Lewis Hamilton’s long-term future at Mercedes is again in doubt after his decision to miss Wednesday’s showpiece demonstration on the streets of London. Hamilton will defy his own Mercedes team and Formula One’s new owners after the triple world champion announced on social media that he would not take part in the event four days before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Hamilton’s unilateral decision again raises questions of whether some underlying tension between star driver and team is at the root of his non-appearance.
On the day Silverstone confirmed they were pulling out of their contract to host the British Grand Prix from 2019, Hamilton posted a tweet saying: ‘To my loving fans, I can’t wait to see you at Silverstone. Until then, I’m away on a two-day break. God bless you all. Love, Lewis.’
Despite all the sport’s other stellar cast showing up for an occasion close to the hearts of owners Liberty Media, Hamilton’s love is all an anticipated crowd of 250,000-plus will get from him as Formula One cars are driven from Trafalgar Square along Whitehall.
It is understood that Liberty only learned of Hamilton’s defiant stand from his social media on Tuesday afternoon.
Several of the owners’ management team spent the day in central London preparing for the multi-million pound promotion, and they were said to be surprised and disappointed by the news.
They were all the more shocked given that the drivers have been briefed on several occasions about the day’s itinerary, the specifics of which have been kept a secret until the last moment. Mercedes, like all the other teams, bought into the idea and lent their enthusiastic support.
So much so that Mercedes are flying out their reigning, though retired, world champion Nico Rosberg to perform.
Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, the only current British driver other than Hamilton, will also take part. The 2009 champion Jenson Button is equally committed to attending.