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GP Week : Issue 155
Lewis Hamilton may not have beaten former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso on track in Monaco, but the British driver looks set to eclipse the Spaniard as Formula One’s biggest earner should rumours of his proposed McLaren contract prove true. According to the Monaco rumour mill, the Woking- based racers – who have nurtured Hamilton’s racing career for more than half of the 2008 world champion’s life – are seeking to secure the Briton’s services for the duration of his racing career, and are offering a £100 million (US$157m) contract to seal the deal. Should Hamilton decide to sign, the five-year contract will expire when the British racer is 33 years old, a point at which many drivers seek to retire. And at £20 million a year for five years, the boy from Stevenage would become the highest earning British sports star – before endorsement and other income is taken into account. Hamilton was widely criticised for taking on Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment to manage his career after parting ways with father Anthony Hamilton, but XIX are known to drive a hard bargain on behalf of their clients. While the rumoured terms of the contract have been a hot topic of discussion in the paddock this weekend, there is no suggestion that Hamilton is about to sign. As one of the paddock’s most talented and marketable drivers, the Briton is a valuable commodity in Formula One, and he is expected to spend much of the European season assessing his employment options before agreeing to a deal. One positive change made by XIX this season is the inclusion of Didier Coton in Hamilton’s management team. The Frenchman is a visible presence in the paddock, and his stability and advice have contributed to the McLaren driver’s improvement in form this year. Speaking to the media in the Monaco paddock on Wednesday, Hamilton said: “I don't want to speak too early but something has definitely changed this year. Things are a lot better. Just in life. That's enabling me to get on with my job without having any baggage. I don't have any baggage this year.” HAMILTON OFFERED GOLDEN HANDCUFFS BY MCLAREN? 3 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS