SUZUKA, Japan — Lewis Hamilton has confirmed he plans to stay in Formula One beyond the length of his current contract with Mercedes.
The seven-time world champion has a deal to race until the end of 2023 but has hinted on a number of occasions that he is considering staying longer.
In a recent interview with Channel 4, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said Hamilton had talked about staying for another five years, and while Hamilton wouldn’t be drawn on the specific length of time, he said he intends to remain in F1 beyond his current contract.
“I know what I want to do — I plan on staying longer,” he said. “It’s just not set in stone how long.
“I plan on staying with Mercedes for the rest of my life, that’s a definite. It’s more figuring out what we are going to do down the line, even beyond racing I want to be building with Mercedes and there is a lot that Mercedes can do, it’s not just a car manufacturer.
“It provides so many jobs for so many people and it has such a powerful platform to really shift narratives and it has a place where it can have a really positive impact on the environment – there’s loads of things that we can do together and I want to be a part of that.
“I want to be part of that shift and work process with Mercedes far beyond races and championships, but for now it’s to win world championships and that’s the immediate focus.”
Hamilton missed out on an eighth world title last year after a tight battle with Max Verstappen for the championship. The result followed a controversial season finale in which FIA race director Michael Masi shortcutted F1’s safety car restart procedure to give Verstappen a shot at passing Hamilton on the final lap.
But Hamilton insists beating Verstappen is not his main reason for staying in F1, instead pointing to work he has done to increase diversity in the sport. Hamilton also made reference to his charitable foundation, Mission 44, which he set up last year to boost social mobility for children from underrepresented groups in his native U.K.
“Less than you’d think,” he said when asked if dethroning Verstappen was his main motivator for staying in F1. “I think it’s more just where I am in life.
“I’ve got great things happening outside, I’ve got a lot of freedom to be able to do things, I’m building things outside of the sport with my foundation that I’ve just started, and it’s going to take a lot of work. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done in this sport and I can’t retire now because I’m only just embarking in helping shift and create a more open and inclusive environment here in this sport, and I’ve got to stay to help that continue.
“Also, I feel healthier than I have ever been, just because of what I eat and how I prepare myself and I love racing. I’ve been doing it since as long as I can remember, since I was five years old and that’s not going to go away.
“If I’m still fit and able to focus, why would I stop? And I can still do the other things that I want to do at the same time as well.”