McLaren is ready to offer Lewis Hamilton an initial three-year contract extension worth £60million (R790-million) in an attempt to keep its star driver - who will go in search of his first win of the season in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s current contract, worth £15m (R197m) a season, expires at the end of this campaign. And, as with Jenson Button’s renewal last year, McLaren are prepared to include clauses which could see the 2008 world champion extend his stay until 2017 and net at least another £40m.
While McLaren is eager to get discussions under way, Hamilton’s management are understandably biding their time, given there could yet be opportunities at Mercedes, Red Bull and even Ferrari next season.
Sportsmail understands talks are likely to begin in earnest around early July. By then Hamilton will have a better idea as to whether McLaren will be able to provide him with a car capable of challenging for the second world title he so desperately craves.
Hamilton joined McLaren as a 13-year-old, so questions of loyalty will also have to be weighed up.
After a tumultuous 2011, on and off the track, Hamilton is focused again. McLaren, however, have been in the wars this season with pit-stop blunders, among other mistakes, conspiring to hamper the 27-year-old in races.
However, Sky commentator Martin Brundle feels an easing of Hamilton’s McLaren sponsor commitments will be key to whether he stays or not.
‘Will McLaren allow him some space and some time of his own to sell? I think that will be more of a key factor than a couple of dodgy pit stops, frankly,’ he said. -Daily Mail