Lewis Hamilton signs one-year deal to stay at Mercedes

World champion will be aiming for eighth title when season gets under way in Bahrain next month

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton signed a new deal with Mercedes, ending any uncertainty about his immediate future.

The 36-year-old Briton had been out of contract since the end of last year but the negotiations had turned into something of a saga, with questions raised about why it was taking so long.

Mercedes said the new agreement, which referred only to 2021, included a joint commitment for greater diversity and inclusion.

Hamilton has used his platform and profile increasingly to push for equal opportunities and speak out against racial injustice.

"I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes team mates," he said.

"Our team has achieved incredible things together and we look forward to building on our success even further, while continuously looking to improve, both on and off the track.

"I'm equally determined to continue the journey we started to make motorsport more diverse for future generations and I am grateful that Mercedes has been extremely supportive of my call to address this issue."

Hamilton, who last year set up a commission to help increase the representation of black people in British motorsport, said he and Mercedes would be launching a joint foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport.

Mercedes team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff said it had always been the plan to continue the relationship but the Covid-19 pandemic meant it had taken some time to get everything in place.

"Lewis's competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners," added the Austrian.

"The story of Mercedes and Lewis has written itself into the history books of our sport over the past eight seasons, and we are hungry to compete and to add more chapters to it."

Mercedes have won the last seven drivers' and constructors' world championships, an unprecedented show of dominance in the sport. The season starts in Bahrain on March 28.