Lewis Hamilton branded ‘too expensive for F1’ as Red Bull chief takes swipe

F1: Lewis Hamilton extends Mercedes contract

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Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has claimed Lewis Hamilton is “simply too expensive for Formula 1” after the 36-year-old signed a new contract with Mercedes. Hamilton agreed a one-year deal with the Silver Arrows earlier this month after constant speculation about his future.

The seven-time world champion will be looking to help Mercedes continue their dominance when the 2021 F1 season gets underway on March 28.

Reports claim that Hamilton’s new contract will see him bank around £30m and Marko, head of Red Bull’s driver development programme and team advisor, believes the Brit is earning too much.

F1 teams are now having to operate within a $145m budget for the upcoming season, but that does not include driver salaries.

In an interview with RTL, Marko proclaimed: “Hamilton is simply too expensive for Formula 1.”

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It comes after Marko revealed that Red Bull have discussed cutting their drivers’ salaries, telling Auto, Motor und Sport: “We have a cost limit.

“We are also talking about reducing the drivers’ salaries.

“To invest even more in the engines now makes no sense.”

Speaking after he had put pen to paper, Hamilton said: “I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates.

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“Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.

“I’m equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue.

“I’m proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport.

“I am inspired by all that we can build together and can’t wait to get back on the track in March.”

Mercedes’ CEO and Team Principal Toto Wolff added: “We have always been aligned with Lewis that we would continue, but the very unusual year we had in 2020 meant it took some time to finish the process.

“Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity within our sport.

“Lewis’s competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners.

“The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it.”

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