Have Mercedes just signed up the best driver?
Mercedes have just signed the world’s best driver, according to Niki Lauda, a former three time F1 champion.
He played an instrumental role in helping to secure the services of Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes. Lauda was appointed as a board member to the F1 team last month.
They are clearly in need of a turnaround after winning only one race in three years. Many believe the team of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will turn the team’s fortunes around.
Lewis Hamilton’s contract expires at the end of this F1 season with him deciding to join Mercedes after spending 14 years with the team. He signed a lucrative contact extension back in 2008, the same year he became F1’s youngest ever champion.
Michael Schumacher is now expected to retire after being essentially forced out of the team. The F1 legend, who has won the championship seven times, could take a position upstairs at Mercedes, acting as an advisor.
Mr Lauda was full of praise for Hamilton’s decision to leave McLaren and join Mercedes saying “I was impressed with his approach to things, very pragmatic, no emotions whatsoever. The real discussion was ‘why should I leave a competitive car where my life is easy in the future? So my argument was if you’re looking for a new challenge then certainly the Mercedes team is one. And think of it the other way round, if Schumacher couldn’t get the Mercedes team running up front for three years and you next year are doing much better it makes a huge impact on your personality and people will rate you much higher. In the end it convinced him that the challenge is what he wants to do. For a competitive guy like Lewis, it’s very interesting”
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton himself has deflected any issues of money grabbing behind his decision, claiming a new challenge was needed to keep the driver motivated. It will certainly be a tough challenge given Mercedes’ struggles in recent years since rejoining the sport. It was Nico Rosberg’s win in China earlier this season which recorded the team’s first win in three years.
Lewis Hamilton was told that Mercedes are aiming for a major push in 2014 when new engine rules and introduced. The German team are set to take full advantage.