28 Sep 2012

Confirmed: Lewis Hamilton is leaving McLaren. Perez signs with McLaren for 2013

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have just announced that Sergio Perez will be joining the team on a multi-year deal.

With Jenson Button already signed for 2013 that means Lewis Hamilton is leaving McLaren and on his way to Mercedes.

Mercedes AMG F1 recently announced that Nico Rosberg would be with the team in 2013.  Therefore Michael Schumacher will be retiring (or joining another team but that is highly unlikely) and Lewis Hamilton will join Mercedes in 2013.

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of McLaren F1, said: "It was a string of giantkilling performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year's Monaco Grand Prix that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment.

We've been monitoring his progress carefully for some months - and, now that he's become part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, our task will be to refine and develop his abilities as his career progresses over the coming years.

Uniting Sergio alongside Jenson will give us a very broad base of driver ability. Jenson is one of motorsport's greatest ambassadors, and his unique blend of prodigious speed and canny racecraft makes him formidably well-armed to fight for victory on any grand prix circuit in the world.

While Sergio is still developing his palette of skills, we're convinced that he's not only talented and quick, but also that he's willing and eager to learn.

He's perfectly poised to develop into a world championship challenger. His addition to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team provides us with the perfect two-pronged driver line-up for the new season."

Further announcements are expected within the hour.

Lewis Hamilton, signed by McLaren when he was very young, has won one championship with McLaren.  Notwithstanding that McLaren are one of the most successful in the history of F1, winning 180 races, 12 drivers championships and 8 constructors championships.

Mercedes, on the other hand, have thrown megabucks at F1 in recent years and have won 1 race.

With the exception of Ferrari factory teams as constructors, rather than engine builders, don't tend to win in the unique world that is F1.  The garagistas have a hold that has yet to be properly challenged.  Witness BMW, Honda, Toyota, Jaguar and Mercedes to see that.

Renault has been the only factory team to win in recent years except they were not a true factory team and they had Fernando Alonso.

Maybe Hamilton feels Mercedes will have a head start with the new engine regulations due in 2014.  Or maybe he feels that Schumacher and Rosberg have simply been under-performing in an otherwise good car - an assertion we share.

Whatever - the truth will out.  In 2013.