No more '50 million' F1 contracts for Lewis Hamilton - Ecclestone

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Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his fifth drivers' title after the Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. Image: AFP
Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his fifth drivers' title after the Mexico Grand Prix at the Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. Image: AFP

The days when Lewis Hamilton earns eye-popping amounts of money per year from Formula 1 are over.

That is the view of Bernie Ecclestone, who warned the six-time world champion against "playing poker" with Mercedes over his expiring current contract.

"Lewis will never make EUR 50 million (per year) again," the former F1 supremo told Blick newspaper.

"All the drivers will have to take major cuts.  The golden days are over," Ecclestone added.

89-year-old Ecclestone, who has returned to Switzerland with his wife to prepare for the birth of their child, said the situation with coronavirus in Brazil is "chaos".

"The worst thing is that no one there knows what to do.  Bolsonaro is powerless and apparently without a plan," he said.

But even though he is now back in Europe, Ecclestone says he will not attend F1's return to racing next month.

"The race (in Austria) falls exactly on my wife's appointment," he said.  "Otherwise I would have gone to Spielberg for fun."

Ecclestone, who stepped down as F1 CEO in 2017, said he disagrees with the decision to hold the first race in conjunction with F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup support events.

"To do that they have to reduce the number of media and the sponsors in particular are certainly not happy," he said.

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