Fernando Alonso’s performances as a 41-year-old show Lewis Hamilton can race on for many more years if he chooses, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes.Hamilton revealed in September he is planning to extend his Mercedes contract, which is due to expire at the end of the 2023 F1 season. He will be 38 by then, and a new multi-year deal would see him racing in his 40s, something he previously indicated he did not intend to do.
However Wolff believes Hamilton is capable of extending his career into his fifth decade as several top athletes have done. “You can see today’s athletes are pushing the boundaries in terms of age,” said Wolff.
“For me, Fernando is performing at a very high level. And you look at, for me, the best athlete in the world, Tom Brady, he’s on the feet actually, he’s being tackled and throwing a ball and he’s 43 years old.
“So as long as you continue to look after yourself and develop your cognitive senses, I think he has many more years in him and I’m pretty certain that’s going to be the case here in the team.”
Discussions around Hamilton’s last contract, a two-year deal announced in July 2021, began during the previous off-season. However Wolff said talks on Hamilton’s next contract are yet to begin.
“We haven’t started any talks,” he said. “We want to definitely finish the season and then try to find some quiet time over the winter like we have done last time around. That literally started in the winter holidays and then lasted over two months. But we haven’t done that.
“But as I say, he’s much more than a driver to us now. Although we are not talking about a career end, it’s also important to speak about his role as an ambassador for Mercedes and the many sponsors we have and the implication he can have in our wider universe.”
Wolff, who owns one-third of the Mercedes’ F1 team, made it clear Hamilton faces no competition for his drive: “It’s 100% his seat.”
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