F1: Lewis Hamilton's demands could see Mercedes look elsewhere - Report

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 have reportedly begun negotiations about a new deal but there seems to be a gap between the driver's demands and the team's valuation. The Briton, who won his 6th Drivers' championship in 2019 – his fifth with the Silver Arrows team, will be out of contract at the end of the 2020 season.

The longer the 35-year-old remains on the final year of his deal, the more interest he will generate as the new season progresses. Hamilton has reiterated his commitment to Mercedes on more than one occasion but Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has indicated that they could be interested in the Briton should he become available.

According to Italian publication Corriere dello Sport, via F1i, Hamilton is looking for a new deal that will see his salary rise from €42 million ($47 million) to €55 million ($60.5 million) per annum, which Mercedes could reject. Apart from the hefty pay rise, the British driver is also said to want a four-year deal which includes an ambassadorial role with the team when he eventually hangs up his helmet.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton Instagram

Formula 1 is set to undergo a massive overhaul from the 2021 campaign, which has seen Mercedes take a cautious approach when it comes to their future in the sport. They are said to be looking at a two-year commitment rather than a long-term one, while the financial outlay is also likely to hold them back from reaching an agreement imminently.

Mercedes could look elsewhere

Mercedes could also look at other options after team boss Toto Wolff suggested that the reigning champions could continue to prosper as long as they built a strong car in the coming seasons. The Austrian, however, did reiterate that their priority would be to retain Hamilton going into the future but indicated that they will not bend over backwards to accommodate the greatest driver of the current generation.

"Lewis is a fundamental element of our team and my priority goes to him," Wolff said. "However, it is clear that I do not have full control over this type of situation. We will sit down at a table and talk about the future.

"Changes in the world of Formula 1 are frequent and often represent opportunities," he added. "But as long as we are able to produce a quick car and a powerful engine, we will always have the opportunity to choose the drivers."

"And I think there will be no doubt that Lewis is our priority. We've tried to make it work with the team. And I have tried to make it work with Lewis. But the most important is that we have a good car."

This article was first published on January 28, 2020