Hamilton’s uncertain future: ‘I still love racing … for now”

Lewis Hamilton is taking his post-season holidays to new heights—literally. The seven-time world champion embarked on an adrenaline-fueled adventure by joining a group of friends for a spot of skydiving in the vibrant city of Dubai.

While some of his F1 rivals were busy with post-season tests following the Abu Dhabi finale, the Mercedes driver opted for a different kind of speed and excitement. In a recent interview with Viaplay after the conclusion of the 2023 season, Hamilton shared his anticipation for the days ahead, saying, “I’m not really looking forward to next year. I’m just looking forward to tomorrow.”

Speaking candidly to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, the 38-year-old driver revealed that he had sensed early in the year that the 2023 season with Mercedes would be a challenging one.

“It was pretty frustrating,” Hamilton admitted. “I had asked for certain changes to the car, and they were not made. The emotions get to you.”

However, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon for Hamilton and Mercedes. The team’s engineers have acknowledged the fundamental issues with the 2022 and 2023 car concept and are diligently preparing a completely different car for the upcoming season.

Despite this effort, Hamilton remains realistic about the team’s chances of catching Red Bull. He noted, “With limited resources these days, you can’t just throw everything away and start from scratch. You can’t even just copy Red Bull – Aston Martin tried that and found that the copy was not the original.”

The 2023 season was also marked by complex contract negotiations for Hamilton. When asked if he ever questioned whether he could handle more struggles in the next two years, Hamilton replied, “Not during my contract negotiations. I am convinced that we will get where we want to go.”

Reflecting on his journey in F1, Hamilton acknowledged the challenges of the sport’s increasing demands. “The seasons are getting longer and longer, and I’ve been doing it for 16 years now. It’s grueling,” he said.

Despite moments of doubt, Hamilton now finds motivation in smaller victories, such as working collaboratively with the team to advance the car. He was rumored to have played a significant role in Mercedes’ discussions about the future of Mike Elliott, who has been replaced by James Allison as technical director.

“First of all, I would like to emphasize that it’s not my fault that Mike left us. But we are all part of a team in which the pieces of the puzzle have to fit together,” Hamilton clarified. He praised Allison’s leadership qualities, describing him as a front-runner who guides the team through challenges.

As Hamilton approaches his 40s, he hasn’t noticed a deterioration in his physical condition but admits that his retirement from F1 could come suddenly. He concluded with a smile, “I really have no idea. It can be abrupt, and I’m suddenly gone. Or I slip into a different role. But at the moment, I still love racing too much. Once that smile isn’t on my face when I roll down the pitlane, I’ll know it’s time to stop. But I hope it never happens.”

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