Motorsport: Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton signs new deal to chase eighth Formula One title in 2021

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton will chase a record eighth title with Mercedes this season, after signing a new deal, 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 say the new agreement, which referred only to 2021, includes a joint commitment for greater diversity and inclusion.

Hamilton, the sport's only black driver and its most successful racer, 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 teammates," he says.

"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, says he and Mercedes will launch a joint foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport.

Mercedes team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff says the plan was always to continue the relationship, but the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed that process.

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