Hamilton’s demands defended as Mercedes told to break the bank to retain star

Eddie Jordan has urged Mercedes to break the bank to secure Lewis Hamilton's services for the 2021 Formula One season.

Hamilton, 36, is in the highly unusual situation of being out of contract after his £40million-a-season Mercedes deal expired on December 31, with the forthcoming campaign getting underway in Bahrain in March.

Mercedes are confident Hamilton will extend his stay with the sport's all-conquering team but the length of his new contract and his salary – with Hamilton believed to be holding out for an increase on his previous deal – under scrutiny.

Jordan ran his own F1 team for 14 years and believes Hamilton, who has won six of his record-equalling seven world championships with Mercedes, should be granted a slice of the team's television revenue.

Accounts published last autumn said the Silver Arrows enjoyed a near-quarter share of F1's TV coverage, generating a cumulative advertising value equivalent to nearly £4billion for its commercial partners.

Jordan likened Hamilton's influence to that of LeBron James and Tiger Woods – and he told the PA agency: "The TV rights that Mercedes are getting as a result of winning the drivers' and the constructors' championship, surely some of that should go to Lewis?

"He has been a hugely important part of the success and the reward they are getting. Who is the first person the TV people want to speak to first? Lewis. Do Lewis' comments get repeated much more than anyone else? Of course they do.

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"If you look at LeBron James and Tiger Woods, they went to the organisers of their respective sports and said that we bring more credibility and support because of who we are and you need to compensate us.

"So pay Lewis an amount of money that the team are getting. I cannot see how he is not entitled to that.

"Some might say he is already being overpaid, and maybe so, but we all said that nobody would ever come close to Michael Schumacher's record and now you have a driver who has the potential to beat him by becoming an eight-time world champion.

"And make no mistake, Lewis is getting better."

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Speaking this month, Jordan lifted the lid on negotiations and claimed the two parties were yet to agree a deal.

"Apparently they disagree on the terms," former F1 team boss Jordan told Auto Bild, citing former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone as his source on the matter.

"I have heard that Lewis wants more than Mercedes is willing to pay and it's also about sharing the team's income and playing an influential role in the Mercedes group.

"If I was the boss of Daimler, I would show him the door and say 'either you drive on our terms or you go'."

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