A 12 months with out Lewis Hamilton offseason drama?

Throughout the previous couple of Method 1 offseasons, there was uncertainty surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s future. Will the identical be true after 2022?

After every of the final two Method 1 seasons, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has discovered himself going through an unsure future, and these situations aren’t the one situations of him apparently being able to stroll away from the game in recent times.

In 2016, he threatened to stop following his opening lap collision with Mercedes teammate and eventual world champion Nico Rosberg within the Spanish Grand Prix. Then in 2018, he threatened to stroll away over a proposed schedule growth to 25.

Following the 2020 season, he didn’t have a contract to return for 2021, and it was reported by a number of retailers that his contract calls for for 2021 had been too extreme for Mercedes. The truth is, as soon as the brand new 12 months hit, he was technically now not a member of the crew.

For a lot of the offseason, Hamilton’s Mercedes seat was the one seat with no confirmed driver for 2021. However regardless of rumors of George Russell transferring from Williams to interchange him, a brand new deal was ultimately introduced the month earlier than the season started.

Then in the course of the 2021 season and within the warmth of the world championship battle with Purple Bull’s Max Verstappen, Hamilton signed a multi-year deal to stay with the Silver Arrows by 2023.

That didn’t forestall additional uncertainty, nonetheless. Following the dramatic occasions of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, particularly these of the final lap which led to Verstappen incomes his first world championship as a substitute of Hamilton securing what would have a record-breaking eighth, there have been many who believed that he would depart Method 1.

Whereas he was all the time underneath contract for 2022, his return was as soon as once more not formally confirmed till the month earlier than the season started.

That brings us so far. Are we in for an additional offseason of uncertainty for Hamilton?

The 37-year-old Briton does have a contract for 2023, in contrast to post-2020 for 2021, and there was actually nothing which came about this previous season that resembles the weird sequence of occasions in final 12 months’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

However it’s not out of the query, regardless of latest claims that he’s opening to signing one other multi-year extension with Mercedes.

Method 1 is about for a 24-race season in 2023, one race shy of 25, and whereas Hamilton is underneath contract, the identical could possibly be mentioned final offseason and but there was nonetheless uncertainty. He hasn’t signed something new since his most up-to-date extension from summer season 2021.

The 2022 season introduced ended an eight-year streak of Mercedes constructor championships, and it was Hamilton’s first winless season in 16 years within the sport, that means he failed to interrupt Michael Schumacher’s report. He completed in a career-worst sixth place within the standings.

All year long, Hamilton remained adamant that he and the crew had been going to maintain pushing to seek out solutions to make the W13 extra aggressive. Whereas that in the end didn’t repay in 2022, except for a late win for teammate George Russell, there have by no means been any questions as to his dedication degree.

There’s little motive to doubt that he can be again in 2023, because the crew look to erase the reminiscence of a disappointing 2022 season all whereas studying from their errors throughout it and ascending again to a degree at which Hamilton could be able to successful that elusive eighth world title.

However what if that progress can’t be made? What if there is no such thing as a indication that the 2023 season or 2024 season can be a lot totally different? Will he determine that it’s time to step away for any person youthful who can additional lead the crew into the long run?