The on-going contract saga at Mercedes has finally come to an end with world champion Lewis Hamilton signing a new deal for the 2021 season.
The 36-year-old won his record-equalling seventh title last season in dominant fashion over teammate Valtteri Bottas, but a new deal for the Brit was a long time in the making.
With rumours about Hamilton’s salary demands, Team Principal Toto Wolff admitted there were ‘curve balls’ for the lawyers to deal with in recent weeks.
However, Mercedes and Hamilton today (Monday) confirmed an extended deal for the forthcoming season.
A statement read: “A significant part of the new agreement builds upon the joint commitment to greater diversity and inclusion in motorsport that was made last year by Lewis and Mercedes. This will take the form of a joint charitable foundation, which will have the mission of supporting greater diversity and inclusion in all its forms in motorsport.”
“I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates,” Hamilton said. “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.”
Wolff added: “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.
“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.”
Mercedes will launch their 2021 contender on March 2.