As the Formula One season draws to a close, all eyes are on Mercedes and their star driver, Lewis Hamilton. According to The Insider, Hamilton is seeking a staggering 400 million to extend his contract with the team for two more years, with the option of becoming an ambassador for Mercedes after that.
Despite experiencing his worst season yet, finishing sixth in the drivers' standings and failing to secure a single win, Mercedes is eager to keep Hamilton in their ranks. Toto Wolff, Mercedes' team principal, recognizes the value Hamilton brings to the team not only as a skilled driver but also as a powerful brand ambassador.
Wolff announced that he will sit down with Hamilton to discuss the contract extension once the driver returns from vacation in Europe. "We have a full year to go," Wolff said, according to PlanetF1. "We're so aligned. In the last 10 years, our relationship has grown that it's just a matter of him physically being back in Europe, sticking our heads together, wrestling a bit, and then leaving the room with white smoke after a few hours."
The proposed deal also includes significant financial backing from Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Mercedes sponsor Ineos.
According to a report from French outlet 20 Minutes, Ratcliffe would finance 90% of the new contract, compared to the 33% of Hamilton's current contract. Hamilton and Ratcliffe have also been linked as potential future owners of Manchester United, with Hamilton expressing interest in investing in sports teams and promoting Black ownership and equity in the industry.
"Jim's part-boss but partner – I'd say we're more partners because we're in this together, and I hope in future to do something with Jim and build with him," Hamilton said in an interview with the Manchester Evening News in September.
"I don't know where that will be or what that will be, so I can't really say. I haven't had a call from him asking if I want to be involved in [a Manchester United bid] just yet. But I do want to get more and more involved in teams because I really do believe in Black ownership, there is a lack of it in sports.
And Black equity, again, there is a real lack of that." The proposed contract for Hamilton not only reflects his value as a driver but also his importance as a figurehead for the Mercedes brand and his potential future ventures.