London: Grand Prix legend Sir Jackie Stewart has claimed ace driver Lewis Hamilton must succeed or Mercedes, which is one of the most famous names in world motor sport, could quit Formula One.
Stewart was speaking after 2008 world champion Hamilton outdid his own modest pre-season predictions to finish fifth in Melbourne on his debut for his new team, and the ex-McLaren ace even briefly led the race, won by Lotus ace Kimi Raikkonen.
Mercedes come into the season in a state of flux, having fired last year’s team boss Norbert Haug for under-performing and ditched legend Michael Schumacher. Stewart said it’s looking like there is a good season ahead for Hamilton, adding Mercedes and the Brit have been playing down 2013 being a season where they can achieve anything and he thinks that was a lot of smoke, as Mercedes want to do well because they are the Silver Arrows.
Mercedes have invested more than ever before with Hamilton’s 60 million pound three-year deal, two engine programmes for the next two years, two new bosses in Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, four technical directors and a fifth, Paddy Lowe, lured from McLaren, waiting in the wings.
Stewart said from the 1920s, `30s and `50s Mercedes had to be up front or they weren`t in the sport, adding his opinion is that they have got to deliver and if they don`t, the biggest fear is they will come out of Formula 1.