Lewis Hamilton has signed a three year contract to drive for Mercedes from 2013 it has been announced. Hamilton will move to Mercedes at the end of the season and will be replaced at McLaren by current Sauber driver Sergio Perez.
From 2013 Hamilton will drive for the Mercedes outfit in one of F1s worst kept secrets. He will team up with his friend Nico Rosberg, leaving Michael Schumacher without a drive for next year. Schumacher may ultimately have to face up to a second retirement.
Rumours began to circulate last month that Hamilton would leave McLaren and switch to Mercedes and this was not helped by Hamilton tweeting telemetry data during the Belgian Grand Prix. His decision to move to Mercedes is a confusing one. Despite the team securing its first win since being renamed in 2010, they have failed to contest a championship. The decision can be further doubted as there is nothing to suggest that next year the Mercedes car will be any better, especially as earlier this week the teams Double DRS was outlawed for 2013.
Hamilton’s move to Mercedes and the decision to announce it before the end of the current season seems an unusual decision. It won’t help his campaign for this years championship and is unlikely to motivate any of his team to help him.
Whether or not it is the right decision for Hamilton, Perez has been given a huge opportunity. It may be suggested that the McLaren contract is a reward for his impressive driving this season, however there is a possibility that he is making the move to a bigger team too early in his career. Whether Perez’s ability stretches to winning a championship is a difficult question, he undoubtedly is a very impressive driver but he has never driven under the pressure of winning a championship.
With both Mercedes and McLaren’s 2013 seat line ups confirmed attention turns once again to Sauber and Schumacher as well as Ferrari. It seems unlikely that Schumacher will find another seat elsewhere considering his mixed form on his return from retirement. Sauber will be looking for a replacement for Perez, the person to replace him will depend on whether the team needs someone with money or someone with experience. Ferrari are still yet to announce their line up for 2013 and although it had been openly said that Perez would not be going to Ferrari, this change in the driver market may well have secured Felipe Massa another years contract.
Whether or not the respective signings were the right decision for either driver is questionable. However there can be no question that 2013 will definitely be a season worth watching.