McLaren: We made Lewis a very, very big financial offer
28 September, 2012
28 Sep. (Reuters) An offer from McLaren which would have made Lewis Hamilton the best paid driver in Formula One was still not enough to prevent the Briton joining Mercedes, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said on Friday.
£ 15 million ($24.29 million) a year at Mercedes.
Asked whether McLaren had done everything to convince the 27-year-old to stay, Whitmarsh indicated to reporters on a conference call that money was not the main issue.
“We didn’t agree terms with Lewis’s management therefore Lewis and his management team have decided to go elsewhere,” he said.
“We have made a financial offer which is better than anyone in F1, other than himself, receives today, and that is something that I am comfortable with.
“I know we made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any F1 driver is enjoying today,” he added.
Hamilton has been with McLaren, or backed by McLaren, throughout his career through the junior ranks and into F1 in 2007 although Mercedes were also the team’s partners and co-owners at that point.
McLaren have not won a constructors’ title since 1998 but have been regular challengers whereas Mercedes have just one win, in China this year, after taking over the title-winning Brawn GP team in 2009.
Asked whether he felt Hamilton was making a mistake, Whitmarsh replied: “I wouldn’t advise anyone to leave McLaren if they want to win. But I’ve got to respect Lewis’s decision and really wish him well.”
Friday’s announcement of Hamilton’s switch for 2013, on a three-year deal, ended a long-running saga that has obsessed the paddock since the start of the season.
Subbed by AJN.