Two big announcements emanated from Brackley and Stuttgart today: Lewis Hamilton will drive for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team in 2013; and Michael Schumacher won't.
And not just in 2013. Hamilton signed a three-year agreement to race for Mercedes through 2015.
Whether or not Schumacher will now retire, for the second time, or will seek a ride with another team has not been disclosed.
Mercedes also announced that, "in the near future," three-time world champion Niki Lauda will take the role of non-executive chairman of the team’s board of directors.
Hamilton, who is still in contention for the 2012 World Championship, was widely expected to re-sign with McLaren. His departure from that team leaves open a highly coveted seat and could kick off a round of musical chairs for other F1 drivers.
In one respect, it's not surprising that, when Hamilton chose to move, it was to Mercedes, for his career has been supported by Mercedes-Benz, as well as McLaren, since its earliest days.
In 2000, he and Nico Rosberg, who will be his new team-mate, were also team-mates at TeamMBM.com in Formula A karting. Rosberg, who won his first Grand Prix this year in China. and will begin his fourth season with the Mercedes team in 2013.
During Hamilton's two seasons in the Formula 3 Euroseries, where he won the 2005 championship, he was powered by Mercedes-Benz engines. As has been the case for every one of his 104 F1 races to date.
He is is one of only four drivers – along with Juan Manuel Fangio, Mika Häkkinen and Jenson Button – to have won the F1 world championship with Mercedes-Benz power.
With 20 Formula One victories, he is tied with Mika Häkkinen in terms of most wins with Mercedes-Benz engines.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas team (formerly Brawn; formerly Honda; formerly BAR) acknowledged Michael Schumacher's contribution to the development of the team over the past three years.
During this time it has achieved one victory and scored five further podium finishes. The addition of Hamilton raises the odds on adding substantially to that record.