Speculation has been rife in the weeks since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December that Hamilton, reportedly ‘disillusioned’ with the climax to the campaign, could walk away from the sport ahead of 2022.
Of course, nothing appears to be certain in that regard at the moment and it would be a huge shock if he did opt to step away, but many are suggesting that his future on the grid could hinge on the findings of the FIA’s investigation into those closing laps at the Yas Marina Circuit.
We’re yet to discover what those findings are and this week’s meeting between Domenicali and Ben Sulayem was never going to yield a firm answer either way too, with them meeting in person for a ‘friendly and productive’ meeting on Tuesday, though they naturally opted to keep their counsel over what was discussed.
According to the Daily Mail, though, topics such as the future of Race Director Michael Masi would have been on the agenda, with many suggesting that it could only be his removal from his post that convinces Lewis to stay put.
The report goes on to say that options involving Masi could see him in a revamped role with ‘experienced figures’ around him if he does stay, meanwhile, whilst others suggest he has to leave for the good of the sport.
Clearly, this is going to rumble on a while yet with the FIA revealing that they would disclose their full findings to the World Motor Sport Council on March 18, just before the season kicks off in Bahrain.
In the meantime, Mercedes have announced that they will launch their new car for the 2022 season, the W13, at a digital event on February 18th, with both Hamilton and new teammate George Russell expected to take questions virtually from the gathered media.
It doesn’t take an expert to guess what will likely be on the menu for questions, either, but hopefully come March 18th when the full findings are revealed we can have some sense of being able to move forwards.
F1 had a brilliant year in 2021 in attracting new fans and that momentum needs to be kept intact as much as possible for what should be a thoroughly entertaining 2022 campaign.