After months of speculation, today it was finally announced World Champion Lewis Hamilton has signed a new contract with Mercedes.
Hamilton’s previous contract ran out at the end of last season, but he will now race again aiming to go one better than German legend Michael Schumacher whose record of seven drivers titles he matched last year.
Hamilton said: “Our team has achieved incredible things together.
“We look forward to building our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.”
The one-year deal as opposed to longer deals he normally signs may be a hint that the 36-year-old is keeping his options open ahead of a regulation change in the sport for 2022.
Team boss Toto Wolff said the duration of the contract was down to the lateness of the talks following a delay in negotiations caused when Hamilton contracted Covid in December.
However, many have raised eyebrows, seeing this as Hamilton potentially bowing out of the sport when and if he clinches the record breaking eighth championship.
The new deal means both Hamilton and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas will be out of contract at the end of 2021.
So will highly rated Mercedes youngster George Russell who is currently at Williams and shone when replacing Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix, when the champion had coronavirus.
This dynamic could make for an interesting situation with three drivers competing for just two seats.
It is likely to depend on Hamilton, if he wins another title like many expect then undoubtedly a new contract will be there for him. But will he take it?
If not then a natural replacement in Russell will be waiting, but if he does then it’s down for Valtteri and George to fight it out.
It would be a surprise if George settles for another season in the midfield given his exceptional talent, so it remains to be seen if Mercedes will risk seeing him move to a rival or kick Bottas to the kerb in order to make way.
Hamilton’s defence of his title begins at the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 26, with new drivers on the grid, as well as the return of former World Champion Fernando Alonso, it’s already shaping up to be an unmissable season.