Hamilton joins Mercedes, Perez in at McLaren?
© Mercedes AMG F1 Team
|28 September 2012 by Ryan Wood | M||Tweet
Lewis Hamilton will leave McLaren at the end of the current season to join Mercedes after signing a deal with the Anglo-German outfit for 2013, according to the BBC.
The McLaren raised racer has been with the outfit since he was 12, where he was later promoted to a race seat alongside Fernando Alonso in 2007 and became champion with them the following year.
However, the relationship has become strained in recent seasons and speculation that Hamilton may leave has been growing stronger, never more so than when Eddie Jordan predicted the move earlier in the month.
It's believed Hamilton and his management, XIX Entertainment, want greater commercial freedom to secure external sponsorship - something Mercedes can offer, unlike McLaren who rely heavily on their own sponsors gaining rights to its drivers image.
The reported £60 million, three-year contract also offers number one status in the team.
The move will likely see Michael Schumacher enter retirement for a second time, as Hamilton will pair up with his old friend Nico Rosberg who is currently contracted to the team for the next few years.
The BBC also reports that Ferrari-backed Sergio Perez has agreed terms with McLaren to become Jenson Button's team-mate.
An announcement is expected on Friday, confirming Schumacher's departure.
More to follow...