In 1995, a 10-year-old Lewis Hamilton walked up to McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and declared "I want to race for you one day." That fateful moment began a relationship between Hamilton, Dennis, and McLaren which culminated in the 2008 Formula One Championship. A relationship that, at least professionally, has come to an end.

Word from the UK's Telegraph is that Hamilton has left McLaren for the Mercedes-Benz factory team in a three-year deal that could be worth as much as $100 million. The departure of the 27-year-old driver from McLaren marks one of the biggest driver transfers in motorsport in recent memory. Though the German F1 team has won only a single race since returning to the sport in 2010, Hamilton and Mercedes both appear to be betting heavily on the turbocharged 1.6-liter V6 engine specifications for 2014.

The move has major ramifications for both teams. At McLaren, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said they had "no plan B" for their lead driver, however, it has already announced Mexican driver Sergio Perez as Hamilton's replacement in 2013.

The more controversial fallout is that Hamilton now replaces Michael Schumacher for next season. The seven-time World Champion first retired from Ferrari at the end of the 2006 season, returning to the sport in 2010 with Mercedes, where he has struggled. In reaction to the announcement, Schumi said that he would concentrate on the remaining races this season, and that he wished Hamilton well.

Hamilton's recent history with McLaren has been highlighted by salary disputes and comments on team tactics. Telegraph writer Tom Cary openly ponders the influence of XIX Entertainment – The London-based firm represents Hamilton, and stands to make more money from the new contract. As for Schumacher, there is no word on his plans after the current Formula 1 season.


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  • 57 Comments
      dan1malk
      • 2 Years Ago
      That picture is awesome for this story Haha
      rkeeeballs
      • 2 Years Ago
      ..3 years work...$100 million...Whew ! And driving the coolest cars ever built !...Wow ! Nice work if you can get it !
      ijardine
      • 2 Years Ago
      In 2013 for the first time McLaren will have to PAY Mercedes for their powertrain. They had pretty darn equal drivers and yet they offered Hamilton MORE than they recently negotiated with Button. McLaren have been more than fair with Hamilton. His prior contract was negotiated when he was a clear number one with the whole hopes of the team. The last few season there has been no clear number one at McLaren in terms of performance equality. In terms of team spirit Button clearly evokes more pride and following within the team as Hamilton has become moody and at times totally deflected by his personal life. Hamilton will be missed, particualrly for his simulator work, but bringing along a new young gun has to be a high priority now for McLaren and again clearly Button's matuitry allows him to work well with team mates so Perez is likely very lucky. McLaren has performed much better than Mercedes and perhaps will continue that way. It will take a massive leap forward for Maercedes to equal or supass McLaren. Doesn't mean it can't happen but it will not be easy and if it doesn't happen within 2 season Mercedes will likely withdraw from their team in F1 and become only an engine supplier. So McLaren have to pay for powertrain in 2013 but will save on the money they will be paying Perez versus the contract Hamilton turned down. Plus the team will probably be more settled as the Hamilton era has ended. Winners: Hamilton all the way to the bak. re a 2013/14 Hmmm...?? Button's position at McLaren is solid and he may even ease into management within 3-4 years. Perez has a great opportunity McLaren they will have a more settled team Losers: Ferrari: They could have signed Perez now they have lost him Hamilton: In terms of driving career if Meredes cannot make a huge step up in their game Schumacher: First Ferrari dismisses him now Mercedes. Question: If Michael knuckles down and shows a couple of good results would Ferrari offer hima seat for a farewell season or two? What a media coupe that would be.
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ijardine
        Ferrari didn't dismiss him (Schumacher), he retired. Big difference.
        ufgrat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ijardine
        Mercedes board apparently just signed an 8 year commitment to F1. Vettel is almost certainly going to Ferrari for 2014, so chances are, Perez wouldn't be able to drive for the prancing pony until Alonso decides to retire, probably in 3-5 years. Mercedes has been gathering up a lot of talent lately-- Ross Brawn, Also Costa, Geoff Willis, Bob Bell... The 2013 chassis should be pretty interesting.
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ijardine
        Yes you're right, they'll suddenly stop dropping cars of the jack, suddenly stop having 19sec. pit stops, suddenly stop blowing leads in the pits. They will be settled everytime Perez comes back to the pits missing a wing or wheel.
      Rob
      • 2 Years Ago
      As bad as Massa has been for some time now, I don't know how Ferrari didn't get Perez in the fold before this happened. He is an excellent driver, is only going to get better, and is out of the Ferrari driving academy.
        Bryan South
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob
        Just because he is signed with McLaren doesn't mean he can't drive for Ferrari int he future, I mean I can think of two Ferrari drivers off the top of my head the drove for Mclaren in the past... Alonso and Kimi. Once Sergio wins a championship for another team Ferrari will snatch him up, its the Ferrari way.
        Bryan South
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob
        Just because he is signed with McLaren doesn't mean he can't drive for Ferrari int he future, I mean I can think of two Ferrari drivers off the top of my head the drove for Mclaren in the past... Alonso and Kimi. Once Sergio wins a championship for another team Ferrari will snatch him up, its the Ferrari way.
        Bryan South
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob
        Just because he is signed with McLaren doesn't mean he can't drive for Ferrari int he future, I mean I can think of two Ferrari drivers off the top of my head the drove for Mclaren in the past... Alonso and Kimi. Once Sergio wins a championship for another team Ferrari will snatch him up, its the Ferrari way.
      JHOFF
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think Massa will stay with Ferrari. He has shown that he can drive, and before the season started, Alonso has had his doubts about the teams progress with the car. Massa is a great driver, and he is a great team mate. I would to hate to loose him in F1. Maybe Schui and Massa can get a seat for Sauber if he leaves Ferrari.
      Sir Duke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Prayers answered. I have been a McLaren fan from the days of Senna & Prost dueling as teammates. McLaren in the post Mika / Coultard era has become a shadow of its former self. Team McLaren has lost more races in the pits or through poor race strategy that through its on track performance. McLaren has blown many a Lewis Hamilton lead with bad pit stops. Races should be won and lost because of the drivers' execution or mistakes, not the other way around. You shouldn't be losing races in which you have the best car and the best drivers. While Mercedes may not currently have the best car, their pit crew will not lose them many races. In the last three years, I could only think of one such incident where Michael lost a wheel after leaving the pits
      JHOFF
      • 2 Years Ago
      We can agree that next year is going to be a needed refresh for F1. As much as I love Schu, its time to hang it up. He would be awesome part of the SkyF1 team.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        benjammin172
        • 2 Years Ago
        LOL! To think that Hamilton will be the second driver for Mercedes is laughable. Rosberg has as many wins as Hamilton has world championships... Granted, Rosberg is a good up and coming driver, and Hamilton won't be seeing the podium as often with Mercedes, but there is absolutely no way that Rosberg is the better driver between the two. You would have to either completely ignore F1 or be a diehard Rosberg fanboy to think so....
        Jason
        • 2 Years Ago
        I agree with Ben... in former eras Nico would have been left for a follow-up career in DTM or lessor by now. He's been given quite a few extra chances to prove he is as good as promised what, 8 years ago now? Of course, this newer generation of drivers all seem to get the chance to play out long careers while not winning: Nick Heidfeld, Nico, then JB who even managed to sneak a WDC after nearly 10 years. Which might have looked fluky, if he had not gone and won a few more races in the Mac in the years that followed.
      Jason
      • 2 Years Ago
      Part of me wishes for MSchu to take back his seat from Massa at Ferrari, just to restore things back to normal from this 'bizarro' version running at Brawn/Mercedes for the last three years...
        Generic
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason
        I'd like to see this too. While he made a few driving errors this year, he's had horrible mechanical problems when he was doing good. Anyone who can go from 18th to 3rd has still got it. I don't know if its the car or the driver, but he is having to pit sooner for tires on every race too. I'm reading a lot of smack talk about how driver X sucks. I'd like to see any of the trash talkers give it a try. It takes driver, car, team, pit crew all in sync without issues to pull off a win. He could win again if he had the tools to do it.
        Jason
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason
        Don't get me wrong, Alonso is the class of the field and I have really grown to respect him all-around since he joined the SF. It's just that the strange person sitting in the Mercedes, wearing silver and drinking Monster Energy Drink, and speaking humbly in interviews, has really confused my memories of the 7-time WC! And Massa has held this team down long enough (proven by Alonso this year...) It's time for a change in the #2 driver. (hmm, Rubens is still lobbying to get back into F1 after his sabbatical in IndyCar... JK!)
      RocketRed
      • 2 Years Ago
      Maybe Hamilton foresaw the Williamsisation of McLaren. They were demanding that he take a 1/3 paycut, keep control over his branding, and pleading poverty when the news came out about Mercedes's offer. Can you imagine, you are crushing your teammate like 14/2 in qualifying, beating him like a rug in the points---they guy the team just gave a long term contract---and the boss is talking about a pay cut? I don't see Vettel and Alonso taking a paycut. One would almost thing they were banking on the fact that, having joined the team when he was 13, he would be too chicken to step out on his own. Now McLaren is about basically become Carlos Slim's team, with Perez as #1 and Telmex on the side-pods. Button is likely slower than Perez anyway but if the thinks he is getting equal status while Senor Slim is paying the bills he does not comprehende. To that point, they made a major error in locking up Button. Button can get it done in a dominant car, but he is never going to lay .5s on his teammate in quailfyin in normal circumstances or transcend a poor car.
      MASTER
      • 2 Years Ago
      Next up. Schumacher, Chevy and NASCAR
        janet2derek
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MASTER
        well nascar is for losers so I don't think Michael would even think about the stupidity of- go straight turn left, go straight, turn left all day. Stupidist form of racing around.
        Ben Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MASTER
        MS has always said ovals makes him nervous. He has enough money in the bank to chill
        Ben Lee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @MASTER
        MS has always said ovals makes him nervous. He has enough money in the bank to chill
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