Lauda admits convincing Hamilton to quit McLaren and join Mercedes

1 October, 2012

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, Niki Lauda (AUT)  Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday 9 September 2012.

Niki Lauda interviews Lewis Hamilton on the Monza podium

Oct.1 (GMM) Triple world champion Niki Lauda has admitted he played a role in convincing Lewis Hamilton to quit McLaren and join Mercedes, in a move which has the Formula 1 world buzzing.

Lauda, who is set to become the non-executive chairman of the Brackley based team, also confirmed he helped Mercedes with its Concorde Agreement negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone.

But the biggest news is that the Austrian legend was instrumental in getting long-term McLaren protege and Briton Hamilton to turn away from his boyhood employer.

“I was impressed with his approach to things, very pragmatic, no emotions whatsoever,” Lauda told BBC radio of his talks with Hamilton.

The former McLaren and Ferrari driver said he told Hamilton that taking Mercedes to success was a challenge he should not ignore.

“And think of it the other way round, if Schumacher couldn’t get the Mercedes team running up front for three years and you (Hamilton) next year are doing much better it makes a huge impact on your personality and people will rate you much higher,” Lauda recalled of his conversations with Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton at Italian GP“In the end it convinced him that the challenge is what he wants to do.”

Naturally, there are some who believe Hamilton was also attracted to Mercedes for mainly financial reasons.

“The money discussion I was not really involved in,” said Lauda. “The offer was very close to the one of McLaren.”

Ultimately, Hamilton’s move has divided opinions in F1.

Some think the 27-year-old is unwise to trade a surely competitive car for a Mercedes gamble, but 1996 world champion Damon Hill thinks the move was inevitable.

“Lewis has been like a caged bird at McLaren,” he told the Daily Mail. “He’d been managed to within an inch of his life. “You can have a bellyful of becoming a performing seal.”

Niki Lauda said he will remain an expert pundit for German television.


  • hillside

    so if LH fails its Lauda’s fault. nice!

  • Richard

    It only gets worse. What a disaster for Hamilton and Mercedes.

  • maricar

    how will mercedes’ success improve lewis’ personality?! he has to work on that (personality) from within, nothing to do with winning races! it’s innate, he either has a good personality or not, the only thing winning will probably do is boost lewis’ ego (and his big head) all the more!

  • Paul Conway

    The move obviously will only boost Lewis’s profile and give him alot more but alot different and harder experience. He may very well win some races in 2013 but i can’t see Mercedes beating Mclaren in 2013 even with Hamilton.

  • Speedo

    Going by what Damon Hill says “being caged up”, I think its a good move. Lewis has been with McLaren since his Karting days and therefore treated him like a young pup with no say. They should have treated him better. Anyway we do not know what as going on within the team although Damon would have had an inkling and coming from him I believe so.

    Its a challenge which Lewis has accepted and I admire him for that. Mercs may not win the first three races next year but hey will catch up. McLaren performed during the first 3 races this year but after that it was downhill and only recently the car has come good.

  • Mighty K

    Was it Lauda, or was it money? Come on !! Having a hard time believing the brain trust at Mercedes would need any input from any body on the outside (at that point) for decisions of this magnitude. Now, let’s find out where the $$$ is coming from that Lauda brought with him under his hat.

  • G

    Not even Alonso could help Mercedes. Their F1 cars suck. That is why I am glad to see Hamilton go there. We will get to see just how good he really is.
    I hope he likes WATCHING the podium ceremonies instead of participating in them. I know I will.

  • Disgusted with 2012

    Hamilton unemotional? Pragmatic? Is lLauda deranged? More to the point, will Lauda take equal credit for the train wreck Mercedes is heading into when Hamilton fails to deliver? While I am sure Brawn knows that they are losing a stabilizing and technically savvy resource with the departure of Schumacher, Mercedes appears blind to it. Is he on his way out as well? They not only lose Schumacher’s tech and team building assets, they gain Hamilton’s Diva baggage. Hamilton as team builder? Hamilton as technical asset? Seriously? I am sure this is the cause of much laughter and conversation in the McLaren garage as it is a joke that only Mercedes appears not to get. Lauda’s effort to oust Schumacher is clearly nothing more than a a sad old man’s retribution for Schumacher’s pushing him out of Ferrari so many years ago, with Mercedes acting the part of stoog.

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