Lewis Hamilton has dropped a clear hint that he plans to see out his Formula 1 career with the Mercedes team in order to remain an ambassador for the brand beyond the sport.
Having made his F1 debut in 2007 with McLaren, Hamilton became a world champion in only his second season in 2008, but after failing to replicate that achievement in the ensuing years decided to make what many considered to be a 'risky' switch to Mercedes in 2013.
However, with Mercedes harnessing the latest V6 Hybrid regulations introduced from 2014 to perfection, Hamilton – chased by his team-mate Nico Rosberg – has notched up two further titles in 2014 and 2015.
Though the end of his current contract is still some way off in 2018, speculation is already rife that Hamilton may use it as an opportunity to take on another new challenge, most notably fulfilling a dream of joining Ferrari.
However, though Hamilton says the prospect of racing the 'red car' would be something to savour, he says he currently doesn't have a desire to swap roles with Sebastian Vettel.
“Without a doubt when I grew up watching F1 I saw the red car, it looked awesome," he told Sky Sports F1
. "A Ferrari, whether it's a road car or an F1 car, look awesome. There's something particularly very special with the Italian passion for that team. But I've been with Mercedes since I was 13, more than most drivers at my age. I honestly don't, at the moment, look over at Sebastian in the Ferrari and think 'damn it I want his seat'."
Though Hamilton has previously stated he is unlikely to return to F1 in any periphery capacity – such as a team manager or a commentator -, Hamilton is tempted by notion of ending his career as a Mercedes driver to ensure he retains a lifelong association with one of the world's most iconic brands.
"I look at my team, the Silver Arrows, and think I'm a part of this history which I will be for way beyond my time and I want to continue being a part of it. When I stop racing, I still want to be a part of it.
"What I love about Mercedes when you look at Sir Stirling Moss, when you look at all drivers still today in their old age, they are still with Mercedes, you're with the brand for life.
“They take you under your wing, they look after you, you're part of it forever. I can't imagine myself not being a part of that."