According to Autoweek, Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton won’t just be sticking around Mercedes for three more years, but he’ll do it to the tune of around $155 million. That’s more than enough to buy quite an impressive collection of embarrassing hats, dude.
Of course, it makes sense for Mercedes to lock down their two successful drivers. Nico Rosberg extended his contract in 2014 and is guaranteed for a couple more years. With rumblings that Hamilton might jump ship to Ferrari, it’s about time they kept the two-time Formula One World Driver’s Champion in house.
Per Forbes, the contract includes a $32 million base salary with bonuses that can push the total over $45 million a year. Hamilton also negotiated the deal himself, as he split from the XIX Entertainment management company at the end of last year. Hamilton joked that he “earned his 10 percent” to Autoweek, as the contract involved far more legalese than he probably expected. Ultimately, though, it all seems to have worked out in his favor.
Despite rumors that Hamilton might look for a seat at Ferrari, he made it clear to Autoweek that both he and the team hadn’t even reached out to anyone else:
I said to Mercedes from the get-go that I wasn’t planning to speak to anyone, and I believe they did the same...
There was never any doubt, honestly. I was always led to believe that the team wanted to continue with me, and naturally with the success we’ve had, and the relationship we’ve had, it felt certain. I took my time, I wasn’t being challenged elsewhere by another driver, which was a good thing.
After all, why would Hammy make a move when his Mercedes got him a second world championship and is still the dominant team to beat in 2015? That being said, the Hamilton to Ferrari rumors certainly wouldn’t have hurt Hamilton in negotiating a primo payday. He’s in demand, and he knows he’s what he’s worth. Good for him.
Most of all, Hamilton knows this team really well. Hamilton explained to Autoweek:
I’ve been with Mercedes for a long time. They were part of getting me to F1, when I signed in ‘97 for McLaren and Mercedes. They were hugely influential in guiding me to F1, and I’ve only ever driven for Mercedes. So I wanted to continue with them, plus I joined this team and made it a success. I’m very, very happy with the package and the group of people within this team. So it was kind of a very easy decision to make, and it was also great that the team wanted to continue to work with me.
While some McLaren fans feel as if he turned his back on the company that brought him up through karting when he left that team, Autoweek points out that Mercedes was also a big part of Hamilton’s early years, supplying his engines in F3 and pushing for McLaren to sign him for a race seat in 2007. He knows the company more than any others on the grid.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff felt as if the team got a good deal out of the new contract as well. Wolff explained to Autoweek:
We have taken the right amount of time with the process and not rushed ourselves. The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand, and that recognizes and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One. Lewis’ sporting track record speaks for itself and he is a great personality for the company.
It’s all chump change for Mercedes, though. Forbes reports that the team itself is worth $560 million, making Mercedes one of the richest teams in Formula One.
Teammate Nico Rosberg seems to be handling the news with a level head as well. I get the feeling that Rosberg’s got his groove back after his recent win, and he sounds like he’ll welcome the challenge of keeping Hamilton around.
Rosberg told Motorsport.com:
I really enjoy the challenge of racing Lewis, I always have, because he is an awesome driver. It’s a great challenge to try and beat him, and beat him when I do.
There’s the internal [battle], and we have to think about the team, and at the same time we think about beating each other. It’s always going to be complicated, and both of us want to win.
So there’s ups and downs, and there’s always going to be another down also, and at the moment it’s OK.
“Complicated” is a nice, diplomatic way of putting that. Uh-huh. Complicated. Sure.
Rosberg also claims that he isn’t worried about the numbers that are being tossed around for what Hamilton’s getting paid, either. While he tells Motorsport.com that he’s happy with his current deal, he also seems leery of any published numbers.
“I haven’t seen the numbers [of Hamilton’s deal], I don’t know anything about the numbers because I haven’t read what’s been written, and then I also doubt you’re going to get close to the real figure,” Rosberg told Motorsport.com. “I know that from experience, because I know what I earn and I know what you write. I can tell you that it’s often far off!”
Keep tellin’ yourself that, buddy. Oh, and keep beating your teammate. You’re more fun when you’re on your A-game on track, and this Mercedes back-and-forth is sometimes all we get when there’s only one dominant team.
Of course, Hamilton also has his personal sponsors such as Bombardier and IWC outside of his contract with Mercedes. According to Forbes, those sponsors provided him with an extra $3 million between June 2013 and June 2014. Forbes expects that he will target more personal sponsors now that Mercedes will allow him to target more kinds of sponsors on his own.
Hooray for money!
Photo credit: Getty Images
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