Lewis Hamilton has been warned he is at risk of being dropped by Mercedes and replaced by George Russell.
That comes from former Jaguar and Jordan technical director Gary Anderson, who reckons Hamilton should be more realistic.
The Stevenage-born star is going into the new season as world champion, winning it seven times and drawing level with Michael Schumacher's record.
But his contract with Mercedes has come to an end and there has yet to be an agreement over a new one.
It means that Hamilton is currently without a team as negotiations reportedly got rocky over a renewal.
It is believed the two parties have tussled over salaries, with Hamilton keen to maintain his £40million-a-year wages and Mercedes looking to cut costs.
However, there are rumours team chief Toto Wolff is prepared to make Russell his main man after making a bright impression last season.
And that is what Hamilton is risking by keeping to his unrealistic demands, believes Anderson.
"The belief within the Mercedes team will be that Hamilton will stay on but the debate seems to be over the length of the deal," he told The Race.
"So it’s about how long he wants to commit for – and for how much – rather than whether he is willing to.
"But he also has to be realistic because everything is suffering financially in the world given the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Even with the rule changes and the cost cap, teams are struggling to pull in the necessary money.
"With Mercedes cutting back on its wider workforce and these challenges he does need to buy into that situation and look at the bigger picture than just what he’s earning.
"But it’s in the interests of the three parties that own the team – Mercedes, INEOS and Toto Wolff – to find a solution and get Hamilton’s name on a contract.
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"It will be interesting to see if it doesn’t happen. If Hamilton decides he’s bigger than the wider picture of the financial challenges then he could end up walking away.
"But this doesn’t make that much difference to the job the team is doing.
"Hamilton is a great driver and not having him would be a big loss, but they just have to keep doing what they are doing and rely on Russell and Valtteri Bottas to do the job."
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