After a successful run with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton became likely the hottest free agent in recent F1 history. There was a lot of debating and speculation that Hamilton had already signed with Mercedes, who only just recently signed the Concorde Agreement after rumors that it may leave F1, and that McLaren refused to match. It looks as if all of the Hamilton-to-Mercedes rumors were true, as Mercedes has officially announced the signing of Hamilton through the 2016 season.
This signing comes on the heels of McLaren, Hamilton’s former employer, announcing that it had signed the up-and-coming Sergio Perez. An unfortunate byproduct of Mercedes bringing in this young blood means the old blood, in the form of Michael Schumacher, is out of a job. There is some speculation that Schumacher will head back into retirement, but other rumors are placing him with Sauber, taking the spot vacated by Sergio Perez’s jettison to McLaren. Ah, and the evil circle of F1 continues…
It is up for debate as to whether Mercedes or McLaren got the better end of the deal, as you have a proven talent in Hamilton who had some struggles last year. But on the other hand you have the 22-year-old Perez with an impressive three podium trips last year and is heading into the prime of his career.
Either way, both Mercedes and McLaren got their guys and both Hamilton and Perez will likely continue strong in the coming years. Also announced today by Mercedes is that 3-time F1 champ, Nikki Lauda, will join Mercedes as a non-executive chairman.