Hamilton poised to sign contract with Mercedes
The British media are reporting that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes will announce next week that the four times champion has signed a £40 million a year contract, maintaining his position as one of the highest paid drivers and British sportsman.
The English driver has been in discussions with the team since the end of last season, but it is now understood that the deal has been agreed.
According to a report from The Daily Mail, the new deal will be worth £40 million-a-year which will cement his place as the best paid British sports star, ahead of the likes of Anthony Joshua and Gareth Bale.
The deal will commit Hamilton until 2020 with no option for 2021 because of the new rule changes that could totally shake up the sport. But confirmation of the new deal is expected to be announced at next weekends British Grand Prix.
His contract will last until he is thirty-six, and what he does after that could be interesting, as he will be in the latter part of his career. Hamilton currently leads the championship following the French Grand Prix, by fourteen points.
Ricciardo wants contract to reflect his value
Daniel Ricciardo says he wants his new contract to match the “value” he believes he has attained during his eight seasons in Formula One.
At the French Grand Prix, the Australian said that he expects talks over his Red Bull future to ramp up over the next fortnight, heading into two race weekends in Austria and Britain which are considered ‘home’ events for the Anglo-Austrian team.
Ricciardo has been linked to both Mercedes and Ferrari, despite the reports of McLaren offering a big deal should Fernando Alonso leave, it unlikely that he would join McLaren.
Ricciardo says contesting for world titles is his overriding priority for 2019 and beyond – but also wants his achievements to date to be recognised in his next deal. He told Sky Sports, “I said it from the start, the priority is to try and get a car that can win a world title because I really believe I can. So that’s the first thing in my mind.”
“If there was absolutely no possibility then you look into other things, but I think as a driver I think I’ve done enough now… even Lewis [Hamilton] touched on it, and I didn’t even need to really say it, your value as a driver is not ‘X’ amount of money it’s just what you feel your value is and what you bring to the sport.”
Ricciardo, who celebrates his birthday this weekend in Austria, says he feels he hold a certain value, which he wants to at least match.
Asked if he feared taking a step back with his eventual 2019 move, the Australian replied: “If I don’t win a title and whether I’m coming third or fifth, it’s probably no different to having a step back. The only way my career takes a step back is if I stop performing. Obviously, if I just came off three world titles and gone to a team.”
Ricciardo has been contracted to Red Bull since he was eighteen and has said that getting the next contract right. He describes it as the “second biggest” decision in his career.
Mallya accuses India of making “blatantly false allegations”
The Force India team principal Vijay Mallya, who is facing extradition to India on charges of bank fraud relating to the collapse of Kingfisher Airlines, has once again pleaded his innocence and request permission to sell assets in order to repay some of his loans.
The businessman has denied any wrongdoing and claimed he is a victim of a witch hunt. Last night, he accused the Indian government of making “various untenable and blatantly false allegations” against him,
In a statement, on Twitter, he said “Some people have been asking why I chose to make a statement at this time. I have made my statement because UBHL and myself have filed an application before the Hon’ble Karnataka High Court on June 22, 2018, setting out available assets of approximately Rs. 13,900 crores”
“We have requested the Courts permission to allow us to sell these assets under judicial supervision and repay creditors, including the Public Sector Banks such amounts as may be directed and determined by the Court. If the criminal agencies such as ED or CBI object”
“To the sale of assets, it will clearly demonstrate that there is an agenda against me “the Poster Boy” beyond recovery of dues. I continue to make every effort, in good faith to settle with the banks. If politically motivated factors interfere, there is nothing I can do.”
Mallya’s financial problems began when his debts of over a billion pounds led to the collapse of the airline. The court documents, according to the FT, accuse him of being the central figure in a “dishonest plot” to obtain large loans from IDBI Bank for Kingfisher Airlines. Indian authorities say he never intended to repay those loans.
He says he has offered to repay the debt with assets which have been frozen by the Indian state of Karnataka. He also released letters he wrote to the prime minister Narendra Modi and finance minister, Arun Jaitley, in 2016 but that he said were never acknowledged.
In his letter to Mr Modi, he said he was being “discriminated against” and asked for an ombudsman to be set up to investigate his case.
Mr Mallya has been involved in extradition hearings in London since last year. A hearing is due on July 11 for both sides to present final arguments.
McLaren might not survive the change it needs
McLaren’s former designer John Barnard believes that the team may not survive the major changes it requires for the team to return to its former glory.
During his time at the team, one of Barnard major successes was leading the team to dominance in the 1980’s after a period of poor performance. The team is currently gone six years without a win and four years without a podium.
Speaking at a launch of his biography titled ‘The Perfect Car’, Barnard says that McLaren’s ‘matrix’ management structure needs to be ditched in order to turn the team back into a winning outfit. But he added the size of that task could make the change impossible.
He said “They’ve had this matrix management system installed by probably [former boss] Martin Whitmarsh, and you’ve got to break that down, I don’t think that works. You have to change the thinking.”
“I don’t know how long that will take, [or] whether the team can survive that kind of a fundamental turnaround. Considering that when we joined McLaren in 1980 the problems I had then trying to change the way things were done, we’re talking about a fairly small operation [then].”
Barnard also believes that the diversification under former CEO and team principal Ron Dennis, particularly into road cars, also has been to the detriment of its Formula 1 effort.
“I know Ron’s idea was he wanted this big group of companies, this big mega operation and he would sit over the whole thing, and he achieved it. But I think he achieved it at the cost of the Formula 1 team.”
Renault’s form could see early switch to 2019
Renault’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul hopes that the teams current good form could allow the team to make an early switch to next years car, providing they can stay ahead of their main rivals.
The team has managed to get both cars in the points at the last three races, which has allowed them to gradually extend the lead over McLaren, Force India and Haas. Abiteboul believes that with less threat from behind in the championship battle, there will be less pressure to maintain a focus on developing the current car until the end of the year.
He told Motorsport.com, “I think it’s going to be mainly about defending our fourth place in the championship. But I’m not totally clear who we are going to have to defend that position against. Maybe Haas, or Force India? McLaren could be bouncing back.”
“It’s not clear, but it’s something we have to monitor, because if we don’t have a clear opposition it may be diluted, which means we can have an easier end to the season.”
Both Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg finished in the points at Le Cassett, but the team were left frustrated after the first lap drama and Sainz’s drop from third to sixth because of an MGU-K failure. Abiteboul says that wasn’t a bad result but was frustrating.
Saying “Irrespective of the end result, it was a weekend that showed the progress of Carlos, positioning him also a strong member and contributor to the team performance, in particular in front of such an amazing crowd and attendance.”
Abiteboul says the other frustration was the big gap the leaders, but the recent upgrades have improved that. He pointed to the gap in qualifying which has narrowed but is still more than they would like.