LONDON – Seven times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will continue to race for Mercedes this season after agreeing to a new deal, the team said in a statement on Monday.
It said the new deal, continuing the relationship for a ninth season, included a joint commitment for greater diversity and inclusion.
“We’re very happy to keep the most successful F1 driver of the current era in the most successful F1 team of the current era,” said Non-Executive Chairman of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, Markus Schäfer.
“Lewis is not only an incredibly talented driver; he also works very hard for his achievements and is extremely hungry. He shares his passion for performance with the entire team which is why this collaboration has become so successful.
“But Lewis is also a warm-hearted personality who cares deeply about the world around him and wants to make an impact. As a company, we share this sense of responsibility and are proud to launch a new, joint foundation to improve diversity in Formula One. Opening the series to under-represented groups will be important for the sport’s development in the future and we’re determined to make an impact.”
The team did not state what remuneration had been agreed to. Hamilton and Mercedes had been unusually late in agreeing to a new contract for 2021, although it had been widely expected that the Briton would remain with the team.
After recovering from Covid-19 at the beggining of this year, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had said his main focus had been on agreeing a new deal with Hamilton. At the time he said the lawyers had been hard at work, with a deal needing to be in place before pre-season testing in Bahrain in March.
“We don't make life easy for them, of course, when we both argue over Zoom and keep sending curve balls to the lawyers,” said Wolff.
Mercedes will unveil its 2021 Formula One car in a digital launch on March 2, the reigning world champion announced last week.
The 2021 car, similar to last year's but with some aerodynamic upgrades, will be designated officially as the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance.
The season starts in Bahrain on March 28, with teams testing at the Sakhir circuit from March 12-14.
Reuters & IOL