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Hamilton Signs With Mercedes for the Challenge, not the Money

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Ross Brawn says that his new 2013 driver, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, was up for a new challenge and that money was not really the driving factor for the British champion. Brawn told Sky Sports F1:

"There is a competitive market for drivers and Lewis is as competitive as anyone else in that respect. But Lewis didn't come here because we offered more money - because we didn't," he said.

"As far as I am aware, didn't offer any more than McLaren from a financial point of view. There may be some more freedoms on the branding or imaging side, but that is the kind of freedom our drivers had already - we are not changing what we are offering in that respect.

"I think, first and foremost, Lewis is a racing driver. That has to be the key to everything. If he's not successful as a racing driver, none of the other stuff can happen.

"Everybody involved, here and involved with Lewis, recognised that first of all he has to be a successful racing driver. Because if he's not a successful racing driver, nothing else can happen. That's the key thing."

There is little question that McLaren and Lewis Hamilton fans the world over are confused, excited, upset, stumped and even indifferent to the big announcement that Hamilton would replace 7-time champion Michael Schumacher at Mercedes AMG Petronas for 2013. Teamed with Nico Rosberg, Hamilton will be part of a team that has made muted progress since its return to Formula One three years ago. Mercedes says it is excited about their new driver and it continues a line of great british champions at the Silver Arrows. Mercedes Benz motor sport boss Norbert Haug said:

"Mercedes-Benz has supported Lewis throughout his career, from karting, to Formula 3, to our successful partnership with McLaren, and it will be a very nice moment for all of us in the team to see him at the wheel of a works Silver Arrow next season, following in the tradition of British Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix drivers Sir Stirling Moss and Richard Seaman".

Lewis grew up in the McLaren system and has been a part fo their driver stable for 14 years but there comes a time when young man must make the decisions, good ro bad, that will define his own career on terms he feels he has singlehandedly chosen. Hamilton is a fierce competitor and many believe an off-pace Mercedes (such as the one that Schumacher and Rosberg are currently driving) will really challenge Hamilton's patience. That drive may be something the team feels is needed and they've seemingly re-doubled their commitment to Formula One after suggestions this past summer alluded to the possible exit for the German marque.

For McLaren's part, team boss Martin Whitmarsh says they did the best they could to retain their star driver but in the end LEwis chose Mercedes. The team have signed young upstart Sergio Perez who has been turning heads at Sauber all season long. For Martin, McLaren, like Ferrari, are a storied team and while they are excited about Perez, no name is bigger than the team itself:

"He is the most exciting young talent in Formula 1 today," Whitmarsh told Sky Sports F1 HD.

"So for McLaren, I think we consider ourselves very fortunate to pull in someone of that talent. I think we have proven we can take young talent and develop them into World Champions and that is our mission now with Sergio.

"Since 1966 we have won over 25% of all those Grands Prix, whatever the driver line-up. We are a great team, no-one is bigger than this team and I think we look forward to a great line-up."

As for Michael Schumacher? Some suggest a management role for the German champion while others think he may not be done with Formula One yet. Rumors logically point toward Sauber's empty seat and this author believes Ferrari would do well for a one-year deal replacing Massa as the Scuderia seem to be keeping one seat open for 2014 for a certain German who idolized Schumacher and now drives for Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel may or may not go to Ferrari but whatever the sitaution, a return to the Italiam marque would be a PR blessing for both Schumacher and the prancing horse.