Date:Thursday September 6 2012
Wednesday's reports that Lewis Hamilton could leave McLaren for Mercedes have been denied by McLaren and Hamilton's representatives.
The British driver is out-of-contract at the end of the 2012 season and has previously been linked with moves to Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.
Yesterday those reports took a dramatic twist with former team boss and BBC pundit Eddie Jordan reporting that he believed Hamilton and Mercedes had agreed personal terms on a switch for the 2008 Formula One World Champion and that the deal could be made official imminently.
Complex contract negotiations between McLaren and the British drivers representatives have been ongoing for months and many had been expecting them to have been concluded while Formula One was on it's summer break.
Previously reports suggested that McLaren were set to offer Lewis Hamilton a mega £20million per season contract to remain with the team, which would actually be an improvement on his current £15million per season contract, although the finer details of that offer were always going to be a sticking point as there are a lot of negotiations regarding Hamiltonís commercial rights.
Hamiltonís management company XIX Entertainment are wanting Hamilton to have more 'free-time' to be able promote his own brands and projects, while McLaren will insist he has his own team sponsorship commitments to fulfil.
This sticking point is just one of a few reasons why Jordan believed that Hamilton could make the switch to Mercedes.
Simon Fuller's XIX Management look after the British drivers professional affairs and Jordan believes that Mercedes would be a much better fit for 'Brand Hamilton'.
While in Formula One the Mercedes team are still trying to forge themselves into the top teams of F1, as a global brand Mercedes is a much bigger force than McLaren, so there could well be more marketing opportunities available to Hamilton if he did make the switch.
This morning The Daily Mail have reported that Mercedes have offered Hamilton a three-year £60million-deal, which would place the 27-year-old as a bigger earner than even Michael Schumacher, who is currently on £16.5million-a-season, so if it was all down to money then the Mercedes package would be a highly enticing offer.
Hamilton however does also have an emotional tie to McLaren after joining them as a 13-year-old Karter and that should not be underestimated, as well as the fact that McLaren are likely to be in a better position to offer Hamilton a competitive car.
So where does that leave us? Jordan's contacts are usually on the money and with Hamilton out-of-contract he will of course have spoken to other teams and sounded out what they could offer him.
But that doesn't mean he would actually make the jump and both his management team and McLaren have denied that personal terms have already been agreed with Mercedes.
'We have been told by Lewis Hamilton's management team (XIX Entertainment) the story is untrue.' a McLaren spokesman said to Sky Sports.
A spokesperson for XIX added: 'As mentioned in the past by all parties, we are in advanced discussions with McLaren about a new deal,'
'More importantly, at the moment, Lewis is focused on Monza and competing strongly for the championship.'
So is the eccentric Eddie Jordan off the ball? Or are Hamilton's people just playing games after the latest round of negotiations stalled?
The wait for an answer continues.
Date:Thursday September 6 2012
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