Lewis Hamilton feels he can continue in Formula One for another five years, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who is certain the 37-year-old will renew his contract with the team.
Hamilton has won six of his joint-record seven F1 world championships while representing Mercedes, also helping the Silver Arrows to eight consecutive constructors’ titles since joining in 2013.
That run is set to end this season, with Mercedes in third and Hamilton winless and struggling in sixth in the drivers’ standings.
But Wolff insists his superstar’s appetite for the sport remains undiminished.
He believes Hamilton – who he described as “the greatest personality” in F1 history – is sure to extend his Mercedes stay beyond the expiration of his contract in 2023.
“The advantage is we speak a lot together,” Wolff told Channel 4. “Just last week we sat down, and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’
“He’s the shining star on and off track. I think we would lose the greatest personality that Formula One ever had.
“Over time we have just grown together. We are totally transparent with each other.
“Lewis will be the first one 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’.
“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 the future holds.”
Hamilton indicated earlier this year he has “plenty of fuel left in the tank”, and Wolff believes he can replicate the longevity of rival Fernando Alonso and NFL legend Tom Brady by competing after his 40th birthday.
“I don’t know if 40 is that age where you say that is not adequate anymore for a racing driver,” Wolff said.
“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, who is somebody I really admire for having the discipline in how he manages his life and his sport, he’s 45 – and he’s on the pitch.
“So Lewis, with the way he leads his life, with the full, ultra-narrow focus on his Formula One racing – all the other things are just hobbies – I think he can take it quite far.”
Hamilton was joined by George Russell at Mercedes ahead of this season, and the former Williams driver sits fourth in the drivers’ standings after recording seven podium finishes in 2022 – one more than Hamilton.