Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain, 2020

Why hasn’t Hamilton signed a new Mercedes deal yet? There’s a few million reasons

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During my 25-year tenure in Formula 1 I have been involved – directly or indirectly – in the negotiations of three driver contracts, one of which ran to 109 pages. The other two were for lower categories, yet despite all three having been complied by different teams, their structures and jargon were remarkably similar and seemingly downloaded from a template, with lawyers only needing to cut and paste before filling in blanks.

The same applies to two driver intellectual property trademark registrations I have had sight of: each used a different law firm – sitting in different jurisdictions, one outside of Europe – yet their texts are fundamentally identical, with only images, names and a few specific clauses varying.

The reason for these similarities is simple: lawyers don’t re-invent agreements; they simply take precedents, then insert specific requirements. When drivers (or their managers) negotiate contracts – whether new or renewal – they base such deals on previous agreements; ditto teams, who may require clauses, obligations and options unique to themselves. These will, though, have been largely common across previous drivers.

As drivers and senior personnel have hopped teams, so F1 agreements have merged across the grid such that dots need joining and blank spaces require filling. True, there may be various commercial and trademark appendices, but these, too, have become standardised over time within teams.

Lewis Hamilton, Lisa Su, AMD keynote, CES, 2021
PR duties will be defined in Hamilton’s contract
These ‘blanks’ are generally numeric, being contractual duration, PR obligations, fees and bonuses plus minutiae such as number of paddock passes and payment of travel and accommodation costs. Once these points have been agreed a 100 (or more) -page deal contract can be sorted in a day or two; if not agreed, the process drags. The greater the numerical differences between parties, the longer the drag.

There can be no other explanation for a ‘drag’ of three months – or more – over Lewis Hamilton’s negotiation of his 2021+ contract with Mercedes F1 Team: the driver has previously signed three deals with the team – our records reflect 2013-15, 2016-18, 2019-20 – so the basics are defined. True, as his career records have piled up, so the numbers have become loftier, but the main cut-and-paste clauses pre-exist.

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Along the way all sorts of reasons have been advanced by the team for the delay: there is no rush; the priority was to secure both titles; F1’s crammed calendar made it difficult to secure face time (other teams, though, renewed or initiated contracts during this period); Hamilton’s bout of Covid delayed talks; most recently that the deadline was pre-season testing – which has now been delayed by a further fortnight…

Källenius (right, with Wolff) wants to keep a lid on costs
If the will on both sides is there and the numbers game outlined above tallies, why not simply go ahead are sign the contract; why extend the window until testing? Are they seriously hoping for the season opener (and testing) to be delayed further simply to open the window further? Mercedes could, after all cut a deal to sell a third of the team to Ineos and renew team boss Toto Wolff’s deal, yet had no time to sit down with Hamilton?

In corporate teams, driver wages generally comprise two components: sporting and commercial, with the former covered by the team and last-named by marketing. Not only is Hamilton a sporting icon, but commands considerable marketing appeal, particularly amongst black communities. Mercedes’s competitors – Audi and BMW – in the hotly contested executive car segment boast no such assets, and Hamilton knows it.

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Drivers, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Analysis: F1 drivers’ salaries
Back in October a source with knowledge of the situation told RaceFans that the two were 300% apart – adding that Mercedes boss Ola Källenius refused to budge above $20 million (£14.7m) for driver services simply as the oft-stated objective is for the team to be a profit- and not a cost-centre; Hamilton was then said to be pushing for $60m plus perks. A spokesperson denied this to be the case, but the ‘gap’ is sufficient to seriously hit profits.

George Russell’s drive in Sakhir has since substantially reduced Hamilton’s sporting value, so that is likely to be a sticking point. On the corporate side Mercedes plans to reduce global headcounts by around 10,000 as its braces for a forecast 20% reduction in sales due to market conditions and the effects of Covid while facing unparalleled research and development bills as the company embraces electrification. Another ‘gap’…

Has Russell’s star turn in Sakhir complicated the picture?
The mere fact that no deal has yet been agreed – unless it has unfathomably been kept under wraps, in turn creating unnecessary internal pressures – points to substantial numeric gaps between driver and team/company. The recent festive season is no excuse either – as outlined, deal can be cut and dried within a day once (if) all parties are aligned. A month has elapsed since the season finale.

The most likely scenario is that neither driver nor team/company are willing to blink until the last possible moment. This carries bilateral considerable risks: Mercedes may find Hamilton is prepared to take a sabbatical on the basis that he has no breaks from racing since the age of seven; on the flipside he may discover the Mercedes main board has tired of staring games and instructs Wolff to sign Russell for a fraction of the fee.

This waiting game also suggests a lack of overall commitment on both sides, which poses potentially more serious consequences for both parties and, of course, F1.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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176 comments on “Why hasn’t Hamilton signed a new Mercedes deal yet? There’s a few million reasons”

  1. I’ve been waiting for someone credible to seriously consider the lack of a Hamilton-Mercedes deal, and this is an insightful article @dieterrencken, so thanks.

    It does seem likely that the sticking point is money. I had wondered whether Mercedes were pushing for Hamilton to commit for longer than he was comfortable with – but the reports seem to suggest it is Hamilton who wants the longer deal, with one suggestion that he wanted Mercedes to guarantee him a drive until he was almost 40. You can see why that might not be an attractive prospect even for a driver of Hamilton’s calibre.

    I think money is probably the easier hurdle to get over. With Hamilton faced with the prospect of a reduced salary from Mercedes or none at all, he will probably go with the former unless he has seriously lost his desire to go racing.

    1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      18th January 2021, 8:17

      I don’t believe the sticking point is money.

      I think Lewis is demanding a say in his teammate and he doesn’t want Russell in 2022!

      He likes Bottas and has the measure of him. Russell is a threat.

      1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        18th January 2021, 8:20

        + even Lewis can see the whole world doesn’t have an interest in increasing costs and the ethical thing to do at the moment is take a pay cut… surely.

      2. Has Lewis had a clause ever in a contract stipulating who should be his partner? If not why now? Why would he change now!? He has accomplished more than most drivers. If not all drivers of all time. That argument is therefore unlikely. Probably pure nonsense.

        1. I believe he must be consulted about it. With his BFF Lauda as executive director that is (was) the same as.

      3. Bir odd given Russell has spoken a number of times about the help and advice he gets from Hamilton. From an F1 interview a year or two ago to recent remarks about ‘unlocking’ the tyres. Strange that you would help someone improve as a driver, yet be threatened by them?

      4. Have you got any source for that? I didn’t think so. Yes a man who has partnered 3 x WDC’s, who came into Nicos home team is terrified of a rookie with half a good race behind him.

        If it was the 90s and he was at Williams he’d probably be out but its not and a 7WDC does have significant clout. I cant imagine Mercedes hierarchy want a line up of Bottas & Russell but i’m sure the rest of the grid does.

        1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          18th January 2021, 13:57

          No source. I’m mostly just speculating, stirring and playing devils advocate! hehe! Although my gut tells me Lewis can’t be holding out few a few extra million when he seeks to campaign so much for those less fortunate than himself. It would be such an hypocrisy.

          I don’t think we will ever find out what the sticking point is, so perhaps we are wasting out time and just need to wait, but whatever Lewis’s negotiating tactics he needs to be careful. Toto’s bosses may just get lose their patience.

        2. Have you got any source for that?

          The source is pretty clear when the sentence starts with “I think …” :P

  2. Merc can have their pick of drivers, of which at least 10 of them could win the WDC in that car and who might even pay to drive. Just sign Russell or even Hulk and cut Sir Lewis free.

    1. @juan-fanger
      Funny enough, Bottas (not exactly a driver you could consider to be amongst the 10 worse on the grid) only managed to outscore Verstappen by 9 points this year.
      With a car most of people seem to agree was one of the most dominant ever.
      Wit Verstappen suffering from at least a couple of DNFs for technical reasons.

      I believe your statement “Merc can have their pick of drivers, of which at least 10 of them could win the WDC in that car” is a bit far fetched.

      1. Bottas is bang average in my opinion. 9 wins from 16 poles in 4 years of driving the most dominant cars the sport has ever seen is just not good enough. Even Webber mustered 8 in a car that wasn’t as good then as the Merc is now. Russell showed us what a talented driver can do immediately in that car, and I think he would have the metal to run a championship fight, unlike Hulkenberg – who seems to flounder at every opportunity he’s had – excluding Germany 2020.

        1. Don’t forget the circuit that Russell raced was a modified one (almost straight throughout). One race can not make one WC. I doubt if he can perform well in Monaco or other street circuit..
          Hamilton have his right to negotiate, if he takes sabbatical, Ferrari will sign him next season. Hamilton brings valuable information to the mechanics just like Sab.. If Toto can get his deal done then Lewis can do same.

    2. @juan-fanger More like 4 or 5 drivers would be a safe enough bet and only Russell would be immediately available (presumably) (the others being Verstappen, Leclerc, Ricciardo and Alonso). Anyone else would be a risk.

      I think 60 million, if accurate, is a lot and really does ask Mercedes to make a commercial decision. Less and it would also be a question of their mutual history, loyalty between team and driver etc. But a 300% gap makes it a business issue. Is Hamilton’s marketing value for Mercedes worth that amount? No idea. If so, sign. If not, sign Russell, he’s good enough. (OK, it’s a risk still, but realistically Hamilton is going to leave sometime and any new driver is a risk. And Mercedes can’t afford not to have a top driver there, especially when 2022 may see a far more competitive grid.) Hamilton gets a sabbatical and a think about what to do next.

      1. More like 4 or 5 drivers would be a safe enough bet and only Russell would be immediately available (presumably) (the others being Verstappen, Leclerc, Ricciardo and Alonso).

        I would not even count Russell as a guaranteed WDC. His Mercedes drive was stellar, but his Williams drives on Sundays were not that spectacular yet.
        Similarly. Leclerc is clear WDC material, but also came out of a year of ups and downs. He needs to step up a bit to guarantee a WDC, even in a Mercedes.

        I do think that Hamilton is worth €60M to Mercedes and the other main sponsors.
        But there is also the PR cost for Mercedes when the increase the salary of 1 (indirect) employee whilst letting many others go.
        But I guess you can solve that easily by having main sponsors pay him (more) directly rather than through team sponsorship.
        And of course there is always the opportunity to offer him lifelong paid brand ambassadorship with some early payments.

        1. @coldfly I agree about Russell, he has the talent but that’s no guarantee a driver can win a championship over a season. Also a good point about Hamilton as a future ambassador for Mercedes. Not signing could well break that continuity and make it difficult for both sides (if, say, he signed for Ferrari or some other non-Mercedes powered team). Still, I’m pretty sure the contract will get done and that Dieter is right, this is about neither side wanting to blink first. Though that does carry dangers for both.

        2. Part of Hamilton’s repeated issues with contracts is that he doesn’t like sponsor duties and every contract has been designed to reduce them.

          Why on earth you’d think he would agree to do it for life is a mystery.

    3. You know I’d love to find out if this ones true. I’m almost half interested to see Lewis take a sabbatical. You know, maybe promote the covid vaccine, raise awareness for whatever cause he wants to fight for. Then come back when the new regs are in.

      You’ll have two Merc drivers who will feel they’ve been gifted a golden chance, Max Verstappen, and even Alonso is lurking in an Alpine…

  3. If Hamilton signs, it has to be a two-year deal or longer at least for it to make sense for Mercedes. If it’s just a 1-year deal, would Mercedes not be better off giving Russell the 2021 season when they definitely have a car to win the title even with Russell and Bottas? On the other hand, I don’t see anything other than Hamilton signing a new two-year deal as the outcome. The marketing and PR potential from Mercedes in being the first team to lead a driver to 8 world championships, 100 poles and 100 race wins would be far too valuable for them to turn down the chance. This would ensure that they will forever be engraved in the most important statistics in the history of F1, long after they leave the sport.

    1. From what I understand Hamilton wants a 4 year contract while Mercedes wants a shorter one. It does make sense: if they languish in the midfield in 2022, it doesn’t really matter if you have Mazepin or Hamilton… You won’t win any titles

      1. I would rather think the opposite. Right now it doesn’t matter who’s in the Mercedes; any good driver would become WDC in it. Even if Mercedes would sign a subpar driver, Bottas would probably take the WDC. But if Mercedes end up with a midfield car in 2022, THEN someone of Lewis’ calibre could make a big difference.

        1. Do you really think Alonso was ‘worth it’ for McLaren during the Honda era? In my opinion it was a gigantic waste of money

          1. Pretty sure Honda covered Alonso’s salary, so it was a bargain for McLaren.

          2. McLaren wasn’t in the midfield then, they were backmarkers. But suppose in 2022 Mercedes have a car that’s a bit worse than Red Bull’s. Then Hamilton might make a difference and still put them in contention for the championships. Right now he doesn’t make any difference; they’d win WDC and WCC with Russell as well.

          3. @paeschli Aren’t you completely ignoring the fact that these drivers help advance the vehicles’ designs? They are not there just to drive.

          4. @krommenaas Then the smart thing to do is to get the threat Verstappen out of the Red Bull and into the Mercedes. Two birds with one stone and all that.

          5. @shimks Every team Alonso has gone to has been moving backwards.

        2. @krommenaas
          Many of you seem to ignore the actual 2020 standings.
          Bottas only outscored Verstappen by 9 points, despite “that car” and despite a couple of technical failures on Max’s Red Bull.

          1. Technical reliability is part of what makes the Mercedes car better than the Red Bull. It’s not like the Red Bull would have had less technical failures if Lewis had taken a sabbatical. As for non-technical bad luck, Bottas had more than his share of that. And I said he’d *probably* win the WDC, not that it’s a given.

          2. (@liko41) You seem to be ignoring how many points Bottas could have scored in 2020 without Lewis ahead of him at most races. After all the discussion is about how Mercedes might fare without Lewis, a fairer comparator of Bottas & Max would be to exclude Lewis from the statistics.

          3. a fairer comparator of Bottas & Max would be to exclude Lewis from the statistics.

            Even if all you say is true, you would also have to factor in Bottas’ team mate. If they were roughly evenly matched then results would split fairly evenly and it would not take much for Max to take the wdc. Plus, you never know what sort of rivalry would appear.

            On top of all of this, what if another team make a massive leap forward? We’ve seen it in the past. If someone produces a car which matches the Merc, and they’d canned Hamilton because “any driver can win in this car”, they would look pretty foolish…

        3. It takes more than a good car to win 7 WDCs.

          1. Yes, it takes a great car!

          2. 80% is the car 20% is the driver if you don’t have a capable car its pointless all of these F1teams know this. A driver can always be replaced a car takes a longer time to develop.

    2. The marketing and PR potential from Mercedes in being the first team to lead a driver to 8 world championships, 100 poles and 100 race wins would be far too valuable for them to turn down the chance. This would ensure that they will forever be engraved in the most important statistics in the history of F1,

      The problem is that these ‘engraved statistics’ will have Lewis’ name next to it, not Mercedes. @mashiat
      The only one which would be theirs is 8 successive titles.

      1. @coldfly I’d argue they’d go hand in hand, just as Vettel’s 4 consecutive titles are linked to Red Bull and not just Vettel himself.

      2. @coldfly Mercedes will forever be associated with Hamilton and his records. Same way that McLaren-Honda was always associated with Senna and Prost, or Ferrari to Schumacher, or Williams to Mansell etc. As an example, I don’t follow or watch rallying at all (never watched it), but I know that Sebastien Loeb is the most successful driver there, and Citroen was the team that got him there. I couldn’t name you another competitor or team that is currently racing.

        1. And Schumacher isn’t linked with Benetton?
          And didn’t Prost get his final WDC in a Williams?
          And how many of Hamilton’s poles/wins were in a McLaren.

          Yes many here will recall what car they drove during the most successful part of their carreers. But in the record books the 100+ numbers and the 8 WDC record will be listed next to Lewis’ name (and period) and not next to Mercedes (team or PU supplier).
          The only records that Lewis and Mercedes share so far are:
          – Most races with a single engine manufacturer: 266
          – Most wins with the same constructor: 74
          – Most podium finishes with the same constructor: 116 (same as Schumacher/Ferrari)

    3. @mashiat

      Max probably would have beaten Bottas with a more reliable car and more luck, so it’s hardly obvious that Mercedes would win if they replace Hamilton with Russell. Russell is still a bit of an unknown. For all we know, he might drive very aggressively and take Bottas out once or twice. It’s also unknown how much Red Bull will improve with Perez.

      Having Russell and Bottas would mean not only losing a proven WDC winner, but also a lot of commercial value. Bottas doesn’t have much charisma and Russell is too new to be widely known. Furthermore, given that Mercedes has made ‘diversity’ such a strong PR focus that they painted their car black, they would surely face a lot of criticism over replacing a mixed race driver with a white one.

      1. @aapje And in the same vain, Bottas would have been much further ahead of Verstappen if Bottas had a more reliable car and more luck.

        Verstappen really had a whole lot more luck than Bottas did.

        1. @f1osaurus

          Max had 5 retirements, none of which were really his fault. Valterri had 1. So Max didn’t score any points for almost a third of the season. I also think that Bottas’ own performance played a bigger role in his poor scores. For example, at Silverstone, his car was the first to have delaminating tires, which suggests worst tire management of the three (Max, Bottas and Lewis). In contrast, when Max’s tire exploded and DNFed him in one of the other races, it seemed to be due to debris, rather than wear.

          At Istanbul, Max made his biggest mistake of the season with a spin that damaged his tires and forced an extra pit stop, without which he probably would have ended 2nd or 3rd. Still, he ended up 5th, in front of his team mate. Bottas spun 6! times, ending 14th. So you only have to go to the second-worst finishing position of Bottas to find one where he was himself to blame for that poor result. Not so for Max.

          A lot of times, Max’s initial bad luck was compounded by ending up in unrecoverable positions, while Bottas could usually recover. Max is definitely a better recovery driver than Bottas, so given equal initial bad luck with the chance of a recovery drive, I see Max outscoring Bottas by a lot.

          1. @aapje Ah yes, the usual cherry picking. It’s not just DNF’s that cost points. Finishing in P11 is the same amount of points as DNF. Do you truly not understand that?

            Reality is that Bottas lost just as many points due to technical issues as Verstappen did.

            Verstappen was incredibly lucky in Silverstone, Hungary and Turkey. Plus Sakhir was his own fault for the most part. Bottas was lucky … well never. And neither was Hamilton. Although some people like to pretend that getting a flat tyre is the hallmark of a “lucky boy”.

          2. @f1osaurus

            I already explained that I think that Bottas was partly to blame for that P11, as with better tire management, it would have been Lewis’ or perhaps Max’ tires that would have failed. Bottas put himself in the position where unexpectedly poor tire longevity would hurt him most. Just like we’ve often seen in the past that Bottas was forced to pit at worse moments, because he ran his tires down faster than Lewis.

            I don’t see Max as being hugely lucky at Silverstone. In a race without incidents, he would have been 3rd, now he was 2nd. And that second place was achieved using defensive choices, by pitting to secure 2nd, rather than going after Lewis with the same tires.

            Can you explain to me how Max was lucky in Turkey?

            As for Sakhir, Max actually was fairly unlucky by repeatedly getting stuck behind two drivers with almost the same pace who blocked him, despite Max’ much better start/pace. Max repeatedly made conservative choices, minimizing the risk of hitting a car or getting hit. Then he got very unlucky by being forced to evade just at a point on the track where the only way to go was into the gravel. I don’t see what else he could have done, given the speed and direction of the car. It was impossible to turn back, impossible to break before the gravel and impossible to turn on the gravel. So…

          3. Bottom line for me is that since there is this much debate about VB and MV over luck, or dnfs, or both, then VB is the big loser in the argument, for he is the one that had the only other car capable of winning the WDC and beating LH, and yet the talk is about how he barely beat Max. And the reality is he once again never gave LH cause to break a sweat when it comes down to actually leading and winning the WDC throughout the season. Bad luck and dnf’s don’t explain away VB’s poor performance once again vs LH when he (VB) did have luck or a healthy car on his side.

          4. @f1osaurus Said the master of cherry picking out of convenience to suit one’s particular argument or theme for the day.

          5. @aapje

            I think that Bottas was partly to blame for that P11

            Of course, that’s why they stopped Verstappen for new tyres.

            I don’t see Max as being hugely lucky at Silverstone.

            Yes when you think randomly exploding tyres are to blame on the driver then sure.

            Verstappen totally lost control in Turkey, He was incredibly lucky he didn’t destroy the car.

            Max too way too much risk going into that corner already beforehand looking like he was going to cut it, just like he did in Russia. he simply forgot that there was gravel there and his trick didn’t work. More his own fault.

          6. @f1osaurus

            You seem utterly incapable of understanding my argument. I’ll try one last time.

            Bottas and Lewis had the same car and the same tires. Bottas’ tires delaminated due to excessive wear 2 laps before Lewis, so Bottas wore down his tires more, just like he commonly seems to do. It was thus not bad luck that Bottas had the worse outcome of the 2 Mercedes drivers, because tire wear problems are typically going to impact the car with worse tire wear. Which is usually Bottas. Because he is worse at preserving tires than Lewis (or Max).

            Neither Bottas or Lewis can be blamed for Mercedes underestimating the tire wear, but Bottas can be blamed for being the first to be hit by that problem.

            If Mercedes hadn’t made another error, and had pitted Lewis right away to safeguard a 1st or 2nd place, Lewis would have avoided having his tire give up. That wouldn’t have been luck, it would be thanks to his superior tire preservation, which gave him a tire wear gap that offered him the opportunity to pit before reaching the same level of fatal tire wear. Still, despite the Mercedes error in not pitting him, Lewis managed to win because his superior tire wear meant that his tire gave up close enough to the finish line. Again, this was not luck, but due to superior driving.

            Yes when you think randomly exploding tyres are to blame on the driver then sure.

            It was not random, it was due to tire wear. Which is a crucial distinction, because it means that the driver can influence how long a tire lasts before delaminating.

            Verstappen totally lost control in Turkey, He was incredibly lucky he didn’t destroy the car.

            You could also just credit him with keeping the car on the asphalt at all times. We’ve seen Brazil 2016 that Max is very good at keeping out of the wall in such situations.

            Max too way too much risk going into that corner already beforehand looking like he was going to cut it, just like he did in Russia. he simply forgot that there was gravel there and his trick didn’t work. More his own fault.

            If this is referring to Sakhir then you are off your meds. Max made the absolute minimum evasive maneuver that was needed to avoid contact with Sainz (and there was no other option than go around the outside). I was very impressed by how close he cut it without hitting Sainz. Yet that evasive maneuver left him a few meters before the gravel, so insufficient space to stop. At that point he was destined to go into or over the gravel.

            What do you think that Max should have done? Pressed the reset button? That only works in games. In reality, physics rules the day.

          7. @aapje Lol, I’m perfectly capable of understanding what you think is a valid argument, but it’s just not a valid argument.

            Bottas did nothing wrong. He didn;t wear his tyres more he was just unlucky when it blew. Verstappen just made it to the pits with 25 cuts in his tyre. That’s not tyre management, that’s debris on track.

            Besides, if you want to blame blown tyres on Bottas then the repeated blown engines from Monza onwards are also caused by Verstappen. He’s the only one with the engine issues, while Albon had no issues. Probably Verstappen choose a more aggressive setting after the engine modes ban and got bitten by that choice repeatedly.

            In Sakhir, Verstappen put his car in the wall, under his own power and control. Perez was rammed by Leclerc, stopped on track backwards and still won the race. Verstappen did not want to stop floored it and drove into the wall. Yes that blame is at least in a great part on Verstappen.

  4. An insightful article, but I’m still (like presumably most people) 100% convinced he’s going to be racing in F1 this year rather than leaving altogether this close to achieving a record-breaking eight WDC, first three-digit figure in race wins and poles. His stay will become official sooner or later, at some point, by testing at the very latest. I’m not worried to any extent.

  5. @dieterrencken

    Do you have a link to a standard driver contract template that you have mentioned?

    1. Mark,
      If I recall correctly, Ayrton Senna’s Lotus JPS contract was referred in the Round-up section some years ago when it was leaked by the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. I can’t find the Round-up section though, however Senna’s contract as well as Piquet’s contract with lotus are still available in the UCSF site (I remember downloading the docs straightaway at the time fearing their disappearance from the web) :


      1. I love reading those, thanks @tifoso1989. Two things strike me:

        1) AS Promotions Limited was incorporated in the Bahamas – being a lawyer this is clearly going to be for tax efficiency reasons, and yet no one queries Senna’s tax affairs in the way they always do with Hamilton; and
        2) Senna earned USD228,000 and Piquet earned USD48,000 just in points bonuses in the 1987 season and 1989 season respectively…tidy.

        1. @geemac
          You’re more than welcome !

          It was known that from the moment he signed for Lotus JPS, Senna quit the UK (Norwich) and settled in Monaco. The thing is Brazil and in particular Sao Paulo is a place of extreme inequality when you can find people that are pathetically rich and others that live below poverty line, and I have witnessed both, though Senna is considered a national hero there and his tax affairs didn’t create the same fuss as Hamilton’s affairs as far as I know (we have to get the info from an old Brazilian F1 fan who witnessed Senna’s era).

          Even for drivers of his generation, didn’t get the same amount of bashing because of their tax residencies. I remember Alonso was criticized at the time for doing so. However, he was hailed when decided to return living in Spain.

          Senna’s payments at the time were stratospheric to say the least, He was offered :
          $1.5M for the year
          $4,000 bonus per championship point
          $250,000 bonus for winning the championship
          He made the most out of the situation though he has the same terms as Piquet in terms of points bonuses.

          The thing that caught my eyes are the detailed clauses. For example :
          – Champagne will be split when possible on a 45% 45% 10%
          – Sponsors patches dimensions 30cm*12cm
          – Ford Brazil sponsorship activity
          – Piquet’s n°1 status

          1. Athletes earned relatively little in the past compared to today, as the inequality in sports has increased.

            Two million in 1978 dollars is 8 million dollar in 2020 dollars. Yet Lewis earns 54 million dollars in fixed salary, so 7 times as much as Senna. So it makes perfect sense to me that modern athletes get more criticism as they earn so much more.

            As for the lack of criticism in countries like Brazil, I think that it’s in no small part because they have so much corruption and other crime. A rich person who actually earns his money legally and who brings honor, rather than shame to his country, is much more of a hero than a similar person in Britain.

          2. @aapje

            A rich person who actually earns his money legally and who brings honor, rather than shame to his country, is much more of a hero than a similar person in Britain

            I understand, by your own logic, that Lewis is a person who earns his money legally and who brings honor, rather than shame to his country. Why on the hell then he has to be criticized ?

          3. @tifoso1989 Bashing “tax dodgers” has been a sort of national hobby in Britain in recent years. I’m sort of split on this one. On the one hand, if you have pots of money then why not live in Monaco and hang onto more of it? On the other hand, is it morally right to do that at the same time as racing under a UK license and wrapping yourself in the Union Jack at every opportunity? Personally, I give F1 drivers more latitude on this than “captains of industry”, because it seems to me that F1 drivers earn most of their money outside of the UK anyway.

            It does seem that Lewis has been criticised more than most, maybe because he’s been more successful than most? We Brits love an underdog but can’t bear a winner! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          4. @tifoso1989

            I was just referring to the way he earns his money. That doesn’t mean that he can’t be criticized for other things.

            My point was that people in nations with a high level or corruption and other shenanigans, tend to be more forgiving.

            My claim is essentially that people adapt their ethical standards to how ethical people behave around them.

      2. Thanks, @tifoso1989.
        Sharing links and insights like this is one of the main reasons I come back to this site*.

        *Even though some of the comments in the threads above (‘mine is better than yours’) turns me off. And those comments seem to grow in quantity whilst deteriorating even further in quality.

        1. @coldfly
          While I kind of agree with you that there is a lot of comments that are a just a waste of time. I think this is not related to RaceFans but the trend is brought by the social media and the rise of populism. However, what makes RaceFans great is that there are some old school internet readers, apart from the ones connected to the sport (ex : gtRacer), who bring a lot of knowledge and diversity. They are just like an encyclopaedia and there are the ones who just share their diverse experiences and thoughts which I enjoy very much because I always learn from them.

          Being a permanent resident here for over a decade, I keep always looking in the comment section to learn something new from the readers. The informative comment is just like a good overtake. I can wait not for a race but for the entire season to watch that move Villeneuve pulled on Schumacher. The sad thing is that there are some unbelievable readers who stopped commenting at RaceFans a while ago. I just hope they are fine though. One of them is @prisoner-monkeys

          1. Fully agree, @tifoso1989.
            I hope @KeithCollantine reads your comment and makes it #CotD tomorrow (I’d like to see a discussion on this topic).

            I also notice that the deterioration is a wider phenomenon linked to social media and the internet.
            It’s merely an inconvenience that the pearls amongst the comments will be more difficult to find, but it’s a shame that good/insightful commenters from the past are no longer contributing. (just open up an article from a few years ago and see the familiar names of good contributors who are no longer active).

      3. Many thanks for posting these links and the contracts. Very interesting to read! Loved the fact that the contracts had obviously been typed out once, and then any additions were squeezed in, in smaller typeface rather than re-type the whole document!

    2. I suspect that whilst it is a standard contract template someone still owns the IP on it and that you need to pay a fee to be able to see it.

  6. George Russell’s drive in Sakhir has since substantially reduced Hamilton’s sporting value

    Russell is unknown out of the F1 community while Hamilton is known worldwide. I understand Mercedes cost-saving envy but the main purpose of its business is to sell cars and there is no better way to sell products than with celebrities.

    How long did it take for Hamilton to become this worldwide star? And how long will it take for Russell?

    There’s been plenty of F1 champion that did not make it to the outside world.

    1. Mercedes have to weigh Hamilton’s marketing value against his cost. If Hamilton’s marketing value is 40 million, but Russell is 50 million cheaper, then Russell could be the sensible choice.

      1. @Krommenaas
        But probably Hamilton is worth 40 millions only for the amount of sponsorhips he brings along. Think of Tommy Hilfiger.

    2. @jeff1s, that is why he said “sporting” value.

  7. Perhaps we’re simply overlooking the fact that the UK, including the factories at Brackley and Brixworth, is in lockdown at the moment, with doubtless many staff furloughed, and therefore announcing any multi-million pound deal is probably deemed not ‘politick’ by both sides just at the moment.

    Likelihood is that the deal is done, but they’re just waiting for an appropriate time to announce it.

    1. We are not in Lockdown and people are still going to work if they cant work from home. And yeh sure, they are wasting time on PR and questions even though its sorted

      1. “We”?

        1. Yeh whats so difficult to understand. I dont know where you are, but we in the Uk are not in a lockdown. Ok now?

          1. ? Arent we? You may correct me on a technicality but I’m sure we are?

          2. But England is in a lockdown. It isn’t being taken as seriously as the first, fewer people are furloughed, and presumably entities like the Merc F1 team have got on to of remote working where possible by now, but we’re are definitely in lockdown. Why are you saying otherwise?

          3. @tonymansell Ath least the fish are happy now though eh?

          4. @tonymansell – Not sure what you have been reading but I can assure you the UK is definitely in Lockdown running the same advice given when we initially went into lockdown last year March time.

            Whether or not people in the UK are adhering to this is of course another thing entirely.

          5. Nope. Just checked my NHS App and it’s most definitely telling me we’re in National Lockdown. Perhaps Mr Mansell is resident on the Principality of Sealand……

          6. Are you saying that all the reports on the UK lockdown and the various tiers of lockdown are incorrect then, because my understanding from the news and my family is that the UK is indeed in lockdown.

  8. petebaldwin (@)
    18th January 2021, 9:18

    Whatever is going on, it’s highly unusual to leave things with a top driver so late. If both has already agreed on a reasonable deal for both parties, they’d get this signed straight away.

    If it’s a financial battle, there will only be one winner as Mercedes have other options and Hamilton doesn’t. It’ll be interesting to see how long this drags on for… I have no doubt he’ll sign eventually but I don’t think it’ll necessarily be a deal with party are that happy with.

    1. @petebaldwin Yeah that’s pretty much where I am too. I have said all along that imho they are family there and I’d be surprised if either LH or Mercedes were trying each other on, or having a stare down over money. Yet the above article is convincing in suggesting that is indeed what is going on, which as I say surprises me. I’m still leaning towards this all being much ado about nothing, and that sometime between any day now and the new season starting there will be a contract announcement. Yet it is fascinating to read of this potential stare down. Perhaps LH is being way more demanding than I had imagined, or Mercedes way more tight pursed.

      I completely agree that Mercedes has options whereas LH has none really, for where would he go, and indeed that to me means moreso that LH will re-sign because I just don’t see Mercedes cornering him that way and taking advantage of this late timing, when he’d have no place to go, and jamming him up that way. That said, even if they had reached some wall earlier, one could still argue where would LH go?

      But anyway, I guess if there is truly a locking of horns, and this may come down to who blinks first, to me the first blinker will have to be LH. He has only this chance to beat MS’ records (particularly WDCs) etc. He has only this ride that is of any worth to him at this stage. It’s too late for him to start afresh with a new team, and what team anyway? If I’m Mercedes and it has come down to ‘just business’ and profitability, without the family emotions involved, then I’m not blinking first.

    2. @petebaldwin – if that’s the case then it’s a simple risk vs reward game. But I always ask this if someone of Hamilton’s calibre available wouldn’t you want him driving your car?

  9. They are clearly at an impasse. Only way out of that is for one of the sides to tell the other they are exploring other options with sufficient conviction to force their hand. The most obvious example of this is MB starting negotiations with another driver (presumedly Russell but they will have their pick, even with drivers under contract elsewhere).

    There is a long term angle to this though and I can see Lewis taking a sabbatical if his demands are not largely met. If MB are seen to contract him on their terms then this impacts all his future negotiations (of anything, not just racing) as people will see him willing to do deals that aren’t on his terms, significantly weakening his position before he even starts.

    1. I dunno – What it would cost Merc to buy another “top” driver out of an existing contract might well be close enough to what Lewis might be asking for anyways… Leaving it this late has made it fairly difficult for both parties, in terms of Plan-B’s.

      I still don’t think it’s money related though – Lewis was very public about saying how talking about multi-million £ deals is insensitive in the current climate, he already has more money than he could feasibly spend in one lifetime and is on a very personal mission when it comes to sustainability, equality and justice. Add that to his revelation this year about how important time with family and close friends is and I suspect the hurdles are more to do with freedoms and “down time”… something that is naturally going to be more and more difficult as these longer seasons continue to get condensed. I also wouldn’t be surprised at all if he is raising concerns about some of the locations in which F1 is dipping it’s fingers; there have been times it’s looked like he has struggled to bite his tongue and “toe the company line” when asked questions related to social and political matters.

      1. I suspect it’s an ego thing, Lewis wants to have more say in the image of the team. Example, the Mercedes brand is silver arrows, not black, which only puts me in mind of the dark days of cigarette promotion, notably Lotus. They likely want to change back, Lewis likely won’t.

        Then there is the extra curricular activity that may reflect badly on Mercedes, the shutting down of voices that are right of centre in the political spectrum in the USA. That’s something that’s going to spill into his messaging if they are not careful, they are in the game to sell cars. The current backlash against the censorship of the tech giants and Amazon is a lesson for all. For example, will a well-off person choose BMW or Mercedes for their next luxury car? Might be an easier choice than you think if one has a brand ambassador who is calling you names that you don’t think you deserve.

        Pretty likely it’s not money, this isn’t something he’s short of… and he’s never shied away from competition, but he does like a bit of politics these days.

        1. Solid point, @frasier.
          Daimler may have realised a potential contrast between the messages Hamilton seems every day more keen to spread and the values of the core part of its clients.
          It makes a lot of sense.

        2. @frasier I think you could be right on the ego side. While Lewis can say/do whatever he wants in his free time, Daimler will always be linked by association no matter how hard they may try to say otherwise if they disagree with it.

          You say that he has more money than he needs which is probably true, however he will still want to be paid his full market value relative to what he delivers MB in speed/endorsements. What his market value in sporting terms is worth has been complicated by Russell’s performance (and subsequent glushing praise from Toto) when he stood in for him.

          1. Is this a potential “out” for Mercedes?
            If the financial value of an agreement is too high, then MB can use that as the basis for no agreement.
            Indications are that there will be a significant number of lay-offs at MB this year, (the number of 10,000 has been used) so signing up one super-star for a large sum, regardless of the payback, will not sit well with regulators or shareholders.
            Speaking of shareholders, the reference is consistently to Mercedes when they only represent 1/3rd of the team ownership. What about the impact on the other 2/3rds.? That being Wolff and Ineos.

  10. Mercedes boss Ola Källenius refused to budge above $20 million (£14.7m) for driver services simply as the oft-stated objective is for the team to be a profit- and not a cost-centre; Hamilton was then said to be pushing for $60m plus perks

    How can this be when Hamilton was feeling so bad for all those people losing their jobs in the pandemic and apparently so attuned to inequality and unfairness in society? https://www.racefans.net/2020/08/06/hamilton-not-comfortable-signing-new-contract-amid-mass-job-losses/

    1. guess his pocket matters more ;)

  11. This equation may have another variable: Verstappen.

    End of contract soon, RBR has no engine so far beyond this year. Who wouldn’t want to sign him for 50% of HAM supposed deal?

    Ferrari is betting heavily on Leclerc, so not them. Alpine must be thinking about a younger replacement for Alonso in case things don’t work out, but they still don’t have a car to attract VER.

    Aston may soon find out that they’ll need a rising star, not a falling one. So, they could be in.

    And then there’s Ineos/Mercedes/Wolff team. Maybe what Hamilton does not want is Verstappen driving along him in his last years with the team.

    1. Soon? Max has a contract to the end of 2023.

      1. That may be why Mercedes wants a two year contract and Lewis a 4 year one

        1. @paeschli Actually Mercedes wants a 3 year deal and Hamilton said in interviews that he is not sure he wants to continue that long. See the article on this blog with title “Hamilton unsure if he wants another three years”

          1. @F1oclown

            Ah, good ol’ F1oclown is back sprouting his usual dribble: “Actually Mercedes wants a 3 year deal”.
            Please, enlighten us, and tell us how you came to this conclusion apart from the voices in your head?
            And do be afraid explaining which source you have for this information………hahahahaha.

            What’s next: Stories about drivers developing cars……..?

          2. With Vettel, Ricciardo and Sainz being available in 2 years, it wouldn’t make sense to go for three years IMHO

          3. @Oconomo what you say?

          4. @paeschli

            With Vettel, Ricciardo and Sainz being available in 2 years, it wouldn’t make sense to go for three years IMHO

            Well it makes sense to Mercedes since according to Hamilton they asked for a 3 year deal. Not sure how difficult that is to comprehend.

      2. Likely with an opt out clause in the last year.

    2. Well, Mercedes might, but Ineos/Jim Ratcliffe’s involvement in international sporting ventures usually comes with Union Jacks stamped on it (INEOS TEAM UK in the America’s Cup, the team that was Sky in cycling), so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they wanted a British driver…

  12. When asked if the contract delay was about money, Wolff replied:

    But in this case, it’s not an essential parameter. It’s more about how he sees himself in this world and how his thought processes are running.

    1. When asked what made Hamilton supporters so “special”, Wolff replied:

      Ignorance is bliss!

      1. Did you forget the restraining order?

    2. Wolff might be telling some truth, but then if this article has some truth to it too, it would also make sense that Wolff isn’t blurting out, ‘yes it is about money and LH is asking way too much.’ Of course no matter what is going on behind closed doors Wolff is not going to call out LH in public and is rather going to come off as supportive, which I’m sure he is for the most part. I suppose there is a chance money was not an essential parameter at the time Wolff said this, but perhaps he wasn’t aware how much LH was going to ask for vs how much the actual man in charge at Mercedes over this stuff, Kallenius, would relinquish, hence the potential 40 mill gap in numbers. Perhaps things changed for Kallenius after Russell’s race. If it is more about how LH sees himself in this world and how his thought processes are running, perhaps they are running toward him seeing himself as fully entitled to ask for a huge sum, and now the landscape has changed. It certainly has globally.

      1. @robbie This article has no truth to it whatsoever. It’s just the usual clickbait and useless conjecture dragging on and on and on and on from Dieter.

        1. @f1osaurus Then why are you here, Trumposaurus?

          1. @robbie You are the Tump in this case. You are the onbe who pretends that unless someone literally says that they cheated, they didn’t cheat. READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!

            But yes I do not enjoy Dieters poor rtamblings. The site deteriorated a lot since he joined. It’s just incoherent unsubstantiated mumble. Just like your posts.

            Just get lost troll

          2. @f1osaurus Lol wouldn’t expect anything less from a Trumposaurus. Sucks to be you!

          3. @robbie At least I can read and comprehend texts.

            What is it with you Verstappen fans that you are all in the below 80 IQ range? And proud of it, it seems.

            Anyway, sorry for actually reading one of your sad attempts at a post. Will ignore you again.

          4. @f1osaurus Sad. You’re a troubled individual.

  13. Some announcements took a shorter time to be finally announced than Hamilton’s 2021 contract.
    Maybe they’ll announce it on Mercedes’ car launch day?

  14. I do believe that there is way too much money involved in F1. Tickets are too high, the team’s budgets are too high, motorhomes are too expensive and so on. I would like to go to a sports that is less reliant on how much money you can spend.

    However, regardless of what I want, we have to accept that there is a lot of money flowing in F1. And since the drivers are the stars of the show, it’s only fair that they recieve a fair share of the money earned in the business. Lewis earns a ‘ridiculous’ amount of money, but I bet he earns even more money for the team: by his results (championships) but also by his marketing value (sponsorships). So as long Hamilton brings in more money in the team than the team spends on him, Lewis is good value for money.

  15. A Very Private Gentleman
    18th January 2021, 10:44

    The best thing lewis could do for F1 is to take a year out. (Don’t bust Schumacher’s record up to much he has a lot in common with him, same astro sign capricorn similar type and style of driver and manner). F1 needs a shake up and by blitzing the championship ‘by default’ to 8 world titles, wont achieve or mean anything. He’s got enough money and kudos in not having to worry for the rest of his life. He’s equalled and in some cases bettered by stats Michaels record.
    F1 needs to move toward hybrid technology, to equate with the steel boxes on our roads. We need different types of drivers on the teams, for get the looks, hairstyles and the shapes. 10 gallon fuel tanks max, everyone on one tyre supplier (Pirelli) everyone on one engine supplier of no more than 1.4cc backed up with an electric motor hybrid system. Get rid of the DRS and KERS. Three other things they can do is increase safety, increase safety and increase safety. The Grosjean incident shows you they are not out of the water on this one.
    I M H Opinion; He should give Toto and the team something to worry about and walk away to another side. Go to Ferrari for example, he wont win but for sure the passion will be there.
    F1 needs to change or it will suffer.

  16. The delay is probably because of a mixture of things, money and how it is paid and for what and how that looks in a recession caused by the pandemic, and ‘politics’ with a small ‘p’ on how Hamilton can busy himself outside Mercedes programmes whether it is fashion, music, the ‘Hamilton Commission’, and perhaps, too, about Team Mercedes demonstrating the commitment of Daimler to the causes Hamilton believes in. That might be as mundane as keeping the cars black rather than going back to the Silver Arrows original, or setting up company wide schemes for black kids, supporting environmental moves ………. take your pick of political gestures and indicators of committment he might like to see.

    This is a difficult area for Daimler because the things Hamilton supports are part of his image and it his image rather than his pure racing performance which makes him a valuable marketing asset. Making these stars align is rather difficult I would think as Daimler has a global presence and not all of it will be in societies with the same values as Hamilton.

    As we saw with other knighted champions the risk is that Hamilton starts believing his own hype and influence and indispensability.

    As the old adage goes, the graveyards are full of indispensable people yet still the world turns.

    I hope it doesn’t become messy. My admiration for the skill, talent, dedication, hard work, grit and sheer unadulterated talent of Hamilton will not fade. But he is sucking the life out of F1 by making it far too predictable up front, in the same way as Schumacher did.

    The ideal solution would be a single year contract and an honourable and profitable retirement rather than trying to go on and on and on.

    1. ” But he is sucking the life out of F1 by making it far too predictable up front, in the same way as Schumacher did.”

      Ferrari had 15 front row lockouts during their reign between 2000-04.

      Mercedes have had 71 front row lockouts between 2014-20.

      I get it that people simply didn’t like seeing Schumacher win AT ALL, but don’t compare Schumacher’s championships to Hamilton’s. Schumacher did it a lot tougher.

      1. Definitely wouldn’t compare anyones record to that cheat but then you’re the nutttjob that posted vaccines are not working in the UK, Enough said about your s.anity I think.

      2. Dean F Is your only measure that of front row lockouts? You speak of MS having it a lot tougher, yet how tough is it when you have your teammate under contract to not compete? There was a really unique thing that went on at MS/Ferrari in that by putting one driver on actual contract to not compete, you then have the green flag to totally build the car for one driver, and thus the teammate was driving the same car alright, but it was a car built for MS. That had to have been a huge psychological advantage not to mention the obvious physical one.

        Imho at Mercedes the car is built with LH in mind, of course, because he is the senior driver and the one with the success, and they’re not going to build it away from his preferences, however, I don’t believe his car has been built specifically for him to anywhere near the degree that MS had. Imho, no driver has had more advantages hand over fist than his competition then MS enjoyed. LH may come close to that, but moreso because Mercedes nailed their car hugely in this hybrid era, than because they built it solely for LH. And he did have actual bonafide competition from Rosberg.

        Besides, 15 front row lockouts may make it sound like MS had it tough, but you have conveniently decided to ignore how many poles MS himself had, which is really the point, since you are talking about grid positions and front rows. Who cares how many times MS shared the front row with his teammate when that teammate would only be fading back and being a rear gunner anyway. If you haven’t already done so, do check out Austria 02, both the race and the post-race interview with Barrichello and you’ll see all you need to see to understand where I’m coming from regarding MS and the ‘difficult’ time he had.

      3. @tonymansell Classic Hamilton fan post. Personal attack instead of logical argument. Who cares about civility and site rules. I would report your post, but get an error message when I try. Hopefully others will.

  17. It seems Hamilton is on a record breaking spree. He also wants the record for ‘longest contract negotiations with existing team’ ..

  18. How long into the future is Mercedes committed to F1? With the sums of money we’re talking about here, if you were on the Mercedes Board wouldn’t you want clarity on longer term F1 rules (particularly around PUs) and from your motorsport leader which series’ you intend to compete in to win? If any of those areas were significantly uncertain, perhaps you look at a lower cost option?

    1. @badger74 Until the end of 2025, when the new Concorde Agreement comes to an end.

  19. This is interesting:


    Why were Lewis & George’s entries highlighted in red at the December updated yet removed for the January update?

    My guess is the deal has already been done.

    1. Because those red highlights only indicate changes since the last version of the document. The entry list on that page is from the 2020 Abu Dhabi GP – where Lewis returned to Mercedes, and George returned to Williams – both of which were changes to the entry list compared to the previous GP in Sakhir.

      Lewis’ status in the 2021 entry list hasn’t been updated yet, because there are no updates yet. If Lewis re-signs with Mercedes then no further changes to the document are required. If he doesn’t then the next version of the document will display the new Mercedes driver in red.

  20. And within the last hour INEOS release an Ask Lewis video entitled ‘How do you keep a calm mind when things go wrong?’

    Are we being trolled?


    1. INEOS is milking all the Lewis Hamilton’s massive clout and PR value. To think MB would want to forego it is unimaginable.

  21. Roberto Giacometti
    18th January 2021, 11:11

    How about some grammatical standards –
    “ There ARE a few million reasons”
    Tsk tsk tsk
    Grammar is important!
    ( not that the vast majority would even know these days !!!)

    1. Sorry mate, you’re fighting a loosing battle there.
      Regardless, the fight must go on.
      Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.

  22. I’d get Russell for 2021. He’s quicker than Bottas with no preparation, cockpit that he can barely fit into, cockpit setup for someone else. Basically did Hamilton’s job.

    Get him for $5 million instead of giving Hamilton $50 million. Russell will cruise to the championship in 2021. Then use that $45 million you saved by hiring Russell to purchase Verstappen for 2022 onwards. Talk about a super team. And you could have both drivers for a similar price to what Hamilton wants for himself.

    That’s the smart thing to do. That’s a combination that you could have for the next 10 years.

    I’m not sure Hamilton is as marketable as his fans think.

    The Sakhir race crashed this site such was the interest generated having Russell in the car. It was a massive news story all over the world.

    1. If Russell would cruise with the 2021 championship (he probably would) why would you need to spend more money to get Verstappen?

      too many “if’s” tho…

      1. For 2022 onwards when Mercedes probably much of their advantage. RBR will be getting a customer engine 2022 onwards.

    2. Thing about that cockpit, though – there’s a design freeze on, right? Are Mercedes even allowed to redesign the cockpit so Russell fits into it? If they can’t, how will he cope on circuits requiring more braking that Sakhir, given he said it was difficult there?

    3. Hamilton is as marketable as the market thinks; not the fans and certainly not you. And the metrics show for example that Hamilton generates between $25,000-$35,000 for a commercial insta post, whilst almost all the other drivers sit between $2,500-$3,500, with only one of them even close to Hamilton.
      The market also shows that Ham’s approx £1 million a year IWC/Merc deal gave IWC sales totalling £4.6 million on just one of Hamilton’s limited edition watches.
      The market doesn’t decide these issues on guesses and personal feelings as you seem inclined to do.

      1. Hamilton self promotes. If it’s just based on Instagram likes then maybe they should put Kim Kardashian in one of the cars for 2021.

        But in terms of ratings and interest in the actual racing, interest was off the charts when Russell raced at Sakhir. This site was crashing such was the interest in what was kind of an uninteresting race out front where the Mercs had a 20-25 second gap on the rest of the field. Certainly got more interesting after the Mercedes pit mix up that robbed Russell of a certain victory. Most chatter of any race for season despite the title being done and dusted.

        1. Kim Kardashian in the car …. not enough tokens available for the cockpit changes required.

    4. @DeanF.
      So you are basically assuming Russell would “cruise to 2021 championship”, based on the fact that he proved to be quick around ONE circuit, the easiest in the history of Formula one. And I knowinglly wrote “quick”, not “the quickest”, because he was beaten by a under-par Bottas, FYI.

      That’s a bold assumption.
      Not sure Daimler board is so naive as yourself.

      1. The fact it was a supposedly “easy” circuit to master (the bumpy middle part was quite challenging) means Bottas had no excuse at all for not comfortably beating the young substitute driver.

        If there was no learning curve for the circuit, then Bottas should have had a massive performance advantage since he had been in the Merc for 4 years unlike Russell who was in an ill-fitting car and racing for 48 hours.

      2. How can you say he was beaten? In qualifying? The race reflected really well on russel and badly on bottas, bottas is the loser there.

  23. One thing I know for sure, Lewis will be driving the W12 come this season’s start.

    1. Of course. Wolff has a large stake in the team and is close to Hamilton he won’t want to lose the relationship. He’ll give him what he wants.

      All for show like Bernie said.

  24. I doubt it is about money. Perhaps it could be about Hamilton’s recent activism.
    It could be about image rights.
    It could be about an AMG LH44 SPEZIAL and royalties.
    It could also be about Hamilton taking up a role after retirement and being a brand ambassador which could limit his association with various other motor vehicle brands.
    I absolutely do not think it is about money because Mercedes clearly hold all the options and Hamilton doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone anymore.
    This is the time to plan for the coming years. The switch to the new regulations and transition to a different driver pairing.
    Hamilton gets on very well with George Russell so being his team mate at this his late hour would not be a problem.

  25. The problem is that 20 million is an insult. It would represent no less than a 50% cut in his value from the previous market. So you are asking him to take a bigger cut than most of the (employed) team. I suspect it is below his marketing value, but that is hard for me to know.

    For this to be tenable you’d need to demonstrate other VIP or drivers took similar cuts.

    I could fault him for being greedy and wanting way more than last time, but I could also respect him refusing to be singled out for a pay cut.

  26. Hamilton is a global celebrity that could wear chocolate clothes and they would sell millions. Mercedes is (in Europe) an executive car brand that appeals to fat middle-aged men that like chrome.

    Hamilton fans and traditional EU Mercedes buyers aren’t necessarily the same groups of people – which is why IMO they chose to employ his services in 2013. I realise this is probably very different in the USA and elsewhere.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a spreadsheet somewhere in Stuttgart that questions Hamilton’s value, or indeed the value of their entire F1 operation. Like I’ve said before, if you walk into a Mercedes showroom it’s hard to spot that they’re in F1, let alone won 7 straight constructor & drivers titles.

    1. @joshgeake

      I haven’t sought out market data, but my perception of Benz in the US is lots mid luxury models. They strike me as aspirational cars, and cars to tell people you made it. I live in the south, and have the impression they are respected in the black community. I don’t get the impression they are all owned by middle aged guys who like chrome. I think in the US middle aged guys get their chrome on expensive pickups.

      Which is to say I could see Hamilton is a great asset for Benz.

      I’m concerned about the spreadsheet notion you mentioned. I worry Mercedes have decided on a number and are ignoring it isn’t market value for a superstar driver.

      But I think Merc gets something from being in F1. I was never impressed by Mercedes cars, I just thought they were over priced and under-reliable. But after nearly a decade of watching F1 I’ve started to think positive thoughts when I see them, just because of the association with their F1 success.

      So based on my perceptions, Hamilton is a great asset to the brand.

  27. The greatest driver in history is on a level way above ALL other current drivers. His fame and the subsequent sponsorship all reflect the need to see regular winning to get their investment back. HAM response is to give those sponsors the attention they were promised by the words of said contracts. So he has brought more payback, I believe, to sponsors in a way hoped for but in the end the magnitude of product attention based on race results has never been seen like this before.
    So the deal is this, he deserves financial reward for bringing the attention he does by simply appearing at an event. There has never been another driver like this and today Mercedes should be demanding extreme money for the most extreme Grand Prix results giving Racecar driver.
    That’s LEWIS. And for Mercedes to start mucking about on this, then shows us the breaking point between owners and driver.

    He deserves a contract that is in another zone. Make the sponsors pay it. Otherwise the crack has begun and the possibility of all sides being happy are DONE.

    My crazy ass idea is to sit Lewis down in 21’ and let him work solely with the development team for the nextgen 22’ challenger. 2021 is going to become another version of 2020. An ugly championship for all of us. So let him step aside in 21 to prepare a new again in the next Mercedes in 2022.

    But the great one prevailed anyway. He will again. So why in the hell is Mercedes messing this up. Especially with the new nextgen car coming. Ham wanting more years in the team means better financial gains for the team overall. Getting contract ugly now becomes the start of the downfall

    It’s about results and nobody gives back more than Ham. So pay him the money he wants let internal Mercedes lawyers push the numbers around until they get a beneficial deal too

    1. Holmzini While I don’t subscribe personally to your opinion of LH as the ‘greatest in history’ nor agree that ‘there has never been another driver like this’ unless you are talking only about the numbers ie. the records, I do agree that he deserves another huge contract. And I think he’ll get it. I don’t think Mercedes is ‘messing this up’ as I’m quite sure we will be hearing of LH’s re-signing at some point. If Mercedes is resisting as the article suggests, due to too-high demands from LH, well, I guess that is their reality, but I’m sure they still will and can afford to pay him tons, even it’s less than he’s asking.

      But I think the last thing that will happen is sitting him out for this year, and of course you do acknowledge it’s a crazy idea. The thing is by almost everyone’s account it would seem LH will once again enjoy a dominant car, with little competition from VB, and with most only hoping/wishing that RBR are closer than they were in 2020. This season might be his best last chance to get his 8th WDC in other words, for once the totally new regs kick in there is much less guarantee of their dominance, although I have no doubt they’ll still be very strong come 2022. Just that it’s an unknown right now, and most folks seem quite sure they know what to expect this year though.

      Just to take it from another angle though, I would think that even if Mercedes were prepared to play total hardball with LH and really put the screws to him, I would think LH would offer to drive for free if that’s what it took, because he’s only got this one opportunity this year (practically guaranteed it’s his WDC to lose) to get the 8th WDC, and I really can’t see him making financial demands an obstacle when the last thing he needs is money and his earning power will continue to be strong for years no matter what.

      I’ve said all along that LH and Mercedes are a family and they wouldn’t play hardball with him, imho, and that is still the direction I lean with this, so I will be very surprised if Mercedes are actually playing hardball with someone who has brought so much to their team, as you have expressed.

      1. Hey Robbie thanks for the very well written comment to my viewpoint. I think Mercedes makes a buttload of money off the connection to Lewis. Way way more than the Gabillion Dollars they pay him. Every dollar spent on HAM certainly brings back to Mercedes at least triple or more. They won’t lose money as long as the damage to all other teams on race day continues. It Is a far smarter (meaning $$$) deal for Merc to keep Lewis happy and to keep him warming. How many Mercedes owners know how much their car cost goes to paying Ham “indirectly”.
        The Ham wins on Sunday and MERCS are sold on Monday bit. Somebody offered numbers possibly being discussed. Ham wants $60M and Mercedes offers $20M so meet in the middle at $45M. Sounds good doesn’t it ? HAM is right to stand firm. Mercedes won’t let such a minor amount of money difference here to fricking Lose Lewis Hamilton. So, raise it to $50M and make so much more money in the long run. Don’t you think Mercedes is betting that today’s 12 year olds are their financial gold mine.
        Pay up this guy is so Special so Rare that only dummies would play such a stupid game. Good words Robbie I follow I get that you know what’s going on. My opinions come from inside and are real.

        1. Stevenholmes Thanks and yeah and that’s the other thing is that LH, I would like to think, will be stoked to try out the new cars, as should all the drivers who have been clamouring for a better product on the track for years. I have little doubt that LH will sign for three years.

    2. Get Him in a Williams or Haas and watch how He gets his 8th WDC

      I’ll be happy to see Him go, but happier even to see what He can do in a midfield/backmarker machine/team

      1. Yes, I would also like to see what he can do in a midfield car, he performed well in the 2009 mclaren, that little he had but that is very little, and that is cause drivers normally don’t start their career in a title contender, so we normally get to see stuff like schumacher in the 1991-1992-1993 benetton, senna in the lotus, alonso in the minardi and so on.

        1. Was also thinking it’s curious there are drivers like gasly, albon, fisichella, frentzen who can be very good with a midfield car and then fail with a title contender or even the best car, and then you have drivers who are good with a strong car but can’t adapt to extract the maximum from a bad one, like raikkonen being demolished by alonso in 2014, if you go back to 2005 etc. you would never think alonso should dominate raikkonen that much, you would think it’d be a great battle.

  28. @Holmzini

    The greatest driver in history is on a level way above ALL other current drivers

    Hard to judge when his only benchmark is Bottas.

    1. Overall History not yesterdays race
      Come on Asanator think it out first

    2. Plus the last time he had a teammate other than Bottas he lost the world championship to said teammate.

      1. And Button totally owned Him the season He was too busy shunting Felipe race after race

        1. And alonso matched him in his rookie season, which is ofc a plus for hamilton, but hamilton’s rookie season was probably the best of all times, so I wouldn’t have counted alonso out in a straight fight with him later on, just looking at 2008’s mclaren and renault performance and their results I have no doubts alonso would’ve beaten hamilton.

          1. hamilton’s rookie season was probably the best of all times

            12 podiums including 4 victories, not bad surely, but with a dominant McLaren. Was it better than Ayrton Senna’s 3 podiums (including a 2nd place in Monaco, a race he might have won had it not been redflagged) with a crappy Toleman? Hard to say.

            My take: It would have been a memorable season, possibly the best of all time, up to the win in Japan. But then, the abysmal mistakes in China and Brazil ruined it. So, pretty good for a rookie, but far from the BOAT.

          2. And don’t forget that Hamilton had more testing miles in the McLaren than Alonso.

            Hamilton had a great 2007 considering he was a rookie, but he wasn’t a rookie dropped into an F1 car out of nowhere like Schumacher when he got a call up for Jordan and stuck it 6th on the grid at Spa.

            He was part of the McLaren program in an era where you were able to do a lot of testing.

  29. Could one of the sticking points relate to Hamilton’s involvement with the Extreme E series?

  30. Did not read the article or the comments… yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s something related to his huge salary and Russell’s performance in his debut for Mercedes. They’ve won already pretty much everything that could be won, still paying HAM a huge salary when another driver, better than Bottas and demanding half of BOT’ salary…. seems like a waste of money.

  31. even at this Mercedes can’t stop sandbagging… incredible!!!

  32. Following the response from INEOS we now have one from Mercedes.


  33. No mention of any communication to Hulk … “What ever you do … Don’t stop your training..”
    If not Hamilton, then who for 2021.?
    Should that be Russel, then who gets the seat at Williams.?
    Will it be Mercedes F1 that foots the bill for the Williams driver.? Probably.
    After all these developments, the start of testing and racing just might be anticlimactic.

  34. So from the reports, Hamilton wants 60 million and less commercial PR obligations. Mercedes (MB) wants 20 million and the same or more PR work. 40 million difference is a lot and I am sure that MB doesn’t want the 10,000 heads lossing jobs pointing out that they spent 60 million on one guy. I’m guessing they settle for close to what they had before at around 40-45 million which is still absurd for one person but in a world where black lives matter I can’t see MB replacing Hamilton with a very tall, thin white guy [Yuck, no one wants white folks anymore :-)] Sorry, not PC (not to be confused with PR) but true!

  35. Maybe Merc can grab Vettel in a last minute buyout? German car, German 4 time WC driver. Lewis can save the planet instead together with Greta.

    1. Who’s that Vettel guy?

  36. Nice insight, but no surprises.

  37. When the original FIA 2021 driver list was published both Alpha Tauri & Redbull second seats were listed as TBC

    Mercedes on the other hand submitted both Bottas & Lewis

    Speaks volumes to me

  38. The gamble for Mercedes, if they don’t fold to Lewis’ demands is that he could take a year off, and the next year (depending on what happens in 2021) might sign for someone else! The gamble for Lewis is, if Mercedes does not fold, and he does take a year off, the one Mercedes signs might win the championship, and his value would plumet!

  39. Lots of strange comments here.
    If you want to REALLY assess how good Hamilton is against any other driver:
    – look at Hamilton’s pre-F1 record against that of any other driver.


  40. Lots of assumptions and conjecture around here.

    Have any of you considered he may be negotiating not only his driver contract, but his place in the MB family after he stops driving? The contract he signs as a driver will probably be his last one ever and Hamilton being Hamilton, the smarter than you think person that he is, will be looking to cement his place not only in MB history but in their future as well.

    1. JB I suppose that is possible but if he wants that I don’t really see why that would have to be negotiated now along with a driving contract. There’s be plenty of time, closer to his retirement, and closer to him seeing the lay of the land (eg. what will Toto be up to?) for them to decide on a potential future role there. Has he spoken about such a thing?

  41. How much of an assett is LH for Mercedes Benz, and how much of a liabitity?

    LH’s messages and activities outside the racing track are controversial to say the least. For every worshipping fan, there’s another person who cannot stomach him. And probably it is not in the interest of MB to alienate half of its potential buyers.

    Myself, let’s suppose I am thinking of spending north of 50k in a fancy sedan; I enter a MB dealership and see a LH poster. I turn around and start looking for the nearest BMW or Audi dealership. And I do not think I am alone in this.

    Having a driver who wins races and titles is one thing but having to put up with all their notorious extracurricular activities is quite another. I would not be surprised to learn that Mr Kallenius or some other big shot at Daimler-MB wants to get rid of LH ASAP.

    1. Your thinking is very realistic, I would also think the same, but my other dealership choice would be Lexus, or a sexy Toyota land cruiser

      1. Good choices; I chose Audi and BMW as they are MB’s archrivals. But I might go for a Tesla instead

  42. I just paid $8 for a pint. I didn’t have 8 reasons to buy it I had 1.

    There is not a few million reasons to rehire Hamilton, there are two. First do mercedes want to make money? And how much are they willing to make/ loose? Figure it out, and that’s the answer to hiring Hamilton.

    Mercedes needs to assess how much money Hamilton brings through being Hamilton, against the performance he brings to the team. When the cost exceeds the performance, drop him. Mercedes are the most powerful team in F1, they made Hamilton more than Hamilton made them.

    George is better than Hamilton was when Hamilton won his title in 2008, George will grow into the driver that Hamilton is when he gets his chance. Mercedes should take that chance like McLaren did in 2007. If you want to say I’m a Hamilton hater, you can. But you are wrong, I’ve supported him since gp2, and but now he’s just being a little ridiculous

  43. Just put George in save yourself from woke demands.

    Lewis might be a driving god, but there are many cheap drivers who could put that car to WDC at fraction of the cost.

    Turning your luxury car brand Woke is going to backfire baddly. All in time when Mercedes is laying off thousands. F1 team needs to do their part.

  44. I wonder if the problem isn’t so much Mercedes but the virus, and that what Mercedes are offering isn’t enough to tempt Lewis away from living a lifestyle in a low risk country where he is at less risk of infection. Lewis has already been infected once, and now that new strains are on the loose then why would he be interested in getting infected again? If Lewis were to sign then he has to expect to live in a lockdown type lifestyle for pretty much the whole season whereas if he doesn’t sign and instead goes on furlough for a year or so, then, at least in the foreseeable future, he should be able to live a relatively free and casual life without the need for following lockdown rules.

  45. It’s probably money, but if what Wolff says is true: that it’s not just about money; Hamilton might be asking for “unusual” things from Mercedes, such as diversity targets, environmental targets etc. All of which would be significantly more difficult to attain/deliver than a crisply cut cheque.

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