by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

F1 Gossip: Lewis Hamilton starts work at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS + more

The most intensely debated transfer of the finished 2012 season in Formula 1 was the arrival of Lewis Hamilton at the struggling MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS. Mostly a money affair rather than a completely new racing opportunity for the former champion, the Briton managed to attract a lot of attention after the official announcement was made. Moreover, his performance in the last two races proved the Silver Arrows execs that the move was strategically successful. But is that enough without a car that is yet capable to suit the aggressive, battling driving style of Lewis?

It is obvious that, since 2010 when it entered Formula 1 with its fully-owned team after more than 50 years, Mercedes-Benz failed to accomplish the targets after buying the winning Brawn GP of 2009. Chances were the Germans would exit F1 after the 2012 season, but all of a sudden, the Concorde Agreement, which gave immense headaches for a long period of time during the year, was eventually signed by all the parties involved. Nonetheless, the inconsistency of results and Michael Schumacher's indecision on whether to continue or not meant stringent action is needed.

After seeking the basket for more cash, the Board of Management agreed a bigger cash injection into the team. Despite failing to offer shining prospect at least for the next year, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS somehow managed to convince McLaren's Lewis Hamilton it is better to join them than choose another team or stay at the Woking-based team for another season. To put it straight: they are going to trim all the activity around their new contender, given his appetite for victories and his character of a true fighter. Trust us: the F1 legend Nikki Lauda, the newly-appointed non-executive president of the team, is strongly linked with this sensational transfer as he is convinced Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will form a balanced and powerful duo.

Lewis Hamilton is pretty sure that he will not be able to win any title in 2013, but at least, as he recognizes, there is a solid base to constantly fight for victories or for higher positions. He also admits he could one day return to his first F1 team, but that should not happen before 2016. The plan is now to build a competitive team that could battle at the top in a few years from now.

Although his contract with McLaren expires on the 31st December 2012, Lewis Hamilton was given the permission to takeover his brand new role at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS beginning with the 1st December. At first, he was permitted to talk with influential managers, but not to participate in any activities which involved sharing technical knowledge. However, Lewis now takes full advantage of his position, as agreed with Martin Whitmarsh and other key members from McLaren, also a strong partner of Mercedes-Benz.

As Hamilton highlights during an interview, the best part of his new job at the Silver Arrows works team, among other tough points, is the reduced number of media activities, which means he will be able to spend more time to prepare himself and the car, together with his engineers, for the races that come next year. This also creates a good perspective for the Brackley-based team, as well, whose engineers are now completely focused on developing some proper F1 W04 cars for the two team mates.

Recently, Norbert Haug stepped down from his executive position at Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, a clear signal that a breath of fresh air is needed in order to achieve better results. Speculators indicate that, for a competent guidance of their motorsporting activites, Mercedes-Benz will likely split the presidency for the division in two: one for Formula 1, one for DTM. Gerhard Berger, former Austrian driver, is in cards to occupy the seat for managing the F1 involvement, although both him and Mercedes-Benz denied any talks for a future cooperation during a recent interview. Michael Schumacher, who raced for MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS up to the end of the 2012 season, was also rumored to replace Norbert Haug after his second F1 retirement, but he also declined the possibility.

With all the high investments made in a team that failed to deliver any spectacular performance, MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS is in a rather tricky situation at the moment. 2013 is a decisive year for Ross Brawn. If he isn't able to secure a comfortable place in Top 5 at the end of the season, he will surely get axed off as chiefs from Stuttgart are rather angry, inside sources state. The prediction is the team will survive for at least a few years, even though the situation does or does not improve, as the parent company Daimler now owns 100% of it after the investment group Aabar exited the venture. However, chances are Lewis Hamilton will bring a ray of hope - probably, not from the Australian GP in mid March 2013. But, who knows what the future holds?

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