Motor racing – Mercedes tells Hamilton the seat is his to race until 40
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mercedes has told Lewis Hamilton he can be sure he has a seat if he wants to stay in Formula One and believe he can emulate NFL great Tom Brady and compete until quarantine.
The seven-time world champion and winner of a record 103 races will turn 38 in January and has announced his intention to sign a multi-year extension to the contract which expires at the end of 2023.
“It’s 100 per cent his seat,” team boss Toto Wolff told reporters at the Mexico City Grand Prix when asked if Mercedes, which has Briton George Russell in its other car , could consider someone else.
The Austrian said contract negotiations have not started yet, although both championships are now over.
Mercedes still harbor hopes of overtaking Ferrari for second place overall in a year dominated by Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
“We definitely want to finish the season and then find some quiet time over the winter like we did last time,” Wolff said.
“He’s more than a driver for us now.
“Although we are not talking about a career ending, it is also important to talk about his role as an ambassador for Mercedes and the many sponsors we have and the involvement he can have in our wider universe. .”
Hamilton is the second-oldest driver on the grid, with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso at 41 the oldest and set for a few more seasons after signing with Aston Martin.
After a period of ever younger drivers – with Verstappen making his debut at 17 in 2015, Lance Stroll at 18 in 2017 and Lando Norris at 19 in 2019 – Alonso and Hamilton are ready to push the limits at the other end of the spectrum.
The oldest race winner in the modern era remains Nigel Mansell at 41 in 1994, with Kimi Raikkonen also winning at 39 in 2018.
“You can see today’s athletes pushing the boundaries in terms of age. For me, Fernando is performing at a very high level,” said Wolff.
He also cited the example of Brady still on the court, tackling and throwing the ball at age 45.
“As long as you continue to take care of yourself and develop your cognitive sensors, I think he (Hamilton) still has many years ahead of him. I’m pretty sure that will be the case here in the team,” Wolff said.
(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Christian Radnedge)