Salary cap may dent new £40m-a-year Mercedes deal for Lewis Hamilton as Formula One teams unanimously agree to limit drivers’ wages to £22m per season from 2023
- Lewis Hamilton is out of contract with Mercedes at the end of the current season
- The Briton is closing in on a seventh Formula One title and leads the current table
- All the F1 teams unanimously agreed to introduce a £22m salary cap from 2023
- Hamilton now faces a race against time to seal new £40m-a-year contract
Lewis Hamilton is suddenly facing a race against the clock to sign his proposed £40million-a-year deal with Mercedes after revolutionary plans to cap driver salaries were approved unanimously by the teams.
Sportsmail understands a proposal to limit the pay packets of the sport’s biggest stars to £22m — or $30m as the new regulation will be written — was even backed by Hamilton’s team principal Toto Wolff. The cost-saving measure will start in 2023.
Hamilton, 35, is out of contract at the end of this season and was expected to commit to three more years, from 2021 to 2023.
Lewis Hamilton is facing a race against time to sign a new £40million deal with Mercedes
All of the registered teams agreed to limit the salary of F1’s big stars to £22million from 2023
But if the new rule is ratified before Hamilton signs, he cannot earn £40m beyond the next two years and his earnings would be markedly restricted.
So the six-time world champion must act fast to ensure he continues to add as extravagantly as he wishes to his £250m fortune.
He currently earns £35m a year, about the same as fellow top-earner Sebastian Vettel.
If he signs terms prior to the rule being officially adopted, it is likely he would still be paid at the agreed level.
Hamilton (above) currently earns £35m a year, the joint-highest salary out of the F1 drivers
Although the exact details of the cap are yet to be finalised, a source has stated that employment law would likely obligate teams to continue to pay at the wage set before the rule’s introduction.
Hamilton may also consider whether to commit to Mercedes for a longer stretch than he originally intended, in order to ensure the highest possible grade of remuneration to the end of his career.
This move is an extension of the budget caps due to be imposed from 2022 on team spending — which is effectively car development — that were given fresh impetus by the coronavirus upheaval.
Hamilton broke Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Formula One race wins over the weekend
They are intended to address imbalances between the bigger and smaller teams.
The driver salary cap was the highlight of the F1 Commission video call on Monday at which a provisional calendar of 23 races was presented for next season. The championship will start in Australia with the penultimate race due to be held in Saudi Arabia.
Both the calendar and the driver salary cap await approval by the FIA.