Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton remains without a confirmed seat at Mercedes for 2021, with the German manufacturer yet to announce that they have tied down their star man to a new deal. The 35-year-old’s current contract is set to expire before the beginning of the new season.
Mercedes have been in negotiations with Hamilton for some time but have failed to confirm news of an agreement.
The two parties have reportedly been struggling to settle on terms, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic wreaking financial havoc on the sport and its competitors.
However, it has been revealed that a deal was tantalisingly close back in November.
According to Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport, Mercedes tabled a contract that ‘meets Hamilton’s requirements’ around the time of the Turkish Grand Prix, a race the British driver won.
The report claims that a four-year deal with a ‘salary of 50 million a year’ was offered.
Although both parties were happy to proceed, the deal was blocked by Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes.
The corporation cited concerns about Hamilton’s contract length, instead preferring a two-year agreement with the option of a third.
The Stevenage-born driver, who will receive a knighthood in the New Year Honours, is widely thought to be approaching retirement in the next few years, with George Russell primed to replace him at the Silver Arrows.
Any deal for next season will need to be signed and sealed by a deadline set for ‘the end of February’.
Mercedes firmly expect Hamilton to put pen to paper before the cut-off point, with team principal Toto Wolff claiming earlier this month that there is no immediate rush to push a deal through.
“From my point of view, we had such a successful run at championships in the past seven years, that there is no reason not to continue,” Wolff told Autosport when asked about his team’s relationship with Hamilton.
“He [Hamilton] is on the top of his game and he will be for a while. And that’s why continuing together is a no brainer.
“If you refer to why haven’t we got a signed contract? The reason is simple. We always prioritised about getting this championship done, and not being distracted by sometimes difficult discussions, as is the nature of negotiation. But then COVID struck.
“So it has delayed us a little bit, but we are not worried in eventually getting it done.”
“We are putting no special date to it, because we don’t want to be put under pressure from you guys [the media] while it’s not signed yet. So sooner or later, it needs to be done. At the latest before we go testing.”