or anything along the incentive lines.

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It’s a veto clause. If true, Hamilton would have the ability to veto any potential new teammate for the 2022 and perhaps the 2023 season, should the team decide that Valtteri Bottas, who signed a fifth consecutive one-year deal in August, will not return for either one of those years.

This could potentially throw a wrench into the team’s plans to promote George Russell, who replaced Hamilton at Bahrain International Circuit for one race last season after Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19, from Williams. The Mercedes junior is clearly in line for a seat the next time one opens up at the Brackley-based team.

But what if Hamilton feels threatened by the performance of the youngster?

Would the team really give him that kind of power, knowing that Russell is clearly in their long-term plan and Hamilton is over 13 years older and nearing the end of his career, likely having signed his final contract?

And would Hamilton, given the trust he has established with the team, particularly with team principal Toto Wolff, really interfere with that plan — especially as the sport’s potential first 100-race winner and eight-time world champion with nothing more to prove?

Maybe we’ll get to find out.

But perhaps the bigger reason for this clause is Max Verstappen, who is under contract with Red Bull through the 2023 season but can reportedly opt out of that contract based on the team’s performance.

This clause would give Hamilton the ability to prevent himself from ever needing to deal with Verstappen as his career winds down, something that many have speculated would be the case for the last several seasons.

But for now, all we can do is wait for the official confirmation that a new deal between Hamilton and Mercedes has been signed.

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If the reports are to be believed, that will surely come soon, considering the fact that preseason testing is scheduled to take place at Bahrain International Circuit from Friday, March 12 to Sunday, March 14 and the season is scheduled to get underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix at the same venue on Sunday, March 28.