Seven-time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton has signed a new contract with Mercedes until the end of 2021 Formula One season.
This announcement completes the 2021 grid with Hamilton set to try for a record-breaking eighth crown, having tied Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven championships in Turkey in November.
Amidst rumours of the contract being an one year deal with option to extend for 2022 season, Mercedes responded to a tweet, confirming that 2022 plans ‘will be discussed in due course.’
No that’s incorrect, it’s a one year deal, but our focus is on the 2021 season – plans for 2022 will be discussed in due course 😊
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) February 8, 2021
Speaking on finally signing his new contract which will see him race in F1 for a 15th consecutive season, Hamilton said: “I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates.
The seven-time world champion is in particular looking to make more history, saying: “Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.”
Diversity however remains high on Hamilton’s agenda with the Stevenage-born Brit speaking of how ‘equally determined’ he is in his aim ‘to make motorsport more diverse’ for drivers and engineers of future generations to come and will launch a foundation in partnership with Mercedes focusing on diversity and inclusion in motorsport.
Mercedes CEO and Team Principal, Toto Wolff added that a contract extension was always the plan, with the conclusion of the progress taking a backseat to allow full focus on a successful but tough 2020 season, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic forcing a tighter calendar.
Wolff however is positive that Mercedes and Hamilton are taking the next step in their aim to achieve greater diversity, saying;: “Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity.”
On aiming for an eighth driver and constructor title this season, Wolff confirmed that the team is ‘hungry’ to get racing this season in hope of being able ‘to add more chapters’ to their success story of this hybrid era.
Carlos Sainz will switch to Ferrari, replacing Sebastian Vettel who has moved to Aston Martin in place of Sergio Perez who switches to Red Bull, whilst Sainz’s seat at McLaren will be taken by Daniel Riccardo as Fernando Alonso returns to Renault under their new name of Alpine.
Only Mercedes, Alfa Romeo and Williams have retained their driver line-ups from 2020 without any changes.