Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Friday, January 15.
Friday morning's Formula 1 news roundup
Mercedes is not commenting on reports about the status of Lewis Hamilton's reportedly difficult negotiations over a new contract.
Some believe the parties are arguing essentially over money, while Autosprint's Alessandro Gargantini believes Mercedes is only putting a one-year deal worth EUR 35 million on the table.
One of the sticking points could be the future of George Russell, who impressed at the wheel of Hamilton's car in Bahrain when the seven time world champion had covid-19.
"It would not surprise us if Hamilton wants to play an active role in the choice of the second driver after 2021," Gargantini wrote.
According to the Italian magazine, Russell's surprise performance in Bahrain may have thrown a major spanner in the works when it came to Hamilton's future.
"Russell, unlike Valtteri Bottas, showed in the junior classes that he can win impressively easily and frequently. His performance will not have gone unnoticed by those at the top at Mercedes," Gargantini added.
He also speculates that if Hamilton were to leave after 2021, Mercedes could enter the 2022 world championship with the spectacular lineup of Russell alongside Max Verstappen.
Gargantini said Dr Helmut Marko may be anticipating that, which is why Red Bull elected to replace the struggling Alex Albon with the highly experienced and consistent Sergio Perez.
As for the Hamilton contract reports, a Mercedes spokesperson insisted: "We do not comment on speculation and rumours."
Luigi Perna, a highly respected writer for La Gazzetta dello Sport, commented: "The negotiations between Hamilton and Mercedes over the renewal of his contract which expired two weeks ago has become a game of chess."
The controversial logos of Ferrari's title sponsor may return to Formula 1 in 2021.
Last year, although the 2020 was launched and tested with prominent Mission Winnow branding, PMI - Philip Morris International - withdrew the branding when some accused the tobacco giant of promoting smoking.
But Philip Morris' communications boss, Tommaso di Giovanni, insists that was not the case when it came to the Mission Winnow brand.
On the official website, PMI says Mission Winnow is "a communications platform that stands for progress, transparency, facts over preconceptions, and the relentless search for improvement".
Di Giovanni told the Dutch publication Formule 1: "We don't promote a product or a brand. We want to enter into a dialogue."
He suggests that the branding could re-emerge in F1 this year.
"It depends, of course, on whether it is allowed in certain countries. But we'll announce shortly when the Mission Winnow branding will be on the cars," he added.