Mercedes move a big boost for Lewis Hamilton the brand

Lewis Hamilton during a fashion shoot for GQ magazine last year

Lewis Hamilton during a fashion shoot for GQ magazine last year

Sep.28 (Reuters) Former world champion Lewis Hamilton will get an even higher global profile and greater freedom to exploit it after joining the Mercedes Formula One grand prix team.

The Briton, 27, will leave McLaren and drive with Mercedes from next season, in a three-year deal. He replaces German Michael Schumacher in a move that will make him a public face for one of the world’s most famous car brands.

Hamilton is managed by the XIX Entertainment company that has helped to make former England soccer captain David Beckham, now playing for LA Galaxy, into a figure whose fame extends beyond his sport.

“Mercedes are a far bigger brand than McLaren globally,” said Joel Seymour-Hyde of sports marketing agency Octagon.

“The opportunities for him to have the Lewis Hamilton brand exposed and to become a figurehead for the company are that much greater,” he added.

Hamilton, the first black driver to win a grand prix, features regularly in the gossip pages because of his relationship with U.S. singer Nicole Scherzinger. His looks and image, clean cut yet moody, make him a natural for brands wishing to connect with a youthful audience.

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Nicole Scherzinger (USA). Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday 25  March 2012.World champion in 2008, Hamilton is one of Britain’s best known sportsmen and ranked 24th on Forbes latest annual list of the world’s highest paid athletes with earnings of $28 million.

However, Forbes estimates that only $3 million of that figure came from endorsements, compared with $10 million earned by Schumacher in that way.

McLaren exercises tight control over its drivers’ commercial agreements to ensure that they do not come into conflict with its major sponsors.

“With Mercedes, part of the deal will be giving him much more flexibility over the commercial deals he can do for himself,” said Seymour-Hyde.

The risk for Hamilton is that Mercedes fail to deliver a car that compete at the top of the sport. Mercedes are in fifth place in the 12-team constructors’ championship, while McLaren is second, behind Red Bull.

McLaren, whose cars are powered by engines supplied by Mercedes, have replaced Hamilton with Mexican driver Sergio Perez, who is only 22.

Perez will drive alongside Briton Jenson Button, another former world champion, for McLaren next season.

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber, race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrate on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Race, Monza, Italy, Sunday 9 September 2012.

The recruitment of Perez is seen as a shrewd piece of business by McLaren, a team based in southern England who have branched out into technologies associated with motor sport.

“If Perez is competitive, it opens up a lot of opportunities,” said Danny Townsend of sports brand analysis company Repucom.

“Mexico is a big market and for McLaren to be able to leverage that is a huge opportunity,” he added.

Vodafone is the title sponsor for the McLaren team under an agreement that runs until the end of next season. The mobile phone company does not have operations in Mexico.

Perez has been backed throughout his career by Carlos Slim Domit, eldest son of the world’s richest man and head of telecoms giant Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex).

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said there were no side deals associated with the signing of Perez.

“I’m not saying that ultimately there may not be other fresh partners coming forward because of it but that wasn’t the motivating force,” he told reporters.

“We’ve got a tremendously strong partner line-up of investors, that’s solid and we are confident and comfortable with that,” he added.

Subbed by AJN.

  • Mighty K

    Fashion shoot for Wanker Magazine perhaps? Sorry fellow F1 fans, didn’t start disliking this man until his actions, demeanor pushed me to it.

  • fsdsdgsdg

    Mighty K, no need to explain yourself my friend, I agree 100%. The top photograph says it all! If you have a little bit self respect you don’t let yourself photograph like a pimp fony rapper. As a sportsman you have an image towards your fans (especially the young ones), and he tells that Ayrton was his big example and hero. Well Lewis read all the books again, watch all the footage off him again and learn something about charisma and ideologies. You don’t seem to understand anything about life (like ditching his dad for one). Yes an Illuminati management + airhead girlfriend does not help you my friend. Do not compare your move from the team with that of Ayrton, his motives were winning and titles not money and PR. The question I ask myself is if he really made the choice himself!

  • michaelmacarthur

    fsdsdgsdg: well said. I gave him a little bit of room at first, given his age and all, but when he started acting like a pimp daddy with the ho’s and whatnot, I called it quits. Senna was no saint( before I hear the uproar my wife and I cry every time we see his final crash footage), he was a pure racer. And how he gave and gave to others less fortunate is a lesson for all sportsmen across the globe.
    Hamilton has the talent but he is an idiotic child otherwise.
    thanks again for your well thought out post.

  • CUF

    So this is what mercedes dropped a 7 time champion for?
    A posing ass with a high opinion of himself.
    What a stunning shot….right in the head, boomkasha blingin innit blud?
    Thats what hamhead brings to mercedes just ridicule and ego and pathetic gangsta bs.
    No wonder Mclaren were sick of him, the guys a nobhead, its high time he grew the f up, this is F1, not grand theft auto you plumnut!

    With that out of my system, its time to wish Mr Schumi a continuing drive elsewhere and hopefully he’ll get a better car with a “lesser” team and show the boyblunda and his new mercenerary mercedes pals what racings really about, cos lets face it, they got a dog of a car and a brand new dog of a driver.

  • hillside

    at least Senna is hard on his principles and what he believes in and stuck with it till the unlike LH, hes about to transform in to a zombie.
    guys like Irvine and DC were flamboyant, flashy, playboy etc. but its their character and knows what are they doin, handle it very well and didnt do stupid things because people around them told or force them to.

  • Chris

    I admire Vettel and Alonso over Lewis due to the Nature of Lewis
    You might be a good driver but when you are getting spoiled then i don’t think you can gain respect
    Look at the others especially Vettel i’ve never heard any kind of Issue with him on and off track. He would never allow his Family things in his mind when he was on his race track but you know what happened to Lewis in 2011
    Vettel was Younger than Lewis but he has the Maturity about things
    And Also if the Mercedes has a good car then Lewis will enjoy Racing but if not He will enjoy his money and Him Brand.

  • dilman

    Fellow posters, if you want motor sport with ethics forget F1. LH is a product of over-hyped, over-financed business just like Premier League soccer. Go to the many club events, the hill-climbs and Goodwood Revival etc. Watch people race simply because they love it. And the admission prices are way lower, too, so you’ll save so much money you may even be able to race yourself!

  • pitwall

    The photo shows what a lot of us have been saying for years… the guys a poser… Mercedes are the biggest loser in all this… they can kiss any dream of being a real F1 force goodbye.

  • Hawk

    Envy.. all of you are just full of envy. what is it? the money? or is it Nicole? fortunately no one cares, you are nobodies..