The world of Formula One was thrown into disarray this morning by the shock announcement that Lewis Hamilton is to leave the McLaren F1 team, to whom he has been contracted since conception.
The news comes as McLaren, who have shown a recent resurgence in form, increased their salary offer for the 27-year-old to 'all the money in the world ever plus a pound, honest' - levels unprecedented within even Michael Schumacher's negotiations with his insurance company.
The new deal, signed by Hamilton's management company Svengali Associates, will see Hamilton turn in his racing overalls for a Union Jack dress as he takes over a 3-year contract replacing Geri Halliwell in a relaunched Spice Girls team. Hamilton's salary for the move is undisclosed, but the management company is rumoured to be taking a cut in the region of eleventy squillion pounds
A spokesman for Svengali Associates explained "Brand Hamilton is quitting his underperforming racing career in favour of the vapid celebrity life he has clearly aspired to for so long, and to which all our management clients aspire. We are confident that this is the right career step for Lewis, and in the coming months we expect to sign independent deals for a perfume, new underwear, and a collaboration R'n'B album with Fiddy Cent."
The 2008 World Champion is expected to crown his move from talented F1 driver to pointless slab with a place on next year's Strictly Come Dancing, and his management company are not commenting on rumours that he will make a final, dire appearance eating bugs in a jungle for Ant & Dec before disappearing into obscurity, having squandered his talent and money in pursuit of transient fame.
However, the spokesman pointed out that that disappearance would not come before Svengali Associates had "extorted stratospheric levels of cash from his brand".