F1 News: Mercedes Shoot Down Lewis Hamilton Contract Rumours – Sports Illustrated

There has been a lot of speculation over seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton's contract with Mercedes. However, the team has now confirmed the rumours are not true. 
Rumours started to speculate at the end of last week that Mercedes and Hamilton had signed a contract extension for $49 million (£40 million) per year on a two year contract extension until the end of the 2025 season. On top of this, there were also rumours that if he wins the championship he will get a bonus of $27 million (£22 million. There was also gossip of him staying on with the team for a further ten years as an ambassador. 
The British driver's current contract is due to expire at the end of 2023. Team principal and CEO Toto Wolff has said it is a job for him over the winter break but it is widely understood that the contract will be extended.
A spokesperson for the team has now squashed the contract rumours by revealing that the negotiations haven't even started yet. As quoted by Formu1a.uno, the spokesperson explained:
“Obviously, the winter doesn’t stop the rumour mill, and it’s been entertaining to read speculation about contract discussions when they haven’t yet begun…
“The rumours seem to have started on a French blog, Sportune, with which we don’t have a relationship – and are pretty wild in terms of what they suggest! Toto stated on record last Friday that discussions haven’t yet begun, and that’s exactly the situation.”
With both parties clearly interested in extending the contract, this does not seem to be concerning. Hamilton spoke recently in an interview with The New York Times that he is not ready to retire yet. He also explained that his dream is to retire as a world champion. 
The Mercedes team had a difficult 2022 but are confident with the significant developments they made towards the end of the year, that they will be in a much better position going into the upcoming 2023 season. 
The season kicks off with the Bahrain Grand Prix on 3rd-5th March with pre-season testing the week beforehand.

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