Following the signature of the commercial agreement with FOM this week by Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team is pleased to announce that Lewis Hamilton has signed a three-year agreement to race for the team from the 2013 Formula One season.
Lewis' career has been supported by Mercedes-Benz and McLaren since its earliest days. In 2000, he and Nico Rosberg were team-mates at TeamMBM.com in Formula A karting. Lewis drove with Mercedes-Benz engines during his two seasons in the Formula 3 Euroseries, winning the 2005 championship, and every one of his 104 Formula One starts so far have been powered by the three-pointed star. Lewis is one of four drivers, along with Juan Manuel Fangio, Mika Häkkinen and Jenson Button, to have won the Formula One world championship with Mercedes-Benz power. With 20 Formula One victories, he is equal with Mika Häkkinen as the most successful Mercedes-Benz Formula One driver.
The recruitment of the 2008 world champion marks the start of a new chapter for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. Lewis will replace Michael Schumacher, who has contributed significantly to the development of the Silver Arrows works team over the past three years. During this time, the team achieved the milestone of the first victory of the modern era for a works Silver Arrow, when Nico Rosberg won this year's Chinese Grand Prix, and has scored five further podium finishes to date.
In parallel, Mercedes-Benz has put in place the right technical structure and given the team in Brackley and Brixworth the tools it needs to achieve long-term, durable success in Formula One. In the near future, three-time world champion Niki Lauda will also bring his extensive experience to the role of non-executive chairman of the team's board of directors, further reinforcing the strength in depth at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS.
The signing of Lewis Hamilton completes the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS driver line-up for the 2013 season alongside Nico Rosberg. Nico won his first Grand Prix this year in China and will enter his fourth season with our team.
Michael Schumacher: "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 their trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races."
Lewis Hamilton: "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 AMG PETRONAS Formula One 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."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal - MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS: "On behalf of MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, I would first of all like to thank Michael Schumacher for the important contribution he has made to the growth of our team over the past three seasons. His energy and commitment have never wavered, even when results have not matched our own expectations, and we are determined to finish the 2012 season together on a high. As always, it has been a pleasure to work with Michael.
"Looking ahead to 2013, I am delighted to welcome Lewis Hamilton to our team. The arrival of a driver of Lewis' calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows. I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.
"Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship. Behind the scenes, we have assembled a team that is technically stronger, more experienced and better resourced, thanks to the support of PETRONAS and all of our loyal team partners. The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team. Our task is now to translate that potential into on-track performance for next season and beyond."
Norbert Haug, Vice President - Mercedes-Benz Motorsport/ "Mercedes-Benz has supported Lewis throughout his career, from karting, to Formula 3, to our successful partnership with McLaren, and it will be a very nice moment for all of us in the team to see him at the wheel of a works Silver Arrow next season, following in the tradition of British Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Richard Seaman.
"Of course, it takes a great driver to replace such a legendary and successful one as Michael Schumacher. Over the past three years, Michael has been a great driver and an exemplary ambassador for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. His experience has been an important factor in guiding the development of our team in Brackley and we extend our sincere thanks to Michael for his loyalty, team play and commitment. We will be working very hard together in order to achieve the best possible results in the remainder of the 2012 season.
"The central task of any racing team is to deliver a car that allows the drivers to fully express their talents. In the 52 races for our works team, we have achieved a number of important milestones, including an historic victory for Nico Rosberg in China this year. We know that it is now time to take the next step, in order to deliver consistent front-running performances in the tradition of the Silver Arrows. Every single person in our team is working with total commitment and focus on achieving this ambition."