Formula One’s new supremo Stefano Domenicali has urged Mercedes to seal their deal to keep Sir Lewis Hamilton on board for a record-busting eighth world title.
Domenicali, former team principal of Ferrari and a close associate of Michael Schumacher, believes the Briton is invaluable to the sport and its image.
In his first media call since taking over from Chase Carey, Domenicali said: ‘I have in front of me a picture of me receiving the constructors’ trophy (in 2008, with Ferrari) and of Lewis taking the drivers’ title. He is an incredible driver, an incredible man.’
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have still not agreed on a new deal for 2021 and beyond
Referring to Hamilton’s fight for diversity, the Italian said: ‘Lewis has contributed to F1 in different dimensions. When we know his future is resolved it will be great to see him driving for something we thought was impossible to achieve after Michael (Schumacher, who won seven world titles). It will be really great.’
Hamilton, 36, has yet to agree terms with Mercedes, with whom he has won six of his seven titles, despite the season starting in March. Money – Hamilton’s original demands of £40million a year – and the length of his contract are at issue.
A potential rival for his seat is fellow Englishman, George Russell, who stepped up from Williams to fill in for Hamilton in Bahrain last year, when the world champion went down with Covid. Russell, 22, drove brilliantly and almost won the race.
Domenicali added: ‘George has shown his potential. He will be a world champion, no doubt. Both he and Lewis can do great stuff for F1.
‘But Lewis is a massive ambassador for F1. I sent a letter to all the drivers to speak to them to discuss these values, hopefully at the first race in Bahrain.’ ends
Stefano Domenicali wants Mercedes to seal their deal to keep Hamilton on board