Dennis hints money at heart of new Hamilton deal
McLaren F1 Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (R) speaks with Martin Whitmarsh during practice at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix May 24, 2012.
The Montreal winner and new championship leader's existing long-term deal runs out this year, but so far the two sides have been coy about the likelihood of a new contract for 2013 and beyond.
McLaren, however, has hinted it definitely wants to keep the 2008 world champion, while 27-year-old Hamilton has hinted he wants to stay, triggering speculation the dispute is over the details of the new contract.
Dennis, McLaren's executive chairman who was in Montreal on Sunday, suggested to Sky Sports that money is indeed a factor.
"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," he said.
Asked if that means a pay-cut for Hamilton, Dennis answered: "He's very highly paid. He's certainly paid more than I am!"
Hamilton has been linked with moves to Red Bull and Mercedes, and Dennis confirmed that McLaren also needs to look at its options on the driver market.
"You're obviously going to look at what's available; where can he go - he's going to look at that - (and) we're going to look at who's available," he said.
"At the end of the day, hopefully, the fact that he's been part of this team from the beginning of his career will pay a significant role in whatever decisions both sides make."