Rumours over Hamilton’s future have been rife as the driver market heats up. He is out of contract at the end of next season and has been linked with a return to McLaren, where he won the 2008 World Championship, for 2016.
Mercedes would like to keep the Brit and have reportedly opened contract talks after already extending Nico Rosberg’s deal. But Hamilton’s future may depend on whether he beats Rosberg for the championship. Failure to do so may be the catalyst to move.
Vettel is also linked with a move for 2016, and that will intensify if the Red Bull isn’t fast next year. Red Bull Motor Sport adviser Dr Helmut Marko has said that Mercedes and McLaren have made offers for the four-time champion. Conflicting reports in Germany suggest that Mercedes would like to have an all German driver line-up, just as they did with Rosberg and Michael Schumacher between 2010-2012.
But Lauda said: “We are already in touch with him [Hamilton] to renew his contract. All the speculation of bull*** Marko is absolute rubbish”.
All the top drivers are set to stay with their current teams for next season, but in 2016 there could be a huge shake-up. Fernando Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are all out of contract. Raikkonen is expected to retire, while the others may find drives elsewhere. Alonso, in particular, is understood to be disillusioned with life at Ferrari.