F1 digest: Lewis Hamilton’s £112m suit and lucrative new contract

Ricciardo eyes title bid while Todt talks up future races in Argentina and Vietnam

Lewis Hamilton new contract Mercedes sponsors
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are backed by a number of big-spending sponsors
(Image credit: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images)

Mercedes secure sponsorship deals worth £112m

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is favourite to win a fifth Formula 1 world championship not only among fans but also a number of big-spending sponsors.

According to the Daily Mail, this season the British driver’s race suit will feature the logos of 12 sponsors, after Mercedes secured deals worth a total of £112m.

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The F1 team’s title sponsor, the Malaysian oil and gas giant Petronas, spends £50m a year. Other major backers include technology firm Qualcomm (£7.5m) and the Union Bank of Switzerland (£7m).

Puma, Bose, Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Epson, IWC Schaffhausen and Wihuri have all signed deals worth more than £1m, while Mercedes-Benz is pouring in £30m.

Hamilton is also personally endorsed by Tommy Hilfiger, Puma, Bose and Monster Energy, with these deals adding £10m to his annual income, the newspaper says.

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Hamilton to sign new contract worth £770,000 a week

It’s not just through sponsorships that Lewis Hamilton is raking in the cash - his new contract at Mercedes will also be worth millions.

The four-time world champion’s current contract expires at the end of the season, but reports today suggest he is on the verge of a new lucrative deal.

According to The Sun, Hamilton is set to sign an “astonishing” contract with Mercedes worth £120m - the biggest in British sporting history.

The new deal would see Hamilton paid £40m a year for the first two years, with the option to extend to a third year. Overall, that equates to £770,000 a week for the 33-year-old driver.

Mercedes are keen for Hamilton to sign his new contract ahead of this weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

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Ricciardo has the F1 title in his sights

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo says that being a serious contender for the world championship is his “minimum” target ahead of the new F1 season.

The Australian heads home this weekend for the first Grand Prix of the year and is confident that he can challenge Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel for the title.

He told The Guardian: “I still want to fight for that title. Wanting it is one thing but just being in the fight is the minimum I would ask.”

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Could Argentina and Vietnam join the F1 calendar?

FIA president Jean Todt says the 21-race F1 calendar could be expanded, with countries such as Argentina and Vietnam added to the Grand Prix schedule.

Todt told Crash: “I would love to see a race in Argentina, as the country is very special in motorsport. In Latin America Argentina is one of the best countries to host a Formula 1 race.

“Vietnam, I would be happy to have a new race in Asia, it is a developing country and to bring Formula 1 to developing countries would be very good. If we can put it all together than why not?”

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Wolff expecting three-way title fight

Mercedes go into the new season as the defending F1 drivers’ and constructors’ champions, but team boss Toto Wolff believes Ferrari and Red Bull will challenge for the titles in 2018.

Despite their title double last year, Wolff is urging the Mercedes team to forget past achievements and tackle the new season with the “same dedication, team spirit and energy” they showed in 2017.

He told the BBC: “Each of us has the mindset that last year’s championships belong in the past; yesterday’s trophies don’t win today’s games.

“A new season feels like climbing Mount Everest - we’ve done it successfully in the past, but we’re only in the base camp at the moment. It will be a tough journey, with the same target, but different challenges to master along the way. We have to give it everything to be successful again this year.”

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