Finally it’s been confirmed. Lewis Hamilton will move to Mercedes next year, taking the seat of the most successful Formula 1 driver of all time – Michael Schumacher.
Replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren will be Mexican Sergio Perez, who has impressed in his first two years in F1. The move may be a surprise to some, but with Vodafone possibly leaving McLaren and the team having to pay for its engines from 2013, Perez’s Mexican dollars will no doubt help proceedings. That’s not to take away from his skill behind the wheel, though. He came close to winning the Malaysian Grand Prix this year and most importantly, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh thinks very highly of him.
“We’ve been monitoring his progress carefully for some months,” he said, “and now that he’s become part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, our task will be to refine and develop his abilities as his career progresses over the coming years.” It will be good news for Jenson Button as now he can put his stamp on the McLaren and push development in his direction rather than Lewis’.
So what does this mean for Schumacher? After his mistake in the Singapore Grand Prix, when he ploughed into the back of Jean Eric Vergne after misjudging his braking point, the cries for him to retire were turned up 10 decibels. However, he simply isn’t ready to walk away, again. His management was in long talks with Sauber at the last race and what’s more, he has a great relationship with Peter Sauber from the Group C days.
It would be a huge boost for the Sauber team – increased interest from the general public and media, and one of the most experienced drivers of all time.
So what do we all think? Schumacher to Sauber? It’s not beyond the realms of possibility…