The saga of Lewis Hamilton’s new Formula One contract is heading into its final hours according to the protagonists. Both Hamilton and Toto Wolff were questioned about the issue during the weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix with the Mercedes team boss claiming it would take “half an hour over a cup of coffee.”
Hamilton has made it clear he wants to finish his career with Mercedes and speaking ahead of last season’s Spanish Grand Prix the seven times F1 champion claimed, “I have a championship that we need to get back.”
Mercedes play down negotiation difficulties
“I’m not putting a limit on it to be honest,” Hamilton said on Thursday ahead of the Mexico City Grand Prix.
“I’m planning to do a multi-year deal with my team.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has held firm in his position since January when he claimed there was little left remaining to sort on Lewis’ contract.
“It’s been 11 years that I’ve that we’ve been together, and every single time when we talk about Lewis’ contract, it’s six months of ‘where are we and what is happening?’”
“And we keep seeing the same thing; that we’re just rolling on, it’s not any difficult contract negotiations, it’s just putting a different timeline and a few different numbers in there.”
Mercedes have to cover the bases
The timeline for the completion of negotiations from Toto suggests this process is coming to an end which Hamilton confirmed yesterday.
“I haven’t signed anything yet but but we’re meeting with Toto tomorrow so hopefully we can Gert something done.”
At the meeting will be the representatives from Hamilton’s management team and should ethereal not be agreed today then by the time the parties meet again it will be close to th summer break at the end of July.
Of course there is a deadline by which Mercedes must protect their position for next year and have time to replace Hamilton should he fail to agree terms to stay with the Brackley based outfit.
Hamilton to Ferrari/Leclerc to Mercedes
Ferrari have traditionally used their home Grand Prix in Monza as their deadline for agreeing contracts with existing drivers because this still provides time to search the field of new candidates available should a Ferrari driver decide they are leaving.
A detailed report earlier this year published in reputable media outlook Bloomberg suggested Hamilton was looking for a two year deal worth $120m plus a ten year ambassador role of $25m a year.
The silent response from Mercedes was deafening which led to speculation the ambassador portion of the deal was not something the manufacturer in Stuttgart wished to enter into.
Further, recent media outlets in Italy have suggested Hamilton has been approached by Ferrari. Whilst others have suggested Charles Leclerc is a target for Mercedes when Hamilton leaves the team.
Lewis’ deal a one plus one year option
Leclerc has a contract to the end of next season with Ferrari and it appears this is reflected within the deal Mercedes are prepared to offer Hamilton.
Formula One drivers are often offered contracts which include an option for the additional years. TJ13 has previously reported we believe whilst Sergio Perez has a two year contract it is in fact a guaranteed one year deal for 2023 with an option for either the team of Checo to extend into 2024.
Of course Perez is unlikely to choose to leave but the team may stipulate he must score a fixed percentage of his team mates points this season. Should Perez fail to reach that target then the team would have the right to refuse the option on the additional year.
TJ13 has preciously reported that Mercedes have offered Lewis Hamilton a two year contract but in reality it is a one year deal with a an option only from the team to extend it for another year.
Mercedes’ covering their backs
The option is at Mercedes’ discretion completely and appears to facilitate the possibility of the team securing the services of Charles Leclerc for 2025.
Today the Sun reports that Mercedes are only offering Hamilton a single year extension to his contract which takes the British driver until the end of 2024. The report also claims Hamilton is demanding a two year deal guaranteed which conflicts with Hamilton’s original “multi year deal” aspirations.
Formula One contract terms are clearly defined as either one or two year deals or then there multi-year deals which are for three years or longer. So Lewis hopes for a three year plus contract are now long gone.
Max Verstappen has a significant multi-year deal taking him until the end of the 2028 season and Leclerc’s deal was for five seasons.
Hamilton wants deal done
Having confirmed today’s meeting with Toto, Lewis went on to add the longer than expected wait for his new deal is not affecting his performances.
When pressed further on his comments, Hamilton added:
“You could see today my performance is not affected by that, but it’s always something that’s at the back of your mind. Once that’s done then you are able to then focus more and think about the future.
“I’m working as hard as I can with this team and I see so much strength within the team. They are still so hungry.
Light at the end of the tunnel
“The podium today was really, really special. To be able to see the excitement in all the people that have worked for such a long time.
“When we go back right now, there will be great energy in the office. These guys take two seconds to enjoy themselves and be happy and then they’ll be back down into the books and trying to figure out how we can win the next race.”
So the saga of the Lewis Hamilton new contract appears to be coming to a end and to save their star driver’s face the team will probably announce his new deal as a two year contract.
Of course behind the scenes it is in reality a one plus one year arrangement.
The focus will then soon shift to Ferrari attempting to persuade Charles Leclerc to sign beyond 2024 and so the timing of when Hamilton will leave Mercedes is set to run and run.
Just @alo_oficial making moves in front of his home crowd. 🔥
Listen to them roar!
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) June 5, 2023