AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton is already planning for a life after Formula One even as he zooms in on a second world championship.
The 29-year-old Briton, who has 10 wins this season and leads Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg by 24 points with two races remaining, has a year left on his current contract and a long racing future ahead of him.
However, Hamilton told British reporters after winning Sunday’s US Grand Prix that he had started thinking more about what he wanted to do when he eventually hangs up his helmet.
He gave few clues but indicated he would want to do something different.
“A lot of the drivers come back and do reporting and commentary. I would personally have different plans and aspirations,” he said, speaking at a race where at least five former world champions were involved in some sort of media or promotional work.
“It’s positioning myself so that when I stop, I have something to continue on with. There’s going to be an undeniable urge to want to get back in the car,” he acknowledged.
“I’ve been racing since I was eight years old so that’s going to be natural as it was for Michael (Schumacher), as it was for every driver.”
Schumacher retired from Ferrari as a seven times world champion in 2006 but returned with Mercedes in 2010 for a disappointing three-year comeback in which the German failed to win a race.
Ferrari’s 2009 world champion Kimi Raikkonen also returned after taking two years out.
“Mika (Hakkinen) tried to come back because it’s just like a drug, you can’t get away from it,” said Hamilton. “At some stage when I retire … I’ll have something that I’m also really interested in that is a substitute. So that’s kind of what I want to start working on and building on.”
The 2008 world champion has ended a management arrangement with Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, although he said they were still close, and may not need a replacement.
“I feel quite comfortable to do it myself,” he said when asked who would be negotiating any new contract with Mercedes.
“Nico did his himself, Sebastian (Vettel) did his himself and there’s no reason why I couldn’t do it. Whether or not I will, I haven’t decided.