Lewis Hamilton hopes that Sir Jim Ratcliffe can bankroll a new deal at Mercedes, according to F1 commentator Alexey Popov.
Ratcliffe is chairman and CEO of Ineos and is among the richest people in the UK with Forbes having estimated his worth at £13billion last summer.
Ineos became principal partners of Mercedes last February, signing a five-year agreement with the team.
Hamilton is technically without a team having seen his Mercedes contract expire on December 31.
The seven-time world champion is yet to put pen to paper, with the 36-year-old believed to be keen on a three-year deal worth £120m.
“The Italians, the Dutch too. Eddie Jordan says he wouldn’t take it, Ecclestone has talked about it. Everyone is trying to figure out what he wants.
“Lewis probably thinks that if Mercedes can’t pay him in full, Ratcliffe – one of the richest men in the UK – will cover the difference.”
Mercedes are believed to prefer handing Hamilton just a one-year contract, with former F1 driver Christijan Albers saying the Brit has lost his bargaining power.