Lewis Hamilton has affirmed that his future in Formula 1 will not be dictated by the pursuit of securing a record-breaking eighth World Championship.
After his previous contract with Mercedes expired at the end of 2020, the Briton signed a one-year extension deal with the team during the winter break, leading to speculation over his long-term commitment to F1.
In 2020, Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s total race victories record, while equalling the German’s seven F1 titles.
However, Hamilton affirms that his love of racing will not become distracted by the hunt for an eighth title, which he says will not factor into his decision to leave or remain in F1 beyond 2021.
“I have made a real important decision in my mind that I don’t want that to be the deciding factor,” Hamilton said.
“I got into racing because I loved racing. That has got to be at the core of what I do. If I don’t love racing, if all you’re going for is accolades, all you’re going for is titles, I feel like I could potentially lose my way.
“Of course it’s the ultimate dream but I don’t think it’s going to be the deciding factor as to whether I stay or keep going.
“It’s more whether when I put the helmet on, I still have the smile when I leave the garage. Last year was a really tough year for everyone, including me.
“There were still some really impactful moments. Will it be the case this year? We’ll see. Will I enjoy it as much? I’m excited now, so I’m sure I will.”
Hamilton added that he still feels committed to F1, despite only extending his contract for an additional season.
“I’m fully invested in this season and delivering,” he said. “I still love what I do.
“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.”