Mon. Nov 29th, 2021

Sir Lewis Hamilton’s preparations for the new season have been rocked by the surprise departure of his right-hand man and friend, Marc Hynes.

The 43-year-old was the seven-time world champion’s trusted lieutenant, taking care of his business interests and logistics, as chief executive of the ‘Project 44’ management company Hamilton set up after dispensing with Simon Fuller nearly seven years ago.

Sportsmail can reveal that Hynes’ continued involvement was discussed over the winter, during which time his boss was knighted and crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a second time.

The two parties officially separated last week, with a source close to Hamilton calling the split ‘amicable’.

The news comes less than a month after Hamilton signed a one-year deal to remain at Mercedes – a shorter-than-expected contract that leaves the Briton’s participation in Formula One beyond next season in doubt, with obvious implications for Hynes’ old role.

Hynes, a former British Formula Three champion, played no significant part in Hamilton’s contract talks, with the driver himself negotiating his own terms.

Hamilton will now have to move fast to fill the void in his inner circle ahead of the opening round of the world championship in Bahrain on March 28.

The source close to Hamilton said: ‘Marc has left Project 44 to pursue other opportunities within motorsports and Lewis wishes him well knowing that he will be as valuable to his next challenge, as he was to P44.

‘Lewis is very grateful for all his support over the last five years, both personally and in helping him build his company.

‘During that time Lewis won four world championships and broke numerous records, and Marc was part of and shared in that success.

‘Marc and Lewis have known each other since they were young, as friends first and business partners second, so, while they are parting ways in a business sense, they remain close friends.’

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