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Money behind the hold-up of Hamilton deal, says foe Horner

 

By Philip Duncan

Lewis Hamilton's failure to sign a new Mercedes contract is due to the "grotesque" amount of money involved, rival team boss Christian Horner has claimed.

The Briton (33) is yet to pen a new deal estimated to be worth up to £40m-a-year, which is proving an unwelcome distraction for Mercedes.

Hamilton and Mercedes claimed at their Silverstone car launch back in February that his contract extension was likely to be rubber-stamped before the season-opening race in Melbourne.

But more than three months later, they appear no closer to an announcement - with the driver stating this week that he is not in a rush to get the deal over the line.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff emphasised again in Monaco that he is entirely confident Hamilton will extend his stay beyond the end of this season.

"We haven't set a fixed date where we want to announce, but I can tell you that I don't see a reason why this shouldn't be happening," Wolff said yesterday.

"We see no hurry to pressurise each other into signing a document that will eventually happen.

"There is no desire for him to leave the team, and we have no desire for us to lose him."

• Ferrari are being investigated by Formula One's governing body following allegations that they have broken the rules this season.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel won the opening two rounds of the season, and rival teams believe the Italians have been gaining an unfair advantage by deploying more engine power than is permitted.

It is understood the FIA has been monitoring the situation from as early as the first races in Australia and Bahrain, and here, on the eve of the Monaco Grand Prix, it has demanded that Ferrari run a device on their engine to ensure they are sticking to the law book.

F1 confirmed the news on their website last night.

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