The saga of Lewis Hamilton’s contract renewal with Mercedes has now been running since the 2022 US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. “I’m planning to do a multi-year deal with my team,” Hamilton told assembled reporters at the circuit of the America’s.
Hamilton implied this new arrangement could even be for five years claiming, “I really, really don’t know what the next five years (hold). I think we’re still trying to work on that.”
Toto Wolff predicts “white smoke”
Mercedes’ team boss Toto Wolff was questioned before the launch of the 2014 car over how the talks with Lewis had progressed. “It’s just a matter of him physically being back in Europe, sticking our heads together, wrestling a bit and then leaving the room with white smoke after a few hours.”
Six months later the wrestling continues and there has been no smoke from the Mercedes’ enclave.
Hamilton’s management team appeared to have leaked a report back in February this year. Sportune claimed there was a deal on the table which would see Hamilton’s current £22m bonus paid of he wis a world title adding to his current basic remuneration.
Further that Lewis would be contracted for ten years as a Mercedes Ambassador for a reported £220m.
Hamilton contract ready for 2023 Canadian GP
Wolff recently admitted he hated having to talk numbers with Hamilton because of the friendship they’ve developed over the years. So its clear his numbers are not aligned with those presented by Hamilton’s management team.
Then this week, the Mercedes’ boss revealed he hoped a deal with Lewis could be agreed before the Canadian Grand Prix.
There appear two sticking points preventing the finalisation of Lewis new Mercedes contract.
British newspaper The Sun reported this week that a Mercedes insider had revealed they were offering Hamilton just a one year extension to his contract, but Lewis is hoping for more than that.
Lewis wanted 5 year deal
During a feature on Sky F1 where Hamilton took a “lie detector test”, Simon Lazenby asked him whether he would stay in F1 until he claimed the fabled eight world championship. Lewis replied “Yes” and was deemed by the moderator to be telling the truth.
It is highly unlikely Mercedes will be able to offer Hamilton a car capable of achieving the historic with title until at least 2026 when the next big rule change from the FIA begins.
This fits with Lewis’ five year timeline he suggested back in Austin last year.
Of course Mercedes’ can dress up their one year offer as a two yer deal with options. In effect this is a guaranteed one year with both parties allowed to opt in to a second year if they so wish.
Mercedes guaranteeing just one year for Hamilton
However this is a far cry from the deal Hamilton was hoping to broker.
Yet the real sticking point to the contract is an impossible demand being made by Hamilton’s side of the negotiations. This is the ten year brad ambassador role Lewis is seeking from Mercedes.
Only the board Stuttgart, the HQ of Mercedes road car manufacturing operations, can agree to this and it appears there is no appetite for this kind of financial spend.
Mercedes now own just one third of the F1 team and could easily sell their share and the team be renamed by the new owners during the next decade.
Impossible ten year demand from Hamilton
Further despite being a profitable outfit, for the Mercedes F1 team to commit to a ten year deal worth up to $300m dollars is a stretch by anyone’s imagination.
Lewis Hamilton’s team may believe he does not have the hunger that Fernando Alonso has now in his 41st year. Alonso has spent his life chasing the elusive third world title while Hamilton has cruised to a number of his during the years when Mercedes F1 crushed all before them.
Time is short to agree new deal
The good news for Hamilton fans is the clock is ticking down and there are few places Lewis can go if he fails to reach an agreement with Mercedes.
To this point the team will have a deadline when after it they believe they must press on and find a top driver for the 2024 season and beyond.
If Canada does not see the big Mercedes/Hamilton contract reveal then it is surely Monte Carlo or bust up until the F1 Sumer break. After that, all bets are off.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 11, 2023