Lewis Hamilton says the coronavirus lockdown period provided a “renewed bit of energy” regarding his on-going Formula 1 career, which he sees lasting “at least three years” on from 2020.
Hamilton is currently competing in his 14th F1 season and has the chance to break Michael Schumacher’s all-time grand prix win record (91, with Hamilton currently on 86) this season, as well as equal Schumacher’s record seven world titles.
But his deal with Mercedes expires at the end of 2020 and although Hamilton is expected to continue into a ninth season with the squad – with all other leading F1 seats essentially filled for 2021 – he is yet to announce an extension.
When asked if he could guarantee his participation in the 2021 British GP to the fans who are barred from attending this year’s event due to the coronavirus restrictions in the UK, Hamilton said: “Firstly, I don’t think you can guarantee anything, but I plan to be here for sure.
“That’s definitely the goal. And so, fingers crossed, I will be here and we will have fans here next year.
“And in terms of how long I go, that’s a bit of an unknown.
“I would say that the COVID lockdown – after we had the first part of the season cancelled – that gave us… It was a negative in many, many ways but in some ways it gave a lot of life, a lot of energy to focus on some other things.
“And that bit of time off was really a bit of breathing space. So, it’s kind of given me a renewed bit of energy to perhaps go longer.
“I mean, ultimately, I want to be able to perform at the level that I’m performing at now, forever.
“But I will see there is a point at which physicality and the mental side can tail off.
“And I don’t know when that’s going to be but I don’t see that happening in the particular short term in the next two or three years.
“So I’m definitely going to be here, hopefully, for the foreseeable future.”
Hamilton also said he was aware there are no other drivers from his background currently on the path to F1 and suggested that is a consideration when it comes to his thoughts on his future career in the category.
“We’re in a period of time, I mean, there’s not another driver from my background coming at the moment,” he explained. “And I’m conscious of that as well.
“So I’m just going to try and I want to earn my position here. I feel like every year I come back, it’s not a given just because I’ve got world championships under my belt.
“I think you still have to earn the right to be here in terms of how you perform [and] continue to deliver.
“So my goal is to continue to deliver as long as I can. So, I do see myself going for at least three years.”