Lewis Hamilton Signs 1-Year Deal With Mercedes
The pursuit of history continues as Mercedes announced Monday that the team and its star driver Lewis Hamilton have agreed to a one-year deal. This comes months after Hamilton won his seventh F1 driver's championship, tying Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher for most titles in the sport.
At time of publication, it has yet to be announced how much the contract is worth, although The Sun reports that Hamilton will get £40 million, which equates to about $48.2 million, and follows the amount of money he received in a year under his previous contract. The new deal also includes an agreement to create a joint charity to continue working toward diversity in the sport. Hamilton, as the only Black driver on the grid, has been vocal about the need for equal opportunity in all aspects of racing.
“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes team mates," Hamilton said in a statement. "Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.
“I’m equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue. I’m proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport. I am inspired by all that we can build together and can’t wait to get back on the track in March.”
This was the first time in his 14-year career that Hamilton did not have a contract to be on a team prior to the season's end. Having to follow COVID-19 protocol made for an unusual season and when Hamilton caught the coronavirus and missed a race in December, it further pushed back the negotiation process.
Team principal Toto Wolff understood the challenges of last year that delayed signing his star athlete, but expresses excitement at continuing the work he's started with Hamilton.
“We have always been aligned with Lewis that we would continue, but the very unusual year we had in 2020 meant it took some time to finish the process," he said.
"Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity within our sport. Lewis’s competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners.
"The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it.”
The 2021 F1 season will mark Hamilton's fifth with teammate Valtteri Bottas. This announcement completes the starting grid for the season, which starts March 28 in Bahrain.