Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton will drive for the Mercedes Formula 1 team in 2021 the team have announced. The news, which was revealed this morning, has been long overdue with the new season fast approaching.
It was expected a deal to extend the Brit’s stay for a ninth year with the team would be wrapped up fairly quickly given the unusually late finish to the 2020 season, but the drawn-out saga has led to widespread speculation as to the cause of the delay. However, that can all be put to bed - for another year at least - as the 36-year-old Brit has now put pen to paper on a one-year deal that includes a joint commitment for greater diversity and inclusion.
"I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates," Hamilton said in a Mercedes official statement. "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."
The pairing of Hamilton and Mercedes have proved almost unbeatable in the turbo-hybrid era with Nico Rosberg’s solitary world title in 2016 the only time the Briton has been outscored. And despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, it was business as usual on the track last year, with both Hamilton and Mercedes romping to emphatic victories.
With the relatively unchanged regulations for 2021, most expect Mercedes to be the dominant force once again as Hamilton looks to clinch a record-breaking eighth world title alongside teammate Valterri Bottas.