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Hamilton move not money-driven - Brawn

ESPN Staff
September 28, 2012 « Lotus must improve in Japan - Raikkonen | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »

Ross Brawn says Lewis Hamilton's move from McLaren to Mercedes is not due to money, insisting Mercedes did not offer him an increased salary.

Hamilton was believed to have been offered a reduced yearly salary by McLaren, with Mercedes able to pay more money and allow him greater freedom when negotiating his own personal endorsements. Brawn, however, dismissed those claims, saying that it was the lure of being part of building a competitive team that had led to Hamilton making the move.

"There is a competitive market for drivers and Lewis is as competitive as anyone else in that respect," Brawn told Sky Sports News. "But Lewis didn't come here because we offered more money, because we didn't. Lewis came here because he met the people that were involved in the project, he became excited about the project, and Lewis will be part of creating that competitive car.

"It won't be turning up at the race, getting in the car and trying to win races in it, it'll be a lot of work here as well; working with the engineers to understand what he wants from a racing car, how he wants to use it, giving his opinions and views to help us create that racing car. So I think we can create a winning racing car and I think Lewis will be a vital part of creating that racing car here."

Brawn admitted that aligning himself with the Mercedes brand could also have been attractive to Hamilton, but says any off-track success will only be a result of his on-track results.

"Perhaps, but first and foremost Lewis is a racing driver and that has to be the key to everything. If he's not successful as a racing driver none of the other stuff can happen. So everyone involved - here and involved with Lewis - recognise that first of all he has to be a successful racing driver because if he's not a successful racing driver nothing else can happen, so that's the key thing."

While speculation over the move has been ongoing since before the Italian Grand Prix, Brawn said negotiations were relatively straightforward once Hamilton had heard of Mercedes' ambitions.

"In some ways [it was hard], but I think once Lewis became excited about the challenge we have here and realised that that was the next part of his career then things were able to progress fairly well.

"We haven't achieved our objectives yet, we're not where we want to be. We're putting together a really strong, exciting team and I think for Lewis the attraction was being part of that building structure, the creation of the team, not walking in to a ready formed, successful package. It was being part of the process of building that package and I think he felt that was the next stage of his career."