Hamilton: Decision at last!
28 September 2012, 11:30
LONDON - Lewis Hamilton is set to move from McLaren to the Mercedes F1
team next season in a deal likely to send Michael Schumacher back into
retirement, according to media reports in Britain and Germany.
newspapers said an announcement could come later on Friday once the
Mercedes board had signed a new commercial agreement committing the
German car maker to the sport.
Sergio Perez will replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2013.
McLaren said: "Sergio's new deal means that he will begin a driving partnership with 2009 world champion Jenson Button,"
Germany's best-selling tabloid, said on its website (www.bild.de) that
Mercedes had opted for 2008 World champion Hamilton.
There was no immediate comment from either Mercedes or the Briton.
contract negotiations have been a running saga all season with reports
that he was close to a deal with Mercedes emerging early in September.
recent indications were, however, that the 27-year-old was in favour of
staying with McLaren, the team that had nurtured him since he was in
his early teens and that handed him his F1 debut in 2007.
Daily Telegraph said championship contenders McLaren were understood to
have been informed of the driver's decision only on Thursday.
Daily Mail added that Hamilton would be accepting a three-year
contract, including win bonuses, worth nearly R800-million. Mercedes had
made no secret of its desire to sign Hamilton in place of seven-times
champion Schumacher, the sport's most successful driver, whose return to
the sport after retiring from Ferrari in 2006 has been unremarkable.
has been on the podium only once since he began his comeback in 2010
and has retired from half of the 14 races this season.
took over champions Brawn GP at the end of 2009 but have had only one
victory - Nico Rosberg's success in this year's Chinese GP - to
While that was the first by a works Mercedes since
1955, McLaren are regular challengers for the title and have won five
times this year - three of them provided by Hamilton.
Hamilton would be swopping a place with proven winners for a
British-based team with little success but plenty of potential. Mercedes
also makes the engines used by McLaren and has a substantial
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has a
highly impressive track record after multiple championships as technical
director at Benetton and Ferrari and boss of the Brawn team he saved
after previous owner Honda pulled out in late 2008.
A move to
Mercedes would reunite Hamilton, whose management company XIX
Entertainment also looks after the business affairs of former England
captain David Beckham and tennis player Andy Murray, with former karting
team mate and friend Rosberg.