McLaren has upped its offer to Lewis Hamilton in an attempt to tie the 2008 F1 title winner down to a deal, according to reports.
Hamilton is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with a move to Mercedes for 2013.
With Hamilton's management having been in talks with both Mercedes and McLaren, reports had suggested that Mercedes had offered the Briton a more attractive financial package, with McLaren not willing to match its Brackley-based rivals.
However, according to a report in the Guardian
, McLaren has now increased its offer to Hamilton by £2 million to £12 million a year which is above the figure offered by Mercedes; in itself a lower figure than that initially suggested.
While a deal with Mercedes would give Hamilton greater freedom to pursue personal sponsorship deals, McLaren would – on current form – appear to be a more competitive option when it comes to on-track activities.
Recent races have seen Hamilton win in Hungary and Italy while he also looked set to secure victory in Singapore before running into mechanical issues – leading F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to say that he felt the Briton had changed his mind having already decided to move
Hamilton has been tipped to remain with McLaren by former F1 champion Niki Lauda, who said he felt the Briton wouldn't make a switch and that he had 'no idea' what Mercedes are up to.
That comes despite reports elsewhere that the Austrian was trying to persuade Hamilton to join a Mercedes 'super-team' for the 2013 season, with McLaren now appearing to be in a strong position to retain the services of a driver it has been involved with since his time in karting.