Lewis Hamilton close to new Mercedes F1 deal to last until end of career

Lewis Hamilton says he is close to signing
a new contract with Mercedes that could
lead to him remaining with the German
Formula One team for the rest of his
career. “Hopefully we’re in the final
stages [of talks],” the world champion
said as he completed arrangements to fly
to Australia for the opening race of the
season in Melbourne a week on Sunday. “I
don’t really know what the timeline is
but we’re very much in the last stages of
it. I’m committed to this team for the
foreseeable future.”
The 30-year-old is entering the final
season of his original three-year deal
with Mercedes, having quit McLaren –
with whom he won the 2008 title – at the
end of 2012. He is conducting his own
negotiations, having left Simon Fuller’s
XIX agency at the end of last year. “I’m
not too sure I’ve enjoyed it,” he said of
negotiating the new deal. “It’s a very,
very nerve-racking experience. But I’m
glad I’ve done it. If I’d not done
something like this I would have always
wondered if I could or could not.”
Hamilton has won praise from Mercedes
for his attention to detail. He said: “I
learned a lot from my dad and from
Simon and the people around me. But in
general I’m just trying to do due
diligence and understand, firstly, where
we are and what best can be improved on
and where it can grow and benefit the
team and myself.”
Hamilton and Mercedes cancelled plans
for negotiations last year to concentrate
on winning the drivers’ and
constructors’ world titles. But the
Englishman was seen in talks with Toto
Wolff, the Mercedes motor sport chief,
during testing in Jerez last month, when
Hamilton said: “We want to stay
together. We love each other, basically.”
Originally, the Mercedes board in
Stuttgart were unhappy about paying the
Briton £20m a year but after winning the
world title Hamilton wants a pay rise,
though he has denied reports that he has
demanded £1m a week. If there were a
breakdown in final negotiations
Hamilton could look to Ferrari for 201