Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, has said Lewis Hamilton deserves the right to earn “super money” with contract talks set to continue later in February.
Hamilton is into the final year of his current Mercedes deal which is worth £40million a year. His new contract offer could earn him closer to a staggering £60million a year.
And Wolff listed the factors that make those figures justifiable, even if Mercedes’ parent Daimler are reportedly trying to cut costs with thousands of job cuts.
“You need to respect that a sporting superstar at the peak of his ability, and at the peak of his career, has a limited lifespan where he is able to earn this kind of super money,” Wolff said via PA news agency.
“We do respect that and we respect the contribution that Lewis brings to Mercedes both on and off the track.
“Equally, Lewis has always respected that we are Mercedes and there are certain financial realities that are important to us.
“The money side has never been a sticking point [in previous contracts]. It was more about freedom and his projects.
“We need to look at what makes him perform best.
We want the best guy on qualifying on Saturday and in the race on Sunday and that will always be my main focus.”
The six-time World Champion, who has been linked with a move to Ferrari, is due to report back to Mercedes HQ after spending much of the winter break in America.
Mercedes, who are due to rack up the first few miles with their W11 in a private shakedown test on Friday at Silverstone, revealed their new livery at a launch event inside the Royal Automobile Club in London.
The Silver Arrows announced a new five-year partnership deal with INEOS, signalling their intention to remain in Formula 1 for the long term.