F1 news LIVE: Lewis Hamilton urged not to retire and has ‘informed Mercedes of decision’

Lewis Hamilton’s future in Formula 1 remains a hot topic as we enter the off-season with the Briton yet to clarify whether he will return with Mercedes following a crushing loss in the title race to Max Verstappen.

The Briton has gone off the radar since defeat at the thrilling Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, sparking speculation over whether he will return as teammate to new Mercedes driver George Russell.

There is expectation that the seven-time world champion will be back, with Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali adamant Hamilton will “recharge the his batteries and come back with even more desire than before to win an eighth world title.”

But the impact of Russell’s arrival, replacing Valtteri Bottas, will prove fascinating and may change the dynamic of the title race between Hamilton and Verstappen, with the possibility of a third title contender – or more, should the new rules shift the balance of power.

During the fraught and intense 2021 season, incidents on track cost Red Bull close to an eye-watering €4m, the third-highest figure among all drivers behind Mick Schumacher of Haas (€4.2m) and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (€4.1m). Verstappen’s tally is more than three times that of his fierce rival Hamilton, who set Mercedes back €1.2m over the year, according to Sky Germany.

Of course the Dutchman, who clinched his maiden world title in thrilling but controversial fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, would put some of that cost down to Hamilton himself after blaming the Briton for their high-speed incident at Copse Corner during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, one of the fastest turns in Formula 1 where the pair made contact and Verstappen was sent flying across the gravel into the barriers. Follow all the latest F1 news below.

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Carlos Sainz hoping Lewis Hamilton does not retire

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has urged Lewis Hamilton to continue racing amid doubts over his future in the sport after a crushing end to the 2021 F1 title race.

“I don’t know what Hamilton will decide to do,” Sainz told Marca.

“I hope Hamilton doesn’t retire, I want to continue racing with him.

“He’s one of the best in history and I want to continue sharing the grid with him.”

Jenson Button’s advice for George Russell after Mercedes move

“He’s got to not put pressure on himself,” Button said to Sky Sports F1.

“He can’t think: ‘I’m going to get in the car and be quicker than Lewis on day one.’

“He’s got to build up to it, otherwise he’s going to shoot himself in the foot. You can’t be too confident alongside Lewis.”

F1 news

Haas boss Guenther Steiner has backed Dmitry Mazepin’s idea to bring in an incentive scheme to help retain staff.

After finishing in P5 in the Constructors’ Championship back in 2018, Haas have struggled with consecutive finishes at P9.

But despite the decline and complete

focus this season on 2022 by surrendering the season early, Steiner has not seen a “mass exodus”.

And he has now thrown his weight behind Dmitry Mazepin, father of Haas driver Nikita, who has suggested a loyalty bonus for those who stay for the long-term battle with the team.

“We speak with other people and they have the same issue,” Steiner told GPFans. “It’s nothing different. It’s just a few people are leaving. Every year, they are leaving. If he [Mazepin] had to give them an incentive, if he can do it right, I’m all for it. People leaving, I think that’s every season. At the end of the season, some people leave.

“For example, on the technical side of things, we have more people than we had before, when they are staying. There was not that many people leaving. It’s more of a race thing because it’s a calendar of 23 races. People just want to have another career. They are doing something different but it’s not being outrageous.

“It’s a little bit more than normal, but it’s the end of every year. Some people move away a little bit because otherwise, the race mechanics normally are young because they need to be young.

“It’s quite physical to do this job and if somebody sees an opportunity, when he moves on, it’s okay to do something better. I don’t stop them, but a mass exodus…it’s not true.”

Haas boss Guenther Steiner

Ferrari boss says Leclerc unlucky in 2021

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says Charles Leclerc was unlucky in the 2021 season and he lost 40 points due to “race situations”.

Binotto said: “We should not forget that in his season, there are a couple of examples, which is Monaco and Budapest, where he didn’t score but I think he has been unlucky as a driver in those occasions.

“Without that, it’s difficult to say what he would have finished at the end of the race, but maybe at least 40 points missing on his classification. So without that again I think he would have been a lot further ahead in the championship.”

Leclerc finished seventh and 31 points off of fourth place which is why Binotto added he has nothing but good things to say about his driver.

Full story:

‘Unlucky’ Charles Leclerc lost 40 points during F1 season, Ferrari chief claims

Leclerc finished 31 points outside of the top four

F1 news: Alonso backs himself to shine in 2022

Fernando Alonso believes he can be even quicker in 2022 after his 2021 preseason was hampered by a cycling accident.

“I am planning to have a different preparation next year, but not because the car will be different because I think the cars will be very similar in terms of driving and forces and lap times etc, but just because this winter I couldn’t do a proper preparation after the bike accident,” he explained.

“I was just counting the days to go to [the first race in] Bahrain and it was just on time to go to Bahrain, but not with a proper physical programme, so this winter, I want to do it a little bit more.”

Full story:

Fernando Alonso explains why he is bullish about 2022 F1 season

Last season’s build-up was disrupted when Alonso was knocked off his bike in Switzerland by a motorist while riding to a supermarket

Max Verstappen opens up on when he knew he could beat Lewis Hamilton to F1 world title

“It’s difficult [to say] because I was in the lead, and back to second, and then in the lead again,” Verstappen said.

“There was never a point where I thought, ‘Okay, we’ve got it in the bag’, because every race I could either win or be second.

“It was all about the attention of details where you could make the difference in terms of winning or being second.”

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F1 commentator claims anti-Max Verstappen agenda from ‘English experts’

Russian Formula 1 commentator Alexei Popov believes there is an agenda against Max Verstappen from “English experts”.

“That’s exactly the point of view of the English experts, who have been pushing it very gently in the last few races. And before, it was not pushed very much. They started preloading Max with this story beforehand,” he told championat.com.

“In fact, this is what sport is all about. I pay attention – in our country (Russia) people are fans of the cult of (Ayrton) Senna, which changed Formula 1 in the direction of prohibitive rigidity.

“And we have people who are mostly fans of Michael Schumacher, who has moved F1 towards even more extreme rigidity. Against their backdrop, Max Verstappen is still just learning!

“And I will remember the same Lewis, who is now driving gently because he has had a car advantage for years, but in the moments when he had a weak car…there were a couple of years at McLaren and I remember Hamilton was reproached for excessively hard driving, and he said ‘yes, I would be happy to drive differently if I had a super-fast car, and here it is my only chance’. But the same is true for Max.

“Yes, at times this year Verstappen had the fastest car and won several races in a row. But when the fastest car was with Mercedes, the only chance for Max not to lose was to go into every braking zone to the limit, trying to overtake when he felt he could overtake.”

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Toto Wolff wants ban on team principals talking to race chiefs after Abu Dhabi rant

Toto Wolff is pushing for team principals to be banned from speaking during races to F1’s race director.

Wolff was himself often heard speaking to Michael Masi, but after a farcical ending to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Mercedes chief is keen for a shift in the rules.

“I agree with Ross [Brawn],” Wolff told Motorsport.com, agreeing that team officials should not be allowed to speak to the race director mid-race.

“But I equally blame Ross and myself because we have been part of the decision making to broadcast more of the channels for the purpose of transparency and entertainment for the fans.

“There is so much going on on the intercom that giving fans a little bit of an overview of all the little dramas that happen, like is the car breaking down, are we having some kind of strategy discussions, was meant well. But I think we overshot.

“I need to take myself by the nose, and Christian. We were given the opportunity to talk to the race director directly, and because we fight so fiercely for the interests of our teams all of us, we overstepped.

“We will stop this contact next year. It’s unacceptable that team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race. It’s like the coaches negotiating with the referee in football.”

Michael Masi was often heard speaking with Toto Wolff and other team principals mid-race last season

Red Bull chief wants F1 age limit to be lowered

Formula One should reverse a rule-change which doesn’t let drivers partake in races until they turn 18, says Helmut Marko, pointing to the success of new world champion Max Verstappen as proof that more is required to judge each new case than a simple number of age.

The Red Bull racer claimed his first title after victory in Abu Dhabi recently, having made his F1 debut at age 17 for Toro Rosso.

But rules were changed soon afterwards to prevent a Super Licence being obtained until drivers were at least 18, and that regulation remains in place today.

Red Bull chief wants F1 age limit to be lowered

Max Verstappen made his debut just after turning 17 but under modern regulations a similar story will not happen again

Fernando Alonso ‘not involved much’ in Alpine 2022 F1 car development

Fernando Alonso admits he is not involved much in Alpine’s development of their 2022 F1 car.

The two-time world champion has discussed how early restrictions on development for the 2022 season in 2020 meant he was not consulted much.

“Not much, to be honest,” Alonso said when asked involved he is in the process. “If I’m honest, then the development has been followed by all the designers, the simulations, the new regulations were too strict at the beginning so there were a lot of clarification as to what we could do and not do with FIA and things like that.

“It is a strange new project for everybody, I feel. Now from December and January we will start the work in the simulator and hopefully our implication will be a little bit more.”

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