Mercedes team principal has actively pursued Lewis Hamilton to sign with the team, and today the deal was sealed. The 2008 FIA Formula One world champion will leave McLaren in at the end of this season. His new teammate starting in 2013 will be Nico Rosberg, who remains with the Silver Arrows team.
"It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter," said the Briton in this morning’s announcement.
Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge.
Hamilton, now 27, joined the McLaren organization when he was 13 years old, and has been a front runner with the British-based team. Now he will take on a new challenge with a three year contract with Mercedes.
Team principal Ross Brawn commented, "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.”
Hamilton has not had one of his best years, and obvious has been disappointed in the mistakes made by his current team, which cost him podium finishes and more importantly victories. Not all were errors by the team; some were mechanical issues but still he pushed to the limits at each event, and will continue to do so for the remaining races.
Added Hamilton, "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."
No word on the exact contract details, but current reports claim the Hamilton took a cut in pay; however the sponsor package is very sweet; along with incentives.
Norbert Haug, Vice President - Mercedes-Benz Motorsport commented, "Mercedes-Benz has supported Lewis throughout his career, from karting, to Formula 3, to our successful partnership with McLaren, and it will be a very nice moment for all of us in the team to see him at the wheel of a works Silver Arrow next season, following in the tradition of British Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Richard Seaman.”
The future for Michael Schumacher was not mentioned. Yesterday, Brawn claimed that "Michael has been a huge asset to the team; he's really taken us forward. I do think Michael contributes an awful lot, so I think the decision for Michael to stay or not continue is a difficult one."
The German who has seven Formula One world championships may end up with Mercedes as a brand ambassador or he may search for another ride. Since his return to the premier motor sports series in 2010, Schumacher has just one podium finish since his return, and that was on the Valencia street circuit this year. Prior to his return, Schumacher won 91 races from 1991 to 2006.
Schumacher apparently in his talks, and Sauber now has a empty cockpit with the departure of Sergio Perez to the McLaren team. The champion said, "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 will now concentrate on the next races."
"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,” said Brawn.