Hamilton salary speculation ‘just total nonsense’ – Wolff

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has dismissed speculation surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s 2021 salary demands as “just total nonsense”, the Austrian insisting that money has yet to be discussed by the two parties.

A media report published on Saturday stated that Mercedes and Hamilton were at odds over an extension of the latter’s contract with the German outfit at the end of this year.

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The report alleged that F1’s mega star was demanding $40m to race on with Mercedes while Wolff was only willing to offer half that amount, or $20m.

    Grosjean: ‘Unacceptable’ for Hamilton to earn $40m a year

Hamilton took to social media yesterday morning to trash the rumors, and Wolff has followed suit, echoing his driver’s comments.

“All the things that are out there about contract negotiations, whether him demanding a hilariously high salary or me saying it’s only 50% of that, they are all made up,” Wolff said.

“We haven’t had a single conversation about money.

“It’s sometimes weird to read this stuff in the press when you know it’s just total nonsense.

“Lewis is very aware of the financial realities of the auto industry and about Formula 1, and in the same way, I’m very respectful of his achievements and his class.

“Therefore it’s going to lead to I think a satisfactory outcome for all of us.”

Driver salaries have not been included in Formula 1’s $145m budget cap provisions that have been written into the rules from 2021.

But Wolff isn’t against putting a lid on the big buck retainers enjoyed by the sport’s top drivers, although the Austrian is advocating for a gradual abatement.

“The salary cap is something that we have supported, I believe [in a] similar [way] to the leagues in the US,” Wolff said.

“If you cap the team at $145 million with a downward slope, you need at a certain stage to also cap high salaries. But I don’t think we should lose the superstars of today.

“We have said we don’t want to lose the superstars out of this sport, so it needs to be a gradual introduction from 2024 onwards so that the future generations of drivers end up on a more sensible level, considering that we have a cost cap on the team.

“I think it would be good for the sport. They need to be inspirational, the drivers, and as you can see in the US, the top football players and the top basketball players are still very inspirational.

“High salaries are what they deserve, because they are global superstars and they are the best of their league.

“It should not end up in a ratio, salary of an individual compared to the team cap, that over certain time is going to create controversy that is not needed.”

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