Current Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton is not ready to leave the sport just yet as he has revealed his passion still burns strongly.
He is currently one of the most valuable free agents in sport, with his tasty £40million-a-year contract with Mercedes coming to an end last year. However, he is deep in negotiations for an extension with the most dominant team in F1.
Somehow still only 36 years old, Hamilton sits level with Michael Schumacher atop the table of most Drivers’ Championship victories. With Mercedes clearly boasting the best car, it seems inevitable that a one-year extension to his contract will guarantee he takes that final step in becoming the most successful F1 driver of all time.
The negotiations for a new deal haven’t been straightforward. Issues have been prevalent, in particular stemming from the Silver Arrows being keen to reduce expenditure, while Hamilton is demanding a salary on par with the previous deal.
However, both parties expect the differences to be overcome and a deal to be struck in time for pre-season testing, which starts in March.
Appearing on the Formula for Success podcast, Hamilton discussed his future and possibly quitting the sport, saying, as per Express: “You’ve got to find what you’re passionate about and what you love doing, and me personally, in my journey, there was a point where it just got too serious.
“We only have one life. You have to enjoy what you’re doing. You’ve got to find happiness every day in what you are doing, and I think that has been really important for me to be able to live in the moment.”
He continued: “Yes, it’s a competitive space that I’m in, but damn when I get in that car and put down the visor and the team start up the car and I leave the garage, I have the biggest smile. Even today, after all these years of racing.
If there’s ever a day that that doesn’t happen, I don’t get that smile, I know that it’s done, and I need to move on to something else.
“You know, being a part of a team, to kind of be the finishing touch or the catalyst to getting success with the team, that’s super exciting. But it’s the idea also that there’s probably a young kid watching me realising that it’s also possible. That’s super exciting for me.”
Hamilton thing finished up by saying: “It doesn’t mean, just because you’re good at one thing, and you’re successful at one thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t have also other thing that also add to that. So, I try to find other things that I’m passionate about.”
It’s difficult for a huge organisation to lose a legendary star at the top of their game. However, many sporting institutions have seen before that you have to plan for a life after the eras firmly placed in history by superstars.
Even without Hamilton, Mercedes would still likely dominate, if they get a decent replacement, due to their superior car, and the uneven playing field for drivers it provides.
Nonetheless, Hamilton is in the conversation for the greatest of all time for a reason, so it may still cause Mercedes damage in both sporting and financial realms.