Lewis Hamilton reveals new Mercedes contract 'weeks away' after dismissing Ferrari links
Lewis Hamilton has dismissed speculation linking him with Ferrari, insisting he is now “weeks away” from signing a new contract with Mercedes.
Reports this week suggested John Elkann, the Ferrari chairman, was in discussions with Hamilton and that the Maranello team had tabled a £40 million offer in an attempt to prise the seven-time world champion away from Brackley.
But speaking ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, Hamilton rejected that claim, denying he had been in contact with Ferrari and adding that his “negotiating team” were very close to agreeing a new deal with Mercedes.
“When you are in contract negotiations there is always going to be speculation, and unless you hear it from me that is all it is,” Hamilton said of the reports. “My team is working closely behind the scenes with Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal] and we are almost at the point of having the contract ready. I’m having the team focused on that so I can just do my job.”
The 38-year-old added: “It’s a much better position than I used to be, because I used to do all the negotiations on my own and it was very stressful. I don’t have to do that anymore.”
Alonso: 'He always wins and loses with the team so he should stay'
Hamilton was speaking just minutes after former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso aimed a playful jibe at him. Asked about the Ferrari rumours and whether Hamilton might move to Maranello, Alonso said: “I have no idea but he always said he wins and loses together with the team so if he is not winning he should stay [at Mercedes].”
Hamilton did not respond directly to that remark. But he did say the success or otherwise of Mercedes’ long-awaited upgrade package, which is being introduced here in Monaco, would have no bearing on whether he renewed or not.
“No, it doesn’t have a bearing,” he said. “Because we’re still a championship-winning team. It’s just we’ve had the wrong car. There have been some decisions that have been made over the past two years that have not been ideal. We’re working our way through that.
“All of the energy is going towards our new upgrade this weekend. The team have worked incredibly hard to bring this upgrade. We already after [the first race of the season in] Bahrain decided that’s what we’re going to do and so I was a little bit gutted when the last race [in Imola] got cancelled because I was excited to try this new package.
“And whilst here is not the best platform track-wise to really see the upgrades come to fruition, we will hopefully experience that more [in Barcelona] next week. Otherwise, as I said, my team are chatting, having discussions [with Mercedes] in the background, and we’re almost there.”
Asked how long it might be before he put pen to paper, Hamilton replied: “Hopefully in the next few weeks.”
Vasseur: 'We did not send an offer to Hamilton'
Fred Vasseur, the Ferrari team principal, had earlier also denied the reports, dismissing it as ‘silly season’ gossip.
"Two weeks ago you sent [Carlos] Sainz to Audi and one week ago you sent [Charles] Leclerc to Mercedes and now I am alone," the Frenchman joked. "At this stage of the season, you will have each week a different story and we are not sending an offer to Lewis Hamilton. We didn't do it. We didn't have discussions.”
As well as Hamilton’s future, Alonso was also asked about his own future in the sport following the news that Honda will become Aston Martin’s engine partner from 2026 when new power units are introduced.
The Spaniard was famously scathing about Honda when he was last driving for McLaren, but the two-time world champion said he would have no issue working with the Japanese manufacturer again, assuming he was still driving in 2026, by which time he will be 44.
“It didn't work out last time [in] 2015, 2016, 2017," Alonso said. "But I think they have proved that they now have a competitive package, they won the championship in 2021 [with Red Bull], they won the championship in 2022, most likely they will win the championship in 2023. They have now a very strong package. It's a new set of regulations, but I think it will be a very exciting project.
"I don't know what I will do in 2026, I would lie if I told you that I know right now for sure. But I feel fresh, I feel motivated now, I feel sharp, I'm still fast.”