Lewis Hamilton’s future in Formula One is not guaranteed as he continues to negotiate with Mercedes with a deal not yet done.
For weeks, if not months, the renewal of his agreement has been considered to be just a formality, but it has not yet become official and his comments after the Italian Grand Prix created further doubts.
Hamilton won the race yet again, taking him even closer to matching Michael Schumacher’s record of seven titles, but his future remains unclear.
“Even I don’t know if I’ll be here next year, so I’m not worried about that right now,” he said when asked about the possible exit of team director Toto Wolff.
“Toto and I have many deep conversations so I’m conscious of how he is mentally, and I think that we share a lot and have a lot on our shoulders togethers.
“I’ve been here a long, long time, I can understand wanting to take a step back to spend more time with family and that kind of thing.”
He also reflected on that point of his life beyond the race track, talking about his own experience.
“We are in November and Christmas is not that far away, I feel great, strong, and that I could go on for plenty of months, but Toto mentioned about shelf life and there are multiple things on the top of my mind,” he said.
“I would like to be [here next year], but there is no guarantee of that. There is a lot that excites me about Formula One’s afterlife.”
Some have pointed to the statements as a negotiation tactic from Hamilton and his team, simply upping the pressure on Mercedes to reach a deal, rather than seriously considering abandoning the sport just as he becomes one of the greatest of all time.