Lewis Hamilton rebuffed suggestions the 2023 season will be his final year in Formula One and is adamant he will be at Mercedes next season.
The seven-time champion is in the final year of his contract with the team, who are expected to be off the pace of rivals Red Bull in the hunt for the championship.
Speculation that Hamilton will walk away from the sport has persisted ever since a controversial conclusion to the 2021 season, when Max Verstappen pipped him to the title in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton returned to the grid for 2022, although Mercedes struggled and lost their constructors' championship crown to Red Bull, and is set for a 17th season in F1 in 2023.
The Brit is not set for a swansong, as he hit back at claims from former F1 drivers Jenson Button and Damon Hill that he will retire following the campaign.
"It is ultimately people creating rumours without facts, and it is never helpful. You would have thought that they [Hill and Button] would both know me by now," he told reporters ahead of the opening race of the season in Bahrain.
"I have been with Mercedes since I was 13, and last year we had a difficult year, but I am still here, and whether or not we have a difficult year this year, I will still be here.
2013 ➡ 2023.— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 1, 2023
Year 11 with LH. pic.twitter.com/FDeE0VdrYW
"I am a fighter, and we fight as a team. I love the challenge of finding solutions and I still believe I am able to put the car in places that perhaps others are not able to. I love that challenge.
"Of course, I wish we started the season with a great car, but it is the journey that really counts."
Negotiations over a new contract for Hamilton are continuing, with the 38-year-old confident an agreement will be reached.
"There is no hold-up with our contract. I have always been very, very relaxed and I don't feel like I have to get it done right this second. I am in a very fortunate position," he added.
"It will get done when we are ready. I have a great relationship with Toto and with Mercedes and we fully support each other.
"I am really excited about the future together and really proud of the work we are doing, on and off the track and the potential of new things that we can do moving forward.
"We will get there, unless something catastrophic happens between me and Toto [team principal Wolff] and we get in the [boxing] ring, but other than that we are good."