Lewis Hamilton only ‘50-50’ to return to F1 for 2022 season, Alain Prost claims

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There is only a “50-50” chance that Lewis Hamilton returns to Formula One for the 2022 season, according to four-time world champion Alain Prost.

Hamilton is said to be “disillusioned” with the sport after he lost out on a record-breaking eighth world championship to Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season in a hugely controversial season-decider at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month.

There have been reports that Hamilton and Mercedes have yet to receive assurances from the FIA that there will be changes to how race rules are enforced from next season, following team boss Toto Wolff’s criticism of race director Michael Masi at the Yas Marina Circuit.

In withdrawing their appeal of the race result, Mercedes confirmed they would “actively work” with the FIA to “build a better Formula One” but there have been reports that Hamilton is now considering taking a sabbatical, with just over two months ahead of the start of the 2022 campaign.

Hamilton has yet to post on social media or comment on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since Verstappen’s title was confirmed.

“It’s difficult to put yourself in his place,” Prost told Le Journal du Dimanche. “He surely has as many reasons to stop as to continue. It’s 50-50.

“He took a hell of a blow to the head, but it would be really sad if he wasn’t here this season.”

Prost said the change of regulations ahead of the 2022 season, the most significant adjustment to Formula One since 2014, could encourage Hamilton to return to the sport and go for an eighth title this year.

The changes are set to increase overtaking opportunities and reduce the gaps between the teams, with the idea of making the sport more competitive.

“I want to remain optimistic because there is this eighth title to go for and this new technical regulation, with maybe three teams in the lead and four or five drivers vying for the title,” Prost added.

“It’s a challenge Hamilton might want to take on.”

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