BERNIE ECCLESTONE has called on Mercedes to offer Lewis Hamilton a ‘take it or leave it’ contract.
Negotiations over the world champion’s seat in the coming season continue to rumble on.
Bernie Ecclestone has given his take on Lewis Hamilton’s contract sagaCredit: AP:Associated Press
Ecclestone, 90, ran the Brabham team in the 1970s and 80s before heading F1 itself for a number of decades and he set out how he would approach the Hamilton talks.
He told F1 Insider: “I would have made it quite clear to Lewis.
“Either you take what we offer you now – or you leave it.
“Everyone is replaceable. Only one person decides who drives here – and that’s me!”
Ecclestone recalled a similar negotiation with multiple world champion Nelson Piquet at Brabham in the mid-1980s.
Hamilton is yet to confirm his Mercedes seat for 2021Credit: PA:Press Association
Ecclestone recalled his attempt to bring Ayrton Senna to Brabham in 1984Credit: Reuters
An up-and-coming Ayrton Senna had caught the Brit’s eye but star man Piquet helped veto the call.
Ecclestone continued: “In 1983 we became world champion with Nelson Piquet.
“I had to decide who would drive alongside him in 1984. We had an extremely good test with a young Brazilian driver called Ayrton Senna.
“I wanted him. When Nelson heard about it, he really got upset and reacted like a defiant child.
“He absolutely did not want Senna as a team-mate. He immediately recognised his potential. But I didn’t care.
“Our main sponsor Parmalat didn’t want two Brazilians. I weighed everything carefully.
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“In the end, peace in the team was more important to me.
“But since I was also the head of the constructors’ association, I made sure that Senna got a job elsewhere, with Toleman.
“I knew he was going to be the future superstar, so I really wanted to see him in Formula One.”