Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he has “no doubt” about Lewis Hamilton’s commitment to Formula 1 despite only agreeing to a one-year deal.

Following a long-running saga that featured a number of delays, Hamilton finally put pen to paper on a new contract last month to continue with Mercedes for the upcoming 2021 F1 season.

But the seven-time world champion’s decision to only commit to the upcoming campaign has sparked further speculation regarding his future and whether he might walk away from the sport at the end of the year.

Hamilton has insisted that winning a record-breaking eighth world title won't be the "deciding factor" in whether he remains in F1 for 2022 and beyond, and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff feels the Briton has earned the right to flexibility regarding his future.

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"No, no doubt about his commitment," Wolff said when asked if he had any concerns about Hamilton’s commitment.

"First of all, he enjoys racing, a lot. We enjoy working with each other, and we discussed that a lot. But he's absolutely right, the times change, [with] new priorities for all of us in terms of the way we live our health.

“He's very passionate about his initiatives, against racism and inequality, and then we have this massive regulatory change in 2022 that’s going to reshape what Formula 1 will be for the next few years. 

“I don’t think this plays a role to be honest, but I think it’s fair enough for a driver who has won seven championships to give himself the flexibility in his mind to decide what he wants to do in future - whether this is racing or outside of the circus.”

Wolff insisted that Hamilton will be the first driver Mercedes speaks to regarding 2022 despite suggestions the German manufacturer is lining up Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as a possible replacement.

“The sheer fact that we have had so much success together in the past and the relationship that we have, the trustful relationship, will mean that any conversation that we have on 2022 and the future will first be with him,” Wolff stressed.

In a bid to avoid a repeat of negotiations spilling into next year, Wolff intends to sit down with both Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas - who is also out of contract at the end of 2021 - much earlier this season.

"We have agreed that we want to pick up the discussions much earlier this year, to avoid a situation like we had in 2020, to run out of time and be in the uncomfortable position that there is no time left before the beginning of the season,” he explained.

"And that's also why we only did a one year contract - in order to allow us to discuss the future in racing and outside of racing longer and with the right amount of time.

"As a matter of fact, I think if Lewis continues to race, we will want to do this together. And we will discuss it shortly.

"With Valtteri, we know exactly what we have and we appreciate this. At the same time the landscape changes with new cars, new regulations, and we've got to take the right decision for the team going forward.

"That also means that we will have the discussions with our two drivers first, and then we will see where that goes."