Mercedes only willing to give Hamilton half of his £40m salary demands

Take a pay cut Lewis! Mercedes only willing to offer Hamilton half of his £40m salary demands with six-time world champion’s Formula One future in doubt

  • Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is set to offer Lewis Hamilton half his salary demands 
  • The six-time world champion is asking for £40m a year to remain with Mercedes 
  • But Wolff will not meet such a high figure and is prepared to offer £20m instead
  • Mercedes will tell him that the world situation has changed since the pandemic

Lewis Hamilton’s future in Formula One is suddenly in doubt with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff set to offer him half the salary he is demanding.

As Sportsmail reported on Thursday, the six-time world champion is asking for £40million a year to stay at Mercedes beyond his current deal, which expires at the end of the season.

But Wolff will not countenance any such figure. A source revealed: ‘Toto has told people around him that about £20m is as far as he is prepared to go.’

Lewis Hamilton’s future in F1 is in doubt with Mercedes set to offer him half his salary demands

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is prepared to offer £20m, rather than Hamilton’s desired £40m

Mercedes will tell their star driver that the world situation has changed since coronavirus struck. The pandemic has brought about a strict budget cap for next year of £130m, with further reductions due to be introduced over the coming seasons.

That means hundreds of job cuts in the industry, a backdrop that makes Hamilton’s demands for an increase on his existing £36m salary seem outlandish. Mercedes, who employ 1,000 staff on their F1 programme in Northamptonshire, will have to trim or redeploy 300 of the workforce.

Wolff’s direction of travel was made clear in recent discussions over the budget cap. It can be revealed that he argued for a $25m (£20m) limit on driver salaries, which are so far exempt from any restriction.

Mercedes will tell the star driver that the world situation has changed since coronavirus struck

Hamilton, 35, believes his record as an 84-time race winner entitles him to great riches, even though that would be bucking a trend towards diminishing salaries across the sport. Even Ferrari decided to release Sebastian Vettel – the only driver on a similar pay grade to Hamilton – after Covid-19 struck.

They signed Carlos Sainz from McLaren to partner Charles Leclerc instead, a far from lavish line-up for the grid’s traditional biggest spenders.

If Wolff holds firm, Hamilton must decide whether to accept a major pay cut or move on, either to retirement or, if a seat were available, to a new team.

Wolff is keeping four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the picture as a replacement

He has always been drawn to Ferrari, but there is no opening at Maranello for 2021.

Wolff talked on Friday of there being ‘no urgency’ in negotiations with the Briton, saying they would ‘take the next steps soon’. But sources close to Wolff say he believes Hamilton has limited bargaining power, his options elsewhere being closed. He is keeping Vettel, the four-time world champion, in the picture as a possible replacement.

Wolff said: ‘I like Sebastian a lot. He’s my neighbour in Switzerland. He’s one of the great drivers in F1. But at the moment our priorities lie with Lewis and Valtteri Bottas, and we would very much like to extend their contracts.’

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