After a week’s unexpected hiatus, Formula 1 returns and fans will be treated to the iconic Monaco Grand Prix. However, off the track contract discussions are heating up and there is yet another twist in the tale of Lewis Hamilton’s future in the sport.
There had been rumours emerging earlier in the week suggesting Ferrari had offered the seven-time world champion a deal worth £40 million but the Mercedes driver has since come out and retorted these suggestions. Hamilton’s current deal with the Silver Arrows comes to an end at this December, but it would appear that, despite Mercedes’ recent struggles with the car, a new deal is close to being signed.
Mercedes are bringing the first of three major upgrades to the track this weekend and fans will now see revised sidepods as well as floor and front suspension revisions, similar to that which was pioneered by Red Bull in 2022.
It had been thought that the impacts of these updates could indicate what Hamilton would do next year, but as he insists an upcoming contract with the Silver Arrows is imminent, he has said: “It will be interesting to see how (the upgrade) works. I don’t think we will be fighting for a win but hopefully we will be more in the fight. We are still a championship-winning team but we have had the wrong car and some decisions that have been made are not ideal.”
Here is all you need to know about what’s been said regarding his 2024 contract...
What did Lewis Hamilton say?
Speaking to the media ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton said Ferrari had not been in touch: “This is the first time I have not been negotiating myself and I have a great team in the background doing all the work and I can focus on the job. I say what I want and that’s what we’re working towards.
“Naturally, when you are in contract negotiations, there is always going to be speculation and unless you hear it from me, that’s what it is. Maybe with the race (in Imola last weekend) being cancelled, they just got bored.
“My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto and we are almost at the point of having a contract ready. It is much more relaxing now because before I was doing it myself.”
What has Ferrari said?
Ferrari’s team principal, Frederic Vasseur was also asked about contract negotiations to which he said: “You know perfectly that at this stage of the season each week you will have a different story and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton. We didn’t do it.
“We didn’t have discussions. I think every single team on the grid would like to have Hamilton at one stage - it would be rubbish to not say something like this.”
He also added that it was too soon to talk about negotiations with his own drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who are both contracted until the end of 2024.
“The most important (thing) for us is to stay focused on the development in the current season,” Vasseur said. “In a couple of months, we’ll have the slot to discuss about the future.
“We agreed that we’ll discuss about the contracts later on and I don’t want to change because we had rumours from someone that Lewis could come or Charles could go or Carlos could go. We are dealing with our jobs internally and I will stay focused on the plan.”