Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Tuesday, January 19.
Tuesday morning's Formula 1 news roundup
Lewis Hamilton's plan to boost his financial and influential power at Mercedes has been "shattered".
That is the view of former F1 driver Christijan Albers, as seven time world champion Hamilton finally breaks his 2021 silence on his long-delayed new contract for this year.
Albers told De Telegraaf that he thinks the biggest problem for Hamilton's current situation came in Bahrain late last season, when George Russell shone so brightly in his Mercedes while the 36-year-old had covid-19.
"George Russell literally and figuratively shattered Hamilton's plan," Albers said.
It is reported that Hamilton and Mercedes are at a standoff, with many believing the latter is refusing to give in to the British driver's pay demands.
"What is the last 10 million to him?" Albers wondered. "The world is on fire. He has to realise that his business model no longer works.
"At the very least this is not good for Hamilton's image," he added.
Arturo Merzario, the driver perhaps best known for pulling Niki Lauda out of his 1976 fire, agrees that Russell's performance was the "fundamental problem" leading to the current delay.
"Perhaps he believed that a substitute would have a harder time than the high level that Russell showed in Sakhir," he told the Italian publication Sportal.
Merzario also thinks Hamilton will be nervous about Russell potentially becoming his teammate in 2022.
"It is probably not far from the truth that Hamilton does not want a teammate like that," he said. "For him, Valtteri Bottas is much better.
"Everyone in racing knows the rule that your first opponent is always your teammate in the same car. But Hamilton needs to be clear that things are changing," said Merzario.
"Sooner or later as a driver you come to the point where the younger ones overtake you. It's like that in every job - why should it be any different in Formula 1?"
It is highly notable that, amid rising speculation about the troubled negotiations, both Hamilton and Mercedes gave separate and vague updates on social media on Monday.
Hamilton said there is "lots of work ongoing in the background".
"Many moving parts but just checking in to let you know I'm doing good, I'm healthy and mentally strong right now in my bubble," he added.
Mercedes, meanwhile, posted an image of a Mercedes-branded pen, captioning it with a winking-face emoji face and: "You never know when one of these might come in handy."
Luca Badoer says he "won't say a word" about the current medical condition of his friend Michael Schumacher.
As Schumacher's son Mick prepares to make his Formula 1 debut in 2021, Badoer told Corriere dello Sport that his relationship with the seven time world champion has always been close.
"We used to go on holidays together with our families and he is the godfather of my son Brando - he held him in his arms at the baptism," said Badoer, who was a test driver at Ferrari in the Schumacher era.
"Schumi is Brando's idol - he dreams of becoming a driver. We would go to Geneva and Michael with his family, including Mick, would come to Montebelluna," the 49-year-old revealed.
As for Schumacher's current health condition, that is a total secret after the now 52-year-old fell whilst on a skiing trip in France with Mick in late 2013.
"Michael is a fighter - he has always trained hard," Badoer said when asked about Schumacher's condition and brain injuries.
"Only a few friends, like me, Todt and someone else go to see him and know his condition, about which I won't say a word. I just hope he can recover soon."
More news from Formula 1:
'Good' that Schumacher not at winning team - Stuck
It is "good" that Mick Schumacher's Formula 1 debut will take place at the rear of the field in 2021. Read more.
Brivio's F1 inexperience 'doesn't matter' - de Meo
Renault CEO Luca de Meo has defended his decision to appoint a MotoGP boss to a high-ranking managerial position at the newly-rebranded Alpine team. Read more.