JANUARY 14, 2008
Peace of mind for Lewis
Since the launch of the new McLaren last week there have been some rumours circulating that suggest that the team has signed a new long-term deal with Lewis Hamilton. It would be amazing if this were not the case but the interesting point is how long the deal is for - and how much money Hamilton will be paid. Hamilton has said that he will be happy to stay with the team for his entire F1 career "if they want me to" and in recent months he has been in the process of moving to Switzerland to benefit from the country's liberal approach to taxation and to be able to live a quieter life than is possible in England.
The question of money is rather more difficult to unravel but it seems that last year he was signed up with a salary of $700,000 but also had the opportunity to make considerably more money with a large bonus for every point he scored. With 109 points in the bag by the end of the year it is quite possible that hed had netted millions of dollars. This was still a small salary when compared to the wages being earned by Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and others.
There were rumours as long ago as August last year that McLaren had agreed to a new long-term deal with Hamilton to make sure he was not lured away to another team. The team obviously had options on his services but there was pressure to cement a more solid deal. The word is that this is for five years and is worth as much as $138m in that period. The starting salary is said to be $17m and that will obviously rise to something in the region of $35m by the last year of the deal. There are likely to be clauses allowing for additional bonuses if he wins World Championships.