Defending Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new three-year contract with Mercedes that will see him stay with the team until the end of the 2018 season.
The new deal, reported to be worth over $150m, was announced by Mercedes on Wednesday ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after months of negotiations, and will put all rumors of a move away form the team to rest.
Hamilton joined Mercedes for the 2013 season after spending his entire career under the wing of McLaren, and led the German marque to its first world title in over half a century in 2014.
Despite opening talks last summer, the contract has taken a long time to be agreed after Hamilton opted to split with his management company and negotiate with Mercedes alone.
However, a deal has finally been struck, and the Briton was delighted to announce the new deal on Wednesday.
“Mercedes is my home and I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years,” Hamilton said. “This is a company filled with real passionate racers, from the board room to the factory floor, and an incredible hunger to win.
“Even after the success of last year, that hunger is greater than ever – and it’s the same for me, too. The Mercedes car I am driving right now is the best I have ever had in my career; it’s just so much fun to be out there every weekend, on the limit and fighting to win at every track.
“Mercedes-Benz began supporting me in 1998 so I am very proud that this contract means I will mark 20 years with Mercedes in 2018.”
Team boss Toto Wolff echoed Hamilton’s sentiments and expressed his happiness with the continuity at Mercedes after Nico Rosberg penned his new contract last July.
“Continuity is one of the key factors for delivering success in Formula One and we now have that in place,” Wolff said. “Lewis enjoyed an historic World Championship season with Mercedes-Benz last year and it was a priority for this season to renew his contract for the next term.
“We have taken the right amount of time with the process and not rushed ourselves. The result is a strong agreement that will enhance Lewis’ association with the Mercedes-Benz brand, and that recognizes and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One.
“Lewis’ sporting track record speaks for itself and he is a great personality for the company. Personally, I am looking forward to continuing to race with the strongest driver pairing in Formula One and to more historic achievements together.”