Lewis Hamilton continues to show F1 pioneer status in Mercedes contract talks

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Lewis Hamilton is reportedly asking for a game-changing detail in his new contract with Mercedes ahead of the 2021 season. Hamilton is yet to sign a new deal, despite winning his seventh world title last year.

And while there have been reports that he is asking for an increase on his already substantial £40million-per-year salary, former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan has reported that Hamilton is in fact asking for a share in Mercedes’ TV rights.

“I have a little snippet of information and Lewis is saying ‘look guys, this is my salary, is this what I am being paid as a driver and for various other things that go along with the interviews and other aspects?’” he is quoted as saying by Give Me Sport.

“‘But am I being compensated for bringing in sponsors? Am I being compensated for the arrival of Ineos?

‘Am I being compensated for the increased television income you are getting as the constructors’ champion in the form of TV money?’”

Jordan, who wan an F1 team for 14 years and worked as a pundit for several years afterwards, believes that Hamilton’s manager should be asking for these unusual demands.

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“If I was his manager, I would be saying to Mercedes, ‘look, we add a lot of value to Mercedes’ overall income over the year. It is positively wrong to ignore that’,” he added.

“I believe Lewis is looking for 10 per cent of the team’s television money and it is hard to understand why he would not be worth that.”

This would be a groundbreaking new deal in F1, a sign that the sport is catching up to the financial evolution of the modern world, where athletes understand and take advantage of their vast marketing potential.

As Jordan rightly highlights, Hamilton is the draw. Both he and Mercedes know this, and he would not be entirely out of order to believe that he deserves a share in the team’s media earnings, given that he is the primary driver of such a revenue stream.

Should such a deal be completed, it would change the face of F1 negotiations in the future.

Athletes are beginning to think outside the box when it comes to improving their contracts. They are not merely asking for more money, and Hamilton is showing that there is more to negotiations than just increasing your salary.

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It continues a theme that the British driver took into his own in 2020: he is a pioneer for F1, on and off the track, just as he wanted to be.

In 2019, at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, Hamilton told reporters, as quoted by Planet F1: “I always love a challenge and this team has shown that they are better prepared and in the best position to be able to react to all the changes.

“So I know the team are approaching it in an exciting way, and as a challenge. Us drivers, there were certain things that were heard and not necessarily were all the decisions what we thought were best – the cars are heavier, and slower.

“But I think it’s going to be an interesting time. You’ve got the youngsters who are in town. I’m planning to be here then so at some point next year my mindset will be to switch into 2021, and wanting to be the pioneer in that era.”

In this instance, he is referencing the new rules that will now come into play in 2022 when teams must abide by a spending cap and entirely redesign their cars. It is a new era for F1, and Hamilton wants to be at the forefront of it.

But he has also proven his leadership in his work against racial injustice, making the sport more environmentally aware, and now in the realms of contracts.

At the end of last season, Hamilton revealed his desire to remain with Mercedes because he believes there is more work to be done as he continues to evolve the sport.

“I would love to stay,” he said via ESPN when asked about his ongoing contract negotiations. “I feel like we’ve got a lot of work to do here.

“You know that we’ve only just begun. I want to push to hold ourselves accountable as a sport, to realise that we’ve got to face and not ignore the human rights issues that are around the countries that we go to.

“It’s how can we engage with those countries and help them, and empower them to do more to really change, not 10 years from now, nor 20 years from now, but now. I want to help F1. I want to help Mercedes, in that journey.

“And also particularly moving more sustainable, you know, as a sport. The whole thing of when we need to be more sustainable. I want to try and see if I can be part of that, at least the initial phase of that, for a little bit longer.”

Hamilton is a pioneer of F1, and his latest negotiation tactic with Mercedes is just yet more proof.

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