THE Brackley-based Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team has announced that 2008 FIA F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has signed to race for the team from the start of next season.
Hamilton joins Mercedes as team-mate to Nico Rosberg with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher announcing his retirement from the sport.
Hamilton, who signed a three-year deal, 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 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.”
Mercedes AMG Petronas Team Principal Ross Brawn added: “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.”
Meanwhile, Schumacher is retiring for the second time following an unsuccessful three years back in the sport.
He said: “Although I am still able to compete with the best drivers, at some point it is good to say goodbye.
“During the past month, I was not sure if I still had the motivation and energy which is necessary to go on. It is not my style to do something that I’m not 100 per cent for.
“We all know Lewis is one of the best drivers we have around and I cross fingers that we will have a successful future.”
Brawn has already suggested there may be a position for Schumacher with Mercedes, adding: “We would like him to stay involved with Mercedes.
“There is a lot of things he can contribute – perhaps on the racing car side but certainly on the road car side – and I think that is something he would enjoy a great deal.”