The Formula One show arrived at Monaco this week. Where better for Mercedes to announce a bumper new deal for Lewis Hamilton than at the jewel in the crown.
The 30 year old and the team had agreed to a new 3 year deal and Lewis was justifiably happy: “It was a very easy decision to make. There are great people in the team and I’m glad they wanted me to stay”
Hamilton has plenty of reasons to be happy.
$150Million (£100Million) reasons.
$50Million (£33Million) per year.
$4.1Million (£2.5Million) per month.
$961,500 (£641,000) per week.
all together now……
Reaction to the announcement was always going to be mixed, but Brundle is right. As obscene is at may seem, Hamilton is worth what the market dictates. His salary is now up there with the top sportsmen in the world, but he’s not the only Formula One driver that does.
|Lebron James||Cleveland Cavaliers||$72.3Million
(salary & endorsments)
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||$52Million|
|Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari||$50Million (This season) $30 + bonuses in season 2 & 3|
What Hamilton has become is Formula One’s most high profile driver. The double and reigning World Champion is, like it or not, Showbiz. He may be a racing driver, but his style is very much that of a hip hop star. He’s at the top of his game and he knows it. He’s got a high profile ex (Nicole Scherzinger if you’ve just returned from another planet), and has a love of fast cars, gold chains & award ceremonies.
He’s become tabloid gold. The problem arises when we breakdown his wagebill into a weekly salary. $961,500 per week means that personal sponsorship deals would push him through $1Million per week. As Brundle has argued, for a man that’s at the top of his game now is the time to reap the rewards of the sport. However that’s the type of figure that grates for the fans.
At a time when it’s becoming increasingly expensive for fans to attend races and independent teams are struggling to put cars on the grid, what the earnings of Hamilton highlight is the massive divide between the haves and the have nots of Formula One. It’s further put into focus when you compare his new deal to the prize money received by each team in 2014:
|Standings 2014||Col 1 / 2 ($M)||Premium ($M)||Total ($M)|
It’s stark reading for the independent teams. Hamilton will earn more from a season in the sport than Sauber and Marussia did last season and is $1Million shy of Lotus. This at a time when Manufacturer backed teams are suggesting selling customer cars. Maybe they need the revenue.
The market dictates what sportsmen at the top of the game are rewarded. The problem with Lewis Hamilton’s newest contract is that it shines a burning light on the chasm that has opened up between the big teams and the independents.
right, off to watch Monaco FP2!
until the next time.