Lewis Hamilton will not be delayed in his bid to turn Mercedes into a regular contender for grand prix wins after McLaren agreed to release him ahead of schedule.
The two teams came to an arrangement that, while not being able to get the Briton out on track with his new employer, at least allowed him to visit the Mercedes' base in Brackley and meet the people behind his 2013 campaign.
Hamilton has already acknowledged that it will not be the work of a moment to transform the Silver Arrows into regular race winners – the team fell away badly after claiming victory with Nico Rosberg in this year's Chinese Grand Prix – and has more recently said that he expects it to be at least six months before his input has any effect on the team's performance. However, getting acquainted with the Mercedes technical team and his new engineers – and logging his first miles in the Three Pointed Star's simulator - will provide a useful headstart in the battle to get on terms with Red Bull, Ferrari and his former employer.
“Lewis has already been in the factory to see the team and fulfil some duties after we found an agreement about that with McLaren,” soon-to-retire head of Mercedes motorsport Norbert Haug told Britain's Sun
The 2008 world champion cannot begin track work until pre-season testing officially begins in February.