Report: Hamilton in final stages of negotiations with Mercedes over new contract

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The supposed uncertainty surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s future at Mercedes looks set to end in the coming weeks after the Briton revealed to The Guardian newspaper that he is in the “final stages” of contract negotiations with the German team.

Hamilton joined Mercedes in 2013 on a three-year deal, but opted to postpone negotiations over a new contract until the end of the 2014 season so he could focus on the battle for the drivers’ championship with teammate Nico Rosberg.

The British driver won the fight, claiming 11 wins from 19 races to secure his second world title, and the first for Mercedes since Juan Manuel Fangio’s success in 1954.

Over the winter, he opted to break ties with management company XIX Entertainment, whose clients in the past have included David Beckham and Carrie Underwood. Hamilton decided to negotiate his own contract, and confirmed to The Guardian that he was close to agreeing terms with Mercedes.

“Hopefully we’re in the final stages,” Hamilton said. “I don’t really know what the timeline is but we’re very much in the last stages of it. I’m committed to this team for the foreseeable future.”

The two-time world champion admitted that he has found negotiating his own contract difficult, but felt that it was a necessary experience.

“I’m not too sure I’ve enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s a very, very nerve-racking experience, but I’m glad I’ve done it. If I’d not done something like this I would have always wondered if I could or could not.”

Hamilton’s future with Mercedes has been something of a storm in a teacup over the winter, given that neither the driver nor the team would have any reason to cut ties for 2016.

Reports in February suggested that the sticking point was a demand from Hamilton to be paid $78m per year, but both the driver and the team dismissed this as pure speculation.

Should Hamilton opt to leave Mercedes though, team boss Toto Wolff has already named McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas as possible successors to the Briton, with Nico Rosberg agreeing a new long-term deal with the team last summer.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.