Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have finally put pen to paper and agreed to extend their partnership in F1 for the 2021 season.
The long-awaited outcome between the two parties is hardly a surprise given that both team and driver expressed their will to continue their story together. However, Hamilton's commitment to a single season may be seen as unexpected, although the provision adds flexibility for both sides.
The one-year term - with no option for 2022 - also dispels rumors of a "Verstappen clause" in the contract by which Hamilton would have been granted a veto right over the identity of his teammate.
"I am excited to be heading into my ninth season with my Mercedes teammates," said Hamilton. "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."
The seven-time world champion's deal includes the creation of foundation "dedicated to diversity and inclusion", an indication that Hamilton's relationship with Mercedes will likely continue well after the Briton has left F1.
"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," said Hamilton.
"I'm proud to say we are taking that effort further this year by launching a foundation dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the sport. I am inspired by all that we can build together and can't wait to get back on the track in March."
While the Hamilton/Mercedes contract saga has dragged over the past few months, talks obviously accelerated recently while Hamilton was in the US preparing for the upcoming season.
"We have always been aligned with Lewis that we would continue, but the very unusual year we had in 2020 meant it took some time to finish the process," explained Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
"Together, we have decided to extend the sporting relationship for another season and to begin a longer-term project to take the next step in our shared commitment to greater diversity within our sport.
"Lewis's competitive record stands alongside the best the sports world has ever seen, and he is a valued ambassador for our brand and our partners.
"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."