Formula One

 
      === Hamilton replacing Schumacher at Mercedes for 2013 F1 season ===
 
 London,  England (Sports  Network)  -  Formula One  driver  Lewis Hamilton  is
 leaving McLaren to replace Michael Schumacher at Mercedes for the 2013 season.
 
 Mercedes announced on Friday that Hamilton, the 2008 F1 world champion, signed
 a  three-year contract with  the team. He will pair with Nico Rosberg, who has
 been  with Mercedes  since  2010.  The signing  of  Hamilton  ended months  of
 speculation that he would depart McLaren and join Mercedes at season's end.
 
 Hamilton  has driven  for McLaren  since his  2007 rookie  season, scoring  20
 victories,  including three this year, and making 48 podium appearances in 104
 grand  prix starts. He  has also posted 24 pole wins. Hamilton has claimed the
 pole  in  the last  two races  -- Italy  and Singapore.  The Brit is currently
 fourth in the championship standings, as he trails leader Fernando Alonso from
 Ferrari by 52 points.
 
 "It  is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge, and I am very excited to
 begin  a new  chapter racing for Mercedes," Hamilton said in a team statement.
 "Mercedes-Benz  has  such an incredible  heritage in motorsports, 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."
 
 Hamilton's  career  has been supported  by Mercedes-Benz and McLaren since its
 earliest  days.  In 2000, Hamilton  and Rosberg  were teammates at Mercedes in
 Formula  A karting. He drove with Mercedes-Benz engines during his two seasons
 in the Formula 3 Euroseries, winning the 2005 championship.
 
 "Looking ahead to 2013, I am delighted to welcome Lewis Hamilton to our team,"
 Mercedes  team  principal Ross Brawn said.  "The arrival of a driver of Lewis'
 caliber  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."
 
 Schumacher, the record seven-time F1 titleholder, has been with Mercedes since
 he came out of retirement in 2010. The 43-year-old German has struggled in his
 three  years with  the team, recording only one podium finish -- a third-place
 run in this year's European Grand Prix.
 
 "I have had three nice years with the team, which unfortunately, did not go as
 well  as we  all would have wanted  on the sporting side," Schumacher said. "I
 wish  Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for
 in  the build-up.  I would like to thank  the team for their trust and all the
 guys  for  their unconditional commitment. I  will now concentrate on the next
 races."
 
 Schumacher  is presently 12th in points, and has failed to finish seven of the
 14  races this season.  It's not known at this time what Schumacher's F1 plans
 are for the future.
 
 "(Schumacher's)  energy  and commitment have  never wavered, even when results
 have  not  matched our own  expectations, and we  are determined to finish the
 2012  season together  on a  high," Brawn  noted. "As  always, it  has been  a
 pleasure to work with Michael."
 
 On  the same  day that  Mercedes  announced the  signing of  Hamilton for  the
 upcoming  season, McLaren revealed that Sergio Perez will replace Hamilton and
 team  with Jenson  Button for next year.  Perez is in his second season in F1,
 driving  for Sauber.  The 22-year-old Mexican finished a career-best second in
 this year's grand prix in Malaysia and Italy.
 
 "I'm  under no illusion  that it is indeed a very big step, as it would be for
 any  driver, but I'm  ready for it," Perez said in a statement. "So, while I'm
 still  fully  focused on  doing my best  for Sauber for  the remainder of this
 season,  I'm already  massively looking  forward to  working with  everyone at
 McLaren,  and with  Jenson, who's  someone I've  long admired  as a  brilliant
 driver and a great champion."
 
 There  had been  wide speculation  that Perez  would join  Ferrari to  replace
 Felipe Massa. Perez was a member of Ferrari's driver development program.
 
 09/28 11:06:39 ET

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