Lewis Hamilton says he is in a position where he has achieved most of what he set out to accomplish when beginning his Formula 1 career.
The seven-time world champion made headlines earlier this year when he confirmed he had agreed to a one-year deal with Mercedes for the 2021 season.
Just one year.
Why not two, three or even more? After all, Mercedes is the sport’s most dominant force, and that stranglehold doesn’t look like it is under any immediate threat.
But at this morning’s unveiling of Mercedes’ 2021 challenger, Hamilton said he would make decisions concerning his future beyond this year on the fly.
With seven titles and an unprecedented 95 grand prix wins, Hamilton feels that there is not much more left to achieve, putting him in a relaxed contract situation.
“I’m kind of in a fortunate position where I’ve achieved most of the stuff that I’ve wanted to achieve up to this point, so there’s no real need necessarily to look too far ahead into the future,” Hamilton said.
“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 it on if we have to.”
Hamilton also suggested that winning another world championship this year won’t affect his mindset regarding his future.
“What I’ve made a really important decision in my mind is that I don’t want that [another title] to be the deciding factor,” he said.
“I got into racing because I loved racing, and I think that’s got to always be at the core of what I do.
“If I don’t love racing, if all you’re going for is accolades, if all you’re going for is titles, then I feel like I could potentially lose my way, so of course it’s the ultimate dream, but I don’t think that’s necessarily going to be the deciding factor on whether I stay.
“It’s more whether I still have that smile when I leave the garage. It’s going back to: ‘do you enjoy it?’
“Last year was a tough year for everyone, including me. But there were some really impactful moments.
“Will that be the case this year? We’ll see. Will I enjoy it as much? We’ll see. I’m excited currently so I’m sure I will.”
But don’t expect an unfocused and half-hearted Hamilton to line-up on the grid this season.
“I’m fully invested in this season and delivering,” he said.
“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.”
The first round of the 2021 F1 season will be the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28.