Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is set to offer to Lewis Hamilton a lucrative new contract for 2013 and beyond, British newspapers are reporting from Monaco.
The stories – in all the major dailies including the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, Express, the Star, the Sun, the Mirror and the Times – consistently contradicted an earlier rumour that Hamilton might need to take a pay-cut if he wants to stay with the British team beyond this year.
The Guardian said McLaren has in fact put a five-year, $150 million contract on the table, which combined with bonuses might mean Hamilton overtakes Fernando Alonso as F1’s highest paid driver. "No formal talks have taken place yet … but it is believed that McLaren … are ready to make their move," the report read. The Telegraph concurred, explaining that the new deal might involve a "lower basic salary" but "more control" for Hamilton to sign up his own sponsors. "It is understood that (his manager) Simon Fuller … will be in London in July and August … and negotiations are likely to pick up pace at that point," said that report.
British commentator Martin Brundle said: "Will McLaren allow him some space and some time of his own to sell? I think that will be more of a key factor than a couple of dodgy pit stops, frankly." The Daily Mail added: "While McLaren are eager to get discussions under way, Hamilton’s management are understandably biding their time, given there could yet be opportunities at Mercedes, Red Bull and even Ferrari next season."
The Mirror said McLaren will entice Hamilton to sign for a full five years by offering him "almost a third of the entire ($150m) sum in this final (fifth) year". The Times’ Kevin Eason said the information came from "reliable sources" on the eve of the Monaco grand prix.
Source: GMM, Image: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes