Lewis Hamilton’s weird contract situation is finally over after the Briton re-upped for Mercedes for one more year, according to reports on Monday. Hamilton has a new one-year contract for 2021 to go after a record eighth title. But it sure seems like after that that might be that.
Hamilton will again partner with Valtteri Bottas, who is also on a one-year contract with Mercedes for 2021. Part of Hamilton’s new deal is a commitment from Mercedes on a foundation to promote diversity and inclusion in motor racing, and, well, you can sort of see the seeds of Hamilton’s retirement already being planted.
Mercedes say 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 Hamilton 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,” said Hamilton. “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.”
My colleague Bradley Brownell further reckons that this all might be the beginning of the end for Mercedes and Formula One, period.
And while I think that is a bit of a stretch to say at this point — I think everyone is just in wait-and-see mode, given the significant rules changes after this season and, you know, the pandemic — but it also seems like Formula One in a few years is going to look very, very different than the Formula One of right now. Which means we should all enjoy 2021 for what it is — probably the final season of Formula One as we have known it for a decade.