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After some weeks of concern, seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton renewed his contract with Mercedes Benz and will continue to be their driver – but this time, he signed a one-year deal instead. Historically, he’s signed two-year contracts, and this has led to speculation that Hamilton and Mercedes could be exploring options besides each other.

For now, though, both parties are currently downplaying those rumors. Instead, it was that the pandemic made it difficult for all parties involved to meet face-to-face, so it was decided to promptly get Hamilton back under contract and determine how everyone would proceed afterward.

“We jointly agreed on a one-year deal,” Mercedes Benz’s team leader Wolff said. “First of all, there is a substantial regulation change in 2022, and we also want to see how the world develops, and the company… In that respect, we thought let’s postpone the conversation about 2022 and onwards to a later stage in 2021.”

However, there is also the realization that Hamilton has his eye on life beyond the racetrack. He launched his Hamilton Commission last year, which is focused on increasing Black presence in UK motorsport, especially through STEM study. So from his comments about his new contract, it might be deduced that he remains with Mercedes in more of an ambassador role than as a driver.

Hamilton is not only excited to see what comes of the connection but also push for more diversity in a sport that hasn’t been too open to minorities.

“I’m equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue,” said Hamilton of the partnership. I’m proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport. I am inspired by all that we can build together and can’t wait to get back on the track in March.”