Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says a contract extension for Lewis Hamilton “is going to happen”, with Hamilton believing he can race in Formula 1 for another five years.
Hamilton signed a new two-year deal last year to take him until the end of the 2023 season, when the seven-time world champion will turn 39.
While Hamilton has talked down chances of him racing in F1 into his 40s, he has indicated several times this year that he has no plans to retire.
After Hamilton reached 300 grand prix’s at the French Grand Prix, Wolff went as far as to say he could race for another 100 races, suggesting Hamilton is keen to further prolong his career.
In an interview with Channel 4 F1 pundit and ex-F1 driver David Coulthard, Wolff was in “no doubt” that a new contract for Hamilton was a formality.
“The advantage is we speak a lot together [both live near each other in Monaco]. Just last week we sat down and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’” Wolff said.
“Over time we have just grown together. We are totally transparent with each other. Lewis will be the first one to say ‘I can’t do this anymore’ – because I feel I haven’t got the reactions anymore, or I’ve just lost fun doing it and there is another generation growing up that is just very strong.
“So I have no doubt that whatever we agree on a contract extension, which is going to happen, that we both are always going to discuss, very openly, what does the future hold.”
Wolff has worked with Hamilton since they both joined Mercedes ahead of the 2013 season, a partnership that has won six drivers’ championships and eight consecutive constructors’ titles.
Hamilton’s former team-mate and rival Fernando Alonso recently signed a multi-year deal with Aston Martin that will see him continue to race well into his 40s, which Wolff believes could be a factor in whether Hamilton decides to follow Alonso’s path of longevity.
“I don’t know if 40 is that age where you say that is not adequate anymore for a racing driver,” Wolff said.
“If you look at where Fernando is with 41 years, he’s still very much there. Now, is he the same Fernando that he was at 25? I don’t know, but he’s very competitive still.
“You look at Tom Brady [NFL star] who is somebody I really admire for having the discipline in how he manages his life and his sport, he’s 43 or 44 – and he’s on the pitch.
“So Lewis, with the way he leads his life, with the full, ultra-narrow focus on his Formula 1 racing – all the others are just hobbies – I think he can take it quite far.”