Towards the end of last season, both Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff confirmed that the Brit would sign a multi-year contract extension over the winter, to keep him tied to Mercedes for the foreseeable future.
This news was reassuring for F1 fans, who had begun to speculate that after two very disappointing seasons, the seven-time world champion could call time on his illustrious career.
The 38-year-old failed to win a single race last season as Mercedes struggled under the new regulations, leaving him still on the hunt for a record breaking eighth world title.
With only weeks to go until pre-season begins in Bahrain, fans have become alarmed by the fact that Hamilton is still yet to sign a contract extension, with rumours of stumbling blocks in negotiations beginning to emerge.
It has been rumoured that Mercedes have offered Hamilton a £62m deal that would run until 2025, a massive increase on his current wage.
This rumoured offer also reportedly contains a clause that would see Hamilton transition to a Mercedes ambassador after he retires, on a 10-year contract worth around £22m per year.
These massive wages would reportedly be subsidised by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, who would pay 90 percent of Hamilton’s wages.
In return, Hamilton would partner with the INEOS owner to form a consortium to launch a takeover bid for Manchester United, who are set to be sold by the Glazer family.
Mercedes and Toto Wolff have now denied these rumours, claiming there is no truth in the stories.
“This is wild speculation. Completely unfounded,” Mercedes told SID.
Toto Wolff has also been quick to shut down any rumours surrounding his driver’s contract situation, claiming everything is still on course for Hamilton to re-sign with the team.
“As for contract discussions, we have a full year to go. We are so aligned – in the last ten years or so our relationship has grown,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s just a matter of him physically being back in Europe, sticking our heads together, wrestling a bit, and then leaving the room with white smoke after a few hours.”
While the rumours may not be entirely true, Hamilton could yet partner with Ratcliffe to take over Manchester United, after the Brits joined forces last year in a failed attempt to purchase Chelsea FC.