'Lewis edging closer to Merc'

Decision expected next week to bring closure to summer's longest saga

Last Updated: 19/09/12 10:11am

  • Share:
Is Hamilton about to turn his back on McLaren?

Is Hamilton about to turn his back on McLaren?

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Fresh reports claim that Lewis Hamilton is 'edging closer' to joining Mercedes and McLaren 'now have have no better than a 50-50 chance' of persuading the 2008 World Champion to sign a new contract.

According to The Daily Mail, Hamilton's future is finally set to be resolved 'in the run-up to next weekend's Singapore Grand Prix' and the newspaper claims that Mercedes are now in pole position to secure Hamilton's services for 2013 and beyond.

'McLaren's latest offer to Hamilton to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the current campaign, is understood to be worth considerably less than his existing £15million-a-year terms,' it reports.

'By contrast, Mercedes are desperate to make Hamilton the linchpin of their expanding involvement in Formula One and have offered to match his current deal, while bonuses could push the sum towards £60m over three years.

'The 2008 world champion is understood to have been shocked by McLaren's unwillingness to at least match his current salary, the major sticking point being the perceived undervaluing of his image rights which he must sign away to their army of sponsors.'

From the point of view of joining Mercedes, meanwhile, the major sticking point would be the absence of a winning pedigree - the team have won just a single grand prix since returning to F1 as a fully-fledged outfit three years ago.

However, the Mail declares that 'Hamilton is understood to be satisfied that, with Brawn at the helm and the backing of one of the planet's biggest car manu-facturers, Mercedes can provide him with a car capable of realising his dream of emulating Ayrton Senna's record of three world titles.'

Were Hamilton to depart, it would leave McLaren in an unexpected quandary about who to appoint as Jenson Button's team-mate for next season. Speaking at Monza last week, team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted "I haven't given Plan B any thought", but reports have since suggested that Heikki Kovalainen, who drove for the team as Hamilton's team-mate before Button, Sergio Perez and Paul di Resta would be the leading candidates.

  • Share:


F1 Transfer Gossip

Raikkonen coy on future plans

Kimi Raikkonen has cast fresh doubt on his future by refusing to clarify when he believes his stint at Ferrari will end.

Caterham confirm staff exits

Caterham have confirmed their new-look post-takeover management structure and the departure of a "number of employees".

Jules Bianchi with Nico Rosberg

Who's signed up until when?

A look at which teams already have their drivers signed up - and who might have vacancies - heading towards 2015.

Related Profiles


Most Popular


Market trading

Market trading

Which teams already have drivers under lock and key - and which ones could have vacancies - for 2015?

An uncertain market

An uncertain market

Mark Hughes explains how uncertainty about Fernando Alonso's future is affecting F1's transfer market.

JB responds to Ron

JB responds to Ron

Jenson says everyone at McLaren must work harder after Dennis called for more from his lead driver.