Report lifts lid on key sticking point for new Lewis Hamilton Mercedes deal

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton climbing into his W14. Hungary July 2023

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton climbing into his W14. Hungary July 2023

As Ferrari made it clear Lewis Hamilton’s future is a conversation between the Briton and Toto Wolff, a report has claimed it is sponsorship commitments that have led to the hold-up in Hamilton’s contract.

Even before the first race of the 2023 season, Wolff was keen to get Hamilton’s signature on a new contract for the 2024 championship, and perhaps even longer.

Now 12 races into this season and the two have yet to put pen to paper on a new deal with speculation Hamilton is considering a move to Ferrari.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have reportedly agreed duration and salary

That was quashed by Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur who told the media, including, on the eve of the Dutch Grand Prix that Hamilton’s future is not a conversation that he’s involved in.

“Honestly, I’m not focused at all on this,” he said. “I’m focused on the development of the team and the discussion is between Lewis and Toto and not myself.”

But if it’s not a move to Ferrari, nor retirement with Hamilton saying he could continue for a few years still, then what is it?

The Sun says it’s down to marketing with Hamilton and Mercedes having agreed the duration and his salary but still debating his sponsorship commitments.

‘At the Hungarian GP, Merc boss Toto Wolff said the two parties had “emotionally” agreed to sign – so why the hold up?’ read the report.

‘The likelihood is that the duration of the contract – expected to be two years – has been agreed. As well as the wages of around £50 million a year.

‘However, the likely sticking point will centre on the amount of time Hamilton will be contractually obliged to be available for Mercedes’ sponsors.

‘Hamilton is in the box seat. He knows his worth to Mercedes in terms of his brand and is understandably willing to play hardball.’ recommends

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The Sun’s report is in line with David Coulthard’s recent theory that image rights and sponsorship commitments have caused the delay with the Scot convinced it is “just a case of when they get it done“.

He went on to explain that Mercedes “will want a certain amount of time from Lewis for their partners” as they will have “sold sponsorship on obtaining access to their drivers.

“Some businesses will have signed up with the Silver Arrows because Lewis is there, rather than George Russell. Perhaps Lewis might be wanting to do fewer days or have fewer commitments?”

The former F1 driver added that the contract Hamilton signs goes “way beyond him driving at a grand prix” as it also includes “what rights he retains in terms of his image, and what rights he sells to the team. Mercedes are buying more than just Lewis’ driving services. They are buying his promotional image and his PR image.”

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