There has been no official announcement but British newspapers the Daily Mail and the Telegraph are reporting that Friday’s big announcement will be that McLaren driver (of 14 years), Lewis Hamilton, will be heading to Mercedes AMG Petronas in 2013 as Michael Schumacher’s replacement.
The Telegraph’s Tom Cary says that Mercedes is waiting for their board to sign off on the new Concorde Agreement before making the announcement and that this could happen as early as Friday (today). Cary speculates the deal to worth $100million over the term.
The Mail’s Jonathan McEvoy says the deal also allows greater freedom for Hamilton to sign personal endorsements. The Mail also goes to some lengths to debunk speculation or persecution that this is simply all about money as it argues that the freedom Lewis wanted was, in fact, more personal sponsorship…hardly an argument about it not being about money but so what if it is? That’s the job of XIX Entertainment isn’t it? To maximize the earnings of their clients?
I’m not interested in Lewis’s quest for more money, good on him, but what I am a little concerned about is his penchant for winning and not accepting second best on track. That character is to be revered but it also can be a challenge to quell when things go pear-shaped. The big question is, will Mercedes provide Lewis with a car that can win next year?
Is it fair to suggest that Mercedes isn’t up to snuff with McLaren as far as competitive performance? Even McLaren doesn’t know how competitive it will be with new regulations and the presumed cost-cutting measures of the new Concorde Agreement which is speculated as being a done deal and announced Friday as well.
In the end, I was flayed for suggesting this but at some core level, I think Lewis is simply ready for a change. Whether he has it good and doesn’t realize it or not, sometimes a young man has to make his own way on his own terms and you never know just how that will play out.
If the Mail and Telegraph have this story right, then I’m glad for Lewis that he feels he has a new opportunity and something to reinvigorate him. Sometimes you have to leave the nest and he’s been with McLaren for 14 years now. Mercedes needed a top-notch driver to replace Schumacher and while many had Paul Di Resta as the logically choice, it now seems that maybe McLaren could be the logical choice for Paul.
I also wonder how this will impact relations between McLaren and Mercedes? The former buys engines from the latter and relies on those power plants to win races. Maybe this will be the catalyst for McLaren to do what I’ve argued for many years…if they want to be the British Ferrari (and they do), then they need to make engines.
Many suggest that McLaren may be looking at Sergio Perez as well and as a Ferrari driver who has been labeled as not being experienced enough for the Scuderia (read, we’re waiting on Vettel in 2014), then some wonder if he is ready for the might of McLaren. I think he is and Jenson Button is a great teammate to have help him.
What do you think? If the Mail and Telegraph have the call right, is this a good move? Does it surprise you? Let us know your thoughts below.