28 Sep 2012

Lewis Hamilton does a Villeneuve - joins Mercedes F1 on 3 year deal

Mercedes AMG F1 team have confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will be joining them for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons in a deal worth an estimated $100million.

Lewis has said: "It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes Formula 1 team. Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share. Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships."

Lewis is partially right in that Mercedes-Benz has an incredible heritage in motorsport.  As a constructor they won the drivers championships in 1954 and 1955 with Juan Manuel Fangio.  As an engine supplier they have won a several races, a world championship and three drivers championships.

But in the modern era Mercedes as a constructor have won one race in three years of trying.

We suspect that the pairing of Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have underperformed in the car and Hamilton will undoubtedly take it to more wins but a world championship now seems out of reach for the foreseeable future - despite the much trumpeted engine regs change in 2014.

Lewis seems to have moved for reasons of money, freedom and fame.

In 1999 Jacques Villeneuve, a world champion with Williams (a winning team at the time but a poor payer), left the Grove squad for pastures new at British American Racing - on a megabucks deal.

The reasons for moving were freedom and money - but not fame, which Jacques never really courted.  The pairing of Villeneuve and BAR was a disaster -  yielding 33 points in four years and no wins.  In the first year of the deal Jacques scored 0 points.

Jacques is now a very rich man with a very average reputation.

We wish Lewis Hamilton well with Mercedes in F1 and hope he attains more success than Villeneuve did with BAR.