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2012-09-28 13:52

MCLAREN ACE HEADED FOR MERC: McLaren ace Lewis Hamilton ends an era at McLaren as he will race for Mercedes in 2013

LONDON, England - Lewis Hamilton has signed a three-year deal with the Mercedes Formula 1 team and will replace seven-times World champion Michael Schumacher in 2013, Mercedes said on Friday.

The move for the 2008 World champion comes after Mercedes-Benz signed a new commercial agreement with the sport's commercial rights holders - the Ecclestone folk - guaranteeing the team's long-term commitment.

Triple World champion Niki Lauda, will join also the team as a non-executive chairman of the board.


McLaren has already announced rookie Sergio Perez as his replacement for 2013.

Hamilton, nurtured through the McLaren Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Programme as a teenager, made his F1 debut in 2007, almost winning the championship as a rookie - he finished an amazing second behind Kimi Raikkonen.

He won the title in 2008 but is still waiting for his second and trails in fourth place in 2012, 52 points behind Ferrari's Fernando Alonso with six races remaining.

Hamilton 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 Mercedez AMG Petronas 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 I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambition of winning the World championships."

He will partner current Merc driver Nico Rosberg in 2013.

The future for Schumacher is unclear with the German admitting that his comeback from retirement had not worked out as he'd hoped.


Schumacher said: "I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side. I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up.

"I would like to thank the team for its trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races."

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn said Hamilton's arrival meant they could now match any team on the grid. "Looking ahead to 2013, I am delighted to welcome Lewis. The arrival of a driver of his calibre is testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in F1 and I'm proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows.

"I believe the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid in 2013 and I'm looking forward to what we can achieve together."


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