- Mercedes signs Hamilton, Concorde, Lauda, not Schumacher
- McLaren Announces Perez To Replace Hamilton
- 'Silly season' turns bad for McLaren, Schumacher
- Schumacher might not return to retirement
- Massa's results and mentality have improved - Montezemolo
- Massa says Ferrari's 2013 decision coming soon
- Renault 'definitely' staying in F1 - CEO Ghosn
- FIA confirms optional 'stepped nose' covers for 2013
Mercedes signs Hamilton, Concorde, Lauda... not Schumacher
Mercedes finally ended the 'Lewis Hamilton saga' on Friday by announcing the 2008 world champion has signed a three-year deal to race for the German carmaker's F1 team.
The media statement also confirmed that Mercedes has signed the new 2013-2020 Concorde Agreement, that Hamilton is replacing Michael Schumacher, and that Niki Lauda is set to join as non-executive chairman.
27-year-old Briton Hamilton's teammate next year will be Nico Rosberg.
"It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter," he said Hamilton, who has raced for McLaren since entering F1 in 2007.
Mercedes' media statement did not say if seven-time world champion Schumacher, who has been linked with a move to team management or perhaps even Sauber, is returning to retirement.
"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," said the great German.
"I will now concentrate on the next races."
McLaren Announces Perez To Replace Hamilton
Sep.28 (GMM) McLaren has confirmed that Sergio Perez is joining the famous British team for 2013 and beyond.
McLaren said 22-year-old Mexican Perez, the cream of Ferrari's driver development 'academy' and a Sauber driver in 2011 and 2012, has inked a "multi-year" deal to be Jenson Button's teammate.
Perez had been linked with Felipe Massa's Ferrari cockpit for 2013, but Luca di Montezemolo recently said he is not yet experienced enough for the Maranello marque.
On his McLaren move, Perez is quoted as saying in a media statement: "I'm under no illusion that it is indeed a very big step, as it would be for any driver, but I'm ready for it."
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said McLaren wishes Hamilton "well for the future".
Perez has until now been backed by Carlos Slim and Mexican telcom Telmex, but in its statement McLaren made a point of quoting title sponsor Vodafone's chief executive Morten Lundal.
Lundal said: "On behalf of all at Vodafone, I'd like to say how pleased we are that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has signed Sergio to a multi-year deal."
And Perez added: "I'd like to thank Carlos Slim Jr, who has helped me since I was 14 years old, without whom I wouldn't be where I am today.
"I'll do everything in my power to deliver with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes the results that he and I have been working so hard and so long to achieve together."
'Silly season' turns bad for McLaren, Schumacher
Martin Whitmarsh on Friday insisted McLaren did not push Lewis Hamilton away.
After the news arrived that the team's protege and 2008 world champion is switching to Mercedes, some said McLaren simply didn't offer the Briton enough money or good enough contractual terms.
"We made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula One, other than himself, receives today," team boss Whitmarsh is quoted by Reuters.
"I know we made a very, very big financial offer."
Whatever went wrong for Whitmarsh, who insists he is happy to pair youngster Sergio Perez with Jenson Button, it has also gone wrong for Michael Schumacher.
"We had a good time with Michael Schumacher," Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche told Welt newspaper, "however we did not achieve the goals that we set ourselves.
"That was the requirement for a contract extension."
Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm revealed that they let a summer option on his current Mercedes contract lapse.
Schumacher "would have been able to sign (for 2013) if he had wanted to earlier in the summer", she told the BBC.
Now, Sauber appears the seven-time world champion's only real option to keep racing.
"It's true I was at Sauber," said Kehm, responding to reports she met recently with Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn.
"I have known them for years. But that doesn't mean anything more than I'm regularly there."
Willi Weber, Schumacher's former manager, doesn't know what went wrong.
"I saw him last at Monza, and he was full of energy and ambition, which convinced me completely that everything was in the bag with Mercedes," he told SID news agency.
Weber said he can imagine his former charge taking up a management or ambassadorial position with Mercedes now.
He would not advise Schumacher to take up Sauber's offer.
"No, and I have nothing against Sauber, but I do not think he wants to go from a global player to a private team," said Weber.
Schumacher might not return to retirement
Michael Schumacher may not be returning to retirement.
Much like in 2006, when Ferrari replaced him with Kimi Raikkonen, the seven-time world champion has now been elbowed out at Mercedes to make room for Lewis Hamilton.
Some expect the 43-year-old to now return to retirement, or take up a job offer on Mercedes' management side.
But Schumacher has also been linked with Sauber, whose Sergio Perez will move to McLaren next year to replace Hamilton.
Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm was spotted in conversation with Sauber chiefs Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn recently.
"I don't want to give him (Schumacher) advice, as I sure he will consider his future carefully and calmly. We will see what he decides," said Niki Lauda.
The fact Lauda is not simply wishing Schumacher well for his retirement is significant, as the Austrian legend is set to join Mercedes as non-executive chairman.
"I don't know the details," the triple world champion told SID news agency, "but generally I don't think he is too old for formula one.
"His comeback was surely not as good as he imagined, but in those three years he never had a really fast and reliable car," added Lauda.
Swiss commentator Marc Surer, meanwhile, said it is fairly obvious that the loss of the Mercedes seat was "not voluntary" for Schumacher, as the great German has insisted for weeks that he will only announce his intentions in October.
Surer told German Sky television: "I can imagine that one team or another will be very interested in him (for 2013). The problem could be the price."
Massa's results and mentality have improved - Montezemolo
Luca di Montezemolo has hinted Felipe Massa has done enough to stay at Ferrari in 2013.
Reports on Thursday quoted the Ferrari president as saying it will take "a few more days" until the identity of Fernando Alonso's next teammate is decided.
Other reports have said Brazilian Massa will secure an eighth consecutive season with the famous Maranello based team, with an announcement possibly imminent.
When asked about Massa, Montezemolo said at the Paris motor show: "I hope that the progress we have seen since Spa, on the results side but also psychologically, are confirmed in Japan."
The Japanese grand prix at Suzuka will be held next weekend.
On Spaniard and championship leader Alonso, Montezemolo said the 31-year-old is the "strongest driver I have ever seen".
"He also impresses me for three reasons; the interpretation of the race and especially the tyre wear, his great motivational influence on the team, and his (regular) presence at Maranello," he added.
Massa says Ferrari's 2013 decision coming soon
With the 2013 grid now coming together, Felipe Massa said on Friday he has a good chance to stay at Ferrari.
After McLaren and Mercedes announced their driver lineups for next year, Brazilian Massa was asked about the latest speculation that he is heading for a new Ferrari contract.
It follows Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo telling Autosprint that he will make the final decision in "two or three days".
"But I have to say that Felipe has driven very well lately," he said.
Massa is confident.
"There is a good chance that I will stay at Ferrari," he told Italy's Sky Sport 24.
"Are my chances good? I certainly think so. I am rather confident in that respect.
"I think a decision will be reached within a short matter of time," added Massa.
Renault 'definitely' staying in F1 - CEO Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of Renault, said he does not regret keeping the Paris-based carmaker in F1.
Renault no longer owns and runs its own team, but amid the manufacturer exodus of a few years ago, the marque chose to stay on the grid as an engine supplier.
"We are involved and we want to stay, definitely," Ghosn said at the Paris motor show.
"We made the right decision around 2008-2009, when many others like Toyota, Honda and BMW left completely.
"We stayed," he is quoted by the Russian website f1news.ru. "We supply engines to a team (Red Bull) that has already won two titles and still leads this constructors' championship."
Renault Sport F1 also supplies customer engines to Lotus, Williams and Caterham, and is actively developing a V6 unit for the new rules in 2014.
"We will stay in formula one -- we have a lot of obligations," said Ghosn.
Meanwhile, Ghosn said he "understands" the French government's decision to refuse financial support to Grand Prix projects proposed by Paul Ricard and Magny Cours.
"In the current situation it is necessary to use the budget for primary needs," he said.
FIA confirms optional 'stepped nose' covers for 2013
Teams will be able to cover the unseemly 'stepped noses' on their 2013 cars, it has emerged.
We quoted the FIA's Charlie Whiting as saying in July that the governing body "is aware of the dissatisfaction of the fans in relation to the appearance of this year's cars".
A rule tweak for 2012 caused the conspicuous height discrepancy between the top of the monocoque and the nose cone, resulting in the 'step' on most of this year's car designs.
Also in July, we reported that teams were discussing a rule tweak for 2013 that would allow the step to be covered by a "structurally irrelevant" laminate.
That rule tweak has now been enshrined in the technical regulations for 2013, F1's official website reports.
"The fairings will not affect the car's aerodynamics or impact-protection properties," the report said.
The regulations refer to the step nose cover as "an optional, single piece, non-structural fairing of prescribed laminate".
The 2013 rules have also banned the so-called double-DRS that has appeared on the Mercedes this year, although it is understood the new regulation will not apply to Lotus' interpretation.
Meanwhile, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the teams have written a letter to the FIA, pleading with the governing body to refrain from dramatically increasing the entry fees for 2013.
The FIA reportedly wants to scrap the current flat EUR 309,000 entry fee in order to charge EUR 500,000 plus 7,000 per championship point.
If the regime was already in place, Red Bull would have paid more than EUR 5 million simply to enter the 2012 world championship.
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