Lewis Hamilton says he is not placing limits on how long he could stay in Formula 1, and plans to sign a new multi-year deal with Mercedes.
The seven-time world champion is out of contract at the end of 2023 and turns 38 next year, but has voiced his desire to continue for multiple seasons beyond that. Hamilton attributes his motivation to his freedom to pursue other interests alongside F1 while at Mercedes, but is also inspired by the target of returning the team to championship contention after a tough 2022.
“I have not a put a limit on it, to be honest,” Hamilton said. “I’m planning to do a multi-year deal with my team. I really don’t know what the next five years… I think we’re still trying to work on that.
“There are a lot of great things that are being put in place – I just launched a production company this week – but I feel great in my body and mind. So I want to continue. I think there’s more stuff for us to achieve together so I want to be here longer, I just don’t know. If Fernando leaves maybe I’ll have to think about it twice because I’ll be the oldest driver then!
“It’s been lingering around, this narrative of winding towards the end. I’m sure for all of you in your careers and your jobs you probably have to analyze, what’s next? Is there someone else you want to go? Is there somewhere higher you want to be? Is there room for growth in that role? I think that was perhaps something for me.
“Being a racing driver is a great thing, but I was trying to see ‘how am I going to grow beyond this role?’. And I think you’re seeing that with the work we’re doing with Ignite, I’ve got Mission 44 now, Toto [Wolff] has been a great leader and enabled me to do things. He said to me in the past when Niki [Lauda] would say to him ‘How do you let him do this?’ and then eventually they’re all coming round to the idea that supporting and enabling people to be their best is better for everybody’s interest.
“So I think I’m just in a happy place in my life, a lot more grounded. I’ve got my home that I get to spend time in in the UK when I come to see the team for example, and the family come down. So it’s just a lot better set-up all-round, and I feel like I can take the team to more championships.”
Hamilton says the fact he is not currently in a relationship or a father means his full focus can remain on his career, and he has taken inspiration from the commitment of the team around him to try and improve after a challenging season this year.
“If we’d had a year like last year, competing at the front all year, then who knows where I would be,” he admitted. “Each year you have to ask yourself if you are willing to give as much or more than when you started; if you are willing to give up all your time to prepare and train, and what will the team deliver.
“If there is ever a moment when I’m arriving and just coasting along then that’s when I don’t foresee myself staying here – I won’t deserve the position here and that’s when I should stop. I question myself on whether I am able to do that, and the answer is yes. We have a championship that we need to get back, and I love the mission and that challenge in the team.
“Every single person who’s back here at the team and in the garage has given up so much time on the road year after year after year and this one’s been a really challenging one in so many ways, but it’s been beautiful to see the journey that everyone individually has been on, but also collectively how we have pulled together and gelled together and that process has been more open and a room full of men, most often, showing their vulnerability.
“That has been a really interesting process. I can’t wait to be a part of it, when we finally get back to success and get that win or that championship. It’s going to make all these tough moments worthwhile.”