July 4, 2022

F1 CEO reacts to Hamilton Instagram post ahead of 2022 announcement

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has reacted to Sir Lewis Hamilton’s latest Instagram post, following his silence on social media for several weeks after the end of the 2021 season.

Lewis Hamilton looks set to race with Mercedes in 2022 after fearing he was considering retiring after last year’s controversial end.

Hamilton was cruelly denied his eighth World Championship in a controversial manner when race director Michael Masi allowed a limited number of lap runners to cross the Safety Car ahead of the final round of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which ends the season.

This allowed Max Verstappen, who had been looking for fresh tires, to pass the 37-year-old on the final lap and snatch his first championship.

Former F1 driver Perry McCarthy told Formula1News.co.uk that such an event was “possible”, while former F1 superstar Bernie Ecclestone was convinced his compatriot had headed for the exit.

Hamilton congratulated his rival shortly after the controversial race, but told 2009 world champion Jenson Button, “We’ll see about next year,” prompting suggestions that his retirement was pending.

This was further exacerbated by the seven-time world champion’s absence from social media for almost two months, but he wrote on Twitter earlier in February: “I’m gone. Now I’m back,” with a photo of him smiling.

He has also posted images of some of the activities with which he embarked on his self-exile from the outside world, and his Mercedes team has publicly welcomed him.

Domenicali is encouraged by the recent activity of the Mercedes driver.

“As far as I can see in the photo he posted, he seems to be completely focused on this year’s challenge, which from a sports point of view will be very interesting,” said the Italian, quoted by Formula 1.com.

The F1 technical regulations have changed radically this year in an aerodynamic motion driven by the reversal of the effect on the ground.

The former Ferrari team director also expressed his expectation of how the new cars will perform and thinks 2022 will be just as exciting as last season.

“We all look forward to seeing how the new cars behave and [I am] sure this will be as exciting as the last one,” Doemnicali added.

Hamilton will be partnering this season from George Russell, who has signed Williams to replace Valtteri Bottas.

The Silver Arrows will unveil this year’s challenger on February 18 at their factory in Brackley.