The longer the silence, the stronger the hypothesis round Lewis Hamilton’s Method 1 future grows.
However his silence will not be the issue, it’s a consequence of inaction elsewhere – and his future is getting tangled in a large number of another person’s making.
Because the F1 world awaits the result of the FIA’s investigation into the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the occasions that value Hamilton an eighth world championship, it additionally awaits any phrase in anyway from Hamilton himself.
That has given rise to rumours Hamilton’s future has a critical query mark over it, given Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s robust assertion earlier than Christmas that Hamilton had been left disillusioned by the way in which FIA race director Michael Masi dealt with the late security automobile in an unprecedented method that went towards the sporting rules.
Hamilton was denied the race victory and the championship as a result of the race ought to have ended beneath warning if the security automobile interval had been dealt with within the method prescribed within the guidelines.
He stated on his group radio moments earlier than taking the chequered flag that the race had been “manipulated” and was pictured sitting in his automobile for 2 full minutes post-race as he contemplated what had occurred.
Aside from a short tv look instantly after the race, during which he congratulated Max Verstappen and thanked his group, Hamilton has not had any media engagements or commented publicly for the reason that season finale.
Within the week after the race, he was pictured at Windsor Citadel receiving his knighthood and returned to Mercedes’ group headquarters as effectively for former team-mate Valtteri Bottas’s send-off.
However Hamilton was absent from the FIA’s obligatory end-of-season prizegiving ceremony, so it was clear who was the topic of his displeasure.
Hamilton’s silence has been interpreted by some because the actions of a sore loser, accompanied by inevitable criticisms and recommendation he ought to simply settle for what occurred and transfer on, or ‘come again stronger’.
Those that imagine that underestimate the severity of what occurred in Abu Dhabi and have additionally misplaced who’s chargeable for bringing closure to this matter.
Crew and driver had been, and doubtless nonetheless are, deeply harm by what occurred in Abu Dhabi and there was a transparent sense of betrayal in Wolff’s phrases final month.
“Lewis and I are disillusioned in the mean time,” Wolff stated after Mercedes introduced it might not pursue an attraction of the stewards’ determination to vindicate Masi’s actions within the finale.
“We’re not disillusioned with the game, we love the game with each bone in our physique and we adore it as a result of the stopwatch by no means lies.
“If we break that elementary precept of sporting equity and the authenticity of the game then all of the sudden the stopwatch doesn’t turn out to be related anymore as a result of we’re uncovered to random determination making.
“You begin to query if all of the work that you’ve been placing in, all of the sweat, tears and blood, can really be demonstrated by way of bringing the absolute best performances on monitor as a result of it may be taken away randomly.
“It’s going to take a very long time for us to digest what has occurred on Sunday. I don’t assume we are going to ever recover from it. That’s not attainable and definitely not as a driver.
“I might very a lot hope that the 2 of us and the remainder of the group can work by means of the occasions with the FIA, along with F1, to enhance the game going ahead.
“However he won’t ever overcome the ache, the misery prompted on Sunday.”
For Wolff to query F1’s authenticity and equity was large, particularly as we will imagine he was expressing a view Hamilton additionally shared, particularly as Hamilton prides himself in being a principled individual and racing driver.
That makes what occurred so tough for him to abdomen. In accordance with Wolff, Hamilton will conclude that he must proceed as a result of he’s nonetheless acting at such a excessive degree. However it might effectively come down as to whether he has religion within the system round him.
Wolff stated final month his accountability was to “do the utmost that I can to assist him [Hamilton] to beat these imminent emotions he has to ensure that him to return robust with a love of the game and belief the choice making of the game”.
Whether or not Hamilton ought to proceed in F1 will not be our place to say. If he feels it’s a good enjoying area, he would hopefully need to keep it up. If his religion has been irreversibly shaken, why ought to he really feel obliged to remain?
With radio silence for the reason that messaging across the post-Abu Dhabi World Motor Sport Council assembly, and a lower than convincing first deal with of the subject by new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, it’s a must to marvel how significantly the FIA is taking the prospect that its actions (and now its inaction) might drive Hamilton out of F1.
It might be unwise to underestimate any anger or resentment which may be harboured because of this.
It’s important that any driver trusts the system that governs the game. And Hamilton’s not simply any driver, he’s one who felt the race and title struggle was “manipulated” – it must be a number one precedence for the FIA to know the severity of that.
That is the self-styled pinnacle of motorsport. And it’s the accountability of the FIA to show to Hamilton it’s as much as that customary.
F1 as an entire wants to maneuver on from this incident sooner or later however shifting on doesn’t imply sweeping the matter apart and letting F1 get on with its 2022 season.
It means the FIA addressing its shortcomings, Hamilton trusting the system, and F1 recovering from the harm inflicted by the finale.
Maintaining quiet and hoping this all blows over by the brand new automobile launches, pre-season testing and a brand new championship, will not be a suitable end result for F1 and it might be an insult to Hamilton.
It’s not his accountability to show the opposite cheek. And in flip, it’s not his silence since December that’s an issue, it’s the FIA’s.