Lewis Hamilton admits his new one-year contract with Mercedes is because he’s achieved what he wants in Formula 1, and doesn’t want to commit to a longer-term deal.
Mercedes and Hamilton announced the deal for 2021 last month after protracted negotiations that were hampered by both himself and Toto Wolff suffering from COVID-19. At the time of the signing, Wolff stated both sides opted to delay a longer-term decision because the new season was looming, but Hamilton says he simply doesn’t want to commit to more than a season at a time at this stage of his career.
“Firstly, I’m in a fortunate position where I’ve achieved most of the stuff that I’ve wanted to achieve up until this point, so there’s no real need, necessarily, to plan too far ahead in the future,” Hamilton said. “I think we live in quite an unusual period of time in life, and I just wanted one year. Then we can talk about if we do more, and keep adding one year if we have to.”
Pushed on whether his commitment to racing is any different compared to the past, Hamilton insists that’s not the case.
“I’m fully invested in this season and delivering,” he said. “I still love what I do. I’m generally in a fortunate position where I don’t have to commit to multiple years, so I chose to have a one-year deal. Then I can see how the year goes, and where we are at mid-year, or towards the end of the year. Who knows if we will still be in a pandemic? But it doesn’t mean I’m not committed. I’m still very, very committed to the sport.
“What I’m really focused on is around the discussion on this diversity issue. It still remains an issue today and it’s not going to change tonight, but what’s really important is that we are actually delivering and actually taking action. I’m really proud of my team here and the steps we’ve taken. We are starting to see that progress little by little, and it just takes one step at a time. That’s kind of my driving force this year too, to make sure that we continue to push for accountability, and on top of that hopefully I can deliver some good performances.”
Hamilton admits that his main motivation is the push for equality rather than solely achieving success on the track.
“The main priority for 2021… In the past it was about just winning championships, now it’s about making real – last year there was a lot of discussion about equality and inclusion, and I think there was a lot of talk,” he said.
“This year it’s all about pushing for diversity and really making sure that action is taken. That’s kind of at the core of the drive for me, but of course we exist to win. That’s what all these guys and girls here are working towards, and so that’s my goal to deliver that for them.”