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McLaren drivers loved up ahead of competitive season
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jan 2010   |  1:52 pm GMT  |  113 comments

The two McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were quite a double act today at the launch of the new McLaren MP4/25. Hamilton welcomed his new team mate warmly, even suggesting that Button would get priority treatment in the event that the team could only produce one new piece of equipment for a race.

"What you doing Saturday night?"
In contrast to Ferrari and Mercedes, where there are obvious competitive tensions, the McLaren drivers are keen to appear well and truly loved up. It was obvious from the start of the presentation today.

Hamilton spoke of how he had always looked up to Button and had followed his footsteps out of karting and into F1. He mentioned that he used engines prepared by John Button to win a championship. He went out of his way to warmly welcome Button to the team. An in an interview with some of the UK national papers later on in the day, he claimed that it had been him who suggested Button would be a good replacement for Heikki Kovalainen.

Hamilton said that he had put a lot of work into the development of the new car and felt “that it should handle better than last year’s”
“I hope so” quipped Button.

Later on when he spoke about drivers getting priority over equipment Hamilton said he had got the latest equipment one one occasion because “I had number one on the car. If that is the case, which I think is unlikely this year, Jenson is number one so he will surely get it first and I’ll get it next time.”

On another occasion, Button was asked about his position in the team given that he is “paid less” than Hamilton. Hamilton stepped in and asked for the reporter to show some respect, “I don’t think any of you should forget that he is the world champion and you shouldn’t believe everything you read,” he said.

Button is quite capable of looking after himself and he seemed very calm and confident today. He said that having won the championship he is feeling “more confident as a person” and feels he has nothing to prove to himself or to others. “I’m happy with my life,” he said.

This is not Senna vs Prost, the last time McLaren had two world champions in its team. The impression given today is that the two are quite calm in each other’s company and it’s hard to foresee any competitive tensions or political battles between them.

Looking to the season ahead, Button said that “there are a lot of talented people in F1″ and suggested that “this could be the most exciting season ever in Formula 1″ He added, “I’m the most excited it’ve ever been coming into a season. It’s a massive challenge for me and one i”m really looking forward to.”

Hamilton was asked about finally having the chance to race against Michael Schumacher, “I’ve always said I wanted to race Ayrton, ” he said. “But while growing up and racing I thought I’d have a chance to race Michael. Then he retired. It was such a pleasure to be on the track with him in testing. To see him on the grid with me is going to be a great experience.”

There were many questions about the perils of having two champions in a team, where Mercedes might be set up to get Schumacher to the title. This, it was suggested, could lead to a repeat of 2007 when Alonso and Hamilton were so focussed on beating each other they let Raikkonen through to win the title.

Having recently left the team which is now Mercedes, Button said Mercedes would not be based solely around Schumacher, “I don’t think any driver on the grid would settle for being a number two driver so I don’s see it happening,” he said. “They (Mercedes) will be strong, we were world champions last year so they will be competitive.”

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113 Comments
  1. Enja says:

    Interesting, James.

    I read the situation differently, Hamilton seemed quite odd during the Q&A session – a bit infuriated by some of the questions, and there was a moment where Hamilton was sitting on the tyre and Button kind of told him to move off it so that he could get on..

    I think you’ve read the lines wrong ; I think there is already some tension between them.

    1. David says:

      Personally I hope there’s some tension! As a Hamilton/McLaren fan. The point is for McLaren to avoid the rivalry or even a degree of hostility ultimately turning into self-destruction as in 2007. In fact the Hamilton/Alonso clash helped to drive on both until closer to the end when paranoia seeped in (and here I’d lay the blame squarely with Moseley, as usual, with the insistence of parking FIA inspectors in among the team to ‘ensure’ Mclaren were treating Alonso fairly: this was 1000% corrosive – as intended of course – and pushed Dennis into his famous ‘racing Alonso’ attitude).

    2. Wallers says:

      Odd, I saw Button sit on a tyre at the end, it flexed, they joked and then button stood up. Was your tyre incident at the beginning or the end?

    3. lp says:

      when button sat on the tire, the car moved, because it was partially hanging in the air. button got up fast after realizing this.

      so they laughed about button almost wrecking the show…..an omen?

      it depends what you want to read in those lines ;)

    4. feynman says:

      With all these Rashomonesque misrememberings and squinty misinterpretations, I seriously hope I am never in the dock relying on eyewitness accounts.

      Loved the Whitmarsh aside regarding the long car not fitting in the lift, a genuine ‘Right Said Fred’ moment in the middle of the night down Woking way:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5XX9LX2es4

    5. F1 Kitteh says:

      I second that, this was Hamilton starting the mind games already, remember how he chummy he was with Kovy, right up too the moment he got the boot? If anything I think the ego clash here might be worse than at the other two. At least we already expect the worst from Alonso/Massa, and if Rosberg is smart enough he’ll realize that Schumi won’t be around forever and by the time he finally quits, he’ll still be in his prime at 27 ..

    6. Frankie Allen says:

      Just British humour to me? I think McLaren have got an excellent driver line up, one that increases their chances of the WDC. Always felt sharks fins were unlucky though!

      Very impressed with Hamilton when the journo tried to get a rise from button, stopped dead in it’s tracks.

    7. Peter says:

      Nah I think you’re wrong. It’s obvious they want to beat each other but they aren’t enemies.

  2. john says:

    I watched the launch live James and Jenson and Lewis will make a great partnership IMO. I’m a Jenson fan first and foremost and if he can’t win the title i hope Lewis will.

    The McLaren launch was the best so far, Merc tried to be too Hollywood and failed spectacularly, what with the lighting and cheesy dramatic music. Well i didn’t see the Ferrari launch because the stream was poor, unlike McLarens which was fantastic – no sticking or anyrhing

    It’s also good too see Jenson’s old helmet back

    Roll on March

    1. Freespeech says:

      I too watched McLaren’s launch live and I have to agree they did a great job, they are a class act and their 2010 car look simply fantastic.
      I hope that their engines are as reliable as the past few years :!:

  3. Érico says:

    I really hope they don’t drag themselves into a 2007 losing scenario. That was the most ridiculous and heartbreaking defeat ever.

    1. alex m says:

      LOL !

      Why would they ?

      Alonso is not there any more, did you not notice ?

      1. Stevie P says:

        C’mon now, it was all of them weaving a tangled web… Alonso said \ did some daft things; so did Hamilton; so did Ron Dennis.

        McLaren could and should have won that drivers title – sorry to all the Kimi fans out there – and Macca messed it up big time.

        The past is the past… let’s move on!

      2. gt5 says:

        alonso messed up, no one else.

      3. danish Hanif says:

        alo was right

      4. Freespeech says:

        Alonso was to blame, the bottom line is he threw his toys out of the pram when he couldn’t beat Hamilton and that’s when the trouble started :)

        How some can say that Alonso is the best driver in F1 simply have not been watching the last 3 years where Hamilton has beaten him in each of them with, in my view driving last year being his finest to date, he’ll be a much better driver this year because of it 8)

      5. Steve says:

        Hamilton broke orders at Hungary and cried to the team at Monaco. Put the kool-aid down.

    2. Kent Paul says:

      @ Érico.

      I know

      :( :( :( :(

  4. Stevie P says:

    They’re hardly gonna go at each other with machettes, are they? ;-)

    There always seems to have been banter between them… I refer to the triathalon jibes. Yet, when it comes to the racing, they’ll wish to beat the other for sure. Button’s signed up for 3 years, so they’ll be team-mates for a while… makes sense to be “professional buddies” away from the track, but “adversaries” on it.

    Hamilton and Whitmarsh will have learnt from past “mistakes”… as I feel Alonso will at Ferrari. I still feel Rosberg’s gonna be the most cheesed off by his team-mates “antics”.

    1. Stevie P says:

      Oh and James… looks like you might have to take Heidfeld off your site banner.

    2. Brace says:

      Hahah “cheesed off by his team-mates “antics””.
      I love the way you put it. :)
      Out of all the bickering there might be between team mates I really think that Rosberg will be the most unimpressed with his team mate. :)
      While others might start bickering in garages, I can expect Schumi to pull one of his antics on the track in the middle of the duel with Rosberg.

      1. Stevie P says:

        C’mon now, Nico’s only there to learn… ;-)

  5. Tom in Australia says:

    Well after the last few days James, I think some of your colleagues need to learn some manners.

    On topic, I think Jenson and Lewis will get on just fine as long as Lewis is winning….

  6. Jeffrey says:

    Is it just me or was there quite a bit of tension between the two. Lewis seemed a bit uneasy around Jenson. Jenson was oozing with confidence, and looked quite up for the challenge of beating Lewis. Maybe Lewis is feeling more pressure now than he did in previous seasons. When he started he was up against the champion as a rookie, so there was less pressure to perform. Last 2 seasons he had a teammate he could easily beat. And with everyone saying he’ll crush Jenson he might be under more pressure than before.

    Jenson seemed a liberated man, just became world champion, but coming into McLaren as the underdog, loving the spotlight… It could be become a very interesting battle.

    I’m hoping for a title fight between Vettel, Schumacher and Massa, but we’ll see…

    1. Freespeech says:

      It’s just you :)

  7. Robert McKay says:

    “I don’t think any of you should forget that he is the world champion and you shouldn’t believe everything you read”

    OK Lewis, then perhaps Mclaren can confirm the salaries for you and Jenson Button and we can then draw the correct conclusions? :-)

    1. James says:

      …or maybe you should mind your own business?

      1. Robert McKay says:

        Maybe…

        But come on, tell me you’re not interested to know if they are on a parity, or at least close to it.

      2. James says:

        Nope, I don’t care at all. It may be a bit old fashioned, but I’ve always thought it’s quite rude to ask someone how much they earn under any circumstances. It’s not like these guys don’t already have enough intrusion into their private lives (admittedly, that’s the trade off to all the fame and glory to some extent).

        I was glad Lewis interjected like he did. Jenson is the World Drivers’ Champion – they ought to show some respect.

      3. Martin P says:

        I agree with James. Apart from it being none of our business, what’s the point of comparing deals agreed at different times?

        Do you think Hamilton would get the same deal he already has if he was negotiating for this season in the current climate?

        It’s nonsense to compare contracts negotiated in different years over different periods. It means nothing in terms of driver parity.

      4. James Allen says:

        That is a very good point. Hamilton got his timing spot on with his long term contract – a year before the crash!

  8. Andrew Scadden says:

    Given Jenson has the monkey off his back and is now World Champion he has nothing to prove to anyone other than himself – a worth champion as Lewis was 2 years ago.

    This shows two mature people either a) showing team spirit and meaning it or b) publicly meaning it..

    I am not cynical at all about this I believe their words are true and meant (although if they have a massive spat and fight then no-one can remind me of this posting)

    It was nice to see Lewis step in when someone asked about the salary and he is very much showing respect to Jenson as WDC.

    Theres probably a lot of lessons learned at mcLaren from the Lewis/Alonso debacle (who ever was at fault) and so far it looks liek the lessons have been learnt well.

    Rock on 2010 best of British to the both of them and lets hope the number 1 is on the McLaren in 2011 (either driver).

    1. KNF says:

      Well, I certainly hope that this is more of a Graham Hill/Jim Clark pairing than a Senna/Prost pairing… I’ll let you all decide who’s Hill and who’s Clark…

  9. Pablo Rossi says:

    I have to say that personally I cant see anything but Lewis coming out on top in the fight for supremacy, just as I cant foresee Nico coming out on top against Schumi. HOWEVER, the contrast in body language and facial expressions etc. between Jenson and Nico is huge. Jenson just looks so calm and relaxed in regards to the challenge ahead and has now got me, slightly, changing my position into just how much of beating he may receive. Whereas Nico’s interviews, body language and comments only further enhance my belief that he’s on his way to a hiding of epic proportions!

    On another note, the MP4-25 is yet another beautiful looking piece of art and I cant wait to find out what Martin Whitmarsh proclaims are things we’ve ‘never seen before on an F1 car’. I’m also a little surprised that the colour scheme remains despite Mercedes having their own car to promote their silver.

  10. F1ART says:

    The honeymoon period!

    1. Martin P says:

      Oh yes! I expect them to be pretty close on track… which as we all know is dangerous. Let’s see how they talk after a couple of races knocking each other off in turn 1.

  11. Stu says:

    Let’s wait until the race starts before announcing their engagement.

    As for who gets priority then it should be whoever has the most points or will benefit the most from the updates.

    Out of all the mistakes that Hamilton ‘will’ make this year from over driving, I bet most will be when Schumacher is near as he’ll be desperate to show us all whose the boss.

    Also James, how about a discussion of the new tyre rules for the top 10 qualifiers?

    1. Andrew Scadden says:

      Stu
      “Out of all the mistakes that Hamilton ‘will’ make this year from over driving, I bet most will be when Schumacher is near as he’ll be desperate to show us all whose the boss.”

      Intersting point I too have been thinking the same, not just for Lewis, but for any of the other drivers that have not come up against Schumacer before – will they drive the race or drive to beat MS? – The “new” MS at Red Bull SV will possibly be keen to prove himself against the old master as well.

      Even Alonso who has beaten MS (in terms f winning a WDC while he was still racing) may feel some pressure to beat him while driving in a team that we all acknowledge was winning everything while MS was in the car.

      All still makes for a good season hopefully.

      1. Stevie P says:

        I get what you’re saying but I don’t see Alonso being phased by Schumi at all.

        In fact, I don’t really see anyone being phased by Schumi other than Nico – as they’ll be in, ahem, cough, “identical” machinery ;-). Joking apart, I do believe Ross Brawn when he says they’ll have the same car… Ross was fair last year (although others will disagree). I simply think Schumi will get himself into a championship position where Brawn, sorry, Merc, have to back him and him only.

        And sure once or twice the young guns might over-drive, but you could say that already… Hamilton in Monza, anyone? And that incident, in my mind, made Button think “hold on, the boy does make mistakes”. I do think Hamilton will score more points than Button, but destroy him?? No way!

        But it’s all conjecture… :-)

      2. Andrew Scadden says:

        Stevie

        Branw sorry Merc – couldnt agree more

        I accept your argument however I stand by my thoughts that (i could be wrong) there will be some drivers that drive against MS and not drive the race (who ever they are and what ever team).

        conjecture—– lol lets re-visit our posts in 12 months :)

  12. PaulL says:

    I have to think that the MP4-25 looks far more sophisticated from the outside than the Ferrari. Opinions?

    1. Ross Dixon says:

      Agreed. I stated this also in the previous post. Rumours also suggest Ferrari may know this as a B spec car may already be in the works

      1. JF says:

        I would agree as well. But…I would also say most of the more recent Mclarens have looked a bit “radical” including the real dogs. Remember the MP4-18 that had to be replaced by the previous years car? It was stunning to look at but pretty terrible.

        That said, I have a feeling that this one will deliver.

  13. Clackers says:

    I am a large Button fan, and it will hurt me when my predictions come true, but I simply cannot believe that Button will qualify within 5 places of Hamilton at any Grand Prix in 2010. Hamilton is the de facto #1 at McLaren, Button is just there to see out his career with a hefty pay cheque. Button at McLaren will be like Webber at Red Bull – only the difference is Webber can occasionally have days where he excels himself and puts even Vettel in the shade. We won’t see any of those days from Button alas. I predict Hamilton will have it easier against Button than he did with Kovalainen. I am afraid Button’s reputation was destroyed last year, the way he was easily beaten by Rubens in terms of raw speed. It was embarassing to watch. I dread to think what Hamilton will do to him.

    1. Ross Dixon says:

      Im sorry but were we watching the same year of Racing last year????

      did you watch australia 09 followed by the next 6 or 7 races. yes Jenson tightened up a bit especially when the car took a development direction that didn’t suit him as much as Rubens, however to claim Rubens was faster is ridiculous. He was in certain races but not all or for that matter most

      1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

        Completely agree. The original poster (Clackers) is SO wrong.

        Button annhilated Rubens for speed, the idea it was the reverse is, well, it does not match what actually happened last year.

        As for within 5 places of Lewis. That is a joke. They should be pretty close. Whatever happens is immaterial, what does matter is where they finish, not where they qualify.

      2. Paul Kirk says:

        Yeah but qualifying has a major effect on where they finish!
        In a way you could almost say that the real race is the qualifying!
        PK.

    2. john g says:

      eh, as a large button fan, i don’t know how you can think that buttons reputation was destroyed last year and that he was easily beaten by barichello in terms of speed…

      i probably like 5 drivers over button, but i think he did a great job last year and deserved the wdc. i do agree that he’s really going to struggle against hamilton tho, but i’d rate him above heikki.

    3. Mike says:

      “I am afraid Button’s reputation was destroyed last year, the way he was easily beaten by Rubens in terms of raw speed. It was embarassing to watch”.

      Which planet were you on last year?!

    4. Steve Mc says:

      ‘I am a large Button fan’ – I prefer small ones; they fasten your clothes just as well, but are less ostentatious…

    5. Zobra Wambleska says:

      A large Button fan? Wow, what would you have to say if you didn’t like him?

    6. alex m says:

      LOL@”I am afraid Button’s reputation was destroyed last year, the way he was easily beaten by Rubens in terms of raw speed”

      Button beat Rubens soundly in the first half of the season, better in some ways than MS did with the whole team set up for him. Then the team had issues with tyre warming and they were mired in midfield.

      Obviously to anybody else watching, at not point was Jenson “easily beaten” and he showed his excellenct against a very well known benchmark.

      The 2009 WDC and WCC was a just reward for his efforts.

      How someone can twist a F1 WDC into a “reputation destroyed” is utterly beyond me.

      1. Sam says:

        Ha ha some people here are very funny.
        Rubens was kicking his back all over the second half of the season.
        Something, that never happened to MS at any point in his career.
        Ohh yeah, it’s because of the fact that only one car works in Ferrari.
        Mind you it’s the same boss tho.
        And he knew Jenson was leading the championship.
        So do you really think Ross didn’t ‘favor’ Jenson like he did with MS or Jenson wasn’t as good and was beaten more often by 37 years old Rubens?

      2. Ross Dixon says:

        Jenson Beat Rubens 12 times out of 17

        When Jenson got beaten he retired once, was beaten by 6 places once, 3 places once and the rest he follow Rubens home.

        The the back half of the season where Rubens “kicked his back” Jenson beat Rubens 5 out or 9 Races (There were 17 races so I rounded up) If you round down it was 4 each. How can you describe this as Kicked his back”.

        When the car was at its best compared to the rest of the field, Rubens didnt have the raw pace to beat Button. When they started to struggle yes Rubens coped better but Jenson did not that bad also. It is well known that Jenson isnt as good at driving round issues as other drivers. However this does in no way highlight that he got blown away.

  14. Robert McKay says:

    “I simply cannot believe that Button will qualify within 5 places of Hamilton at any Grand Prix in 2010.”

    I’ll take that bet. Heck, I’ll even predict Button will outqaulify Hamilton at times, although overall I still think Hamilton will be the stronger.

    But Heikki managed to outqualify Hamilton, or be within the arbitrary 5 places, unless you’re saying Button is worse than Kovi.

    1. Flintelli says:

      I disagree. Ok straight fight, Lewis would have Button I suspect.

      This year with a full tank of fuel on board, you need to save your tyres, thats were Button will excel. I wont be surprised if Button pulls some magic out against Lewis this year.

  15. Tom says:

    Lewis’ deal was sorted out before the emphasis on cost-reduction, no?

    To be fair, he’s also the more marketable driver, whatever you think of their respective skills. McLaren need to attract top sponsors.

    Lewis shot the question down well though, I probably would have smiled sheepishly…

    1. Topless Porridge says:

      Didn’t the cost-reduction measures exclude driver salaries?

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        I think that may have been in the FIA version, not the FOTA one that was adopted.

  16. BicesterPaul says:

    Car looks good. Hope they have got their sums right this year!

    1. George says:

      I just can’t get into that vertical piece on the airbox. Didn’t like it on last years Red Bull & Toro Rosa cars either.

  17. Daniel says:

    “Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer…”

    1. James Allen says:

      Never a truer word spoken

      1. Stephen Kellett JAF1 says:

        When is Flavio joining the FIA?

      2. Ross Dixon says:

        LOL Brilliant!!!

  18. Graeme Brown says:

    Lewis took the opportunity early on to point out that he had some input into the design of the car whereas Jenson hadn’t – the banter was amusing and seemed relatively genuine on the surface, but underneath it felt like there was some jostling for position. Lewis looked uncharacteristically unsettled initially, but he looked more assured as the day went on. Jenson looked motivated, I am still convinced that Lewis will prevail.

  19. James says:

    Hi James,

    Can you shed any light to what Kovalainen has been hinting at happened that caused his poor race performances at mclaren. I only ask as
    Jenson has particularly mentioned at each press conference that to be successful its important both drivers share their information throughout the season. I assume this is something that has been playing on his mind

    1. Stu says:

      I hope I can help.

      Heikkis poor race results are due to him being a poor driver. Over a hot lap in qualifying he can often come close to Hamilton. But once the race starts it takes him many laps to get up to speed.

      Valencia ’09 was a great example of this.

  20. dren says:

    I think Button will surprise us all.

  21. Tim Lamkin says:

    YEA…come back and read all this one year form now!

    1. Andrew Scadden says:

      James

      This would be fascinating or embarrassing for several of us if you could provide links/highlights or something, to our comments come the end of the season.

      (It would be very amusing if we all had money on our predictions lol)

  22. F1-FAN says:

    Hamilton makes me laugh so hard with this input thing, that I could almost die.
    What is he, engineer? LMAO

  23. Chris-W says:

    For what it’s worth I thought that Hamilton seemed eager just to get on with the year to come whilst Button was perhaps more enjoying the attention & plaudits.

  24. Shekhar says:

    The new McLaren looks terrific.. the whole “driver chemistry” story sounds a bit unnatural and too early to believe into.. but whatever happens and whoever wins (hopefully it comes down to a spectacular finish with Schumacher, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel fighting for WDC).. I am hoping not to see any stupid scandals this year.. McLaren and Renault have had their fair share so far.. hopefully a new scandal does not ruin the season and the fun this year. As for the public discussion on “driver salaries”.. it is none of anybody’s business really. Bring on March 2010!

  25. Carlm21 says:

    This number 1 sticker is going to be with Mclaren for many years to come.

    1. Alen says:

      Dream on

      1. Stu says:

        They only have it again this year because Button came free with it.

  26. pao says:

    I am looking forward to see how Martin Whitmarsh manages his drivers and their fathers this year. Though with Button Sr’s tendancy to stay out of the way at races it may not be that bad.

    1. Brace says:

      I’m more worried with Hamilton Sr’s tendency to stick his nose wherever he can!

  27. sErA says:

    “Later on when he spoke about drivers getting priority over equipment Hamilton said he had got the latest equipment one one occasion because “I had number one on the car”.
    When you say one one, you mean eleven? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      No he said one and I’m pretty sure it was Hungary – a totally new front wing on Saturday morning

  28. Roshan says:

    James,

    Any work on the Ferrari F10B rumours?? Seems like Mclaren have pushed it to the limi in DDD and Ferrari have been conservative!…

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari find the rumours amusing.

  29. is there any reason why ferrari and Mclaren haven’t released any picture of the real of the car?

    1. Topless Porridge says:

      I think it was the real car on both occaissions. If you’re suggesting they’ve built a mock-up, what would be the point in that when they have the actual cars ready?

      1. Sorry I meant rear not real! ie the rear of the car!

        I was just thinking if there are still some doubts and secrecy over the double and triple diffusers then it’s interesting they haven’t shown the back end of cars!

    2. sorry I meant the ‘REAR” of the car…. I haven’t seen any pics of diffusers…

    3. David Whitworth says:

      Yes no shots of the rear of the car and the car was positioned just so. Looks like we will have to wait until testing gets under way.

  30. Malcolm46 says:

    Interesting to hear your take on things James.

    I personally believe the ‘hype’ about Hamilton v Button, is just journalists trying to create something that isnt there to sell newspapers, it happens all the time in football, sensationalism, and its bit boring, so good to hear you’ve still got your feet on the ground James.

    I don’t want to draw too many parallels with Alonso, but, I remember reading in Hamilton’s autobiography (‘My Story’ 2007) that when Alonso joined the team, Hamilton had tried to ‘bond’ with Alonso but Alonso didnt accept the invitations, sounds like Button has…

    We could be proved wrong, but at the moment, I think they are both ok.

  31. James says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about how Williams are “releasing” footage of their new car. The Autosport pic to coincide with the Ferrari launch and the YouTube footage timed for the McLaren launch. It’s a little bit sneaky to try to divert attention from their rivals, and unless the car is radically different from the one shown (which would be fun), their launch will be a bit of an anticlimax.

    1. Freespeech says:

      William’s, a spent force in F1, yesterdays men :!:

      1. Zobra Wambleska says:

        Where there are yesterdays there may yet be tomorrows. I wouldn’t sell this team short in this era of cost cutting, these guys know how to work with a tight budget.

      2. Freespeech says:

        They can only hope as reality says otherwise :)

      3. KNF says:

        These guys (Williams) are natural-born survivors, they won’t be super competitive, but they’ll produce respectable results…

  32. The Limit says:

    I do think it is still too early to guage how this pairing will fair as the 2010 season unfolds. Lewis Hamilton can do nothing else than welcome Jenson into the team, I think that personally he is very aware of the comparisons people will draw between this situation and that of three years ago.
    Button comes with all the limelight and kudos that winning a championship brings you, Hamilton on the other hand has tasted the shade for the first time in his F1 career. In some ways, his comments about ‘status’ in the team sounded fair but could be taken in another context.
    Hamilton knows full well that the onus is on Jenson to defend his title, and with number one status comes high expectations and intense scrutiny.
    This is a team with two drivers who have proved their talent to the world, they have both achieved. That maybe McLaren’s trump card on their rivals if the car is fast and reliable enough. Fernando Alonso is a double world champion, but it is over three years since he last tasted glory. Joining Ferrari is obviously a long held ambition for the Spaniard, and with that comes sky high expectations both in the garage and at Maranello. Felipe Massa still has alot of potential, and appears hungry.
    At Mercedes Benz you have Schumacher, desperate to show that he has lost none of his legendary speed and spark, against a young Rosberg who has yet to reach a high point.
    Both Red Bull drivers a very capable, and major threats in their own right. Yet another day ticked off my calender, roll on Bahrain!

  33. Rory says:

    I think even Jenson and Lewis are surprised abut how well they get on.

    If you think about it, it does make sense: Both Jenson and Lewis have spent quite some time with non-British teammates. In a situation in which both drivers expected things to be a little tense, they may find that is refreshing to deal with an expected rival who at least thinks in a similar fashion, culturally speaking.

    Jenson can act like a the media sponge, as he enjoys the spotlight, while Hamilton can “get on with it” since he has already proved himself a champion too.

    Both have earned the top spot at one point, so this year is “fresh” for both of them. A level playing field if you will, since both are aiming to win it “again”, not to prove they can win at all.

    This may all change after the first race…but for now that’s the way I see it.

  34. BicesterPaul says:

    I agree, reminds me of the 95 mclaren, any tech guys on here to explain what it is for? I presume it is about yaw and channeling air to the rear wing cleanly.

  35. Harvey Yates says:

    This could be a big test for Whitmarsh.

    He’s different to Dennis on man management, that’s for sure. I can’t see him ever saying to the team: We’re fighting Button.

    Or Hamilton of course.

    Both drivers seem very relaxed at the moment. I think the first half of last season helped LH. He seemed very settled despite the car’s problems and then, when it improved, he lacked nothing in effort and application even though there were no cups at the end.

    Button seems overwhelmed with his number 1. His happiness is patently obvious. He even coped with an unknown participant in a minority sport beating him to the BBC’s SPotY without obvious bitterness.

    Is it possible that we might get a situation where two highly skilled drivers compete against one-another in the same team without a lot of bickering and in-fighting?

    Wouldn’t that be nice. All the action at the circuit and not in publications.

    The (non-evidenced) belief I have is that there will be Massa and Alonso not speaking to one-another by the fourth race, Nico being absolutely despondent before then and Hamilton and Button holding hands on the podium.

    I know I’m wrong and that the reality is that something will happen in each team to make such a scenario unlikely.

    Will either LH or JB have to concede that the other is the better driver? That will be difficult for whomever it is. Mind you, the press won’t find it so and that might make things even more difficult. For both. And Whitmarsh.

    This promises to be a great season. And no Mosley nor Doneely. Wow!

  36. SpeedSailor says:

    They will have their ups and downs. Well i hope so!

    Aren’t we lucky to be in the midst of the best F1 racing for years.

    I haven’t looked forward to a season so much since Mansel was racing.

    There are so many contenders that the bookies must be having a nightmare.

    If they can set up the car to Buttons driving style, he will be up with Hamilton for sure. Remember Button was the top young gun until Williams urinated on his fire. From then on he has driven crappy cars until the Brawn.

    Whatever happens it’s going to be uber fun to watch. Way better than the MS days when it was processional and boring. (looks up at the sky) Please don’t let it go back to those days.

    Grats to James as well for the best forum for F1 bar none. I love reading his and the fans posts. My disappointment is palpable when there is no new post at least once a day.

    When is your new service being announced btw?

    1. James Allen says:

      Monday, in time for the start of testing

  37. Alexx says:

    In my opinion,

    the more drivers create a ‘friendship’ for the media and talk about it,
    the more that topic will be written about if things go pear shaped.

    In some ways, Kimi’s approach of aloofness paid dividends in that respect, altho the perception of team spirit is compromised.

    Hamilton & Button are busy setting the wheels in motion creating this perception and scripted story, while McLaren foster it. Its like creating a ‘boyband’ by Simon Cowell!

  38. Dieter 53 says:

    I tend to disagree a bit, the same thing happened between Hamilton and Alonso but when the season started with all smiles, oneness and as soon they competed against each other, things turned a bit sour, i can imagine a case as Hamilton said Button might get upgrades, what if that happens more often and Button starts hammering Hamilton, would he still want Button to get more upgrades? I know Button felt rattled when Barrichello had the upper hand from mid season, with Hamilton, i expect fireworks.

    Your first enemy in F1 is always your teammate, in some cases I have seen David Coulthard smashing practice and warm up sessions, come qualy, he is down the field, the car during the race now has major problems that were not there and Hakkinen flies off and wins the race. Even when it came under safety car on pits, DC was given last preference and at times made to give way to Hakkinen.

    Button would have to be careful as Ron never did hide his feelings that his loyalties was with Hakkinen, Hamilton was spoiled and given toys to play around McLaren HQ since he was a kid, Button might have to work hard for loyalty, he is very much unknown to McLaren.

    With Whitmarsh i hope this will be different, but i would never want to be in Whitmarsh’s positions, i can see him taking more panado’s if the conflict ever arises between his 2 drivers.

  39. Alexx says:

    I also believe that Lewis wanted Jensen in the team, because he wants the British public to know its him and not the car who is better, if he beats him.

    He misses being the golden boy in the UK media.
    I think its a huge PR stunt by the Hamilton’s! McLaren best start looking for a family therapist to mediate the two camps!

  40. With the start of testing – finally! – may I just offer you, James, a vote of thanks for keeping the flame alive through the dreary, raceless winter?

    A blog is normally just a bit of fun but you have created a monster; and bearing in mind that you are a freelance journalist and write for a living, the fact that you keep to the commitment to write something valuable and informative for us fanatics, practically every day, deserves our appreciation.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that. I’ve had a blast this winter, it never let up!

      1. Dave Roberts says:

        James, I want to echo Terry’s sentiments. I have got this blog as a favourite on my tool bar and use it as a reference point with all fresh news. You interpret the various situations so well and give a balanced and fair viewpoint.

        Thanks for all your efforts.

        By the way are you going to be doing the post race press conferences this year? I hope so

  41. timem1 says:

    McLaren are on over kill with this love fest between their two drivers. There is more here than meets the eye. If you read some of Martin Whitmarsh’s recent comments, he made a passing remark about competing against a team where one driver is favored. (paraphrasing) This love in is more than likely an attempt to portray themselves as being the “fairer” team. In the event that Schumi does turn out to be the #1 driver at Merc GP, McLaren will pound this theme hard as a means of undermining Merc’s credibility and even gain an potential advantage. The Schumi effect has already begun and he hasn’t even driven a single lap yet.

  42. Freespeech says:

    I hope that Lewis in doing his utmost to show the world he both likes his team mate and gets on with him that he looses his killer edge.
    It was his killer edge that beat Alonso in his Rookie year and it is this killer instinct that makes him the most exciting driver to watch in today’s F1 8)

  43. Michael says:

    I think the press are doing the typical assine thing in projecting derision amongst the team drivers. They haven’t a clue what’s in Jenson or Lewis’ heads. No clue at all unless they are them or in the team.

    What if they genuinely like each other? Let’s face it, Alonso, from what I’ve been told, is a complete wanker in real life. Jenson is not. I think the two have more in common than any other pairing on the grid. If Jenson is faster, then Lewis will try his damnedest to catch up and vice versa. That is just the way it is. If there is truly equal treatment, may the best man win. Unfortunately for both, Schumacher is back.

  44. DrF says:

    I recall Lewis trotting out the same lines about how Alonso was his hero and claiming to be putting a word in for Kovi.

    Awesome racing driver, but wouldn’t take anything he says with less than a bag of salt.

  45. Jason says:

    Will be fascinating to see which one of the two gets the upperhand

    1. Harvey Yates says:

      Jason,

      I think it will be more interesting finding out who gets underhanded.

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