Lewis Hamilton is in line for a bumper new £40million-a-year deal at Mercedes that would elevate him even higher among the world’s wealthiest athletes.
The British driver is enjoying yet another incredible season and it seems inevitable he will level with Michael Schumacher on seven world championships, something he can clinch at the upcoming Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.
His current deal of £36m-a-year with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the campaign but talks are ongoing and the 35-year-old’s on track-success is set to be rewarded.
Lewis Hamilton, pictured here celebrating in front of a giant image of his own face, has never been in a better position in terms of his Formula 1 career and business empire off the track
Hamilton is sponsored by of global brands, including Bose (headphones pictured here)
While Hamilton boldly stated he may opt to walk away from the sport next season after winning the Emilia Romagna GP on Sunday, team boss Toto Wolff recently joked about the lengths his team will go to in order to secure Hamilton’s future.
‘It’s huge. We have to sell plenty of inventory. Sell the lease back of the buildings just to come up with the money’, Wolff quipped.
They better find a buyer for the factory quickly, mind.
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 Wolff. The cost-saving measure will start in 2023.
The Mercedes driver has launched a number of his own collections with Tommy Hilfiger
Hamilton’s new contract is likely to be honoured, providing it can be signed before the new rules are implemented shortly.
Regardless for now, his talent has seen Hamilton take 13th spot in the Forbes list of highest paid athletes in the world ahead of the likes of Conor McGregor, Anthony Joshua and Rory McIlroy.
Roger Federer takes top spot on Forbes’ list with £81m earned so far in 2020, only £4.8m of that was from tennis and the rest made up of massive endorsements.
Patrick Mahomes became the first ‘half billion dollar player’ with his Kansas City Chiefs deal
Roger Federer is the No 1 highest earner among athletes, according to Forbes this year
In second and third were Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi respectively. The Juventus star has banked £46m in salary and £34m from endorsements with his Argentine rival taking home £55m in salary from Barcelona with £24m in sponsorships.
Hamilton’s proposed new deal would make him one of sport’s best paid athletes by any team or manufacturer.
Kansas City chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the first ‘half billion dollar player’ earlier this summer when he signed a 10-year deal worth a reported $503m (£403m).
The 25-year-old was tied down on the whopping new contract by his NFL franchise but the weighting of his contract means he’ll earn an average of £35m a year, that’s less than Hamilton is set to sign for, albeit over a longer period.
Back in July it had been thought that the impact of coronavirus on finances in the sport would mean Hamilton’s desire for £40m-a-year would not be met.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the second highest earning athlete in the world this year, report Forbes
He pips Lionel Messi (right) but only by £1m when endorsements are taken into account
Hamilton is thriving on the track and has surpassed Michael Schmacher’s 91 race wins
TOP 5 HIGHEST SALARIES IN SPORT:
Lionel Messi – £55m
Neymar – £53m
Cristiano Ronaldo – £46m
Kirk Cousins – £44m
Carson Wentz – £42m
(Forbes, per annum)
There have been job losses and budget cuts but it now seems those wishes will be granted to Formula One’s biggest star.
So far this year he has earned £32m on his current Mercedes deal and another £9m from sponsorship deals.
Victory on Sunday puts him within touching distance of a record-equalling seventh world championship title.
The 35-year-old is one of the most marketable athletes in the world and has brands from various sectors clambering over each other to have him endorse their products.
Not only has Hamilton excelled on track, his integrity and personality away from it is another selling point.
Vocal support for the Black Lives Matter movement and environmental causes in particular in combination with this season’s achievements have seen calls from the likes of David Coulthard to give Hamilton a knighthood.
The British star won in Portugal last weekend and is now firmly on course for world title No 7
The 35-year-old has been a leading voice in support of the Black Lives Matter movement
Perhaps Hamilton’s best known collaboration is with Tommy Hilfiger, in a deal signed back in 2018.
The fashion giant have launched a number of collections with the British driver, who showcases the different looks with 20.4m followers on Instagram and 6m more on Twitter.
Hamilton also has sponsorship deals with Bose and Monster Energy Drinks.
L’Oreal, watch manufacturer IWC, PUMA, MV Agusta Motorcycles, Sony and Gran Turismo are among the other brands benefiting from the shine reflected off him.
And Hamilton makes no secret of the fact that he is building an empire.
Hamilton and Valentino Rossi (left) collaborated for a campaign for Monster Energy Drinks
Two years ago he said: ‘First and foremost I’m a racing driver, but I’m trying to grow into an entrepreneur and be successful in business.
‘I want to do it my own way – I don’t feel that I am a cut-throat businessman as such. My view is that positive relationships will equal respect, trust and longevity.
‘I like to think I’m quite good at choosing the business ventures that I enter. I like to think I have got relatively good foresight on a lot of things that I choose to be a part of and do.’
The value of his endorsement deals are closely guarded but it is thought they netted him a combined £15m last year.
That number is only expected to increase, particularly with the Mercedes No 1 delivering such incredible performances again this season.
Hamilton is a vegan and invested in the first plant-based burger chain in the world
There are a number of business ventures that may also take off and prove to be lucrative.
He recently invested in the first plant-based burger chain in the world – ‘Neat Burger’ – saying: ‘As someone who follows a plant-based diet, I believe we need a healthier high street option that tastes amazing but also offers something exciting to those who want to be meat-free every now and again.’
Neat Burger currently has two restaurants, both in London, with plans to expand.
Hamilton’s passion for conservation and protection of the planet also inspired his move into launching an Extreme E team.
Extreme E is a climate-aware racing discipline set to have its inaugural season in January next year and his X44 team will race electric SUVs.
The good times keep rolling for Hamilton and his success on and off the track continues
Hamilton has invested in his own team for the Electric E competition launching next year
Teams have one male and one female driver, they race head-to-head in five races across two days in Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Greenland and Brazil.
Hamilton said: ‘Every single one of us has the power to make a difference, and it means so much to me that I can use my love of racing, together with my love for our planet, to have a positive impact.’
He may still have a long way to go before he can match Roger Federer, No 1 on Forbes’ list this year with £76m in endorsement deals.
But with a new £40m-a-year deal due to be heading his way, sponsorship from global brands and exciting new ventures invested in, Hamilton has never been in better form on or off the track.