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Hamilton contract talks complicated - Dennis

ESPN Staff
June 11, 2012 « Domenicali predicts three-way fight for drivers' title | Sebastian Vettel impressed by New Jersey circuit »
Ron Dennis celebrates victory with Lewis Hamilton in Canada © Press Association

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has hinted Lewis Hamilton may have to take a pay cut if he wants to stay at the team beyond the end of his current contract.

Hamilton's current deal with the team, estimated to be worth £14 million a year, expires at the end of this year and there were rumours in Monaco that McLaren were keen to sign him up for another five years on a deal worth £20 million per annum.

Hamilton told the press in Canada that he is not yet thinking about next year, but Dennis hinted on Sunday that the current economic climate could mean the offer from McLaren is not as lucrative as has been reported.

"It's a complex situation," Dennis told Sky Sports. "He's on the end of a contract which was signed at a time when the economy was somewhat different and now there has to be a balance between that. You're always going to look at what's available and where can he go. He's going to look at that, we're going to look at who's available. At the end of the day, hopefully, with the fact that he's been a part of this team from the beginning of his career will play a significant role in the decision both sides make. But it's a little early to be talking about it."

Asked specifically if he would have to take a pay cut, Dennis said: "He's very highly paid. He's certainly paid more than I am."

After a difficult season in 2011, in which Hamilton was beaten by his team-mate for the first time in his career, Dennis is confident his driver has bounced back.

"Lewis had a tough year last year for lots of reasons and not all of them on track or in car, some of them came from things that happened in his life," he said. "He's still a young guy and I always think, slightly morbidly, the last thing you learn is how to die and everybody learns every single day. He's in a challenging part of his life, I think he's come through it well now, he's much more focused and more relaxed.

"Being relaxed is what the team needs to be. We were too tense in the last races. Some of these mistakes which were made were too much pressure and this race will relax the team as a whole."