Method 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a brand new one-year contract with Mercedes for the 2021 season.
The 36-year-old’s earlier deal lapsed in 2020 however he’ll now race for Mercedes for a ninth season.
Hamilton turned the game’s most profitable driver ever in 2020, breaking Michael Schumacher’s all-time win file and drawing degree with the German’s seven titles.
“Our crew has achieved unimaginable issues collectively,” mentioned Hamilton.
“We stay up for constructing on our success even additional, whereas constantly seeking to enhance, each on and off the observe.”
A part of the brand new deal entails a dedication from Mercedes to proceed to work with Hamilton on in search of “higher variety and inclusion in motorsport”.
They may work on creating a brand new joint charitable basis and Hamilton says the producer has been “extraordinarily supportive” on the difficulty.
“I am proud to say we’re taking that effort additional this 12 months by launching a basis devoted to variety and inclusion within the sport,” he added.
“I’m impressed by all that we are able to construct collectively and may’t wait to get again on the observe in March.”
Why solely a 12 months?
The length of the contract is alleged to have been a mutual request that displays a want from either side to have the pliability of a one-year deal.
It’s also a measure of the lateness of the settlement – it’s extremely uncommon for a contract be agreed so near the beginning of the season, particularly with a driver of the significance of Hamilton – in addition to the uncertainty going through all F1 groups heading into 2021.
This season is the primary beneath a finances cap, initially set at $145m (£114m), however being diminished by $5m a 12 months over the next two seasons, and in 2022 the game introduces a significant change of technical laws geared toward closing up the sector and making the racing nearer.
Groups are additionally within the midst of different main negotiations with broad penalties, such because the attainable introduction of an engine-performance freeze from 2022, and a driver wage cap can also be probably on the horizon.
Mercedes, nonetheless, emphasise that the choice to arrange along with Hamilton a basis on inclusivity and variety displays their shared imaginative and prescient and that the connection extends past a easy contract to drive racing vehicles.
‘Hungry to compete’
Hamilton’s defence of his title begins on the Bahrain Grand Prix on 26 March and if he can win a fifth drivers’ championship in a row he’ll surpass Schumacher’s mark of seven, set in 2004.
“The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the historical past books of our sport over the previous eight seasons, and we’re hungry to compete and so as to add extra chapters to it,” mentioned Mercedes crew principal Toto Wolff.
“We now have at all times been aligned with Lewis that we’d proceed, however the very uncommon 12 months we had in 2020 meant it took a while to complete the method.”
Mercedes didn’t state the worth of Hamilton’s new contract however his earlier deal was for £30m a 12 months, with as much as an extra £10m out there as bonuses.
He has received six of his world titles at Mercedes, with the opposite arriving at McLaren in 2008.
Mercedes have received the constructors’ championship seven instances in a row and the drivers’ world title has additionally gone to one in all their drivers for seven straight seasons, with Nico Rosberg’s 2016 success sandwiched in between Hamilton’s six wins.