Amid ongoing contract negotiations with Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton has reportedly turned down offers from Ferrari, even if they were to double his current substantial $40m salary. Recent reports from Germany suggest that Hamilton has turned down invitations to join the Scuderia, confirming his intention to remain with Mercedes.
The contract talks between Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff have been much discussed in the media, with both parties indicating that a new deal is in the works. However, as the end of Hamilton’s current contract approaches, speculation about the seven-time world champion’s future continues to swirl.
Mercedes seat still up for grabs
With Lewis Hamilton’s current Formula One contract with Mercedes set to expire at the end of the season, speculation has been rife that Ferrari will attempt to lure him away. However, both Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff remain adamant that an agreement will be reached to extend their collaboration, even if the paperwork has yet to be signed.
Lawrence Barretto’s latest report on the Formula One website suggests that the number one seat for the 2024 season is technically still available at Mercedes, alongside Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell. However, Barretto claims that it’s a matter of when, rather than if, Hamilton formalises his commitment and extends his tenure with the Silver Arrows.
Wolff remains publically unfazed
Both Toto Wolff and Hamilton himself seem unfazed by the time it’s taking to finalise the new deal. It is understood that the main terms of the deal, including compensation and the length of the contract, have been agreed. The remaining steps, according to Wolff, are to deal with “trivial things that need to be tidied up” within the contract before it’s officially ratified.
Hamilton has a history of signing new contracts relatively late in the game. In 2021, he signed a one-year extension on the eve of pre-season, followed by a two-year deal just six months later.
Despite being 38 years old, Hamilton believes he has at least another five years of racing ahead of him as he chases a record eighth world title. Given his long association with the Mercedes family, from his karting days to his F1 debut with the Mercedes-backed McLaren team and the subsequent decade with the Mercedes works outfit, the paddock trend says it’s highly likely that he will remain with the Silver Arrows for the foreseeable future.
Ferrari dandle very large carrots
Earlier this month, Italian journalist Leo Turrini reported that Hamilton had politely turned down a contract offer from Ferrari president John Elkann. Subsequently, Auto Motor und Sport revealed that Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur had also approached Hamilton in an attempt to sway his loyalty for next season.
Despite these approaches, it’s understood that the 38-year-old remains committed to Mercedes and has reiterated his desire to continue with the team, at least publically.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) August 12, 2023
Schmidt: Ferrari too slow
The German publication’s motorsport editor, Michael Schmidt, stresses that Hamilton’s contract negotiations with Mercedes are a meticulous process that cannot be rushed. Schmidt also speculates that even if Ferrari were to double Hamilton’s current £40 million salary, he would not be swayed by the lack of competitive advantage compared to the financial incentives.
Schmidt added: “Hamilton is a shrewd individual. He knows that even if he doubled his salary in Maranello, his performance would not improve significantly. Ferrari’s car is not superior to Mercedes’.
Schmidt also believes that the transition from Mercedes to Ferrari may not be as smooth for Hamilton, as the challenges he faces at Mercedes may be exacerbated at Ferrari due to the greater spotlight.
Ferrari’s performance has been inconsistent of late. In 2022, they managed to overtake Mercedes and secure a outscore them in the Constructors’ Championship. But in the current season, however, Ferrari have slipped down the standings and are now behind Red Bull, Mercedes and Aston Martin.
Hamilton at Mercedes more consistent in 2023
Hamilton’s Mercedes appears to be on the up, with either Hamilton or his team-mate George Russell finishing no lower than fourth in the last eight races. Speculation is that Russell has some specific issues with the car as a reason for the struggles.
While some F1 figures, including Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle, have suggested that Hamilton should consider a move to Ferrari, the Scuderia’s management, led by Vasseur, face an uphill battle to persuade Hamilton to change his allegiance.
Hamilton is aware that time is running out for him to achieve his goal of winning a record eighth F1 championship. Red Bull’s continued dominance, led by Max Verstappen who is on course for a third consecutive title, presents a significant challenge for Hamilton to regain control of the championship. It also puts the onus on Mercedes to overcome their two-year struggle and deliver a competitive car capable of supporting Hamilton’s championship ambitions.