Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says he expects Lewis Hamilton to remain in the sport to continue his pursuit of achieving a “dream” eighth World Championship.
Hamilton became only the second driver in F1 history along with Michael Schumacher to win a seventh Drivers’ title when he secured his sixth championship success in seven years in 2020 to add to his 2008 triumph.
However, the Brit was denied the chance to assert his name clear of the rest by a controversial ending to the 2021 season that handed rival Max Verstappen the title.
Mercedes’ subsequent struggles in the latest rules cycle have meant Hamilton has been unable to contest a championship since, resulting in persistent rumours that he could walk away from the sport entirely.
But Domenicali is confident that Hamilton, whose current contract expires at the end of the year, will pen a new deal to prolong his chase for that record-breaking milestone.
“I’d like him to stay in the sport 100 per cent, 100 per cent… 1,000 per cent!” he told the Daily Mail.
“I don’t want to give Lewis any advice because that would be disrespectful to Toto [Wolff]. And Lewis has such deep experience that I’m sure he doesn’t need my input because he knows what he wants.
“He loves our sport. He has been in it since he was a child. Now his role in F1 is getting bigger than an F1 world champion, given the way he gets involved in a lot of things outside the sport and takes an active role in society. He takes us towards new dimensions.
“But his love is Formula One, and, of course, he wants to achieve his dream of being the only driver to have won an eighth title.”
Having enjoyed an unprecedented run of winning eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from the start of the turbo-hybrid engine era in 2014, Mercedes regressed to finish third in last season’s standings, winning only a solitary race.
The German marque’s decision to embody trust in its ambitious zero sidepod car concept again for 2023 backfired, with team boss Toto Wolff concluding after a poor opening qualifying in Bahrain that a philosophy change was required for Mercedes to fight for consistent wins again.
Mercedes is set to introduce various upgrades to its troubled W14 car over the coming rounds, including revised bodywork and suspension parts, and Domenicali anticipates the Silver Arrows becoming a more competitive force again “very soon”.
“Toto is totally focused on making Mercedes improve. He told me he made adjustments within the team to be sure that there is the right intensity to gain performance as soon as possible.
“I am sure this will happen very, very soon,” the ex-Ferrari chief added.
With Hamilton’s Mercedes contract talks not yet finalised, the seven-time World Champion has repeatedly been linked with a potential blockbuster move to Ferrari.