Lewis Hamilton has hit out at reports claiming that the British racer's hefty demands with regards to a new contract will be rejected by current employers Mercedes. The 6-time Drivers' world champion will be out of contract at the end of the 2020 season and there are a number of questions regarding his future in the sport.
Italian publication, Corriere Dello Sport, claimed that the Briton has demanded â¬55 million ($60 million) per year to sign a new contract with Mercedes going forward. They also claimed that he demanded a four-year contract and the role of team ambassador when he eventually hung his helmet.
Demands may be rejected by Mercedes
Mercedes is expected to reject the driver's demands as they are planning to take things cautiously and are willing to only commit to a two-year deal with Hamilton, despite the 35-year-old having won them five Formula 1 Drivers' championships. However, the Mercedes driver has come out and outrightly denied the speculation and made it clear that he has not spoken to the team about his future beyond the 2020 campaign yet.
"FYI Toto [Wolff] and I have not even spoken about [the] contract yet," Hamilton wrote on his official Instagram account, as quoted on Motorsport Week. "Nothing is being negotiated currently, papers [are] making up stories."
Ferrari to offer Hamilton a contract?
However, Red Bull Racing team advisor Helmut Marko, who is known for his controversial opinions has said that there is one team that could indulge Hamilton's demands, which have now been proven to be untrue. He admits that there is no team that will sanction such high wages for one driver except for Ferrari.
"I believe that no team, not even Mercedes, will be willing to spend such sums on a driver," Marko said, as quoted on Planet F1. "Except," he added, "Ferrari." The Italian team are big admirers of the Mercedes driver and could make a move for the 6-time Drivers' champion if he became available for the 2021 season. And Marko believes Hamilton is within his right to make such demands owing to his continued success in the sport.
"Lewis is a six-time World Champion and very important for Mercedes in terms of both sport and marketing," Marko added. "I thinkt he is aware of his value and therefore expects such fees. With his numbers for grand prix victories and World Championship titles, he can certainly ask for a big sum."