LEWIS HAMILTON has hit back at claims his Mercedes future is in doubt – with the constructors only willing to pay half the £40million-a-year deal he is demanding.
But the British six-time Formula One world champion, whose Merc contract runs out at the end of this season, has said talks have not even started.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has told his team there will be cuts across the board due to the coronavirus, the Mail has claimed.
But Hamilton posed on Instagram: “So the media keep writing about contract and me making demands.
“But I haven’t even spoken to Toto about it yet.
“No demands. The conversation hasn’t even begun.
“So please stop making s*** up.”
The article claims the Germans are now working with a £130m budget for the 2021 season.
That would mean Hamilton faces a serious pay cut or finding himself a new team.
Hamilton, 35, has been continually linked with a switch to Ferrari.
He is currently on £36m-a-year.
Mercedes, who employ 300 staff at their plant in Northampton, will have to axe staff or move them elsewhere, the article claims.
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Wolff allegedly wants a £20m cap on driver wages.
However, this is nonsense as drivers’ salaries have been ring-fenced from the cost caps.
Ferrari have already got rid of Sebastian Vettel as he was on the same pay as Hamilton in a bit to drastically reduce their budget because of the coronavirus.
The Brit must decide whether to retire, accept a new Mercedes deal or move to a new team.
Wolff could even bring in Vettel if Hamilton does quit.
He said: “I like Sebastian a lot. He’s my neighbour in Switzerland.
“He’s one of the great drivers in F1. But at the moment our priorities lie with Lewis and Valtteri Bottas, and we would very much like to extend their contracts.”
The opening race of the season kicks off in Austria tomorrow.