Former F1 driver and Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers believes Mercedes' is "morally limited" in its contract talks with Lewis Hamilton given the current state of the world and the economic outlook.
It is believed that Mercedes and Hamilton remain locked in negotiations over the Briton's next and likely final F1 contract with the German outfit.
Pundits have speculated that money is at the center of the gridlock between the two parties, but Lammers suggests that Mercedes might be hard pressed to justify a massive eight-figure salary for Hamilton's services, as valuable as they may be, with the world bracing for economic hardship in the wake of the global pandemic.
"It could be that Hamilton is overestimating his market value and underestimating the situation in the world," Lammers said in an interview with RacingNews365.
"Meanwhile, I think Mercedes are limited in what they can offer Hamilton morally. How can you justify it to the staff and the management that he continues to receive his multi-million salary while people elsewhere in the company have to lay off people?
"With these kinds of things, you have to be careful not to go too far. What Hamilton does not seem to fully realise is that there is, of course, a great opportunity for Mercedes as well.
"The company just wants to sell cars and then the question is ‘what do you get more from? Is that with the next world title?’
"That would be great, of course, but many people don’t care about that. Or would a statement against Hamilton’s multi-million dollar salary do more for loyalty?"
Lammers argues that by driving a hard bargain in its negotiations with its superstar driver, Mercedes would be sending a strong message to the Daimler group's near 300,000 employees and to its client base.
"I personally think Mercedes have the chance to make a very powerful statement by stating that the loyalty lies with the Mercedes customers and employees and not with one sportsman," added the Dutchman.
"I think that has been a little under-exposed."
Ultimately, Lammers believes the final compromise reached by Mercedes and Hamilton - and perhaps brokered by a third party - will benefit the German manufacturer.
"Personally, I think the chance that Mercedes will yield to Hamilton is many times smaller than the other way around," said the former driver.
"You never know what forces are at play, but I don’t think Mercedes will give in. If there is a deal on the table, it will be because an external party has come up with a solution."