McLaren boss Zak Brown doubts that Lewis Hamilton will choose to walk away from Formula 1 just yet, but warned F1 shouldn't take the seven-time World Champion's participation as a given.
Hamilton has remained silent ever since the dramatic events of the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, with no clear indication from him about whether he will continue in the sport in 2022, as F1 enters a new era with the introduction of revolutionary technical regulations.
Brown believes that Hamilton will return to the sport a renewed man for this season.
"I'm sure he's very angry. But I think race car drivers want to race," Brown is quoted by the BBC.
"He's a fighter and he will want to come back and win an eighth world title. I don't think he's ready to retire."
F1 "shouldn't ignore" Hamilton's anger
With the FIA carrying out a full investigation into the events of the final laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where decisions made by Race Director Michael Masi swung the title win away from Hamilton and towards Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Brown says Hamilton's stance shouldn't be ignored at top level.
"I don't know Lewis that well. I wouldn't be shocked if he stopped. I don't think anyone should take for granted he's coming back," he commented.
"We shouldn't discount or not recognise his frustration and anger. And maybe he hasn't made a decision. Maybe what he's doing is taking time to make his decision, because once it's made, it's made.
"So I don't think we should rule it out or make light of it. I just think he still has a burning desire to race and that will ultimately drive his decision."
F1 Podcast: How real is the threat that Hamilton will leave F1?
F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour weigh up the possibility that Lewis Hamilton might leave F1 behind, as well as analysing what might be uncovered during the FIA investigation into the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.