I was reading an article over at Motorsport about how Lewis Hamilton, who once scoffed at the thought of still racing in his 40’s, has recently changed his mine.
The article goes on to say that Lewis has reconsidered his position on the notion of retiring and it suggests people like the Williams sisters and Tom Brady as influences as to why an athlete can continue to perform into their 40’s.
The article quotes Lewis about how he’s in a happy place and found some balance in his life. The thought of winding his career down isn’t something that resonates with him now and despite his charity (Mission 44) and other outside interests, Lewis sees a longer future in F1.
I appreciate the word salad on trying to craft a narrative around the change of heart he may have had. When he was younger he used to say that he didn’t want to be the oldest driver on the grid and to be fair, the context of that statement was arguably pointed toward older drivers at the time. Look, we all get older and we begin to see life through a different lens during a different season of life so I get it.
Having read the article and Lewis’s quotes, let me say the quiet thing out loud—Lewis has had to learn a lot of lessons during his life and some of those have been harder than others. The fact is, despite his charity and passion for fashion, he has figured out that these outside interests aren’t going to keep delivering the $40+ Million per year he has been currently enjoying.
His lifestyle is not going to be sustainable if he has to figure out a way to make $40 million per year on the back of a non-profit organization focused on F1. His interest in the Denver Bronco’s isn’t going to deliver that kind of dosh so Lewis has slowly turned his focus back on F1.
I think part of the reason is that Toto Wolff is all-in on Lewis and he will try to align the Mercedes team and it’s resources to Lewis’s causes and charitable efforts. Lewis knows that he could walk away and reduce his lifestyle to that of a guy who is the head of his own charity organization or he can continue to seek the support of Mercedes to pursue his outside interests while also earning a multi-million dollar salary. Lewis has figured that out and as such, he also might like the idea of doing all of this while trying to win that record-breaking 8th championship.
I don’t think money is the big issue for Lewis, that 8th title (who some say he should have bagged recently) will be a major driver. However, he seems content for want of a better word. On and off the track, he seems to be in a good place and if he can keep that going for a couple more years then that’s a testament to his dedication, conditioning and sheer focus.
You may be right. There are a lot of ways to be content and being content with a $40M salary vs trying to become a fashion giant or NFL team owner or something else seems like a good idea to me. Especially when you are good at driving.