Lewis Hamilton says that the possibility of winning a record-breaking eighth F1 world title will not be a deciding factor in whether or not he retires at the end of his current Mercedes contract.
The 103-time race winner is tied down to a deal with the Brackley-based squad until the end of the 2023 season, and continues to have his sights set on surpassing his record-equalling tally of seven World Championships, a feat that would move him above Michael Schumacher on the all-time list.
Hamilton has already ruled himself out of the title fight in 2022, with his Mercedes car having fallen significantly behind in terms of performance, though both he and the team remain hopeful of returning to the front in time.
Should that result in the 37-year-old winning more titles than any driver in the sport’s long history, Hamilton’s career could still continue beyond 2023.
Hamilton enjoying challenge of working on W13
Despite a nightmare start to the season that left Red Bull’s Helmut Marko suggesting Hamilton may be having second thoughts about sticking around in F1, Hamilton says he is enjoying the challenge of trying to return Mercedes to the front.
It is, after all, something the Briton has done before, having joined the team in 2013, prior to their period of domination in the sport.
“I think we are all sent these challenges through our journeys and through our lives. This is one that I’m really enjoying,” Hamilton explained, speaking to members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.
“I’m really enjoying spending more time with the team, [taking] deeper dives into engineering, into aero characteristics, development of the simulator and the simulation tools.
“I think it’s enabled me to become even more involved in the development, which is exciting.”
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Title number eight will not be deciding factor in retirement call
While Hamilton has been left with a mountain to climb in 2022, the winning of an eighth World Championship would stand him alone at the top of the list of F1’s most successful drivers in history.
When asked if achieving this would persuade him to consider walking away in 2023, at the end of his contract, Hamilton said: “That’s, firstly, a really tall order and that’s not something that’s immediately at the forefront of my mind.”
The Briton went on to add: “I still feel fresh and I still feel young, to be honest, even though I’m around all these youngsters here.
“I don’t think that’s going to be the deciding factor of whether I continue. I plan to be here.”