MERCEDES announced on Wednesday that reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a three-year contract extension, ending speculation about his future with the German Formula One team.
Including win bonuses, the 30-year-old Briton stands to make between 30 and 40 million euros ($42m and $56m) per year having won last season’s world drivers’ championship and is dominating the current campaign with victory in three of the five races so far.
Hamilton’s contract had been due to expire at the end of the season, but the Briton says he is happy to race for Mercedes until 2018.
There had been rumours that Hamilton would join Ferrari to replace Kimi Raikkonen in 2016, before Hamilton committed to Mercedes.
“Mercedes is my home and I couldn’t be happier to be staying here for another three years,” said Hamilton.
“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.”
Having replaced seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, Hamilton has followed the example of teammate Nico Rosberg, who signed a three-year extension last year.
“My current Mercedes is the best car I have driven in my career until now. I want more records and more points,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton has negotiated his own contract after protracted talks, which delayed the process as he read through the paperwork.
“Continuity is one of the key factors for delivering success in Formula One and we now have that in place,” said Mercedes’ motorsport team boss Christian Wolff.
“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 recognises and respects the market value of Lewis and of Mercedes in Formula One.”