Date: 28th September 2012 at 11:24am
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While McLaren will be delighted to secure one of Formula One’s biggest potential future stars in the form of Sergio Perez, the team will have been rocked by the news that Lewis Hamilton has decided to leave the team.

Hamilton has been part of the McLaren set-up for the past six-years and has won multiple races and the 2008 World championship.

?It’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis, He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions’ club. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told formula1.com.

?It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying that we hope and believe that Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long.?

Hamilton could well have left McLaren with three world championships if results had been kinder in his debut season in 2007 and this season.

The Brit has had a troublesome few years at McLaren, tension has been high between driver and team for some time, Hamilton’s off the track management and activities have often stolen the headlines, but this season his performances have been first rate, with little or no distractions taking over from his personal life.

Instead this season it has been the team that has let the driver down with poor pit-stops, poor race strategies and reliability issues costing Hamilton a whole host of points that would have changed the complexion of this seasons championship.

But throughout this, Hamilton’s management team and McLaren have continued to negotiate a new deal and from week to week, the rumours were that he was going, then staying and until yesterday a new deal with McLaren looked the most realistic option.

Hamilton’s association with McLaren since he was a teenager would have played a big emotional part in the decision and it’s clear that this decision has not come from a short term view of McLaren’s race form this season.

If reliability issues had not struck in Singapore McLaren would have extended their race winning run to four and Hamilton would be a serious contender to Fernando Alonso for the title.

This decision instead is based on where the Brit sees the teams over the coming years.

Mercedes the ambitious manufacturer with big plans for when the new regulations come into Formula One in 2014 and McLaren the team which will have to act as a customer to Mercedes from 2014 onwards.

Will it prove to be the right decision for Hamilton? We’re unlikely to tell for another 24 months.