Money could be at the heart of the delay in Lewis Hamilton’s re-signing with the McLaren team.
Until now, the British team has indicated it wants the 2008 world champion to stay on board, while 27-year-old Hamilton insists he has no plans to leave and will turn his attention to the 2013 contract soon.
But according to Blick newspaper, McLaren is pushing to cut Hamilton’s existing contract retainer “in half” to “about EUR 10 million”.
The Swiss report said the driver is unimpressed with the negotiations so far, but at least Hamilton’s mood has improved tenfold compared with his calamitous 2011.
It is a full year since Hamilton raged about his “frickin ridiculous” track rivals in the 2011 Monaco grand prix, when he also half-seriously suggested that the stewards were targeting him “because I’m black”. He is back on top form this season, but still yet to win a race, arguably mainly due to McLaren’s numerous team mistakes.
Reports have suggested boss Martin Whitmarsh, who insists Hamilton “deserves” to win this weekend in Monaco, is worried the mistakes might drive the highly rated racer away. On Wednesday, however, Hamilton denied he is frustrated.
“I’m not, no. This is the way racing goes sometimes,” he insisted. “I could easily get frustrated because I could have a healthy lead in the championship — but that’s not the case. I don’t want to speak too early but something has definitely changed. Whatever I’m doing is working,” he told British reporters.
“In life, things just seem a lot better and that’s enabling me to get on with my job without having any baggage.”