Sir Lewis Hamilton will sign a new contract with Mercedes this week, claims former F1 team boss Eddie Jordan.
The seven-time World Champion is currently preparing for the 2021 Formula 1 season as he pursues an eighth World Championship that would put him unmatched at the pinnacle of Formula 1, after equalling Michael Schumacher’s tally in 2020.
As of yet though he doesn’t have a team to do it with after Hamilton’s Mercedes deal expired at the end of 2020.
Jordan, who remains well connected within the Formula 1 paddock and did correctly predict INEOS’s investment in Mercedes, even if it was a one-third rather than full buyout as he said, recently warned that Hamilton is replaceable as the contract saga continues to roll on.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said the deal is now with the lawyers, and that it must be signed before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
But, Jordan doesn’t expect talks to be dragged out for much longer, instead expecting a new deal for Hamilton to be announced “within a week”.
“I believe Lewis will be signed within a week. I cannot see it going into February,” he told the PA news agency.
“Where do Mercedes go after Lewis? Of course, they can have the pick of the crop, but that is not the way Toto operates.
“He has increased his shareholding over the winter, brought in INEOS as a one-third shareholder, and he doesn’t want to be walking up and down the paddock with somebody new that he has to think about.
“He wants to be there with the man of the moment, he wants to be there with the king of all kings in Formula One and that is Lewis Hamilton.”
Accounts published last autumn said the Silver Arrows enjoyed a near-quarter share of F1’s TV coverage, generating a cumulative advertising value equivalent to nearly £4billion for its commercial partners.
And Jordan feels Hamilton should be getting a piece of that particular pie.
“The TV rights that Mercedes are getting as a result of winning the Drivers’ and the Constructors’ Championship, surely some of that should go to Lewis?,” he asked.
“He has been a hugely important part of the success and the reward they are getting. Who is the first person the TV people want to speak to first? Lewis. Do Lewis’ comments get repeated much more than anyone else? Of course they do.
“If you look at LeBron James and Tiger Woods, they went to the organisers of their respective sports and said that we bring more credibility and support because of who we are and you need to compensate us. So pay Lewis an amount of money that the team are getting. I cannot see how he is not entitled to that.
“Some might say he is already being overpaid, and maybe so, but we all said that nobody would ever come close to Michael Schumacher’s record and now you have a driver who has the potential to beat him by becoming an eight-time World Champion. And make no mistake, Lewis is getting better.”