Seven-time World F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has reportedly rejected the contract that Mercedes has offered him. This means, as of now, the Briton will be out of a job for the 2021 season. His contract with Mercedes F1 team expired on January 1, 2021.
The 35-year-old reportedly made four demands during contract talks with Mercedes according to Motorsport. The first is that his salary rises to 35.5million pounds a year, which would ensure he remains as the highest-paid driver on the grid. His second demand is that Hamilton reportedly wants a 10 per cent share of Mercedes' prize money should they win the Championship. One of their upcoming, limited-production AMG One cars and finally a role that 'goes beyond being a driver and more than a mere testimonial'. Which indicates that Hamilton is apparently desperate for a hands-on job where he can help drive the Silver Arrows' approach into electric transition.
Mercedes chief, Toto Wolff has been saying for months that extension of Hamilton's contract will not be a problem, but if Corriere Dello Sport's report is to be believed, Hamilton's demands of a four-year deal is a concern keeping George Russell in mind.
According to Motorsport.com, the Briton has rejected the proposal by Daimler, Mercedes’ parents, and 1/3rd owner of the F1 team. Hamilton’s counteroffer is and his contingency plan is yet unknown. It is highly unlikely McLaren will shock the world by bringing him in for either Lando Norris or Daniel Ricciardo.
The Daimler’s board of directors are reportedly unhappy with the lofty demands of the reigning champion. Considering the fact that the automobile industry faced a rude shock due to Covid-19 last year, it all makes sense to decline Hamilton’s proposal.
The Chairman of Daimler, Ola Kallenius wants the vacant seat to be filled up at the earliest. So much so, he is not ruling out the possibility of George Russell making a dream-come-true move to Mercedes, on a season basis considering that he is a Mercedes junior driver. Russell had replaced Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix and put out an impressive performance there.
The 22-year-old is also cheaper as compared to his 35-year-old countryman and is touted as a future world champion. However, if Hamilton failed to come in an agreement with Mercedes, he could be without a team till 2022 as the all the major teams, including Ferrari and Red Bull, had a lot of movement in 2020.