Lewis Hamilton expected to sign new Mercedes deal this week
World champion already in the final season of three-year deal
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 01/04/15 4:01pm
Confirmation that Lewis Hamilton has signed a new deal with Mercedes is expected this week.
The reigning world champion told Sky Sports last week that a contract extension with Mercedes had been agreed in principle and he was hopeful of putting pen to paper before the Malaysia GP.
Although no announcement was forthcoming, it’s now expected that a new deal will be ratified this week.
Hamilton is already in the final few months of the three-year deal he signed in late 2012 to join the Silver Arrows from McLaren.
Following last year’s title triumph, and his defeat of team-mate Nico Rosberg in seven of the last eight races, Hamilton’s new deal is expected to feature even more lucrative terms than the £20m-a-year he agreed then.
Talks were put on hold by Hamilton, who has represented himself during negotiations, ahead of last year’s Russian GP to allow the Englishman to concentrate on his title duel with Rosberg. Discussions were then resumed in earnest during pre-season testing and the partnership which secured both championships in 2014 looks set to be extended.
“It is going back between the lawyers so hopefully it is done before the weekend,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News HQ.
“That would be great, but if not in due time.”
The interminable delay in Hamilton putting pen to paper has prompted speculation that the 30-year-old could be considering a bombshell switch to Ferrari. Whirling the rumour mill into life last week, The Daily Mail added fuel to the fire by declaring that ‘the Scuderia’s president, Sergio Marchionne, rates Hamilton top of the drivers available to him'.
Hamilton is no stranger to unexpected transfers. But while his decision to abandon McLaren for Mercedes caused a seismic shock at the time, the transfer was underpinned by the Englishman’s belief that the Silver Arrows were the more likely team to deliver a championship-winning car – an instinct which has been emphatically vindicated in the last 15 months during which time Mercedes have emerged as the sport’s new dominant force and McLaren have regressed into the doldrums.
Hamilton's expected pay rise will put him on parity with the sport's current highest earners, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, following their transfers last year to McLaren and Ferrari respectively. Although Vettel is believed to have been handed a multi-million 'signing on fee' after triggering an opt-out clause in his Red Bull deal, Alonso's basic salary is reckoned to be the biggest in F1 at a reputed £25m.