Mercedes set Lewis Hamilton contract deadline after new car announcement

F1: How Hamilton compares to Schumacher

Mercedes claim they will have two drivers confirmed on their team by the time they reveal their car for the 2021 season. This morning Mercedes revealed that they will unveil their new F1 W12 car on March 2. That gives Lewis Hamilton a month to sign a new contract for the upcoming campaign.

Hamilton is out of contract at Mercedes following his seventh world championship win last year.

The Brit is widely expected to sign a new multi-year deal with the Silver Arrows.

However, there has been increased speculation over the 36-year-old’s future the longer the saga has dragged on.

Valtteri Bottas has a contract for 2021, so Mercedes already have one driver confirmed.

In response to revealing their car unveil date, the official Mercedes Twitter account was asked by a fan if they will have two drivers by that time.

Mercedes simply replied: “Yes we will.”

There is no mention, however, of whether the second driver will be Hamilton.

The 2021 season will begin just over three weeks after Mercedes’ deadline.

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Bahrain will host the first race of the campaign on the weekend of March 26 to 28.

Williams’ George Russell has been linked with potentially replacing Hamilton at Mercedes.

Russell stood in for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix in December after the champion was struck by coronavirus.

But former F1 boss Eddie Jordan believes Mercedes are “deluded” if they think they can replace Hamilton and have similar success to recent seasons.

“Lewis Hamilton is the jewel in the crown,” Jordan told This Sporting Life podcast. “He’s the one every TV station wants to interview.

“Mercedes are probably saying a lot of this is to do with the car and we’ve given him an outstanding chance to be world champion because he has the best car. That’s not in dispute.

“However, if they think they can replace Lewis Hamilton with another driver and have the same element of success then I think they are deluded.

“And one thing’s for sure Mercedes and Toto Wolff will not be easily deluded.

“He’s a very smart guy. He knows exactly the value of Lewis Hamilton and I think they will sit down and come to a good solution because the world of F1 needs Lewis Hamilton in it.”

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