Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton to 'replace Michael Schumacher' at Mercedes

SPA, BELGIUM - SEPTEMBER 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren is seen on the grid before the start of the Belgian Grand Prix at the Circuit of Spa Francorchamps on September 2, 2012 in Spa Francorchamps, Belgium. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton is set to end his association with McLaren and move to Mercedes, it was claimed by former team boss Eddie Jordan today.

The BBC analyst understands the British driver has agreed personal terms with the German team, who currently lie fifth in the standings, and will replace Michael Schumacher, who will retire for a second time at the end of the season.

"I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent," Jordan said.

Jordan made his comments to the BBC, although Hamilton's management team, XIX Entertainment, have denied the rumours.

"As mentioned in the past by all parties, we are in advanced discussions with McLaren about a new deal," they told the Press Association.

"More importantly, at the moment, Lewis is focused on Monza (this weekend's Italian Grand Prix) and competing strongly for the championship."

A McLaren spokesman said: "We have been told by Lewis Hamilton's management team (XIX Entertainment) the story is untrue."

Nor is there official word that Schumacher will retire, although F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone hinted as much live on air last Sunday.

"I'm sorry that he's leaving us not being a winner, because he is a winner," said Ecclestone. When pushed on whether the seven time world champion would retire, Ecclestone said: "I don't know, I don't know."

With regard to Hamilton, Jordan added today: "I can now confirm his people have had meetings with Mercedes.

"So it would appear Michael is leaving and Lewis is arriving at Mercedes."

Hamilton and McLaren have been in negotiations over a new deal for some time, with much speculation surrounding the future of the 2008 world champion who has spent his entire career with the Woking based team.

Should the 27-year-old depart, Scottish driver Paul Di Resta can expect to be among the front-runners to partner Jenson Button.

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