SPIELBERG, Austria – Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton will remain with Mercedes until the 2023 season after signing a two-year contract extension, the team said Saturday.
The seven-time champion is currently in his ninth season with Mercedes.
“It is hard to believe that almost nine years have passed working with this incredible team and I am excited that we will continue our partnership for two more years,” said Hamilton. “We have accomplished a lot together, but we still have a lot to accomplish, both on and off the track.”
An eighth championship would put Hamilton ahead of Michael Schumacher on the all-time list. Hamilton is 18 points behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after eight races. Verstappen leads it 4-3 in wins and 3-2 in pole position.
Team principal Toto Wolff said this season’s close title race led to them fulfilling the contract.
“We are enjoying the battle at hand this year, and that is why we also wanted to agree this contract early, so that we do not have distractions from the competition on the track,” said Wolff. “I’ve always said that as long as Lewis still has the racing fire, he can go on for as long as he wants.”
The deal was announced before qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix and was quickly received by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“I am delighted that Lewis is staying in F1 for at least another two years,” said Domenicali. “What he has accomplished in this sport is incredible and I know he has more to come. He is a global superstar on and off the track and his positive impact on Formula 1 is enormous. “
Hamilton, 36, joined Mercedes in 2013 from McLaren, where he won his first title in 2007. Many observers predicted it was a risky move, such was Red Bull’s dominance at the time.
Red Bull had just won its fourth consecutive driver and constructor title with Sebastian Vettel at the wheel, and Hamilton won just one race in his first season with Mercedes.
But a switch to hybrid engines turned F1 around, and Hamilton has won every title with Mercedes since 2014 with the exception of 2016, when his then-teammate Nico Rosberg took the title and retired.
Later on Saturday, Hamilton will seek an F1 pole 101 that will extend the record and a 99 victory that will extend the record on Sunday.
If Hamilton retires at the end of 2023, he will be 38 years old and could stand alone as the best driver in F1.