been decided then. Barely a few minutes after writing my previous post and not having the chance to splatter it all over the internet, that particular post was rendered irrelevant. Lewis Hamilton has signed a 3 year contract to drive for Mercedes Petronas GP team from next season and partners Nico Rosberg (again..thye've been partners before in karting). And Sergio Perez replaces him at McLaren.
First off, I want to congratulate Lewis for making a decision that will change his life forever. It was a difficult one which showed on his face for the last few races, maybe even further back. As I have explained in my previous post, it is a difficult decision to make for an F1 driver. Especially one who is so driven to win and who only has 1 world championship title to his name while his younger competitor already has 2. Very frustrating indeed. And the older one might get his third this season.
It would seem that his decision to move has been influenced by 3 time world champion and elder statesman Niki Lauda. Perhaps Niki had some insider information about Mercedes' plans for 2014 and that Mercedes may have the upper hand when the new technical regulations come into force. The fact that Niki has also been drafted into Mercedes as Non-Executive Chairman of the board of the F1 team maybe helped Lewis decide. There could and probably is something going on in the background that they know best.
So the gamble is on then. Lewis will need next season to settle down into the team and help develop the 2014 car as that will be the car for him to challenge and attain another world championship. As we know it takes time to develop a car and a winning car at that. Ask Michael Schumacher, he's been at it for 3 years now. But since the next rules change is quite large, there will be an opportunity to grab on to something special and ride the wave to success as Brawn has proven in 2009.
There will be a major change in the regulations in 2014 where the heart of racing, the engine will be downgraded to a 1.6 liter turbocharged unit. That changes everything around it - gearbox, chassis, suspension, etc. This means that the playing field gets levelled and if Mercedes can come up with a strong package and innovation in most areas, they can steal a march on everybody else.
Mercedes (the car company) has already signed the Concorde agreement committing them to the sport for the next 8 years, so the money is there. The pitwall strategist is there in Ross Brawn. The pitstop crew will have to be worked on. It's looking good from here on in, anything can happen though and it is still some time to go.
In the meantime, we will have to lower our expectations for next year. If Lewis does surprise in the Mercedes next year, that would be great (I hope he does) but the real target is 2014. I do hope that everything falls into place as Lewis has planned it and he will achieve his 2nd world title then. But lookout for Perez next year, he will kill some giants.