Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012

Hamilton joins Mercedes for 2013 after McLaren exit

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012Lewis Hamilton has confirmed his move to Mercedes in 2013.

Hamilton has signed a three-year deal with the team and will take the place of Michael Schumacher, whose future plans are yet to be announced.

Hamilton said: “It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share.

“Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.”

Team principal Ross Brawn said: “The arrival of a driver of Lewis’ calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows.

“I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.

“Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship. Behind the scenes, we have assembled a team that is technically stronger, more experienced and better resourced, thanks to the support of Petronas and all of our loyal team partners.

“The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team. Our task is now to translate that potential into on-track performance for next season and beyond.”

Brawn thanks Schumacher for “important contribution”

Brawn praised his departing driver, saying: “On behalf of Mercedes AMG Petronas, I would first of all like to thank Michael Schumacher for the important contribution he has made to the growth of our team over the past three seasons.

“His energy and commitment have never wavered, even when results have not matched our own expectations, and we are determined to finish the 2012 season together on a high. As always, it has been a pleasure to work with Michael.”

Schumacher added: “I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side.

“I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up. I would like to thank the team for their trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races.”

Mercedes also announced three-times world champion Niki Lauda would join them as a non-executive chairman of the team’s board of directors.

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

211 comments on “Hamilton joins Mercedes for 2013 after McLaren exit”

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  1. This is a game of musical chairs!

    1. Only issue now is whether Massa leaves Ferrari. What do we think?

      1. I think is either Massa or Schumacher to be Alonso’s teammate,if Massa leaves, most likely he would join Sauber and Schumacher would take his place. Really an awkward season for next year

      2. Massa won’t go, in my opinion, as he doesn’t take points off Alonso because he knows he is the number 2 driver. Ferrari have made a BIG mistake though, letting Perez slip through their fingers, such a great talent. Is Massa the stop-gap solution before Vettel comes in a few years time?

        1. Ugh… Massa is not a good number 2 driver. Why do people keep saying that Fernando is happy with him as a number 2??? There aren’t a lot of drivers on the grid who will take points off Fernando anyways.. so what Fernando needs is a driver who can consistently finish right behind him and take points off rivals.

          How many points has Massa taken off Vettel, Webber, Kimi, Lewis and Jenson this year?

          1. absolutely… agree with you…
            and for that matter, how many times have Perez, Webber, Jenson taken points off Alonso?

          2. You should replace Luca di Montezomolo.

            Spot on.

          3. The 2 questions are…

            Who is gonna replace Massa: Schumacher? Haikkonen?
            Who is gonna replace Perez: Massa? Alguersuari?

          4. Haikkonen!? Sounds like a fantastic hybrid.

      3. Why we all think that MSC will go to Ferrari or retire? It is possible to go for his last year to McLaren to try and win his 8th championship! 2013 rules are pretty similar to 2012 so McLaren is most likely to be the fastest car, so why not?

        1. Oh, Perez took that empty seat….. So Sergio will win his first WC in 2013…..interesting!

          1. So word in the streets is “Perez will outpace Jenson Button”?

        2. “McLaren is most likely to be the fastest car, so why not?”

          Maybe because Perez has signed for McLaren?

        3. LOL !! Haikkonen?!?!?

          Who’s that Heiki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen or Mika Hakkinen

          I’d love to see any of them in the Ferrari next year…. Especially Mika ;)

      4. That is what has me thinking. Ferrari and Luca missed their chance with Perez so I don’t know what Ferrari are going to do. I’d be really surprised if Michael took Massa’s seat. I’m thinking that Heikki may fit the bill. Race winner, experienced, and quick but not too quick.

        1. I wouldn’t count out a move for Perez to Ferrari in the future, it wouldn’t be the first time a driver has moved from McLaren to Ferrari after a short period, plus Perez’s great drives this year could be more to do with his/ his cars tire management than overall speed. A few years at a top team will be the thing that proves beyond all doubt he is as good as everyone thinks he is. If he is consistently battling with and beating JB it will prove it and Ferrari can then go calling.

          If Ferrari don’t slip to 4th in the constructors I think they will give Massa another year, if the results still don’t come they will look elsewhere maybe to a Force India driver or to Webber for a short term contract by which time Perez will have proved himself and can challenge Alonso at Ferrari

        2. It is ironic that anyone would suggest Heikki as a replacement for Felipe. Heikki is only a race winner because Massa’s engine let go with three laps to go in that race.

          Heikki has done wonders in that Caterham and fully deserves a higher place on the grid, but give him Perez’s vacant Sauber seat before handing him a top car again. Last time he was in a top car Hamilton made him look rather silly.

          That said, I do miss the Finnish era for McLaren.

      5. @mhop – personally I think Ferrari will keep him for another year then he’ll be kicked out to allow Vettel in. Ferrari have lost a great talent in Perez though; they’ll look really stupid if Perez wins the championship next year!

        1. Massa sadly brings in too little points over a season to even justify him staying on for one more year before the rumoured Vettel to Ferrari 2014 move takes place.

          I’m glad though the current Ferrari team has not adopted the cheapshot tactics engineered by Jean Todt in the late 90s to have Irvine basically drive around as a mobile chicane and block the McLarens.

          Most people would be fine if a driver out of contention or who was clearly slower lets his faster team-mate through’ but to hire him just to impede the progress of rival contenders and deliberately slow them down to the point they almost touch the way Irvine was tasked by Todt in the late 90s was an embarrassment to a team of Ferrari’s stature. I don’t remember Irvine doing much racing in 1997 and 1998; he was just to slow the McLarens right from the start and let Schumacher build a mega gap. In comparison, at least the likes of Barrichello and Massa later on were allowed to race in decorum though they knew they had to cede their place to the team leader if they were ahead.

          Anyway, a driver of Alonso’s class does not need to win titles by having Massa act as a mobile chicane. It kind of devalues any title won really. I’m glad that this year if Alonso does win it, it will be down to him driving the life out of the F2012 and not some Machiavellian, no make that Todtish tactics, engineered by the team to have Massa block other drivers.

    2. Elliot Horwood .
      28th September 2012, 14:11

      5 years i have supported @LewisHamilton and McLaren, its has been very good! It has had its Ups (2007 + 2008) and also 2010 where the dream Brit combination of Button and Hamilton at McLaren! the Last 2 years have been the best seasons at McLaren and the best viewing for F1 for me, i have loved every second of it and because Hamilton got me into F1 i will follow him throughout his career, So although i am very sad the he is leaving McLaren to join another team :( I will always support Hamilton over anyone else he is the best racing driver, i love his style of racing and i hope Mercedes + Brawn can do him good! Of course i will still support Button + McLaren but Lewis Hamilton will always be the one that i support!

  2. Was just a formality now, really excited about the news. Alonso said leaving McLaren to join another team (which he built around him) was the best thing he ever did and now Lewis has his shot. I’m expecting Mercedes to be able to produce that race-winning car they’ve been after.

    Here’s hoping Schumacher’s going to return to Ferrari for another year, now that would be exciting. Don’t want Schumacher to be kicked out instead of bowing out gracefully himself.

    1. You think going to Ferrari as Alonso’s no.2 and being soundly beaten would be graceful?

      1. Not sure about being soundly beaten, but there would be no disgrace in that. Especially if he would be able to help Alonso win another championship, it’d be like he paid back Ferrari for all he owes them. I’d definitely call that gracefulll, yes.

        1. I agree @Roald. It would simply be really nice to see him help Ferrari, because no offence to Massa but he’s not really doing a great job at the moment.

        2. He owes Ferrari nothing.

          1. @matt90

            I couldn’t agree more, if anything Ferrari owes MSC.
            Not the other way around.

          2. Exactly. Ferrari owe Schumacher a lot for their current competitiveness.

    2. I think he needs a good car not a bunch or nurses. I would respect him less the day he becomes a Prima Donna demanding preferential treatment.

    3. I have a feeling Schumacher is not yet ready to retire again. Around the time Eddie Jordan speculated Hamilton would move to Mercedes, Schumacher made a statement saying it would be a pity for him to leave F1 without a win in his comeback. Ofcourse he was hoping to continue for another year with Mercedes but now that Lewis has taken his seat, I’m sure he has given a thought to racing at Sauber – Sauber’s C31 is a pretty good car actually..

      When Ross Brawn was asked about Schumi’s future (before Hamilton’s announcement), he hinted Schumacher would take on an ambassadorial role at Mercedes. However, in today’s announcement, Mercedes have openly “thanked” Schumacher for his contribution. The kind of “thank you” you say when someone is leaving. Neither have they announced Schumacher is retiring nor are they making him an ambassador (atleast for now)..and although Jaime Alguersuari is set to take 1 seat at Sauber next year, there is no guarantee Kobayashi will continue in the second.. And if not Sauber, there’s the Senna seat at Williams still up for grabs..Heres hoping

      1. ambassasor next to non-exec Lauda? Hmmmmm…

      2. I think Brawn would have found it very difficult telling Schumacher that he wasn’t wanted, especially as they had been together when Schumacher was at his peak.

        1. Very true, that is the most significant part of the story to me. I am honestly surprised Brawn did it. Just shows he is super serious about this young Mercedes team.

          Looking back at all he and Schumacher achieved together highlights just how sad an ending to that alliance this is. Everyone is excited by what F1 is gaining with Hamilton at a new team, but unless he lights the world on fire like he did when he first came on the scene, the F1 world is loosing a lot more than it’s gaining.

    4. Maybe Schumi will go to Sauber…they do have a free seat ;)

      1. and Sauber himself said few days ago that he would be happy to offer Michael a seat. The question is, will Michael accept $5m a year like when he was a consultant to Ferrari?

  3. And next year…..he will be slamming the team in the press “the car cannot win races, I am a driver who wants to win races”, it will be his fault, he will regret this.
    Or maybe Mercedes have a fantastic car potentially for next year and that is why Lewis has gone there, although I doubt it.

    1. Well, in the four years he’s been in with a shot of the championship (not including this year) he’s only won once, which you can hardly say is his fault. 2007 was plain unlucky – he had a gearbox problem in the final race. 2008 he won the championship – just. 2009 he had a dog of a car which he dragged round the track way quicker than it should have been able to, before having a mighty second half of the season to claim “best of the rest” behind the RBR and Brawns. 2010 he made a few mistakes, but also had his fair share of mechanical failures. His only real bad season from a driving point of view was 2011, when he didn’t have a hope of the championship anyway thanks to Vettel. Going into this year, he has had some amazing performances, driving probably the best season of his career, and should be leading this championship. However, he lies a distant fourth, with very little chance of winning the WDC, SOLELY because of his team. They have cost him countless points, from ruined pit stops to underfuelling the car in qualifying. Hamilton has also had his fair share of car problems to, like in singapore, which, as they are the people who manufactured the car, the blame will obviously lie with McLaren more than Hamilton. I may be wrong, but his only ruined races that were NOT McLarens fault were Spa and Germany – both of which Hamilton can not be blamed for.

      So, I’m not sure Hamilton will be any worse off with Mercedes. Anyway, I wish him the best of luck for the latter half of 2012 and his new career with Mercedes.

      1. I think the only problem might be if the Mercedes isn’t the fastest car out of the box next season, the pressure will mount straight away if Jenson & Sergio get a good car.

      2. Interesting point, but I think a great driver (and i am a Ham fan) can do a lot to motivate his team to do a much better job. A driver should be a leader and an inspiration to his team through his actions on and off the track. Sadly Lewis IMO has failed in the latter. One only needs to look to Ferrari to see what a true leader can do to a team. That to me is why the car and pit stops have been the problem, certainly last year and to some extent this year.
        I think Lewis has to bear the burden of the teams failures as his own (if he doesn’t already) and perhaps this move will re-invigorate both Ham and McLaren.

        1. i think the driver cannot motivate his team. the genius of engineers and managers are the key to find the tiny loopholes in regulations, the precise movement of everybody (each little piece at the right place everytime), the rehaursal of everybody, the feedback of the driver, all of this makes a reliable good car. Crashing all the time did not hamper Williams to continue improvements. The driver is one among 400 to 700 people, we know him because he is the most exposed. All people are working to the limit, the margin to move a very precise big boat because one single delivers or not looks very tiny, it’s more a fantasy that we would like to happen.

          1. But what decides weather or not the individual is working to the limit. I think not money, but rather the motivation of knowing their driver will do the most for them on and off the track. Not flying to the US, not acting like a primadonna, but setting the example of hard work

        2. So you’re blaming Lewis for bad pit stops? Really?

        3. you certainly sound like a Ham fan..but anyway..are you advocating he changes the tyres himself??!!

          I think the problems at mclaren are more deep rooted..IE since Martin Whitmarsh’s promotion to be team boss!! This is where the problems lie..These issues were far less rare under the guidance of Ron Dennis..

          1. You’re right. Under Dennis teammates didn’t drove each other of the road. The car was always super-reliable, they always made championship winning cars and the strategie was always better then their rivals. They didn’t do any stupid things at all..

  4. I’d be slumped and miserable like that too if I was in Lewis’s shoes…
    Very sad to see the Ham-Mcl era end, and I don’t think it’s on particularly good terms either.

    1. Well many people had been saying there was friction between Hamilton and Withmarsh for over 2years now, but it wasn’t taken seriously. One can only imagine what could have made Hamilton jump from a certain guarantee of wins, to the uncertainty of even finishing a race.

    2. I don’t really think you mean that.
      How could anyone be ‘slumped and miserable’ with *that* much money in one back pocket and a three year contract in the other?

      1. Maybe it is about satisfaction and not about money. Like I’m unsatisfied with my work because I’m #2 although I’ve been paid well. I want to be #1 and want that promotion. I took my chance to go somewhere else after 15years.

  5. Bye bye Real Madrid,
    hello LA Galaxy!

    Seriously, though, I hope the Mercedes will turn out to be a more competitive car next year (after all, they started 2012 well enough). As a Hamilton fan, I’m a little disappointed, especially after the rumours this week seemed to indicate he would stay at McLaren, that is currently enjoying its most competitve spell since 2007-2008.

    When I manage to take the broader view of an F1 fan, the Hamilton-Mercedes and Perez-McLaren moves are incredibly exciting, and good news for F1.

    1. Bye bye Real Madrid,
      hello LA Galaxy!

      *** does that mean?

      1. I think Adrian is comparing Hamilton to David Beckham, who left Real Madrid to join L.A. Galaxy a number of years ago. Real Madrid were and are one of the best teams in the world, while L.A. Galaxy… aren’t. Though they did give Beckham a ridiculously lucrative contract and the chance to extend his brand/image. Sound familiar?

        He hasn’t admitted it, but I think Beckham came to regret leaving the footballing elite as soon as he did, which is why he came back for loan spells with Milan. He seems happy enough with his decision to go to the USA, but I think he realises that he could have spent a few more years in Europe before going there. He just left Real Madrid in difficult circumstances. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamilton feels the same way about his decision to leave in a few years’ time.

        1. beckham nd hamilton have the same manager too

          1. both date pop stars :)

      2. I hate foorball, and even I get that ;) Reference to Beckham switching clubs

        1. @melkurion, @estesark, @munter.

          You’re right, it’s a reference to Beckham and its management, but also to Paul Simon:

          Bye bye love,
          bye bye sweet caress
          Hello emptiness,
          I feel like I could die
          Bye bye my love, goodbye

          1. @adrianmorse It’s an Everly Brothers song, which was covered by Simon & Garfunkel :)

        2. I really did not understand. I’ve heard of Real Madrid (is there an Unreal Madrid somewhere?) but not of LA Galaxy. I’d no idea that David Beckham has played for either team. I thought he once played for Manchester United and England.
          So Real Madrid are the McLaren of the F1 world? Do they not win much then?

          1. Actually, they have won suprisingly little in the past few years, even though they have one of the best teams in the world.

          2. Actually,

            ‘real’ = ‘royal’ in spanish

            I dont think the comparison to Beckham really works. I mean, Beckham was getting well past his prime, whereas Lewis could still be at his best if he sorted out his mindset.

            This whole thing is extremely exciting though.

    2. I second your coments – rumours have played havoc with my support of Lewis in a Mclaren, but i think your right in saying it will be an exciting era in F1 in the coming years with Lewis in a Silver Arrows x

  6. 2014 in mind? or just going for the money?

    have mercedes started early development of their 2013 car?

  7. I strongly believe it’s a good thing for F1 and I believe that Mercedes did the right thing by replacing Schumacher with a driver of Hamilton’s calibre. I also feel that Hamilton might finally find his ‘happy bubble’ at the new team. As for how many championships and / or wins this new partnership will bring, there’s no earthly way of knowing.

    1. I’m with you mate, I hope he finds his happy place with Mercedes. He hasn’t been in that happy place with McLaren for a while now.

      As risky as the move is for his racing career, I’m actually quite excited about it. Also, adding to the excitement is Perez moving to one of the top teams, Ferrari have really missed out there I think.

  8. Damn, that makes my post on the Checo story sound a bit dumb. Anyway, GO CHECO!

  9. How do you all like Eddie Jordan now? ;-)

    But seriously — I remained totally skeptical up until last night, and I’m still really surprised on some level. Mercedes is a team with a lot going for it, but I hope Lewis doesn’t end up regretting this decision…

    1. Anyone remembers British grand prix 2010 ?
      It’s all about getting even with ron dennis …

      1. Sorry I don’t, what happened?

        1. Didn’t Dennis cut his earphone or mic cable or something and he launched into an off-camera rant?

    2. @aka_robyn Well he was the one to predict Michael Schumacher’s return. As skeptical as I was, it happened. I can’t discount EJ’s words with a clear conscience anymore.

  10. Anybody else think McLaren stole Hamilton’s thunder by announcing Perez would join them before Hamilton could confirm his move to Mercedes?

    1. Definitely.

    2. I think it’s unimportant, Hamilton & Mercedes are now in the centre of attention anyway.

    3. Yep, that was my post on the Perez story. I still think it was beautifully spiteful PR. I love that sort of stuff.

      1. As well as that I think they knew that the real story will be the Ham-Merc partnership and they knew that as soon as that is announced the media will jump and they will get little publicity from the whole thing. By confirming Perez to Macca first they got a fair share of the publicity as it also confirmed Ham move from Macca but the main emphasis still remained on Checco.

    4. Not sure why you think Hamilton would be bothered. It’s not as though he lacks media attention. McLaren though need to protect their team image from the damage of losing a driver placed by most in the top three currently in Formula 1. Perez is a fine choice. I think it works well for all sides involved, except Schumacher maybe, depending on what he wanted for next year.

    5. I’ve said it before, that the end decision wasn’t for Hamilton to make but instead it was McLaren and Ron Dennis to make. Meaning, McLaren were never going to give in to demands. To them, every driver is replaceable asset. It turned out just as I predicted.

      On the end of the day, this is the best move for Hamilton and his career. I expect him to struggle with Mercedes initially (since Mercedes aren’t the fastest team at the moment), but if he sticks to his guns and helps the team grow (which will be a major test of driver strength and character) , then there is no doubt he could win the WDC with Mercedes. If he achieves this, he will certainly go on to join the legendary list of drivers ( at least in my book).

      1. Quite a good reading these comments now. I guess Hamilton did do the right thing after all. Who would have thought Alonso at McLaren as well!

  11. It looks like Schumacher has been pushed out as he hasn’t announced his retirement and it’s unlikely that he has signed a better deal with another team.

    1. meybe he’ll go to Sauber ;)

      1. @lawfish why Sauber would take Schumacher while there are drivers like Sutil, Alguersuari and Kovalainen available?

        1. Because Peter Sauber said he would definatly sign him if he had a chance?

        2. Because Schumacher is still arguably a better driver than the three listed? Yes, he’s long in the tooth, but the past still speaks somewhat and his performance issues (crashing into Senna/Verne aside) have mostly been down to car reliability.

          Alguersuari has some worth, being the current Pirelli driver, but Schumacher to Sauber would definitely be a ‘coming home’ scenario.

          1. Yeah after all, he used to race for them in WSCC in 1990 and 1991.

  12. Lewis has taken a big gamble here, dropping McLaren for a team which has won one race before slipping back into the midfield, you just know money (and related trappings) was a motivator.

    The other reasoning I can think of, though, is that at Mercedes he will be the unquestioned number 1 driver, supported by his friend Rosberg. I’m not sure how much that played on his thinking, I suspect not much, but it’s probably his best hope of winning at Mercedes.

    I hope he hasn’t made a big mistake, I fear he has.

    1. “you just know money (and related trappings) was a motivator.”

      I hate this money nonsense.

      You honestly think someone with tens of millions in the bank really cares about another digit? Hes spent his entire life working towards being multiple world champion, you can bet you last penny that he would prefer to be multiple champion than have an extra coupole of digits in his bank account.

      1. Mclaren were going to pay him more money even.
        He just wanted a clear career path, not just driving around in circles with no apparent aim.

        1. He just wanted a clear career path, not just driving around in circles with no apparent aim.

          It’s a good thing he didn’t go to Nascar then!! ;)

      2. And yet the only thing that people with lots of money seem to want is even more of the stuff. I’m not saying that it was only money but to say that earning twice as much at Merc as he would have at Macca did not influence his decision seems naive.

        1. Who said hes earning twice as much?

          Anyway, im pretty sure if you could sell the idea of giving a championship winnin car to any driver, they’d take it over whatever money is wafted under their nose. Money can be made in time, but world champion winning opportunities are few n far between.

          I cant see a driver like Lewis who has been winning all sorts since he was a kid, would chose better earnings, over world titles.

          Im sure in Lewis’ head its a win-win, hes joinin a team that has the potential to be great, and at the same time, has better earning opportunities.

      3. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        28th September 2012, 13:41

        “You honestly think someone with tens of millions in the bank really cares about another digit?”


        “Hes spent his entire life working towards being multiple world champion”

        and he hasn’t achieved it got bored and now wants to be a rapper more than anything.

  13. Only time will say whether Hamilton did a good thing or a bad thing.

    1. Excellent comment.

      And in the vein of yesterdays COTD, I’d add best of luck to everyone – Lewis, Checo, Ross, Michael… I think this could be good for the sport.

    2. You’re right.

    3. In terms of how many wins and championships he may get, you’re right, time will tell. But I think this is a good move whatever the result. Hamilton has to prove himself outside the McLaren nest and develop some other life skills. If he’s not distracted, he can do it. I think with Brawn and Lauda around, he should be focusing on Formula 1 – as he has been so far this season, to be fair. Also he probably did need to leave behind whatever had gone sour at McLaren.

    4. He needed change, he was not super happy at Mc, He can now help develop a new car, an entire new experience is bound to make him grow up (like someone mentioned about Alonso), He gets on well with Rosberg, he will be mentored by Lauda, so it IS a good decision!!!!! even if he does not win races straight away sometimes you need to go back 1 step to jump 2.
      Lewis is ready to be mature and Mc seemed to slow that down.
      With Mercedes’ money, even if their commitment fades, they will sooner than later find a superior package to what they ve offered.
      Yes if he stayed at Mc he would have had good chances to win 2013 as they are strong contenders of late.
      I enjoyed the all british/ all german team line ups but it is exciting to break that mould.

      1. From past interviews Lewis has mentioned many time that he’d love to be Rosberg’s teammate again.

        1. I think that is the most underrated aspect of the story thus far. Hamilton and Rosberg will push each other and being close friends it could bring a whole attitude of good will and positivity to the Mercedes garage.

          If you think close friends on a team can’t work and can’t bring success, just look at Berger and Senna or better yet Stewart and Cevert!

      2. Have You seen and listened to Lauda on RTL – German TV transmitting F1 races? Lauda’s team commentator has to correct him painfully, when Lauda doesn’t know the rules or anything. Lauda comes up with totally unrealistic predictions for the races – (clearly biased towards German drivers to address the German viewers, but clearly untrustworthy). He was an impressive driver, but to see a TV station allowing him to humiliate himself in that way is a disgrace. He will be of absolutely no benefit to Mercedes, other than if they can relieve him of some excess weight carried in his back pocket. I sincerely hope Hamilton knows something about decisive Merc improvements for next season, or he knows he is able to make them understand F1 tyres, because the last 3 years have sadly shown that Mercedes clearly doesn’t have what it takes to push one of the 3 teams in front of them aside – and trust me: Lauda will not do the difference.
        Maybe Mercedes should hire Keith instead?

  14. I’m expecting around a 50/50 split of opinions here saying this is a good thing in the long term, the team have got top men such as Ross Brawn/he shouldn’t be leaving for a team with another one with a car that isn’t as good. I’m with the former.

    I think Hamilton had to leave McLaren just because the team have let him down too often. He’s won a championship already but he could have already been a two, maybe three time championship already but for mistakes made by the team. 2007 is the obvious one, the team left him out too long in China on tyres which were ruined and as a result, he slid into the pit lane gravel trap. That team error cost him a world championship. He could have also won in 2010 but this is more debatable because it was so close at the front.

    Remember Schumacher when left Benetton for Ferrari at the end of 1995? He left a world championship winning team for a car which wasn’t a match for the Benetton, and look where that got him, five world championships in a row with the team. I’m not suggesting Hamilton is going to dominate the next five years but he could build the team into something great like Schumacher did.

    1. My impression is the Hamilton-McLaren relationship was permanently thrown off kilter at Australia 2009, where team management damaged his reputation by persuading him into a really stupid course of action with the stewards. I think the incident must have thrown a spanner in the works right at the start of the Whitmarsh era, the trust between (team) Hamilton and McLaren perhaps never really recovered.

    2. You cannot ‘simply’ place the blame at McLarens door. Respect is a two-way street.

  15. Great news. Now Hamilton would do leading role in the team. It’s Hamilton’s team now. While Mclaren usually called Hamilton’s team but actually it wasn’t. It might be his home but you can’t do anything you want if there’re parents at home.

    I think Alonso would be happy enough even if he can’t win title with Ferrari because he did many things and everyone know it. Now Hamilton would be in same situation. We will see he can repeat what Schumacher did last century.

    1. I think this could be the making of the man. His two big rivals, Alonso & Vettel are the kings of their teams and if Hamilton wants to compete with them on an equal footing he will need a team ready to back him as opposed to one seemingly more concerned in appearing ‘fair’. We will see once and for all just how good/bad Rosberg is too. 2013 may be difficult for him but I’m sure Brawn will have something up his sleeve for 2014. I predict Hamilton will win his next Championship before McLaren.

      I believe McLaren have the best car this year but Button rarely has got the very best out of it like Hamilton has. Perez has been good but he strikes me as a Fisichella more than an Alonso. Very good at making the most of tyres & strategy but of course never making it into Q3 allows you to be creative with strategy.

      1. You bring up a very very important and interesting aspect! If Hamilton can mold Mercedes around him the way Vettel has RedBull and Alonso has Ferrari, we could indeed be in store for some fireworks.

        I hope and imagine that Lewis has thought of just that and that it is his aim. It may be necessary in order for him to continue to compete with Vettel and Alonso in the future.

        1. I don’t think Vettel has RBR. Its Newey’s team and Vettel is his lead driver.
          The Schuey era with Ferrari was a combination of Michael, Brawn and a focus on quality – to make the car last to finish the races. “To finish first, first You have to finish!” And maybe McLaren need “a Finish driver to finish first!”:-)

          1. except Ham is English.. :D

            sorry .. had to do it .

    2. It is not Hamilton’s team now, it is just a team that is focused on succeeding, not doing Public Relations via the media.

      1. It’s Hamilton’s team as far as he do proper job. Hamilton would do what he should. Mercedes would offer him what they should. That’s it.

      2. This has to be good for Hamilton. With Mercedes focused on racing rather than sponsors, Hamilton can separate these areas better – do his own sponsorship stuff but concentrate on Formula 1 when his with the team. At least that’s what should happen.

  16. Too bad it had to come to this, but the combination Whitmarsh and Hamilton never really worked.

    Actually I wonder if Whitmarsh and McLaren ever really worked. It feels like the team started to blunder a lot more since he took over. Even when they do (on rare occasion) have the fastest car they seem to throw it away on strategy, pit stop failures or fitting the wrong aero parts.

    Perhaps Lewis is gambling on being in the right spot for the new 2014 engine. Like Brawn said, being in a works team for that season could be key to winning the title.

    1. here here Patrick..finally some sense!! Lets see how long both Jensen and soon to be Sergio can tolerate a baffoon like Whitmarsh..seriously how can it be so obvious to us and not to anyone else??!! Amazing..!

    2. Strategy = Yes, he has a hand in this. Not sure there’s been many actual strategy failures, although that’s subjective. If you want Lewis to win, he doesn’t and you look for a reason why, it’s easy to blame a ‘strategy failure’.
      Pit Stop Failures = these have almost always been equipment or live operational failures that, well, happen. Nothing you can directly attribute to Whitmarsh, although he (along with Sam Michael) has taken the blame as management are wont to do.
      Fitting the Wrong Parts = As openly discussed by the entire team, this was a team-wide debate and both sides of the garage went their own way on setup following a wash-out in two practices. Neither side could make an educated guess, so they went both ways to cover all eventualities. They could have both taken Lewis’s setup and would have both floundered. That’s racing.

      I don’t specifically like Whitmarsh – he seems too much a smarmy corporate to be running the team – but he’s been there for over twenty years.

  17. So what announcement comes next, one from Michael (of retirement) or from Sauber (of his signing)?

    1. I’m trying to start the Sauber discussion in the Silly Season topic in the forum ;)

  18. It’s funny how everyone is predicting this that or the other. Time will tell, there’s no other way to know what will happen. It’s an exciting development whichever way.

    Mercedes are one of the worlds leading motor manufacturers. A company with the richest history in all of motoring – they invented ‘The Car’, as we know it, after all.

    This is a golden opportunity for Mercedes to grab an undoubted leading F1 driver to propel their brand even further into the ‘global consciousness’. With Audi and BMW scrabbling away in other less prominent motorsports this will help the Mercedes/AMG brand outshine them in so many ways. A company with massive resources at their disposal – the years since Brawn with Schuey onboard have been nothing but development for this moment. I get a feeling two teams will dominate the new engine era, Renault and Mercedes. And if I had a Mercedes engine I’d want to be in the factory team and not a customer team such as McLaren…

    Anyone also considered the fact that in effect, Lewis has now taken Jenson’s seat that was once with BAR/Honda/Brawn :)

    Oh how the circle completes…

  19. One small step to next garage, but giant leep to the unknown.

    1. Hello Neil. Great to see in your next life you have shifted from space rockets to earth ones :)

  20. This might not look like a clever move, but I think Lewis needed a change of scenery for sure. Meanwhile, Checo gets the move to a big team that he deserves.

    Lewis might not have a winning car straight away, but in a Ross Brawn team it is likely he will get a championship winning car at some point!

    I am personally quite happy for both Lewis & Checo. Lewis can really show what he is made of if Merc aren’t quite there next season, and it’s an opportunity for Nico Rosberg to tested against a top shelf driver.

    Checo will probably get his first race win next season (if he doesn’t get it this season!) and also gets to be tested against one of the best drivers in F1 too.

    I think both drivers can take big wins out of this situation. Checo is the biggest winner, but remember there is more to this than the short term! Jenson will certainly be looking over his shoulder!

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