Mercedes’ delay in tying Lewis Hamilton down to a new long-term contract is not solely down to sorting out the 36-year-old’s salary, insists Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali.
Hamilton has still yet to put pen to paper having been a free agent since the end of December but is expected to ink a new deal with the Silver Arrows this month.
Some reports have claimed that the Briton has already reached a verbal agreement with Mercedes having confirmed the news will be announced ahead of their W12, the team’s 2021 car, unveiling on March 21.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff recently declared that a deal for the seven-time world champion would be signed “soon” though there has been quite the delay in thrashing out terms.
It has been suggested that Hamilton is standing firm in search of a £40million-a-year salary but Domenicali insists the hold-up in an announcement will not be purely due to the financial terms of the contract.
Motorsport.com meanwhile say that Mercedes will officially confirm that an extension has been agreed between both parties ‘in the next few days’.
“I think they’re talking about a lot of stuff,” said former Ferrari team principal Domenicali in a conference call. “I’m sure that Lewis wants to understand a lot of points [relating] to his future.
“I want to see him still very involved in Formula One. It is his life, it will maybe be his life in the future, or he may be interested in other things.
“We can see he has a lot of interests and is so good at being involved without losing focus. There are a lot of points. I don’t think it’s related only to his salary.
“It’s more related to what they have in mind to share together in the future, I think that’s the reason why.
“Maybe they’re not in a rush, that they’ve decided it’s all OK. We never know.
“But for me, it will be good to see, as soon as they have the announcement, Lewis with the energy he has always given to Formula 1, and I’m sure that will be.”
Sky Sports reporter Craig Slater recently said that Mercedes remain completely calm about Hamilton’s contract situation and Express Sport understands they have never been at all concerned about any prospect they might fail to agree a new deal.
He said: “All is quiet still on the Sir Lewis Hamilton contract front but I can report that all is calm at Mercedes regarding that new contract.
“They understand that while there isn’t confirmation, the longer this drags on, the more speculation there will be. They say they are going to live with that.
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“The plan is for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to continue to work together. That’s still the plan, that’s what they’ve said all along.
“As far as I understand none of that [Hamilton visiting the team’s factory] is obstructed by the fact he remains out of contract, so it is business as usual as far as Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton are concerned, contract or no contract.”
Domenicali meanwhile cannot wait to see Hamilton back on track and continued: “Lewis is an incredible driver, an incredible man, an incredible athlete.
“He has given to Formula One a different dimension that is over the sport, I would say.
“Lewis is a massive ambassador for Formula One, who is really very important for Formula One because he is the one who is embracing other values into the discussion, with his face [now recognised] in a lot of areas away from the sport.
“As soon as we know what will be his future, it will be great to see him fighting for something that no-one would have thought possible to achieve after Michael [Schumacher]’s era. It will be really great.”