October 2nd, 2012 (F1plus / Suren M).- Lewis Hamilton was at the centre of gossips ever since EJ claimed he was on set for move to Mercedes. However, Hamilton and his management denied all of it until Thursday morning of last week when Mercedes officially announced that a new contract was signed with the popular Briton.
The decision has shaken almost everybody in the paddock and one of the shocking turnarounds in recent memory. Mclaren have come to their best after Lewis winning at Hungary and followed it up while F1 resumed for its second half with Button and Hamilton triumphing at Spa and Monza respectively to lift their team second to Redbull on Constructors’ table.
Hamilton tweeted the telemetry details which stirred up the whole of Mclaren earlier but while that was settling down they were hit with reliability issues at Singapore where Lewis could have fought for victory. The move meant a lot to his global exposure as Mercedes being the volume manufacturer could allow Lewis to commit more on the commercial side. In the highest earning sports athletes list Lewis was at 24, with $28 m net sum of money. But that doesn’t tell the whole story as Schumacher who will be replaced earns about $10 m only on the commercial side of things as opposed to Lewis’ $3 m.
With the likes of many ex and current drivers tipping Hamilton to move elsewhere, Mclaren said the move was a horrendous mistake on Lewis’ part to leave the established British force. Whitmarsh offered a deal very close to Mercedes reported Niki Lauda who played a big part in insisting Hamilton to join the Silver Arrows. The newly appointed non-executive chairman of board, Lauda, also praised Hamilton as the best driver on the grid at any circumstances.
The Mclaren protege has been with the team since 13 years old which brings the question of loyalty. Nevertheless, the new challenge put in front of him has come with the expense of £60 m for the German manufacturer over three years deal. Though Ross Brawn could make them competitive, the car is highly uncertain at the moment and pairing up with Rosberg will push him to the limit. While Rosberg was excited to have Lewis as team-mate, Mercedes have to provide equal status to both.
Hamilton is managed by XIX entertainment company, like I said before, their quest to create Hamilton a global brand could only be possible with a widespread audience which Mercedes possess all over the world. In terms of that, it is safe to say they have somehow succeeded on it. Hamilton won the champion in only his second season of F1 after letting Raikkonen to take the crown by a solitary margin. The existing five-year deal, worth an estimated £75m since 2007 and with considering personal sponsorships and endorsements he could make more money than he actually does from 2013. No wonder why Schumacher is the second richest sports person as his three year reign comes to an end by the end of 2012.
Hamilton relies on new chassis and regs destined to appear from 2014 with the V6 Turbos could play a decisive factor. Ecclestone and Montezemolo raised the question of cost and the ‘terrible’ noise it produces recently and it may well be suspended for few more years but we have no announcement on it and it won’t come too soon either. Mclaren have also confirmed that Perez would step in for Hamilton.
Hamilton, 27, may have a tough time with Mercedes until he hones it to perfection. If he does, his status as a professional driver will see him climbing up new feats. Hamilton still has chances to be a world champion as he languishes fourth on the table with six races to go and he is committed to it. As a Mclaren fan, it is hard to cheer for Lewis when he up against Button on his “fresh career”. Well, it wasn’t the first time it happened on F1; numbers and money in digits speak out loud on their own.