Hamilton faces pay cut at Mercedes contract renewal

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton may have to accept a reduced salary if he extends his contract with Mercedes.


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Lewis Hamilton to be offered reduced terms in new Mercedes deal (The Guardian)

“The notion of a pay cut is likely to be resisted by Hamilton and his agents, especially if he wins his second world championship this year. But if he does not – and he is 29 points behind with seven races to go – he will be pressed to sign a less valuable deal for 2016 and beyond.”

Toto Wolff warns Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton will get the boot if warring goes on (The Independent)

“We would love to continue with Lewis and we want to continue with Nico. They know what our expectations are and I have no doubt that we won’t see such a Spa incident in the future. We have made it clear that it is an unacceptable scenario.”

Lewis Hamilton ‘I have a thick skin and can recover a bit faster’ (BBC)

“I struggled with sleep a bit on Sunday night after the race, just thinking about what had happened, realising I had gone at least a win on points behind Nico for the third time this season.”

Hamilton relying on Rosberg’s data (ESPN)

“I’ll try to understand what Nico learned in his session and see if I can learn from that by looking through the data. Generally we have quite a similar driving style.”

Grosjean: More points unlikely (Sky)

“If I remove my engine problem the lap time would have been a good chunk faster, so probably with the Sauber and that means in front of the Marussia. But you never know what people are doing from Friday to Saturday.”

Vettel avoids engine penalty (Autosport)

Renaults head of track operations Remi Taffin: “What we have done this weekend is that we have re-used the engine that we used on the Friday at Spa, which was the fifth one.”

Felipe Massa Q&A (F1)

“Even if the other engines catch up next season I do believe that Mercedes still will be the benchmark – and we have to build an even better car.”

Andretti relives Monza memories (Reuters)

“[The 1978 Italian Grand Prix] should have been the happiest day of my life, of my career. But I couldn’t celebrate.”


Comment of the day

Not everyone is unhappy with the new run-off at Parabolica, but it’s fair to say this is the minority point of view:

I don’t really see it as a big issue having watched practice as the drivers were still running the same line as before and apart from a small handful of occasions they were still running right up to but not over the white line.

And to be honest I’d much rather a car be able to go off and remain in the session/race than go off and get stuck in the gravel or suffer damage which takes them out of competition which reduces competition through practice/qualifying/races for the fans watching.

It was also always annoying when someone went off and sprayed gravel all over the track which caused trouble for cars behind with punctures or losing grip and going off themselves.

The corner is still the same as it always was, Its still as tough as it always was and drivers are still making errors there be it lock-ups when braking or slides through it. The run-off does nothing to add or take away from that.

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On this day in F1

John Surtees drew within striking distance of the championship by winning the Italian Grand Prix at Monza 50 years ago today. Dan Gurney fought him hard until his car failed, leaving Bruce McLaren to take second ahead of Surtees’ team mate Lorenzo Bandini.

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68 comments on “Hamilton faces pay cut at Mercedes contract renewal”

  1. Hamilton is paid millions of pounds / euros every year. He gets tonnes of them. Any deal he still makes will still be worth millions of pounds / euros. A little less money won’t do him the slightest bit of harm so I really hope he doesn’t make a big deal out of this again.

    1. Just to be clear when I said make a big deal out of this again I was merely talking about his decision in 2012 with McLaren or Mercedes and how Mercedes offered him more money. I didn’t mean that in a negative way or anything.

      1. I thought Mclaren offered Lewis more to stay at their team than Mercedes in 2012.

      2. @strontium He obviously didn’t go in 2012 to Mercedes for the money…

      3. Hamilton left Mclaren due to their performance as a team not because of the coin offered at Mercedes.

        1. @andrewf1 @funkyf1 I know but money helped his decision a lot. That said, it was largely the media making a story out of it more than anything.

          1. Nope, McLaren offered more money than Merc did.

            Innitially they offered a similar deal but they upped their offer when Lewis didn’t bite because Ron Dennis didn’t want to lose his protogé. Still Lewis chose to leave.

            Similarly, at the 2013 AUS GP pre-show of sky Ted Kravitz said that if Webber wouldn’t have picked up his option for 2013, Lewis would have been driving for RedBull instead. Lewis just wanted the best car (2013 that was RB based on 2012 and prior, while prospects for 2014 and beyond looked good at Merc with the new rules and all the effort/money they put into that) and was just sick and tired of the Woking boys keep messing stuff up even when they did have a quick car (2012 most notably).

            Sure he makes a gazillion Euro’s but that would have been a given at any team (take or leave a few million here or there). He just really wanted to go to a team that get’s it done from A to Z and not just to R and fill the rest up with a fancy HQ and what not.

    2. at this point, being worth millions and millions of euros, not being able to spend it in your life time, the money isn’t an issue by itself: it’s kind of a message: i’m being paid more because i’m most valuable than you, teammate. if you take a pay cut and your teammate is having a pay-rise, then you’re sending a powerful psicological message: you’re winning me!. So, the way i see it is, that by offering less money to lewis, Mercedes is showing him the door. if that’s true, then it’s quite easy to see Lewis going back to the less-pressure place that will be McLaren Honda (at least now they have the excuse that they will be struggling to adapt the new Honda PU)

  2. It’s back to noodles for him then

    1. Yea. He used to be able to boil his noodles in boiling platinum. Now, he’ll have to use boiling gold. Awhh, the tragedy.

  3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    6th September 2014, 0:52

    Unless there’s another crazy race like Monaco, then I can’t really see Lotus scoring any more points this year.
    The E22 looks worse to drive than the Caterham.

    1. @tophercheese21 Grosjean said that sometimes the car randomly loses 2% of total downforce for a second or two, and sometimes he loses all of the floor downforce, so that’s one reason it’s so damn hard to drive

      1. Wow, that sounds hilariously undriveable.

        1. @mateuss I can only imagine how terrifying it must be to know that while driving on the limit at F1 speeds that at any moment the car could fail and send you into a barrier

      2. Why doesn’t he just turn up and drive a Lotus which doesn’t break down, like the Exige. Still better than the E22

      3. @zjakobs Sounds like FRIC was basically keeping the car exactly level for them at all times.. now it is probably driving like the early Williams of 1994 (freshly shorn of Active Suspension).

        1. @fastiesty that’s a good analysis, would appear that’s what’s going on, especially because while they had the random 2% total aero loss from the beginning, nobody reported loss of floor downforce until after Germany. And it’s probably worse than the ’94 williams, at lease they had more time to develop it, and testing, and were a little less dependent on floor downforce

          1. @zjakobs I imagine that if the car makes contact with the ground then that that’s when the floor downforce is lost. This actually makes me think of @gtracer’s point in the debate on Senna’s crash.

          2. The draggy fork nose doesn’t help for Monza either. @gtracer

          3. @fastiesty What you said about ground contact is absolutely correct, it happens because, in short, the flow velocity becomes because the ground stops the airflow (bernoulli principle says Area1*Velocity1=Area2*velocity2, and if area = 0, it doesn’t matter what Area2 is, velocity 2 will be zero), and underbody pressure becomes equal to ambient pressure, and downforce is lost because of it

  4. The implication (and I don’t remember hearing it anywhere) that Rosberg didn’t suffer a similar ignominy in his recent contract negotiations. Pay is a direct indication of how you are valued now and in the future by your employer. When the pay structure is so open, as it is in F1 although delayed, it’s quite for everyone to see who’s getting what. This applies extra pressure if you’re getting less than your team-mate, or even less than you were. I think this is a clear indication by Mercedes that they want to part ways with Lewis, although as the better driver, they don’t have an argument. Mercedes is the ultimate political team in an extremely political sport. If I were Lewis, I’d stay where I am for 2015, especially if seems likely Mercedes manage to engineer a WDC win for Rosberg, and try to beat him again next year. Then I’d probably jump ship if one of the other teams was looking more competitive with Mercedes by the end of next year. It’s quite clear now that Rosberg is the favoured driver at Mercedes. I don’t even believe Nikki’s good-cop act: I think he kow-tows to the official party line but puts on a show of backing Lewis as a pretense at equanimity in the team. Keep your chin up Lewis!

    1. Lewis is getting £60 million for 3 years, Nico’s new contract is for £40 million over 3 years (according to that article).
      Many things have changed since Mercedes signed Lewis, they’ve built the best car which means all the other top drivers will be looking to see if they can get into the team, Nico has shown he can be as fast as Lewis and can get pole positions and wins which has greatly improved his reputation being two of the big changes, and as such I wouldn’t be too surprised if Mercedes were looking to get Lewis’s new contract down to about the same as Nico’s.

      From a purely business sense why would you pay Lewis £60 million if Nico is earning a third less while scoring just as many, or more, points, especially if you could get Fernando or Sebastian for a little bit less when Lewis’s contract expires ?

    2. It’s quite clear now that Rosberg is the favoured driver at Mercedes.

      Lewis was the favoured driver previously. That’s why he received a contract worth twice as much as that of Rosberg. But, Rosberg is performing just as well as Lewis is. Why should Mercedes treat their equally performing drivers differently?

      1. We will see how equal they are when the opposition close the gap. It’s easy to look impressive when the car is so good that a bad weekend results on a 2nd place

        What i know is that Rosberg had the better car in 12 races, 10 with everything set to a win, and only won 4.

        Hamilton, on the other hand, had oportunity to win 8 races, and won 5 of them.

    3. @mortyvicar

      I think this is a clear indication by Mercedes that they want to part ways with Lewis

      On what basis? Hamilton is currently getting 20 million more in his contract than Rosberg is in his renewed contract. I think a pay cut, possibly to around 50-55 million, is surely within the bounds of fairness, and certainly not an indication that Mercedes do not want to continue with Lewis.

      Mercedes is the ultimate political team in an extremely political sport.

      In what way? Ferrari and Red Bull are often described as this for far more convincing reasons than just simple contract negotiation rumours..

      It’s quite clear now that Rosberg is the favoured driver at Mercedes

      So Niki and Toto coming out in Spa and Hungary in support of Lewis (including having to admit they were wrong in Hungary!) means nothing? You’re deciding to call their bluff based on speculation alone… At the very least it is moot point which driver is ‘favoured’ by Mercedes, I’d believe that both drivers are given equal opportunity (save for any bad luck which may fall on either garage), and the overall conclusion would be that both drivers are evenly matched, with Rosberg gathering more points on Sunday due to circumstances out of his and the team’s control..

      1. In your job if you get less salary next year than this year, what does that mean to you? You’d accept that as fair even if you’re regularly seen as one of the top two practitioners in your field? Is Mercedes hurting for money? What you’re willing to pay your drivers relative to the other driver, and relative to his previous pay, tells you how much they are valued. Mercedes by offering a reduced rate are sending a not-so-subtle message to Lewis that they don’t value him as much as they did. That’s not just going to go by unnoticed.

        I think Mercedes is the most corporate team out there. I don’t believe anything the 3 Stooges say publicly with regard to Hamilton and Rosberg: they’re being political and what they say is as much for the benefit of the F1 show as it is what they actually believe. Toto Wolff is a terrible actor BTW: his pretend apoplexy at the incident in Spa was laughable. I don’t doubt they’d rather their drivers not run into each other but Mercedes have enough performance and headway over the rest of the field at this stage in the season that they’re not that worried, certainly not as much as Toto tried to make it seem. They play good cop/bad cop all the time (Nikki/Toto).

        I started this season backing Rosberg for the WDC but as the season has played out Rosberg has come across as a bad sport. I now think Lewis is the more deserving driver but I don’t have a dog in the fight either way.

  5. Eh about that COTD there were myriad shots during FP2 that showed drivers riding the green paint near the mid/exit of Parabolica. Note sure how you can say that they weren’t often crossing the white line… that green paint is beyond the white line. My tele showed plenty of ‘2 wheels off’

  6. So Nico’s punishment is no access to Lewis data?

    1. No wonder he is thus a quarter second off Lewis this weekend then..

      1. hummm, that’s an interesting thought @fastiesty
        If we look back, Lewis usually managed to recover quite well from the moments when he had problems on Friday. Could that be because he was able to study Nico’s data and build up on that while Nico couldn’t?

        1. @njoydesign Looking at your team-mate’s data will definitely help you get up to speed faster than you would have otherwise – it’s basically telling you how to drive your car faster. The best example of this was Mansell – after partnering Rosberg at Williams in 1985, he got faster and challenged for the title in 1986 & 1987.

          1. The only time this wouldn’t be applicable is when your team-mate is slower than you everywhere.. at that point, you are on your own, while they try and learn off all of your data, simply to catch you up. So, if stuck with a slow team-mate, you really need to ‘stand on your own two feet’.

    2. some websites say rosberg was fined $100,000 by Mercedes.

      1. I’m sure that’s how much he spends on rubber bands to hold all his cash.

  7. Completely agree with COTD, I think it was a bit of an overreaction from the majority of fans – although I accept that a bit of grass (either real or artificial) wouldn’t be a bad thing for a meter or two just off the circuit, like Karun Chandhok always says: a bit of grass, then may come the tarmac run-off, and gravel before the barriers.

    1. I defended the tarmac run-off on the provision that it didn’t run the entire length of the turn, which it appears that it does. Beyond the white line should be some sort of material that will restrict the acceleration onto the straight.

      The exit of Parabolica leads onto the fastest piece of road on the entire calendar. Every km/h is critical. Whether it’s astroturf, real grass or just glossy paint, it doesn’t really matter – it just needs to cost a feather of the throttle while the car following is flat on it and it should be a bit enough threat for drivers to avoid to tarmac run off.

  8. I also would like to add my approval to the new tarmac run-off. If it improves safety, I’m all for it. The barriers are still very close to the track at Parabolica, and the track itself is not changed in any way, so why the complaining?

    On the Sky F1 Show this evening Anthony Davidson stated that he felt that this was another example of a track being ‘sterilised’ for increased safety. He went on to state that he got a thrill racing at Le Mans because he felt there was an increased risk that he could die, a thrill he wouldn’t get in F1. I found this to be appalling. He should ask Felipe Massa if he thinks there’s no risk of death in F1, or talk to the family of the marshal killed at this track in 2000. Or maybe he should go talk with the family of Allan Simonsen and see what they think of the ‘thrill’ of possible fatality at Le Mans.

    F1 should be constantly vigilant to the inherent dangers of the sport, and do its best to guard against and prevent any possible future accidents, while not compromising the racing, competition or altering the tracks themselves to the point where they are no longer spectacular or challenging to drive. It’s a difficult balance, but complaining about safety features that could help prevent injuries or save lives at no cost to the quality of the racing is absurd. Even more absurd is the argument that the spectre of death in motorsport is something to be welcomed and preserved, and not fought against.

    1. You also wonder how thrilled Davidson was with the ACO’s safety measures after his crash in the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans left him with two fractured vertebrae…

    2. It does reduce the quality of the racing if drivers feel they can get away with errors. Like some of them have said, it’s no longer a challenging corner.

    3. @colossal-squid Sorry cannot agree with you at all and agree with Davidson 100%. There was no inherent danger in Parabolica apart from the always present danger when you drive an F1 car at over 300 kph. Do you remember the last time a car hit the barrier hard there? There was no need to replace that gravel trap and kill the challenge of the corner. It’s more difficult to find the limit when you know that the moment you overstep, you hit the gravel and that’s it, you lose many places, ruin your lap in qualy etc. That’s what separates men from the boys. Now what happens? they run over to that pathetic grasscrete which does nothing to punish them, right, left and center, at least 3 drivers in qualifying had managed to improve their laptimes by running over the white line in Parabolica. F1 keeps getting sanitized and stops being a challenge any more(no wonder 17 yr old now can drive there, why not if it’s just like a simulator game, reset and play again, no fear, nothing you can lose)

  9. So the guardian article is based solely on a Mercedes spokesman saying “We don’t discuss contractual issues.”? So they deduced all of that info based on those words? Thanks, but I will wait for a more reliable F1-based source.

  10. and he is 29 points behind with seven races to go

    Which isn’t much at all

    1. mind you, 6 of those are half-point races

    2. I have an encrypted book with a KEY that is based on these 29 points and 7 races to go :)
      KEY = 7 lines = 29 words = 139 letters.
      First 7 words = 29 letters.
      7th word start with letter valued 29 in letter-prime_value table (Primalogy).
      All these are prime numbers with prime digit sums and called “Additive Prime Numbers”.
      And guess what, the 7th additive prime number is 29.

      بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
      الحمد لله رب العلمين
      الرحمن الرحيم
      ملك يوم الدين
      اياك نعبد واياك نستعين
      اهدنا الصرط المستقيم
      صرط الذين انعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم ولا الضالين

      No wonder why Michael loved prime numbers, even if unconsciously!

  11. So the Guardian is presuming that Mercedes feel Hamilton deserves a reduced paying contract based on his current points deficit to his team mate, when pretty much all of that deficit (and more) is actually the team’s fault?

    Ok, then, Mr. “Journalist”.

    1. I’m sure Mercedes must consider Hamilton the faster driver and better racer. The evidence is out there in terms of converting race-winning conditions to race wins, on track performance (defensive and aggressive) and presumably their own data. But Rosberg is fast enough in the fastest car, as well as reliable, and they seem serious about not wanting both drivers there anymore and the one to go will be the non-German.

      It’s strange timing when Mercedes have been insisting on driver parity: the prospect of Hamilton being the one to leave (or accept a ‘reduced’ status, however symbolic) clearly skews the team towards Rosberg.

      1. I agree David, but what we don’t know is actual figures. It’s reported that Nico’s new contract is 40 mil for 3 yrs, maybe they are asking to Lewis to sign for the same amount, that would be fair wouldn’t it? At approx 13.3 mil each for three yrs they are securing 2 good drivers for a good price. Maybe they are saving
        up for Fernando.

        1. Yes and no. In the case of Mercedes there is more to the relationship between team and driver, than just driving the car. There is the marketing aspect, and the development aspect. I recall in 2013 Lewis told the team that the car needed lots more downforce, this after only driving it once. That certainly brings something to the team that wasn’t there before.

  12. What is needed is a new alternative to AstroTurf and new, deeper negative curbs.

    If right where the white line ends, there was a 1m strip of a material with proprieties like that of water ice, all the way around the corner, it would be just as challenging and dangerous as before for cars going around it, and just as safe as now, for cars arriving out of control.

    The same can be done for many other corners that have recently been “car parked”.

    Bernie, FIA, get in touch!

    1. Same for bikes not just cars, I might add.

    2. The problem is that you want something thats not going to instantly spin a car/cause a rider to fall.

      Couple years ago at monza a gp2 driver hit the grass at parabollica & spun back onto the track & got t-boned by another car, big accident with potentially bad results for both those & cars behind going through debris.

      the astroturf is fine, there are places where it does not work but others where astroturf does cost time & cause cars to slide about a bit.
      talking of the parabollica this weekend nobody has gone near the astroturf so its clearly something they don’t want to go over at that corner.

  13. I’ve said it all along yet I was laughed at, Mercedes this year are that dominant they don’t need Hamilton, making sure he comes second to Nico is the perfect reason to lower his wages.

    The season was going to be a complete domination then suddenly after Malaysia Rosberg was as quick, I never liked the comments from Toto either about wanting to keep the show alive and the title going down to the wire.

    This move will comeback to haunt them when they don’t have such a dominant car and need Hamilton to save them!

  14. ColdFly F1 (@)
    6th September 2014, 8:57

    Toto Wolf is threatening a new line-up if things do not work out.
    If that happens they should change the line-up where the biggest mistakes are made: team management.

    1. hohoho, that’s a worthy addition to this round-up)) cheers.

      1. Describing that deal as “iconic” is embarrassing for McLaren.

        I doubt if 1 in 100 fans of the sport at the time even noticed the logo on the car.

        1. @hairs I wasn’t even alive at that point in time, yet I recognise the branding on the Toleman rear wing of Senna…. sponsoring McLaren back then, I had no idea..

  15. Mercedes really shot themselves in the foot with Rosberg’s new contract. It was so naive to do that first. Pay in F1 is all about status, and nobody else was shopping for Rosberg, on top of which it came after Monaco and thus validated that behaviour.

    Now obviously Lewis isn’t going to accept pay parity. £15m (or whatever) a year is one thing, only £2m a year more than your teammate is quite another.

    1. Why would you pay €19 million extra for the guy who is getting beaten in qualifying, has made a number of stupid mistakes, is still a petulant whinger to his adoring media, and where the difference in speed, where there is any, is marginal?

      1. I think today’s qualifying answered why they should pay Hamilton more than Rosberg. Unless there are more Mercedes mechanical issues or Rosberg brain ‘lapses,’ Hamilton should be able to return to the kind of clean sweep he was making at the start of the season, however much Rosberg uses Hamilton’s data to do catch up. This season doesn’t matter, one of them should win, but given a much closer field next season, Mercedes will need that extra speed and better racing. Look at McLaren to see what Hamilton leaving does to overall team performance. The only established driver offering the same is Alonso.

    2. @lockup
      Pay them both the same base salary, and put a nice performance bonus on top!
      e.g.: Money for pole (€100k), win (€250k), points (€20k), WDC (€2M), WCC (€4M).

      (and maybe a hefty penalty system if they make stupid mistakes which are detrimental to the team)

      1. @coldfly I see what you mean, a la Vettel you mean, but I bet they really want the headline figure and also the love the base salary represents.

        Maybe Lewis’ camp will leave it till next year, when the other teams will be closer and any complacency about Rosberg should disappear.

  16. I really feel bad for Lotus. Their start of the season wasn’t great, but at least when the car didn’t fail they were somewhat competitive. After the removal of FRIC they are nowhere, they seem to be slower than Marussia.
    It’s not just the Renault engine, they built a terrible car. Hopefully they’ll sort it out next year.

  17. You can go tight-rope walking over a canyon, but when you lose you balance you will probably die.
    You can go tight-rope walking over a gully; very safe but also boring as you can correct any misstep without a major penalty.
    Or you can go tight-rope walking over a canyon with a parachute; exciting, scary, but not lethal.

    Why replace the parabolica-canyon with the parabolica-gully if a parachute would have done?

  18. Disagree completely with COTD. Count me in with those “few” poor souls(OT-are we really that few, maybe a poll should clarify that?) They ruined Parabolica, and it’s not a challenge anymore. Another sad day for F1

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