Sir Lewis Hamilton may be yet to claim his first F1 Grand Prix victory of 2022 but according to comments from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team boss, Toto Wolff, there is every expectation that the seven-time F1 Drivers' World Champion will extend his current contract. Not only this, but it was alluded to that Hamilton could be around in F1 for at least another five years. No doubt this will be welcome news to Team LH who celebrated their idol reaching 30 million Instagram followers last week.
Speaking to former Red Bull Racing Driver and current Channel 4 F1 pundit, David Coulthard, the latest update on Lewis Hamilton's contract (which runs until the end of 2023) was revealed by Toto Wolff. The news is positive for all those still rising with Hamilton as Wolff announced a contract extension 'is going to happen'.
The exclusive interview with Channel 4 F1, held in the sunshine of Monte Carlo, was released by the broadcaster’s Channel 4 Sports YouTube channel - and debuted on the day of the Singapore GP. During a discussion of almost 40 minutes, Toto Wolff discussed a host of topics ranging from mental health right through to parting ways with Valtteri Bottas, but it was the talk of Lewis Hamilton potentially being around even longer on an F1 grid - possibly another 5 years - which has unsurprisingly captured the headlines:
“Over time we have just grown together. We are totally transparent with each other, and we talk about the future. And I think it's very easy. Lewis will be the first person to say ‘I can’t do this anymore’ – because I feel I haven’t got the reactions anymore, or I’ve just lost fun doing it and there is another generation growing up that is just very strong. So, I have no doubt that whatever we agree on a contract extension, which is going to happen, that we both are always going to discuss, very openly, what does the future hold.”
Lewis Hamilton is 37 years old at present compared to current F1 Drivers’ World Champion Max Verstappen who just turned 26 this past weekend. However, as the saying goes, age is but a number as shown by Fernando Alonso who is still racing in F1 – and scoring points – at the age of 41. A fact referred to by the Mercedes maestro in his discussion with David Coulthard.
“I don’t know if 40 is that age where you say that is not adequate anymore for a racing driver,” Wolff stated. "If you look at where Fernando is with 41 years, he’s still very much there. Now, is he the same Fernando that he was at 25? I don’t know, but he’s very competitive still.
“You look at Tom Brady [winner of 7 NFL Superbowls] who is somebody I really admire for having the discipline in how he manages his life and his sport, he’s 43 or 44 – and he’s on the pitch. So, Lewis, with the way he leads his life, with the full, ultra-narrow focus on his Formula 1 racing – all the others are just hobbies – I think he can take it quite far.”
Toto Wolff is not the only person to admire Tom Brady. Due to the fact that Tom Brady and Lewis Hamilton are both IWC ambassadors, the pair already spoke in high praise of the other ahead of this year’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix. Another fact that surely did not go unnoticed by Hamilton, is that Tom Brady did retire from the NFL - but changed his mind just 40 days later. So, if Brady can stay at the top in his forties - why can't Hamilton? According to Toto Wolff, it seems that such a thought is already on the mind of the seven-time F1 Drivers' World Champion
“The advantage is we speak a lot together, he lives here and I’m there [also in Monaco]. And just last week we sat down and he says ‘well, I have another five years in me. How do you see that?’
“I mean, he’s the shining star in Formula 1 on and off track. I think we would lose the greatest personality Formula 1 ever had.”
At a time when Formula One is bigger than ever with business booming, one can imagine the powers that be relishing the prospect of more to come from Lewis Hamilton. One can also imagine that the new batch of racers coming through the ranks will also relish the opportunity to go toe to toe with one of the greatest ever to race an F1 car.
Toto Wolff claimed that Lewis Hamilton will be the first person to say he can't race in F1 anymore. However. On current evidence, that day is some way off. As such, it seems that F1's shining star has far from lost his spark and that should be great news for any fan of Formula One.