Lewis Hamilton drops biggest hint yet he'll stay for new F1 in 2021
World champion also doubts he will leave Mercedes at end of 2020 when contract expires; Hamilton can clinch 2019 title at US GP on Sunday
By James Galloway in Austin
Last Updated: 01/11/19 3:45pm
Lewis Hamilton has given his strongest indication yet that he intends to continue racing into F1's new rules era - saying he wants to be the "pioneer" heading into 2021.
On the day that F1 finally revealed its widespread package of rules aimed at closing-up the field and improving the racing spectacle from two seasons' time, Hamilton said he was "planning to be here" and be a part of it.
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Hamilton, like the majority of the sport's drivers, is not yet contracted to anyone for 2021, with his Mercedes deal having one more year to run. But the Briton, who stands on the brink of a sixth world title in Austin this weekend, spoke enthusiastically about the challenge of trying to stay ahead into another chapter of the sport.
"I always love a challenge and this team has shown that they are better prepared and in the best position to be able to react to all the changes," said Hamilton, who only needs a top-eight finish to be sure of the 2019 title on Sunday.
"So I know the team are approaching it in an exciting way, and as a challenge. Us drivers, there were certain things that were heard and not necessarily were all the decisions what we thought were best - the cars are heavier, and slower.
"But I think it's going to be an interesting time. You've got the youngsters who are in town. I'm planning to be here then so at some point next year my mindset will be to switch into 2021, and wanting to be the pioneer in that era."
Speculation that Hamilton might bid to end his career at Ferrari, F1's most evocative team, is never far from headlines approaching the end of one of the Englishman's contracts.
But, having been wedded to racing's Silver Arrow for over 20 years first at McLaren and then the Brackley works team, Hamilton has reiterated his loyalty to his long-time supporters.
"Nothing is obviously set in stone for the future, but I definitely am enjoying what I'm doing right now and I don't see any reason to stop because I love what I do," said Hamilton.
"I don't particularly see myself going anywhere else. I love being here at Mercedes and I love being a part of the brand and the history."