Mercedes F1 Team Hires Lewis Hamilton to Replace Schumacher

The Mercedes Formula One team hired Lewis Hamilton to replace seven-time champion Michael Schumacher next season.

Hamilton, 27, will join from McLaren, with whom he won the 2008 title, Mercedes said in a statement. His association with McLaren dates back to when he first received backing from the Woking, England-based team at the age of 13.

“It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing,” Hamilton said in the statement. He agreed to a three-year contract.

In comments distributed by his management agency XIX Entertainment, Hamilton said he was “forever grateful” to McLaren for supporting him.

Schumacher, 43, has failed to win a race since making a comeback to the series with Mercedes in 2010.

“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,” he said in the statement.

Schumacher said he will now concentrate on the remaining six races of the season, without clarifying if he will seek a new team next season. The German won consecutive titles with Ferrari from 2000 to 2004.

McLaren said in a statement it signed Sauber’s Sergio Perez, 22, as a replacement.

The Mexican driver thanked Carlos Slim Jr., the son of the world’s richest man, for supporting his career for the last eight years. Slim Jr. is a patron of the Mexican auto racing federation.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today” without him, Perez said in the statement.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso leads the drivers’ championship after 14 of 20 races. Hamilton is fourth, Perez ninth and Schumacher 12th.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at aduff4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at celser@bloomberg.net

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