Lewis Hamilton is said to be in personal sponsorship talks that will substantially increase his earnings. Leaked info mentions a $20 million Reebok deal, for starters.

Lewis Hamilton, the most successful F1 British driver not yet to win a championship, is moving up in the world of money. Analysts say he is in talks with apparel giant Reebok in order to secure a USD20 million deal for personal sponsorship. The Times of London as well as the Daily Mail report that Hamilton could overtake David Beckham as the richest British sportsman. Indeed some say even the great Schumacher whose worth is estimated at over USD1 billion, could fall foul to Hamilton during the years the youngster is actively racing.

McLaren is known not to allow drivers to ink personal sponsorship deals over and above those provided for the team, but Ron Dennis seems to have killed this notion by letting the Hamilton/Reebok deal happen. A representative of McLaren could only confirm that Lewis’s father, who’s also his manager, was in talks with Reebok.

Hamilton has shown tremendous potential early in his racing career and is said by many to be a future world champion. Therefore all the paydays he signs, including the new 5 year deal with McLaren worth USD140 million as well as deals with luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer, Boss clothing, Mobil oil and others, are based not only on current form but on a bankable future for the young star.

Stephen Cheliotis, chief executive of the Centre for Brand Analysis and chairman of the UK Superbrands and CoolBrands Council, told CNN earlier this year:
"He is young, mixing with the right people everyday -- rappers, film stars -- and a lot more articulate than Kimi Raikkonen,
"He is also the first black driver and it does have a bearing, much like Tiger Woods in golf. He is also the most marketable because he is going to be the best, much like Michael Schumacher."

That he can surpass Schumacher in earnings is entirely possible since the 7 times world champ is now retired, but the 23 year old Hamilton is still in big-time racing infancy. But whether he will realise this potential and make good on all the faith these brands are placing on him is another thing entirely.

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