Hamilton to join Mercedes in $100-million deal

28 September, 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. Formula One World Championship, Rd9, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday 6 July 2012.

Lewis Hamilton to wave goodbye to McLaren as he joins Mercedes

Sep.28 (Reuters) Lewis Hamilton is set to move from McLaren to the Mercedes Formula One team next season in a deal which is expected to be announced today (Friday) and is likely to send Michael Schumacher back into retirement, according to media reports in Britain and Germany.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, pole sitter Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 and Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme. Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday 14 April 2012.British newspapers said that 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’s long-term future.

Bild, 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.

Hamilton’s contract negotiations have been a running saga all season with reports that he was close to a deal with Mercedes emerging early in September.

More recent indications were, however, that the 27-year-old was in favour of staying with McLaren, the team that had nurtured him since his early teens and that handed him his Formula One debut in 2007.

(L to R): 12 year old Karting star Lewis Hamilton (GBR) and Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal. Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, 24 August 1997.

The Daily Telegraph said championship contenders McLaren were understood to have been informed of the driver’s decision only on Thursday.

The Daily Mail added that Hamilton would be accepting a three-year contract, including win bonuses, worth £60 million ($97.15 million) with a basic annual salary of around £15 million.

Mercedes had made no secret of their desire to sign Hamilton in place of seven time champion Schumacher, the sport’s most successful driver, whose return to the sport after retiring from Ferrari in 2006 has been unremarkable.

Schumacher has been on the podium just once since he began his comeback in 2010 and has retired from half of the 14 races this season.

Mercedes took over champions Brawn GP at the end of 2009 but have only one victory – Nico Rosberg’s success in this year’s Chinese Grand Prix – to celebrate.

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.

On paper, Hamilton would be swapping a place with proven winners for a British-based team with little success but plenty of potential. Mercedes also make the engines used by McLaren and have a substantial development budget.

Lewis Hamilton, Martin Whitmarsh and Jenson Button at Italian GPMercedes 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 owners Honda pulled out late in 2008.

A move to Mercedes would reunite Hamilton, whose management company XIX Entertainment also look after the business affairs of former England captain David Beckham and tennis player Andy Murray, with former karting team mate and friend Rosberg.

Officially McLaren were reportedly only made aware of the deal on Thursday, as much of the negotiations between Mercedes and Hamilton’s management team were held in secret.

The end of the Hamilton-McLaren relationship will be seen as a blow to the Woking team who nurtured the Englishman from his karting days through to his F1 world championship in 2008.

Subbed by AJN.


  • Paul C

    i hope this isnt true thats a big mmistake, money is good yeah but the mclaren is the fastest car the mercedes is very slow. now lewis will just be the richest backmarker lucky to get in the points,

  • JodyRenza

    So the puzzle is falling into place..Schumi out…sad loss to F1..Perez at Mclaren or will it be Kimi? This musical chairs-band is really got to play the right tunes now!!

  • Chris

    I guess this is the meaning of Loyalty and Belief in Lewis Hamilton Dictionary
    I never liked him and Never will and bad thing is Micheal was Pushed for another retirement.
    Hope Micheal get a Good Job after retirement

  • A41202813@GMAIL.COM

    I Hope ROSBERG Is Forced Into Retirement.

    I Would Love LEWIS And MICHAEL In The Same Team.

    Anyway, SAUBER Wants MICHAEL To Race For Them.

    MCLAREN Proved In 2012 They Are A Bunch Of Amateurs.

    Go, HAMILTON !

  • aks

    alll messed up lewis shoudnt have left mc laren even if he does its his loss,mc laren picking up perez is a bigger mistake,schumacher deserves this for leaving ferrari this was ought to happen one day but this is all politics hamilton wants money and fame mc laren desperately too needs money which sergio can bring thru his sponsors michael has to go coz they cant have 3 drivers all game and we can only comment our views but reality is totally different,

  • Hawk

    @Paul C
    I partly agree but with F1 you cannot write off a team’s chances before you see their car. We have not seen the W04 to write it off as a backmarker. case in point the Honda of 2008 => Brawn GP 2009. the Red Bull had overnight success also, the Lotus of today is competitive enough compared to the Renault of 2011. Lewis took a gamble but not a big one because there is no reason why Mercedes GP should not have a good car, what dont they have especially after signing the Concorde which he was waiting for. And with MSC and Rosberg they were going nowhere. Now Lewis will show us if they had a nice car to begin with which needed a few tweaks like Alonso with the F2012. Just imagine if Ferrari had 2 Massa’s where would they be, the F2012 would be on the heap yet it is not a bad car at all. Engineers need such drivers. They show you exactly where your car is at. If Rosberg is open minded, now he will know exactly how he fares against the top three in pedigree. He will also if he is better or worse than Jenson for instance, and Heikki.. but with MSC he never really had a clue on how good or bad he is.

  • Speedo

    All drivers and teams are in it for fame and money not Lewis alone. Schumaker has more than enough money why come back if not for it.The earlier article said Perez will bring along enough money through sponsorship – another paid driver is it? Does McLaren need the money. Perezi is good irrespective of the sponsorship. McLaren wanted to eat the pie and keep the pie – no sharing. Why could they not give Lewis his commercial rights to market himself. There will be divided loyalties on this shocking news. I hope Mercedes will be able to build a car around him which is competitive with the Red Bulls, McLaren and Ferrari. However, Lewis is able to deliver whether the car be good or not competitive enough. It will also be interesting to see how Button will perform next year with Perez alongside him. I hope this is a wise move by Lewis after having served McLaren for 6 years and wish him well at Mercedes.

  • AlonsoFan

    waow.amazing .Best of luck

  • f1 fan

    wow thats a heart breaking news !!, hey but im still very happy for Hamilton and I am also very excited to see how he performs in the Merc, Another good news is Perez joins Mclaren, fantastic 2013 season, hopefully, maybe it was the right decisiion, but Mclaren fans including me would be disappointed !!

    i am expecting many comments for this article !! :)

  • Markus

    Go Rosberg, GO!!!

  • f1 fan

    i feel im still dreaming !! O.o

  • McLaren Fan

    Lewis Hamilton has just disappointed many fans.
    I hope he has luck with Mercedes.
    I think it is a shame the money offered by McLaren in the end was good but obviously the money offered by Mercedes was a lot more, but Lewis stated that winning was the important factor now I think it was not the important factor.

  • hillside

    like what i said Lewis will go where the money is

  • Lol.

    He’s gone for the money, no other reason.

    Unfortunately Lewis is very talented but he will never be able to use it at that team. This is why I loathe him – he has great prospects for success but he blows them every year. Even in 2008, he lost the title on the first corner of the final race and regained by fluke on the last.

    Here he has a chance to spend a lifetime career with McLaren, a team that have won titles and will be in contention every season. In 6 years he has been there, he has had a championship capable car 4 times. Mercedes quite simply haven’t had one, in 3 years.

    The logic of this move is non existant. He’s gone for the dollar.

  • Andy – London

    It’s a shame that Lewis signed up with a parasite like Simon Fuller.
    He’s the one that’s made it a move that is not in the best interests of the sport or the driver in terms of anything other than financial gain.
    I’m sure Ron Dennis is pretty gutted that Fuller has brainwashed Lewis – Hamilton has never really been the best one to make his own decisions, and it must have been put to him in a way that made him think “oh yeah ….. that’s a lot better than what I’ve got now”
    All moves in the past have been more about drivers wanting a new challenge, a better car, or maybe a falling out with the team. I know Lewis hasn’t exactly been rosy with McLaren the past 2 years but as it is now, only a fool would say that Mercedes can definitely promise him a better car than McLaren next year, and further along the road.
    So does Michael go to Sauber, have a romantic final year with Ferrari (where he will surely do better than Massa based upon the 2012 cars and performances), or just slip into a 2nd retirement?
    My guess is retirement, but I’d like to see him at Ferrari and I think he’d happily take a number 2 to Alonso at this stage of his life.

  • Andy – London

    Jensen now being McLaren number 1 driver – I wonder if it will propel him to the successes of last season?

  • f1 fan

    Just imagine the look on his face if he ever gets passed by a Mclaren in 2013 maybe Sergio, even worse if it is Jenson !.!

  • Hawk

    @Lol
    so you think Mercedes is not a team capable of winning? you think the likes of Brawn, Haug and the Mercedes brand are mere journeymen? where were you in 2009? or even in 2012 when Lotus are doing well after an average 2011? remember also Red Bull did well overnight. ofcourse McLaren is better placed but you cannot discount a car ie W04 you have not seen. and the money comes with the challenge. an F1 driver’s career has such a short life span. the young men should make the most of it while they still can. leave other considerations to the Webbers who are still looking for titles in the evening..

  • TofisiFan

    Like Fernando said, F1 has become more of a business. Lewis is a great talent no doubt and a new challenge had to be taken. When’s the last time McLaren won the Constructors? a Driver’s tiitle? F1 is a business at the end of the day and if you are spending millions, you’ve gotta have team orders and make a driver like LH be the #1. Props to JB though for taking the challenge to LH. Bring on the 2013 season after Nando becomes a three times world champion.

  • grat

    The Mercedes hasn’t been that slow, but it’s been unreliable. There have been flashes of brilliance from the car, and the team, and Ross Brawn is still a master race tactician.

    Nico is quick, but I don’t think he can, in Alonso’s words, “win with the slower car”– Schumacher certainly had that ability at one point, but the cars are very different today, and he’s not as young as he was.

    The front/rear DRS will be gone next year, and I think the Mercedes chassis will benefit as a result.

    I see no reason why Lewis couldn’t compete for podiums next year, and challenge for the WDC in 2014.

  • scotto

    Foolish and short-sighted move from Lewis. Unless Mercedes are able to make huge gains in the off-season, he’s set his career back years andis jeopardising his stated goal of becoming a legend of the sport. I fear he has moved to the wrong team at the wrong time.

    On the other hand, keenly looking forward to seeing Sergio Perez in McLaren overalls, huge hopes for this man. I was there at his first race in Austalia in 2011 Australian Grand Prix and he was hugely impressive then.

    Schumacher to Ferrari? Doubtful. Ferrari should be looking beyond a 43 year old man, albeit a legend, who will be able to offer 1 year of service, max 2. Get a younger man in the second cockpit and give them the ultimate apprenticeship as Alonso’s teammate and get them ready to take over when Alonso retires.

  • Chuck

    Couldn’t be happier for McLaren!!!

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Wow, the revisionist historians are hard at work here. Red Bull an overnight success? Picking up where Jaguar left off (9,8,7,7,7) with a RB 7,7,5,7 in the WCC over the first 4 years is not exactly a turn around miracle. After this 9 year struggle, they finally saw light with Vettel on the current run of 2,1,1, (1). Meanwhile Brawn’s 2009 success was founded on assuming the massive investment Honda laid out, without the Honda motor liability. The car was so good even Button could win the WDC in it. Yet, as the season progressed and the echo of the Honda investment faded, so did the car. How does the Daimler board go from wanting out to committing Honda-class funding? It doesn’t. This was a stupid move on Hamilton’s part. He’ll make a few bucks now, and suffer a loss in his precious image if he fails. If Perez succeeds at McLaren and/or McLaren wins the WCC without Hamilton, he will be exposed as an over-paid Diva.

  • Lol.

    @Hawk

    Read the comment below, he says it all.

  • Hawk

    Enuff said. let’s just watch this space; and ressurect this topic a year from now, hoping we stay alive. the problem is when one of us dies no one ever really gets to know.

  • fools

    J.Button just wants to know the secret to Perez tire management. Check the twitter feed. lol :)

  • Xav

    Well, somebody with more wins than Massa is now free in the market. Schumi to Ferrari for a one year shot !!!!!

  • Chris

    @Hawk

    We don’t know what was going to be happen in 2013 For now e only have the Calender of 2013 teams still developing cars for that season with the regs
    so as you said just and watch mate and
    To the Comment “Hoping we Stay Alive” are you referring to the 12-21-12 by any chance

  • Speedo

    @lol and @hillside – Would you take a pay cut amounting to millions in your new contract? I think not. McLaren also further denied Lewis his commercial rights where he could market himself. There is a lot of money to be made in advertising. Is the McLaren team in racing for fun or for money?? Is Bernie in it for the same reason. Why did Adrian leave McLaren and join Red Bull. Lewis served them well for the last six seasons while McLaren has not provided a title winning car. When did they last win the WCC. It was Lewis who won WDC for them. This season has been a thorough let down by the team. Although I am not in favour of Lewis leaving I wish him well at Mercs.

  • Lol.

    @Speedo

    yes, actually. Look at button. He took an 8m pay cut and was rewarded with a world title.

    If someone told me I could earn 20m a year and be f1 world champion, or 60m a year and just drive around the midfield, i would take the 20m.

  • Lol.

    And yes, i know they arent the actual ammounts, was just using numbers to emphasise my point

  • hillside

    @speedo
    i guess you haven’t got any experience in dealing with these sports agent or any management team huh??
    on this kind of Lewis moving negotiation, the first thing that your agent will say…. Its better to be on a team and suck losing and gey paid heavily than to be on a winning team and get paid less… why would you go out winning and rewarded for less??

    in the end, its BUSINESS ECONOMICS! you might lose now and then get old very happy and filthy rich

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