Former Formula 1 race winner David Coulthard has provided his opinion on Lewis Hamilton's contract hold-up, cooling suggestions that he is set to depart Mercedes for a rival team.
Hamilton's contract with the Silver Arrows expires at the end of the current campaign and earlier this year, the Seven-time World Champion was linked with a switch to Ferrari - a scenario that both parties denied.
But the two parties are still yet to pen an extension to his stay, having originally joined the squad in 2013.
At the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said negotiations have past “material things” and it is now “lawyers talking to lawyers”.
“I am not aware Lewis is having a change of heart about whether he wants to go racing or not, and I don’t think Mercedes are having second doubts,” said 13-time Grand Prix winner Coulthard, speaking to PA.
“Mercedes will want a certain amount of time from Lewis for their partners. Mercedes will have sold sponsorship on obtaining access to their drivers.
“Some businesses will have signed up with the Silver Arrows because Lewis is there, rather than George Russell. Perhaps Lewis might be wanting to do fewer days or have fewer commitments?
“What Lewis will be signing up for goes way beyond him driving at a grand prix. It is about what rights he retains in terms of his image, and what rights he sells to the team.
“Mercedes are buying more than just Lewis’ driving services. They are buying his promotional image and his PR image.”
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Another question that has been raised regarding Hamilton's impending extension is how long the deal will be.
At 38 years of age, Hamilton is the second oldest driver on the current grid, behind only former McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso.
Hamilton has asserted on multiple occasions that he still feels in peak condition - and Coulthard believes that he will take confidence from Alonso's long tenure to remain in the sport for years to come.
“I am sure there are quotes from drivers when they were younger, who said they could not see themselves racing into their late 30s and beyond,” he said.
“I am sure Lewis will have said something similar. But he’ll look at Fernando Alonso, and think ‘if Fernando, who is 42 this month, is still competitive, than why not me?’
“However, the only reason for Hamilton to hang around is to try and win races and compete for championships. Scoring points will not change his life.
“He needs to see what Mercedes can show him that gives him the confidence he will be competitive next year, rather than having to stay around for another three seasons.”