Lewis Hamilton has added an new twist to the rumours circulating around his future career path after admitting that he would be prepared to take a pay cut if it guaranteed him a competitive car.
Two weeks after he was spotted in conversation with Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner in Canada - a meeting both insist was spontaneous and nothing to do with a potential deal for 2013 - Hamilton has done little to quell suggestions that he may be ready to break his long-standing ties with McLaren in order to return to the top of the world championship standings. It is nearly three years since the Briton was crowned as champion in only his second season in the top flight, and he has had to watch, almost powerless, as current McLaren team-mate Jenson Button and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel won in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
While attempting, publicly, to remain loyal to McLaren [see story here
], there is no doubt that Hamilton is a man coveted by most of the paddock and, likewise, there are seats that he may rather be occupying, particularly after a couple of years of Red Bull superiority. Although he is expected to enter talks with McLaren shortly, there is no guarantee that the team will be able to promise the step up in performance to keep the Briton in situ
, especially after he revealed that not even improved financial terms would be enough to keep him on board.
“[I want] a better car. I want to win, I want more championships," Hamilton, who is rumoured to earn around £15m a year told Britain's Sunday Express
newspaper, “For all of us drivers, it has never been about money [although], of course, when you begin to work, it is definitely a positive to have some money.
“But look at Jacques Villeneuve. He went to a team [BAR] for a lot of money at one stage but never won. I don't know if he was happy with that but, for me at least, I want to win. If it means being paid a little bit less to be able to win, that's definitely the opportunity I will take.”