Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has revealed that Sir Lewis Hamilton recently told him he can race into his forties.
The 37-year-old has been in Formula 1 since 2007, when he signed for McLaren, and he won his first title in his second year with the British side having agonisingly lost out by a single point in his stunning debut campaign.
Four seasons with a title saw him move to Mercedes, and he has since won a further 82 races and six world titles.
In 2021, Hamilton signed a new contract with Mercedes that keeps him with the German side until at least the end of next year, but he is yet to agree a deal beyond that.
Mercedes have been struggling this season, so their seven-time champion’s future may be slightly dependent on their performance in 2023.
Hamilton and George Russell, who signed from Williams at the start of 2022, have achieved 13 podiums between them in a year that has tested the Silver Arrows.
They have shown a steeliness and a resolve that has reminded everyone why they are eight-time champions, and that fighting spirit seems to have galvanised Hamilton into asserting that he can continue fighting for a few more years yet.
Wolff is able to maintain frequent dialogue with Hamilton, being that they both live in Monaco, so talks about a new contract are ongoing and comfortable.
“The advantage is we speak a lot together, just last week we sat down and he says ‘look, I have another five years in me, how do you see that?’” Wolff told Channel 4.
“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.”
Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher have all proven in the last decade that 40 is not necessarily the threshold for performance in the pinnacle of motorsport.
Competitors in other sports, such as Tom Brady in American Football and Tiger Woods in Golf, are also going strong as older athletes.
“I don’t know if 40 is that age where you say that is not adequate anymore for a racing driver,” explained Wolff.
“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, 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.”
Sir Jack Brabham and Nigel Mansell are the only two F1 drivers to have won a race on their forties.