Lewis Hamilton given 28-day deadline to sign Mercedes contract

Lewis Hamilton has been given a one-month deadline by Mercedes to decide on a $140 million new contract.

The German giants announced they will unveil this year’s car on March 3 (AEDT) — exactly one month from now, The Sun reports.

Hamilton is currently unemployed after allowing his Mercedes deal to expire on December 31.

Now Mercedes insists they will have both drivers in place before the new wheels are revealed to the world.

The statement came via a public tweet from the team’s official profile which showed no signs of distress at the fact Hamilton isn’t buckling.

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Hamilton, 36, has been locked in contract talks after winning his seventh world title last season.

It would be simply staggering if the contract talks fall apart with every other world-class driver already signed for 2021 and Hamilton having no other options. Still it drags on.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is confident that the world champion will put pen to paper shortly.

Negotiations are thought to have been thrown off by Wolff contracting coronavirus last month with the team boss speaking of “curveballs” delaying an agreement.

The battle of wits has begun, and Lewis Hamilton is not blinking.Source:Getty Images

But, in conversation with German outlet RTL, the 49-year-old insisted that the deal will be signed ‘soon’.

The timing of the agreement will enable Hamilton to be in the car for the start of the new season and March’s testing in Bahrain.

Wolff stated his belief that the parties must come to a “sensible agreement”.

It's a date. 😘 02-03-21. pic.twitter.com/9JKkLlrVry

And he added that Mercedes and Hamilton are ‘not far’ from settling on a package.

The seven-time world champion is thought to be holding out for a $70 million (£40m) annual salary plus entitlements to TV and sponsorship earnings he brings to the team.

The constructors champions are the last Formula One team able to formally confirm their line-up for the 2021 season.

Lewis Hamilton isn’t budging.Source:Getty Images

Despite the lengthy delay in the Brit putting pen to paper, Wolff is adamant that the duo have maintained their strong working relationship.

Wolff said: “Our relationship is not only professional, but also a friendship.

“Lewis is incredibly important, not only for our team, but also for the Mercedes brand.”

— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission

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