Mercedes address Lewis Hamilton doubts with Max Verstappen quizzed on salary – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton with James Allison. F1 news

James Allison has answered doubts about Lewis Hamilton's motivation, as part of Monday's F1 news.

It’s a new week of F1 news, with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both in the headlines on Monday.

Verstappen has given an interview with the UK’s Times where he covered a wide range of subjects, whereas Mercedes technical director James Allison has moved to quash any idea that Hamilton has lost any of his motivation.

All that and plenty more, in Monday’s F1 news selection.

Lewis Hamilton has ‘compulsive need to win’ – James Allison

Mercedes technical director James Allison has said Lewis Hamilton’s motivation is undimmed by two years off the top step of the podium. Quite the opposite, in fact, given the success he has had in his career.

“I think you’d struggle to find a driver anywhere in the grid that wasn’t motivated,” Allison said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.

“I think that sort of comes with the territory with them. And generally speaking, the more successful the drivers have been, the more sort of inescapable that compulsive need to win is.

“In Lewis’ case, it’s just a core part of who he is, so there’s no doubt about his motivation to get back to winning ways.”

Read more: Lewis Hamilton doubts addressed by Mercedes with ‘compulsive’ claim

Max Verstappen asked about mega Red Bull salary outright

Speaking to The Times, Max Verstappen was asked if the base figure of a £40m salary plus bonuses that currently puts him at the top of Formula 1’s reported earnings chart was true.

According to the British newspaper, he replied with a smile: “Maybe. I’m not sure.”

The reigning World Champion is tied to his team until the 2028 season, having signed an enormous seven-year contract with Red Bull after winning his first title in 2021.

Read more: Max Verstappen grilled on mega Red Bull salary that eclipses Lewis Hamilton pay

Ferrari reported to be taking their own path with 2024 car

Far from being a Red Bull copy, a report from the Italian edition of Motorsport.com claims that the Scuderia are going their own way with development on their 2024 car.

Codenamed ‘Project 676’, as has been widely reported in Italian media for several months, the 2024 Ferrari has been slated for a February 13 launch date.

Read more: Ferrari Project 676: More rumoured details emerge on Ferrari’s mystery car

Carlos Sainz Sr admits to initial Audi talks over his son

Having long been associated with Audi himself through his rallying days, Carlos Sainz Sr, fresh from winning his fourth Dakar Rally, has admitted he has “exchanged views” with the German marque over his son Carlos Jr, as they gear up to enter F1 in 2026.

Sainz Jr is heading into the final year of his current Ferrari deal with talks set to take place over an extension, with both Sainz and Ferrari having been open in wanting to extend their relationship together.

Speaking to media at the Dakar Rally, quoted by Spanish publication Motor.es, Sainz Sr said: “I think it will only be a matter of time [before they succeed in F1]. I don’t have a crystal ball, but if Audi has all my respect and I think they are also putting all the ingredients in place for it to be a good project.

“As you would expect at Carlos’ place, with me being part of the Audi family, it’s logical that we talk and exchange views on what the Audi team can be in the future.”

Read more: Carlos Sainz Sr issues Audi F1 future update for Ferrari star

Barcelona and Madrid officials speak out as Spanish GP future rumours intensify

Rumours about a Madrid Grand Prix have intensified through reports in the Spanish media, and the president of the Community of Madrid, as well as the president of Catalonia, have both spoken about the future of the race.

With Stefano Domenicali reluctant to have two races in the same European nation beyond 2026, any announcement of a race in Madrid would potentially threaten the status of Barcelona on the calendar.

Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso told Marca: “Whether or not Formula 1 leaves Barcelona has nothing to do with Madrid.

“If an event is in danger at any given moment, I prefer that it stays in Madrid or in another Spanish region before it leaves the country.

“I hope that others know how to be happy for Madrid, because we also have the right to receive investment, even if the government does not help us.”

In response, Catalan president Pere Aragonès told Catalunya Radio when presented with Ayuso’s comments: “We are making good progress, the work is positive, and the future of F1 in Montmeló [Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya] will depend on the Circuit and F1, it will not depend on anything else.”

Read more: Spanish Grand Prix: What next for Barcelona as Madrid rumours intensify?