Lewis Hamilton has begun talks over a new contract with Mercedes, the Formula One team confirmed on Wednesday.
The seven-time world champion said during the launch of the team’s new car for the 2023 season at Silverstone that he is “planning to stay a bit longer”.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added later discussions over an extension to Hamilton’s £40 million-a-season ($48 million, 45 million euros) deal, which expires at the end of the year, have begun.
“We have had a first chat, but I don’t want to commit to any timeline,” said Wolff.
“That is not important for him or for us. His current contract runs a full year and we will find the right time.
“We have done a few of these contracts in the past and it is not usually complex apart from the obvious terms.”
Hamilton turned 38 last month with his next deal set to take him beyond his 40th birthday.
But Wolff said perceptions of what constituted ‘old’ in modern sport were having to be revised.
“The age plays no role for this next contract. If you look at how well top athletes have pushed the boundaries, and I am thinking about (recently retired American football quarterback) Tom Brady, who is 45 and has been on a pitch and being tackled.
“In terms of the contract, we have always found good solutions that reflect his value to the team, and the sport, and Mercedes is the place he wants to be. Nothing is dragging on, the alignment is great and this will be a journey that continues.”
Hamilton recorded his worst championship finishing position of sixth in F1 last year, although that appeared to be more to do with the team’s failure to adjust to the sport’s new regulations than any decline in the British driver’s ability.
“How he (Hamilton) appears to me is in great form, very positive, motivated, energised, and maybe the best so far I have seen in those 10 years at Mercedes after the winter,” Wolff said.
“He knows what he has with the team. We have won eight constructors’ titles in a row, and we got it wrong last year. The resource and the capability is there and we just need to continue to develop like we have done last season.
“I don’t think it plays on Lewis’ mind, that he is in any doubt that the team can perform. We will. Eventually.”
Earlier, Hamilton said: “I have been here a long time. I continue to love racing and that is never ever going to change. It is part of my DNA and I always believe I can get better.”
“There is always a new logbook and new tools that you have to get used to, and I love that so I am planning to stay a little bit longer.”