Current World Drivers’ Championship leader and three-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton hinted last week that he could stay in Formula 1 for another six years.
Speaking last week, he said that title-rival Sebastian Vettel’s decision to sign a three-year contract with Scuderia Ferrari has made his decision on his future much easier – suggesting that he could stick with the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team for the remainder of his time in the sport.
“It’s good for Sebastian that he’s signed there. I think all things happen for a reason, and in the kind of plan that I have coming up, my five years, whatever it is, six years that I have left in the sport, that piece of the puzzle is now in place, so it makes my decision moving forward a lot easier.”
It follows a period of intense scrutiny over driver contracts, with rumours abounding about where drivers could move to in the coming seasons.
Hamilton says that whilst he has no plans to leave his current team, team boss Toto Wolff keeps him fully abreast of those who do – and who contacts Mercedes looking to take one of their seats.
“I’m made aware of who contacts the team, and that’s down to a great relationship that I have with Toto.
“So he’s very open with me about who calls. It’s kind of interesting sometimes to hear who calls, and who’s tried either to take my seat or take the seat next door to me.
“And then to see following those calls, the manoeuvres that happen, such as for example Sebastian signing. I don’t know if everyone expected him to sign a three-year deal.
“It doesn’t really change much to me, because I planned to extend with the team, which we will do at some point in the second half of the season, or towards the end of the year.”
Hamilton’s contract runs until the end of the 2018 season, after which he plans to re-sign with Mercedes.
“There’s no rush, and I know the team is fully committed to me, and I’ve never picked up the phone and spoken to any of those other teams. So I made that very clear to the guys.
“I’m not trying to weigh up my options, and if I was I’d call Toto and say I’m going to due diligence and see what options there are for me. Currently I have no plans to do that.”