David Coulthard makes ‘major fallout’ claim about Lewis Hamilton contract

Lewis Hamilton has just four months remaining on his current contract with Mercedes before he becomes a free agent.

Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has given his opinion on why Mercedes are yet to announce that they’ve offered Lewis Hamilton a contract extension, something which was expected to be done a lone time ago.

For the entire season, many have been wondering when Hamilton will sign a new deal with Mercedes, given that he’s almost certain to remain with the Silver Arrows for at least two more seasons.

Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff have both insisted to the media that an extension will be signed, yet nothing is yet to be confirmed.

Hamilton has received an offer reportedly from Ferrari chairman John Elkann, which he supposedly rejected in rapid fashion.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Coulthard is certain that Hamilton isn’t delaying signing a deal for a move elsewhere, with the Scotsman admitting that only a “major fallout” could separate Mercedes and the seven-time World Champion.

“I don’t think there is any realistic chance that Lewis will leave Mercedes unless there is a major fallout,” Coulthard told the Irish News. “And I can’t see that happening.

“Who would the major fallout be with? Even if it was with Toto, Lewis’ relationship with Mercedes’ parent company Daimler is much longer than Toto’s emergence as team principal of Mercedes.”

So, why is a deal taking so long to sort?

Article continues below

Given Hamilton’s reputation and popularity, more than just racing has to be discussed in his contract negotiations.

The 103-time race winner has several huge sponsors, who Coulthard admits will have partnered with Mercedes purely to work with Hamilton.

He therefore believes that perhaps it’s just the minor contract details which are still being finalised, rather than Hamilton having a “change of heart”.

“For me, it is just a case of when they get it done,” he said. “I am not aware Lewis is having a change of heart about whether he wants to go racing or not, and I don’t think Mercedes are having second doubts.

READ: Nyck de Vries set for shock F1 return

“Mercedes will want a certain amount of time from Lewis for their partners. Mercedes will have sold sponsorship on obtaining access to their drivers.

“Some businesses will have signed up with the Silver Arrows because Lewis is there, rather than George Russell. Perhaps Lewis might be wanting to do fewer days or have fewer commitments?

“What Lewis will be signing up for goes way beyond him driving at a grand prix. It is about what rights he retains in terms of his image, and what rights he sells to the team. Mercedes are buying more than just Lewis’ driving services. They are buying his promotional image and his PR image.”