In a contract saga with more twists and turns than the Singapore Grand Prix, it’s been reported that Lewis Hamilton’s colossal $92 million AUD a year contract demands have been rejected by Mercedes, igniting fresh uncertainty about the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion’s future.
Just last week, it looked as though the Hamilton-Mercedes contract saga was nearing a very satisfactory conclusion, after Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff claimed: “It is going to happen soon, and we are talking more days than weeks.”
We reported that Lewis Hamilton would sign on the dotted line for a record-breaking $92m-a-year AUD, which seemed like a win for all parties: Hamilton would be committing his long-term future on the grid in a competitive car (and make serious bank); Mercedes would retain the greatest F1 driver of all time and continue the most successful partnership in their history; and, presumedly, Lewis’s beloved bulldog Roscoe would enjoy a new toy. Smiles all around.
However, as revealed by Sportsmail, the deal has hit an unexpected impasse. Aged 38, Lewis Hamilton is the second-oldest driver on the grid (behind only Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso). Although he’s maintaining peak driving performance and showing no signs of slowing down in his hunt for a record-breaking eighth world title, it’s reported that the British champ is seeking further assurances about his long-term future within the sport.
Looking beyond the grid, Hamilton has reportedly demanded a 10-year ambassadorial role within Mercedes, in a deal that could be worth £20m-a-year ($38m-a-year AUD) – a deal that Mercedes has swiftly rejected.
What has Lewis Hamilton said about his Mercedes contract?
Over the last 10 years, Lewis Hamilton has enjoyed one of the most successful eras of Formula 1 since signing with Mercedes in 2013. During this time, he has secured six World Champion titles – equalling the existing record set by the legendary Michael Schumacher – and has contributed to eight Constructors’ Championships for Mercedes, the most of any driver in history.
But with Hamilton’s current £27.5m-a-year deal set to expire in 2024, F1’s most prolific partnership is at risk of petering off to an anti-climatic end.
Speaking ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton seemed coy on the details surrounding his future, saying: “We had a good meeting just recently. They’re very complex, contracts. So it’s not just a simple driving contract.”
WATCH Lewis Hamilton share how he stays fighting fit at 38 with this upper body workout below.
“I can’t tell you what I’m trying to put in my contract, but right now I’m focused mostly on planning to be here racing for still a decent chunk of time. You’ve just got to explore all avenues in the sense of how you can continue to expand your partnership with such a great organisation, and it’s not just as easy as ‘hey, let’s just go ahead.’ I don’t have to be in a rush.”Lewis Hamilton
“We have talked several times. We have a great relationship. It will get done when it’s done. If that’s next week, in a month’s time, as long as it’s done I’m not really bothered.” So this might just be a speed bump in Mercedes’ ultimate re-signing of the GOAT… But let’s wait and see.
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes continue their pursuit of the high-flying Max Verstappen this weekend when they hit the track at the Red Bull Ring for the Austrian Grand Prix.