Lewis Hamilton signs two-year deal to stay in F1 with Mercedes

SPIELBERG, Austria -- Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will stay in Formula One for two more years after signing a deal to remain at Mercedes until the end of the 2023 season.

Hamilton initially committed to a one-year deal with Mercedes this year, leaving his future in doubt beyond the end of the 2021 season. However, after continuing talks with team boss Toto Wolff this season, Mercedes announced Saturday that Hamilton would continue at the team until the end of 2023 at least.

The new contract will keep Hamilton, who is currently F1's third-oldest driver, in the sport until he is 38.

Hamilton has been at Mercedes since the start of 2013, securing six of his seven world championships with the team, 77 of his 98 race victories and 74 of his 100 pole positions.

He is currently second in the championship standings behind Max Verstappen and is looking to secure an eighth world title this year, which would take him one clear of the record he currently shares with Michael Schumacher.

The 2022 season will see an overhaul in F1's technical regulations, with a new shape of car aimed at slowing speeds and improving the racing spectacle.

In the past year, Hamilton, the only Black driver in F1, has increasingly used his standing within the sport to push for greater diversity in F1.

In a statement on Saturday morning, he said he still had more to achieve on and off the track.

"It is hard to believe it's been nearly nine years working with this incredible team and I'm excited we're going to continue our partnership for two more years," Hamilton said. "We've accomplished so much together but we still have a lot to achieve, both on and off the track.

"I'm incredibly proud and grateful of how Mercedes has supported me in my drive to improve diversity and equality in our sport. They have held themselves accountable and made important strides in creating a more diverse team and inclusive environment.

"Thank you to all the dedicated and talented individuals at Mercedes whose hard work makes it all possible and the board for their continued trust in me. We're entering a new era of car which will be challenging and exciting and I can't wait to see what else we can achieve together."

Wolff, who is a 33% shareholder in the Mercedes team and recently committed to staying as team principal until the end of 2023, said he would happily keep Hamilton at the team as long as he is willing to stay.

"As we enter a new era of F1 from 2022 onwards, there can be no better driver to have in our team than Lewis. His achievements in this sport speak for themselves, and with his experience, speed and race-craft, he is at the peak of his powers.

"We are relishing the battle we have on our hands this year -- and that's why we also wanted to agree this contract early, so we have no distractions from the competition on track. I have always said that as long as Lewis still possesses the fire for racing, he can continue as long as he wants."

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali added: "This is fantastic news for Formula One and I am delighted that Lewis will stay in F1 for at least another two years.

"What he has achieved in this sport is incredible and I know he has more to come. He is a global superstar on and off the race track and his positive impact on Formula One is huge."