Lewis Hamilton contract agreement not imminent as Mercedes make 2021 livery decision
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Lewis Hamilton’s contract saga is no closer to reaching a conclusion, according to reports. The seven-time world champion is expected to extend his stay with Mercedes but the two parties are yet to agree a deal.
The British superstar is in the highly unusual situation of being out of contract after his £40million-a-season Mercedes deal expired on December 31.
Both parties have been in dialogue in recent weeks, and although it is understood that discussions are progressing, a conclusion to the saga is not imminent.
Mercedes are confident Hamilton, who was awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list, will extend his stay with the sport’s all-conquering team, as reported by PA.
But the length of his new contract is under scrutiny, with reports the record-breaking Briton has been offered only a one-year deal.
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Speaking at the season-concluding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month, Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff said discussions over a new contract were yet to take place.
“We have had such a successful run of championships for the past seven years, there is no reason why not to continue,” said Wolff on Hamilton’s future.
“He is on the top of his game and he will be for a while, so that is why continuing together is a no-brainer.
“We always prioritised the championship and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation, and then Covid struck with Lewis so it has delayed us a bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.
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“We are not putting a special date on it. Sooner or later it needs to be done and the latest is when we go testing (in March).”
Indeed, Hamilton’s contract stand-off with Mercedes continues to rumble on.
The Briton is believed to want a three-year deal worth £120m, though Mercedes are reportedly reluctant to offer the 36-year-old more than one season initially.
Mercedes chief Wolff had admitted the team need to be ready for plenty of curveballs as negotiations drag on.
Speaking to Autosport , Wolff said: “It doesn’t worry me at all, because I will always respect Lewis’s decisions.
“Whether this is staying with us for a long time, or whether that means leaving the sport and pursuing different interests. I think we need to be ready for all kinds of curveballs being thrown at us.
“But at the same time, we talk a lot, and we are very transparent with each other. I think there is more to achieve together.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s Mercedes car will again be painted black for the Briton’s historic assault on an eighth world championship.
Last year, Hamilton urged the Mercedes hierarchy to change its traditional silver livery in a defiant message against racism.
And the German manufacturer is set to continue with the same colour scheme when Hamilton begins the defence of his crown in Bahrain on March 28.
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