Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has played down suggestions his one-year contract extension reflects a lack of commitment to Formula 1.
Hamilton enters the F1 season as the favourite to win a record-breaking eighth drivers' world title, a success that would see him become statistically the greatest driver in the history of the sport.
However, the one-year contract extension with Mercedes has raised questions over Hamilton's commitment to both the team and the sport, something the British driver was quick to dispel.
"I am fully invested in this season and delivering," Hamilton said.
"I still love what I do. Going back to earlier on, I am in a fortunate position where I don't have to commit to multiple years.
"So I chose to have a one-year deal so I could see how the year goes, see where we are at mid-year or towards the end of the year. But it doesn't mean I am not committed. I am still very very committed to the sport."
Hamilton and Mercedes have teamed up to form a charitable foundation to promote the uptake of STEM subjects by minorities in London, as well as his own commission undertaking research to determine what stands in the way of young people from taking such routes.
After leading F1's charge to bring awareness of racism to the forefront last season, Hamilton has cited the continued push for change as his driving force this year.
"What I am really focused on is trying to make sure that - in the last year, you have all written some great reports, there is still a great discussion on this diversity issue and it remains an issue to this day and it won't change overnight," he added.
"What is important is we keep delivering and actually taking action. I am really proud of my team here and I am already seeing steps that we started taking last year, I am starting to see that process little by little and it just takes one step at a time, of course.
"That is kind of my driving force this year too, to make sure we continue to push for accountability and on top of that, hopefully, I can deliver some good performances."
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