| LONDON, June 11
LONDON, June 11 Lewis Hamilton's contract will
need to reflect changes in the global economy if he stays at
McLaren after this year, according to McLaren chairman Ron
The 2008 Formula One world champion, winner of the Canadian
Grand Prix on Sunday, is one of the hottest properties on the
starting grid and will be out of contract at the end of the
"It's a complex situation. He's on the end of a contract
which was signed at a time when the economy was somewhat
different and now there has to be a balance between that,"
Dennis told Sky television in Montreal.
Asked whether that might mean taking a pay cut, Dennis
swerved and replied: "He's very highly paid. He's certainly paid
more than I am."
Some British media reports have suggested Hamilton could be
in line for a five-year contract worth 20 million pounds ($30.84
million) a year, although others have said the team want to
reduce his wages.
McLaren do not divulge driver salaries but reports have put
his current deal at some 15 million a year.
Dennis, the former team principal who has known and backed
Hamilton since the driver was a 13-year-old go-karter, hoped the
27-year-old would stay.
"You're obviously going to look at what's available; where
can he go, he's going to look at that. We're going to look at
who's available," said Dennis.
"Hopefully, the fact that he's been part of this team from
the beginning of his career will play a significant role in
whatever decisions both sides make. But it's a little early to
be talking about it."
Hamilton's win in Montreal was the 18th of his career and
first of the season. He leads the championship after seven
races, two points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
The Briton is managed by Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment,
who also manage former England captain David Beckham and tennis
player Andy Murray.
Top teams with potential vacancies are Ferrari, although
that would mean linking up with Alonso again after a fraught
time at McLaren together in 2007, and Mercedes if Michael
Schumacher retires again.
Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber is also out of contract at
the end of the year.
($1 = 0.6486 British pounds)
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)