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Domenicali buries chance of Hamilton racing for Ferrari
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Aug 2011   |  12:02 pm GMT  |  196 comments

Stefano Domenicali, the team boss of Ferrari, has been hosting a summer break version of the Wrooom winter sports event which has traditionally prefaced the start of the F1 season.

Some important messages have come out of this event and from the Ferrari website at the same time. These are principally an insight into his and Ferrari’s thinking on drivers for the future and the strategy for making sure they are competitive in 2013. But he has also said quite clearly that he doesn’t think that Lewis Hamilton will drive for Ferrari at any stage.

First the drivers: “For the Ferrari of the future, I believe the right combination is to have one well established driver with great experience, alongside a talented youngster on the way up, ” Domenicali says on the Ferrari website.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. He seems to have been discussing this in the context of whether Ferrari would ever run two young drivers, but nevertheless it indicates the direction that their thinking is taking, vis a vis who to partner alongside Alonso for the next five seasons. Felipe Massa has this year and next year and then Ferrari may well be looking for a younger driver, one would imagine ideally from the Ferrari Driver Academy. Jules Bianchi is a high profile member of the FDA, but many in F1 are surprised by his struggles in GP2. Sergio Perez is another young driver Ferrari have their eye on.

Ferrari doesn’t run rookies. the closest it has come to that is Massa, who was schooled at Sauber and did a year as a Ferrari tester before getting a race seat.

The upside of having a young driver alongside Alonso is to prepare the succession, but he’d have to be very good and very consistent because points towards the Constructors’ championship are vital and McLaren and Red Bull have two driver capable of scoring the points.

On Lewis Hamilton, Domenicali says that he still sticks to his view, a common one among experienced people in F1, that Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel are the three standout drivers at the moment, and nothing Hamilton has done would put him off signing him if the circumstances were right. But he says that he cannot see a place for Hamilton at Maranello,

“I am pleased he said ‘never say never’ on the subject of Ferrari, in fact it is logical that everyone aspires to come to Maranello sooner or later, given what we represent in the history of this sport.

“Having said that, I don’t think the question will arise, neither in the short nor in the long term, ” said the Ferrari boss.

The other point of note is that he has flagged up Ferrari’s intention to develop the car until September and then ‘focus on next year’s car’.

The rules don’t change much from this year to next so many teams plan to run developments in the second half of this season which have carryover to next year.

“At the start of September, we will concentrate solely on next year, because we have already defined all the updates for the 150° Italia, at least up until mid-October. Sure, if something was to change, then we would react accordingly,” he said.

“The more time we can spend on the wind tunnel the better. Because for sure what I really want to avoid is another difficult winter like the last two years.”

Although he believes that Alonso will score more points from now to the end of the season than any of his rivals, he’s being realistic.

I’m sure Vettel will be delighted to hear this, as if McLaren take a similar view, then Red Bull will be able to do likewise and throw more effort at 2012, so one hopes that McLaren will keep pushing the development button to the end of the season.

Ferrari’s plan will have been specified by new technical director Pat Fry and agreed by Alonso, who can see that this year, unlike last year, there is only the slenderest of chances to close the gap and catch Vettel.

Nevertheless he said this week at the Wrooom event that they cannot give up on 2011, “We are Ferrari and we have a moral obligation, especially for the millions of fans spread around the world, to always think of the maximum goal. We can’t ever say we will tackle eight races without having the championship in the back of our mind: we will always have an eye on the title, at least until there is no longer the slightest chance. Of course we must start winning and we have to hope that Vettel makes a few mistakes or has some problems.”

Problems with the wind tunnel which was scaled up from 50% to 60% models hurt them last winter, but these are now resolved and they are getting good results.

Ferrari need a good car straight out of the box next season in order to challenge for the championship. Their comeback this season, like last, has been impressive, but they want to be the pace setters from the outset next season.

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196 Comments
  1. SRS (Swag Reduction System) says:

    I think the only time the door will be open at Ferrari for Hamilton will be when Alonso eventually decides to hang up his helmet. I think this chapter is far from being cut and shut to be honest, who wouldn’t love seeing Lewis driving for the Scud!?

    1. unoc12 says:

      It’s Ferrari they change their mind a lot…

      Love Massa in 09, dislike him in 2010

      Sign Kimi as the 2nd highest paid sportman in 07, blame him for everything in 09

      Even Schumacher said he loved Ferrari in 09 and was driving a Mercedes-Benz in 2010.

      I think Perez will probably get the drive in a Ferrari while Bianchi will go into Sauber in 2013. That gives Massa next season at Ferrari to show if anything is going to change for him, Perez a 2nd year to drive in F1 and Bianchi a year to do GP2 with less mistakes.

      There seems to be 3 streams in F1 currently with not many drivers showing signs of going between.

      1. wayne says:

        I don’t think Hamilton will finish his career at McLaren. I think he’ll serve most of it there but take one last hurrah in a Ferrari at the end in the few years he will have left when Alonso retires.

      2. Ferrari always blame their drivers! Since Enzo first started racing Alfas, if there was a poor result, it was the driver’s fault. If they won, it was Ferrari’s doing! It’s just the company culture… gotta get used to it if you want to wear red. ;-)

        Also, regarding Schumacher, Mercedes brought him to F1. They paid for his first F1 race, not to mention gave him loads of experience in their Group C cars (Sauber-Mercedes C9 and C291). He probably felt like he owed them, and he was also itching to get behind the wheel again, as he found bikes hurt too much!

    2. Pete S. says:

      Who wouldn’t want Lewis in a Ferrari? Me!

      Besides, he said that he never would drive anywhere but Macca!! ;)

      1. wayne says:

        That ‘I want to end my career at McLaren’ was the old Lewis when his father was his manager – not the new Lewis Hamilton the ‘brand’ his new management company are trying to make him into (sometimes at the expense of his racing in my uninformed opinion).

      2. Paul says:

        I agree. I don’t see that same love and commitment to Macca that I used to with Lewis. I can see Lewis being a better fit at Red Bull or Mercedes than Ferrari though, more likely Red Bull given his street smart image and celebrity status! I can see Vettel at Ferrari when Alonso retires, and Lewis taking Vettels RBR seat.

      3. Storm says:

        I agree with Paul. It seems likely that Vettel will make the jump to ferrari and Hamilton goes to RBR.
        Vettel might even move over in a couple of years, to take over by the time Alonso retires. Though that might be a bit unrealistic. Hamiltons temperament and attitude fits in nicely with RBR. They too are not afraid to bend the rules or lie to suit their cause. So it might well work out for lewis.
        Button will end his career with Macca and Webber will replace rubens at Williams. :-D

      4. Bevan says:

        That every driver wants to drive a Ferrari is media hype anyhow IMO.
        I’m sure Lewis as with any top driver could care less what car they’re in as long as its 4/10ths quicker than the next best contender,
        “besides,according to the many armchair experts here,Lewis would be to hard on the red cars tyres,& he makes too many errors,he’s too emotional,blahh blah”.
        Thing is guys,his points tally after each season doesn’t support your negativity,looking after tyres no matter which way you cut equals=SLOW

      5. Mark Reihl says:

        the slow driver won the last race…

      6. Storm says:

        err.. i think looking after the tyres means balancing tyre wear with speed. Drive as fast as it is possible to and keeping tyre wear to a minimum. It does not mean you drive so slow that the whole exercise to save tyres becomes redundant.
        Hamilton is hard on tyres AND the equipment. The only thing keeping the points coming is his oodles of talent. Its sad that such a brilliant driver is stupid enough to think one style works for all. If he does not improvise, he will fade away.

    3. MJ Sib says:

      I think Ferrari are waiting to see how Kubica does on his return next year. If he is the same great driver, then he will partner Alonso in 2013

      1. Alistair says:

        Was he ever a ‘great’ driver? He was outscored by ”Quick’ Nick’ 146 points to 136 as team-mates, over the course of their being team-mates, and finished behind the German 3 times and only once in front in the WDC.

        I wish him a speedy recovery; but let’s not exagerate how good he was.

        PS He’s too good to be Alonso’s team-mate: Alonso wants someone who will move over for him on the off-times he’s behind; someone like Massa….

      2. wayne says:

        Yes I’m not convinced about his ‘greatness’ either. As usual, not a popular view – but a realistic one. At the very least his committment to his team must be questioned. I too wish him a full recovery and speedy return to F1.

  2. Manuel says:

    Like someone said in some forum. The only chance for Lewis Hamilton now is Mercedes. McLaren have a strange policy that will never help Lewis be a World champion again. Lewis is making mistakes and playing game with Button on track while Vettel is collecting and soon to become a double world champion. It’s time for Lewis to take his career seriously and go to Mercedes and build a solid team. With the right people and a good budget, Mercedes can build a winning car. Lewis is wasting his time at McLaren, he’s not having the right focus and management to be world champion, they more focus on Button and his girlfriend. Time for Lewis to move on.

    1. Kristiane says:

      o_O….. totally surprised by your post here….

      1. Alan says:

        What a nice way of putting it.

        Anybody remember the Despair Squid from Red Dwarf ?

        Manuel reminds me so much of my Spanish ex girlfriend, she used to do exactly the same thing, putting the most incredibly dark spin on things when not happy.

      2. Peter C says:

        ‘Manuel reminds me of my ex girlfriend’

        That’s one of the best things I’ve read on JA !

      3. wayne says:

        Smoke me a kipper, Manuel, I’ll be back for breakfast!

        Despair Squid = brilliant comment.

      4. Sarah says:

        Totally agree. The Mclaren twitter it’s run by Button’s girlfriend. She used it when she wants. McLaren seems more focus on glamour and what Button’s girlfriend needs to eat than keep their best driver focus and happy to win a championship. No wonder Lewis wants to leave. They are becoming a joke. Sad news for Lewis, there’s no top team available. Ferrari have Alonso and RedBull have Vettel. They don’t need Lewis.

      5. gaz909 says:

        Since when did Twitter win a race?

        Lewis won in Germany, which is a lot better than the other 23 drivers.

        The Mercedes comment above is ridiculous.

      6. Cliff says:

        I don’t follow McLaren on twitter, but I do visit their website and follow them via face book on a daily basis, and I can’t remember seeing JB’s girlfriend on either site. Lewis just needs to stop blaiming other people and get his head down and show us his talent on the track.

      7. Craig D says:

        I honestly can’t understand where comments like this are based?! McLaren have won 3 of the last 5 races. It’s just that Red Bull and Vettel have done an outstanding job compared to everyone else. McLaren – like Ferrari – just didn’t build their drivers a fast enough car at the start, as opposed to some belief they don’t treat Lewis’s talents with enough seriousness and respect. It’s just sour grapes cos Lewis isn’t leading the championship; especially having a pop at Jenson’s girlfriend!

      8. fullblownseducer says:

        Thinking about it, I do find the grinning pair (Jessie and daddy Jon) at every race quite annoying – remember all the stick LH used to get having daddy in the pit (despite him being a young drivers at the time)? – now, we get shots of Jess and dad every race – and Button’s a thirty-something bloke – bit strange imho – is he winding down, retiring soon? We occasionally see Webber’s dad, or Vettel’s, yes, but they’re not at every race…

      9. Storm says:

        There is nothing wrong with drivers tagging their girlfriends around for races. I can see that being a good emotional support system and a push at competitiveness. However, i will draw the line at full grown men bringing their “daddy” along for support. Maybe i’m just weird, but i lose respect for any driver to want his entire family being there to turn out good results. Its the same for Massa. There are more Massa family members in the Ferrari pit than there are pit crew members.

    2. Wucash says:

      What? Hamilton has a funny way of ruining his own chances with silly mistakes, then blaming others – drivers, stewards, his own team, etc etc. The boy needs to get his head screwed on straight, because right now his “lesser” teammate is more than matching him. In fact without the misfortunes of the recent races, Button would be leading the fight against Vettel.

      It’s unbelievable hearing Hamilton fans saying it’s the team’s fault not Hammy’s. Because you’re a fan doesn’t mean you can’t be critical of him.

      As for your other point, I believe Merc has a great driver line up already. An experienced driver such as Schumi paired with a more than capable young charger. They’re pushing themselves to the max, with each having their own way of doing it. One with qualifying and consistency, and the other with race pace, race craft (on most part :) ), and an almost delusional self belief that makes him push more than most.

      Hamilton doesn’t fit into that team… untill Schumi retires for real. If Merc gets better I have no doubt Schumi will remain. If it doesn’t I have no doubt Hammy won’t go there.

      1. Zombie-UrT(BR) says:

        Well… They cannot use the “blame Alonso” anymore. 8-)

      2. Anthony says:

        Ok let me see:
        -Bad strategy in monaco qualy (not putting a banker lap): TEAM
        -Not putting enough fuel in silverstone: TEAM
        -Bad tyre strategy TWICE in hungary: TEAM

        so… his only real mistakes this season has been the spin in hungary, and the monaco crashes (caused by the bad grid position, he was desperate to make up positions)

      3. Honest F1 opinion says:

        It was Lewis’ decision to pit in Hungary. Do you blame the team for Lewis spinning and endangering other racers too?

        Surely Lewis should have enough status in the team to make tactical decisions, like the great drivers do (Alonso, Vettel, Button, Schumacher).

      4. KRB says:

        It was Lewis’ decision to pit for inter’s, but not for the 3rd set of super-softs where his race was effectively lost. By the time he goes for inter’s, he’s already losing the race and is taking a gamble. All stemming from McLaren’s decision to put him on super-softs for the 3rd time. If he goes to softs at the 3rd stop, he covers off anyone also doing softs, practically forces any others behind him to go for softs. If anyone went for 3 super-softs and it was clear it was working for them, then he could switch back to them in a 3rd stop.

        Of the big 3 teams, McLaren have got their pit strategy wrong the most, by far.

    3. Joe S says:

      I don’t see Mercedes ever challenging strongly for the title. I see them as another Honda and Toyota, with podiums, maybe an odd pole and win, but an eventual withdrawal from the sport.

      1. getRealistic says:

        “withdrawal”
        thats bold, considering they supply engines to about a third of the teams

      2. Stephen Hughes says:

        Renault withdrew from the sport and still supply engines…

        Running a team is a lot different from being an engine supplier and in some ways it seems that private teams with manufacturer support work better than true works teams.

        You could say Ferrari are the exception but even they seem to make hard work of it sometimes.

      3. Agreed, Ross Brawn doesn’t know anything about running a team or winning championships… oh, wait.

    4. unoc12 says:

      You do realise the reason why Hamilton won his WDC in 2008 was because they focused on him. Kova, while slower, didn’t get updates till after Hamilton and moved over for him on more than occasion.

      Mercedes don’t look good currently.

      Button is easily beatable as long as Hamilton isn’t making errors. McLaren have produced a championship contendor every year since when he entered the spot in 07. 07 and 08 wew championship capable cars. 09 was winning races, 10 nearly won it for him, a few mistakes at the end cost him and it was slower, but still capable. 2011 is race winning

      Mercedes have prodcued the best car once and midfield or backmarkers every other year.
      07 was backmarker
      08 was backmarker
      09 was best
      10 was top midfield to mid-top midfield
      11 is top/mid midfield

      Renault for comparisons sake
      07 horrible
      08 horrible
      09 horrible
      10 top midfield
      11 top/top-mid midfield

      Ferrari
      07 championship
      08 championship material
      09 winning races
      10 nearly a championship for Alonso
      11 winning races

      McLaren
      07 Championship material
      08 championship
      09 winning races
      10 slower, but nearly
      11 winning races

      Red Bull
      07 slow
      08 slow
      09 fastest car for half the season
      10 extreme domination
      11 extremem domination for most of it

      RBR have the best record in previous years, while Ferrari and McLaren have the best record over 5 years. Merceds and Renault have both won championships in the past, but outside the year/s (for renault) they haven’t been at the top.

      Hamilton is a great driver and just needs a great car and consistancy with a bit of luck to do it, instead of the fastest car. Same with Alonso. McLaren and Ferrari can do this most years. Red Bull does the best car year in year out with Newey.

      The other teams aren’t worth it currently.

      1. Sinkers says:

        McLaren did not produce a “championship contender” car in 09. The car was dire until the middle of the season. Hamilton had no chance of winning the championship that year.

      2. unoc12 says:

        That is what I said:

        McLaren
        07 Championship material
        08 championship
        09 winning races
        10 slower, but nearly
        11 winning races

      3. Sinkers says:

        Sorry to nitpick but you started your post by saying “McLaren have produced a championship contendor every year since when he entered the spot in 07″

        Fair enough your list towards the end of your post is more accurate but your earlier statement is simply not true.

      4. KRB says:

        Yes, you said a championship contender every year. ’09 was a dreadful car … from the MP4-24 wiki page: “After the British Grand Prix, the mid point of the 2009 season, McLaren had scored just 13 Constructor’s World Championship points with Hamilton scoring 9 and Kovalainen 4. By the same point in 2008 they had scored 72 points and Hamilton was jointly leading the Driver’s World Championship with Felipe Massa on 48 points.”

        Before his win in Hungary, LH’s results in ’09 were:

        DSQ, 7th, 6th, 4th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 18th.

        18th!!! That car in the first half of the year was a TOTAL DOG!

        Still, as far as I can tell, LH is the only multi-race winning driver in each of their F1 seasons. But having a car that’s only capable of winning 2 or 3 races a year is simply not good enough for LH’s talents. When he’s in the far-and-away top car (which he has never had in F1, unlike Vettel, Schumi, Alonso, Mansell, Prost or even his idol Senna), he’s been dominant. Just check the 2005 F3 championship … 15 wins out of 20, with his teammate (Sutil) grabbing around half the points he did.

      5. Robert Gunning says:

        I would not Renault were horrible in 2008. Sure they had a difficult first half of the season, but in the second half Alonso won two races (although one was fixed) and scored more points in the final 6 grands prix of the season than any other driver.

      6. Sebee says:

        Sorry to bring this up, but 08 season and WDC will always be tainted in my view. The only fair thing to do was to exclude the fixed event and admit that it must be disqualified for obvious reasons. There is no other fair-play outcome here. Which as we know changes 08 WDC.

      7. Chris says:

        Why don’t we exclude Spa while you’re at it? Revisionist history works both ways.

      8. andrew.cocos says:

        Second that.

      9. Sebee says:

        Do spare me the Spa comparisons. One was a fixed event and result, the other a decision you may not agree with – but one which at least has a case.

        And let’s be honest – watch that video again and tell me he didn’t gain a momentum advantage from it. There was time in the race to make that pass. He is a heat of the moment guy and in heat of battle he’s not analytical enough. Pressure is on him to do it better, and also to do it clean. You have the benefit of three Hamilton seasons since and you know now he walks the line and sometimes crosses it.

      10. Martin,UK says:

        Sorry, it may have been fixed with the crash but did Renault make Massa drive away with the fuel hose attached?

        NO. He made a mistake (straight from the mouth of Domenicali). Bit like China 07 for Hamilton.

        Could’ve,should’ve,would’ve is completely irrelevant when looking back.

      11. unoc12 says:

        Hamilton did gain an advantage and one that wasn’t fair as he got it through cutting a chicane, but the problem is the rules are applied rather haphasidly

      12. Sebee says:

        Martin,UK,

        This one always gets the blood rushing! :-)

        You know, any decent lawyer could argue that by virtue of the crash creating a lot of commotion in the pit-lane the Ferrari person in charge of release watching the pit lane likely from the pit wall (other side of the car) was looking at traffic to release Massa and overlooked the refueling taking place on the other side of the car hidden behind the hump – due to high level of activity in said pit lane. A high pressure life/death/injury safety concern situation with clock ticking over your head and every 0.100 counts.

        And let me remind you Massa did not make a mistake – the light on the release pod went green. He didn’t jump or go on red. It was a bad release, not a driver error.

        No way to deny the fact that Renault impacted the entire outcome of the event – not only the winner – by putting in motion an unnatural set of events in the race. Even more reason why the result should have been invalidated or re-listed as a non-championship event. That safety car should have never been brought out, the Ferrari pit stop should have never happened. Because of this even being allowed to stand, I don’t even care about results or WDC for 2008.

        In my eyes this is the most compromising thing to happen to F1 in all my years. Not only the race result being allowed to stand, but the way it was treated, punished (or not) and how keeping a constructor “happy” was clearly put ahead of keeping the integrity of F1. McLaren team individuals take a peak at some IP and Team pays $100M for it, Renault team individuals fix an F1 GP event result and Team gets a “It’s gonna be OK” hug. One individual’s offense correctly punishes the team, the other individual’s offense treated as individual indiscretion with a free pass. Alonso still listed as the winner of the race?!?!?

        I now flip this argument on you – regardless of outcome of WDC, Massa’s pitstop, etc. – please give me your argument why the result of this fixed event should stand and thus count toward the F1 crown? And how it’s inclusion in the 2008 WDC result keeps the crown pure?

      13. KRB says:

        Sebee, neither of the 2008 championship aspirants were a part of the race fixing in Singapore, nor sought to gain any advantage from it. Therefore, in the old maxim, “it was the same for everyone”. Are you sure you’re not Rob Smedley?!

        Spa ruined what was one of the all-time great finishes to an F1 race. It was LH and KR going head-to-head in the fresh rain, saying to each other “let’s see how fast you can go in this stuff”. That’s what racing is about! And in the end, LH waxed Kimi. Kimi couldn’t handle the speed required at the very end, and spun off into the wall.

        Lewis gained an advantage, although he did lift, he did go in behind Kimi from Kimi’s left and passed him on the other side … the skill needed to do that (when Kimi was weaving) is absolutely incredible! It was a grey area, evidenced by the FIA only clarifying the rules after Spa, stating that after a position is given back the car now behind cannot pass again until after the next corner.

      14. Storm says:

        I think you must add that the reason Hamilton won the championship in 2008 was because of Timo Glocks toyota.
        I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the toyota and Mclaren garages just before Timo decided to stop racing 200 mts from the finish line.

    5. Paul says:

      “With the right people and a good budget, Mercedes can build a winning car…”

      Surely that applies to any team on the grid??

      1. Mario Pérez M says:

        You can ask Toyota… LOL

    6. Alistair says:

      It’s interesting to note that the only WDC that Lewis has won is the one for which he had a very good car (he’s never had the best car) AND a second-clas team-mate. For, whenever he’s had a first-class team-mate (07, 10, 11) the drivers take points of off each other and someone else wins.

      McLaren are famous for making mistakes in strategy. This is a massive one. One of which many of their fans don’t approve; and one, I’m sure, that annoys their financial backers. McLaren have only one one WDC and no WCC in the past 10 years – not very good.

      1. KRB says:

        Well, 2007 would’ve been a WCC. Heikki was a decent teammate, but they needed someone stronger. Heikki finished 7th in the 2008 DWC with only 3 podiums … which makes LH’s DWC all the more impressive! (A DWC with a teammate 7th or worse has rarely happened in the modern F1 era … have to go back to the 80′s where it happened last)

  3. Sarah says:

    For the same reason, I assume Sebastian Vettel won’t be going there anytime soon either. Even though some people seem to not like it, having a clear number 1 driver is the way to win championship. For example, this year Vettel basically will win because he didn’t have any real challenge from his teammate. That’s what is hurting Lewis to win any championship at Mclaren. I suspect Alonso will be world champion next year and Sergio Perez to join him in 2013.

    1. GlastoEls says:

      I might point out that last year’s WDC won WITH his team mate leading the points for much of the season!

    2. Craig D says:

      What, so you think Lewis can’t win the championship because he’s got too competitive a teammate? Nonsense! It’s all about the car. Give him a competitive car and he’ll get the job done over the course of a season.

      The excuses I hear for Hamilton from fans are often amusing! Recently I’m starting to read comments saying it’s McLaren’s fault for pairing Lewis with too competitive a teammate, which apparently prevents him from forming an effective title charge (when it’s largely his mistakes that cost him points to Button). But then on the otherhand, whenever debates between Lewis and Jenson crop up, people are fervent in explaining Button is no match for Hamilton!

      Lewis doesn’t need number one status to win. He needs to cut out some errors and for the team to build a stronger car. Any other arguments are superficial, in my opinion.

      1. Alistair says:

        McLaren allow their drivers to race. Ferrari don’t do this. RBR don’t do this. Perhaps Mclaren should think about that.

        As a result of unnecessarily racing his team-mate, Lewis ended up making a minor mistake, which brought a draconian punishment (Renault didn’t get a penalty for releasing an on-fire and soon exploding car!) and Mclaren messed-up strategy.

        McLaren should have told Button, when he was second, to hold station. If he says no, turn his engine down. That way, Lewis would have won and Jenson would have finished second. That would have ensured that both drivers, crucially Hamilton, closed the gap to Vettel AND McLaren closed the gap to RBR.

        There’s nothing more British than winning, Martin.

      2. Craig D says:

        I’m sorry, but I disagree with your points and don’t think your arguments add up.

        Firstly, you’re absolutely correct that Ferrari do not allow their drivers to race. They have a clear number one driver set-up – even if they tried to pretend otherwise in the beginning (but Alonso is too strong a force for it to have ended any other way).

        You can’t paint Red Bull with the same brush though. Vettel may be the darling of the team but he’s not a stated number one and Webber is allowed to race him. Yes, in Silverstone Webber was told to hold station and though it wasn’t fun to hear from a racing perspective, it was understandable with 5 laps to go. If Webber had been ahead, the team wouldn’t have told him to move over for Vettel, that is clear. In my opinion the media went a little overboard jumping on Christian Horner’s back in that race (I don’t recall such hoo-ha in Turkey 2009 when Vettel had to hold station behind Webber), but it’s understandable from the point of view of the media looking for stories.

        Thus as a general principle, Red Bull do not have a de facto number one and do allow their drivers to race. It’s just that Vettel has totally outshone his team mate so far this year. However that’s not to say that parts of the team don’t favour Vettel.

        As for the Hungarian race, I just don’t agree with your analysis. Hamilton didn’t spin because he was under pressure from Button, which you say could have been avoided with team orders. For one, Vettel was only a few seconds behind Button, so Lewis would have been under similar pressure regardless of Button being in the mix, and two, his real pressure came from being on the supersofts and needing to push to make a big gap. In having to push, coupled with his tyres starting to wear out, and then him hitting the damp match first, caused his spin. You can’t put the root cause as being the team not having prevented their drivers racing each other.

        As soon as Lewis put on supersofts again and Vettel and Webber went soft, his chance of victory was all but over. Lewis pitted first, then the Red Bulls, then Button, and I reckon McLaren put the softs on Jenson’s car in reaction to Red Bull (Button even said he questioned the team on the radio why he was on them, suggesting the pre-race plan had been for more supersofts).

        And so the idea that if McLaren had set Lewis as number one and told Button to chill, that they’d have got a one-two Lewis win – given all the other race evidence – is nonsense. It shows a lack of understanding of that race.

      3. KRB says:

        Spot on about Hungary Craig, and the real reason why LH was forced into an error (trying to make up a pit-stop distance on the 3rd set of super-softs).

        Good analysis.

  4. goferet says:

    No surprises. Alonso wouldn’t take it nicely at all having a driver that can beat him hence Hamilton has no hope of ever joining Ferrari regardless of whether he wants to join in the future.

    So when Massa’s contract is up, I think Perez will land the number 2 drive considering the lack of form Bianchi is showing in GP2.

    Now despite Domencalli’s double talk, it’s quite obvious Ferrari are giving up on the 2011 season next month which is a shame for a team with such a history & funds, giving up is a real let down to it’s fans.

    Am quite convinced that ever since Rory Byrne (Who was better than Adrian Newey FYI) left, I can never see Ferrari producing another rocket out the box. Yes, those days are gone so Ferrari have to depend on in-season development like everyone else.

    P.s.

    Is anyone else fed up of reading & hearing over & over again that Alonso is the driver that has scored the most points in the last four races.

    I mean give it a rest already.

    1. Matthew says:

      Alonso has scored more points in the last 4 races than any other driver.

      1. Alan says:

        I hope that makes you happy.

        The other teams make their drivers race their teammates, but you are clearly happy to take the “glory” regardless of how it is achieved.

      2. Galapago555 says:

        “The other teams make their drivers race their teammates”

        Oh, really?

        Germany 2008
        “Lewis was nearly a second quicker than Heikki through the race and when he was told Lewis was quicker he just let him past.”

        Turkey 2010
        “HAM: Jenson’s closing in me you guys.
        Team: Understood, Lewis.
        HAM: If I back off is Jenson going to pass me or not?
        Team: No Lewis, no.”
        (then Jenson was told to save fuel, “Fuel is critical” famous message).

        Not to talk about the Bulls and Mark’s radio last year… “not too bad for a number 2 driver”.

      3. LISA says:

        There is no such thing as how to win there is just WINNING that counts

      4. rafa says:

        yes he has!

      5. Sebee says:

        Hey, who’s the guy who scored the most points over last month?

      6. andrew.cocos says:

        Alonso, or maybe… wait… Alonso!

      7. Benson Jutton says:

        Yes, If you look at the points scored and the drivers who scored them, over the last 4 races Alonso comes out on top.

      8. Ahmed says:

        That’s true. Fernando has indeed accumulated more points than any of his competitors over the last quartet of Grands Prix.

      9. Rich C says:

        lol
        +1

      10. SamB says:

        Jenson Button has scored more points in the last 1 race than anyone else.

      11. Wucash says:

        Button has scored more points in the last race than any other driver.

      12. kowalsky says:

        2013 at ferrari: fernando sergio is faster than you, what do you want us to do?
        Shoot him. It must be some kind of conspiracy. You know it happened to me in 2007. I know.

      13. Anthony says:

        Problem is, it doesnt matters. What you score over the whole season is what counts, and Vettel, Webber and Hamilton have scored more. You cannot only count the races that favor one driver.

      14. Alistair says:

        Yet, Alonso couldn’t score more points than a Rookie. We can only judge drivers in equal machinery. Vettel and Alonso look really good, as their team-mates are second-rate, and their cars are really good. If those two were paired with fellow WDCs, they would look less impressive.

        All the Alonso fans, especially the author of this good article, could perhaps rewatch the 07 season review. They will see that Lewis was, straight away, on Alonso’s pace – Lewis led the WDC from round 3 (outright from round 4) and only missed-out at the final race. I.e., long before the acrimony broke out. And if Alonso was struggling with the tyres, question whether that should happen to a reigning double WDC – he should be quick to adapt. And spare a thought for the poor rookie – everything was new to him.

        The Alonso fans want to forget about 07. I don’t think we can or should…

      15. Matthew says:

        Alistair,

        If this is true then what the he’ll has happened since 2007? Hamilton should be the outright best driver we’ve ever seen by now, no?

        Lewis was undoubtedly quick out of the blocks and it’s arguable that 07 was actually his best season but I’d question his development since.

        I’d put my hand on heart and say he’s the fastest driver in F1 over 1 lap and the most aggressive racer – these are two very important qualities (especially to the purists) but he’s not as smart as Alonso, he’s not as consistent, he’s prone to making more costly mistakes. He’s also a loose cannon with the media at times, not always great for team morale. I also think that Alonso is better under pressure, if you give him half a sniff, he’ll romp home, whilst Lewis can do what he did last weekend…

        Lewis is a fantastic talent but it’s absolutely wrong to think that he has the measure of Fernando. That’s not been decided by a long shot and is probably the best Act in the F1 drama to come.

      16. Storm says:

        You are surely joking. Alonso made a statement a few weeks back regarding Lewis moving to Ferrari. He said he would welcome lewis as a team mate anytime and anywhere, except in McLaren. That will tell you something about what happened in 2007.
        With his car being severely compromised, and with the team boss going public with the statement “we are fighting Fernando, not kimi”… i think its incredible that he ended up on equal points to lewis and just one less than kimi. Further proof of why Alonso is the greatest driver on the grid at the moment.

    2. Kristiane says:

      “Is anyone else fed up of reading & hearing over & over again that Alonso is the driver that has scored the most points in the last four races.”

      Nope not at all lol. Those are just simple facts, much like to most people’s dismay (other than fans) the championship is almost gone due to Vettel’s huge lead.

      1. Alistair says:

        Here’s another fact for you: Vettel has never won a race from lower than 3rd on the grid. He wins because he’s got a really great car; in fact, his car has been designed by Adrian Newey in all bar one of his races: not bad going.

      2. Storm says:

        I tend to agree with this sentiment. Vettel is a fast good driver. But is he really a double world champion (as he surely will be come Novemeber)?

        I think the car has flattered his abilities a lot. If he were to have to fight for the championship, i think we might see a very different side to him.

    3. Matt says:

      I’ll add if there was a rory before, and Adrian now, there will be similar people later. It’s just a matter of time

    4. Mark says:

      Alonso has scored more points in the last 4 races than any other driver.

    5. [MISTER] says:

      Alonso has scored more points in the last 4 races then anyone!

    6. Lilla My says:

      I bet you’d be celebrating if the same could be said about Hamilton. Unfortunatelly, it cannot be so. Jealousy is a dangerous thing…

      It’s been a few years now that I hear Alonso saying only good things about Hamilton, adding he has no problems with him, not even mentioning the fact that he’d welcome Lewis in Ferrari. Somehow, some fans keep on missing these comments.

      Oh, BTW: I don’t know if you already know, but interesting thing… Alonso DID score more points than anybody else in the last 4 races :).

  5. Big P says:

    Personally I’d prefer to see the best British driver at a British team. McLaren’s policy is not that questionable, if Lewis is indeed the best driver with the same machinery then surely he should come out on top, right? McLaren think the world of Lewis, that is obvious from Martin Whitmarsh’ comments.

    Alonso would not want Lewis anywhere near a Ferrari while he is there, there may be more mutual respect these days but Alonso is not stupid. Hamilton in a competitive McLaren presents the biggest threat.

    1. Damian J says:

      Not sure why Lewis would even consider going to Ferrari (apart from the money). How quickly would it take SD to make a strategy decision on backing one of their drivers as #1?

      I would would want some bomb proof legal clauses referring to equal driver status within the team so that the other driver does not gain any specific contractual advantages such as priority access to new parts etc.

      1. Alistair says:

        Sadly, Lewis has little choice. Only three teams have any real chance of winning the WDC. He’s at one of them already. But they probably have the weakest chance: supposed fairness, fair-play, and slow-out-of-the-blocks..

        RBR is built around Vettel. He, Lewis, wouldn’t get parity, should he opt for them.

        Ferrari is now built around Alonso. Moreover, it’s harder to adapt to a foreign team – especially the language barrier. And is there special pressure at Ferrari, too?

  6. irish con says:

    i think alonso could end up being at ferrari for even longer than the deal he has at the minute. mark webber is still pretty good at the minute and fernando is a class above him so i think hamilton will never drive for ferrari. vettel being 3 years younger might have a few seasons much later in his career in a red car. would love to see alonso and hamilton in the same team where alonso was clearly the choosen one so 2007 would be put to bed once and for all. i must admit in 2005 2006 i thought alonso was pretty ordinary. how wrong i was back then. he has impressed me more in the last year or so than he ever did with his 2nd half to 2008 being pretty special also.

  7. John Q says:

    Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari.

    BANCO SANTANDER

    1. Haha. Good point. I think Sandtander is pretty happy with the status quo.

  8. Not sure about Byrne( who was stellar) being ‘better’ than Newey.
    Sure, Rory penned a decent Benetton in 1990, and some good Ferrari’s in the Schumacher era, but Newey has built championship winning cars with multiple teams, in different eras.

    1. unoc12 says:

      Gordon Murray, Newey and Byrne have designed almost every car from the late 80′s with Senna and Prost (think mp4/4) right through to 2011.

      Murrary until Newey (Murrary retires)
      Newey until Byrne (Byrne retires then goes to build a team at Ferrari)
      Byrne until Newey (more Williams cars)
      Newey until Newey (in 97 his williams won with Villneuve, in 98 his McLaren won with Hakkinen)
      Newey until Byrne (Newey has problems and is limited in control, Bryne has team together)
      Byrne until Renault (Byrne retires at the end of 04, coincidentally the last year Ferrari won the championship until 07)
      Renault (??? can’t remember whom), 05 06 Ferrari and McLaren 07 08.
      1 Billion dollar budget made the 09 Brawn

      Until Newey (2010 and 2011).

      IN short, apart from 05-08, every single car was penned by Murray, Newey, Byrne or 1 Billion dollars. During the 05-08 period, Newey rapped up his time at Mclaren, and started building Red Bull. Non of other 3 top designers were in F1 anymore and so finally that is what allowed others to win.

      As to your point Greg, Byrne didn’t win over Neweys other Williams cars because he was building up Benetton and Ferrari.
      Newey restrictions at McLaren could be the reason for 00-04.

      1. Excellent post. Very interesting.

    2. Lev Piautzer says:

      How is “multiple teams, in different eras.” different from “Benetton in ’90 and some Ferrari’s in ’00 era?”

      1. I don’t recall Benetton winning any championships in 1990. Nelson won two races (Suzuka and Adelaide).
        Newey’s cars won four drivers titles with Williams, two with McLaren and it looks like two thus far) with Red Bull.

      2. unoc12 says:

        Greg,
        Lev meant 90′s and 00′s.

        i.e. the 94 and 95 Benettons were done by Byrne and the 00-04 Ferraris were done by Byrne.

  9. Running two joint number one drivers in a team, has proved to be exciting, but yields few championships, when rivals are as competitive.
    Look at:
    Williams in 1986.
    McLaren in 2007.
    McLaren in 2011.

    Ferrari have never had the mindset to run joint number ones. Look at 1990, for example. Prost and Mansell would rightly have felt that they would get equal treatment, and even if Ferrari wanted to do that, one driver inevitably gets priority(Prost).

    1. Neil says:

      A clear #1 driver gives you more WDC chances, but not Constructor Championship chances.

      To get the constructores title (and the money) with a clear #1 policy, you need a #2 that is both good enough to be second all the time, but also happy to had over the wins. Drivers that good don’t want to hand over the wins.

      (Or you need a car so dominant that a driver happy to be #2 can still come second!)

      Neil.

  10. Not while Alonso is at Ferrari, The Scuderia should take a look back to 2007 and see how they worked together and then they will get their answer and that will be when Alonso moves out, Lewis moves in. Although Ferrari will do anything I suspect for 2 top drivers as like McLaren, haven’t won the constructors championship for a while. Although it was only 3 years ago compared to McLaren’s 12 or so that will seem a perilously long time for them.

    1. Ian C. says:

      “Although Ferrari will do anything I suspect for 2 top drivers as like McLaren,”

      That’s hasn’t been Ferrari’s position for years. When was the last time that Ferrari had two top drivers who at the bigging of the season had realistic chances of winning the drivers WC? Prost / Mansell in 1990 maybe. And it didn’t take Ferrari long into that season to put their resources behind Prost.

      1. irish con says:

        massa and kimi in 2008

      2. Ian C. says:

        Massa was signed to play second fiddle to Schumacher and then who ever else Ferrari determined was the number one.

  11. Wucash says:

    Two words – Robert Kubica

    Ferrari will be curious to see what he can do next year, which is why I suspect they gave Massa another year. Also if Kubica doesn’t come back strong, and Massa improves, they can delay the decision for another year.

    1. Alex_D says:

      Why is this always the case….when i see a post suggesting kubica to ferrari, i check the name of the person who posted and it is always from poland?

      1. Wucash says:

        So you think that being born in Poland makes me unqualified to make a reasonable, un-biased suggestion?

        I suppose all the English people believe di Resta will go to Mclaren soon?

        How about this… Kubica is probably the best current driver that didn’t fight for the championship yet. He got pretty close one time, untill his team decided they weren’t ready yet. He is also driven, excpects the very best from his team and rewards them with results. A bonus I suppose is he is good friends with Alonso.

        I’m not Domenicali, nor Montezemolo, but I’m pretty sure Kubica suits Ferrari well. He has the passion, the know-how and the skill. He was already asked to replace Massa not so long ago. This isn’t just a rumour spread by his fellow nationals.

      2. Tim says:

        Apart from not realising that Di Resta is Scottish, not English, the Kubica-Ferrari suggestions makes almost perfect sense.

        Assuming Kubica proves himself upon his return, the only question is whether Alonso will be happy to have two strong drivers at Maranello.

      3. unoc12 says:

        Kubica could work well as he is probably nt as fast as Alonso so that gives a nice 1-2 where the number 2 isn’t a number 2 in contract but by pace…. like Button is ‘equal’ with Hamilton but he never really ends up challenging Hamilton in the end.

        Kubica, I don’t know, I’m not a particular fan, don’t know if he’ll return to normal, don’t know if Ferrari would take him like that, don’t know if he’d want to go, or is suited for Ferrari.

        Massa has 1 more year to improve pace, he has been since his return form his big accident, but it mostly rides on that. If Massa is then within a tenth of Alonso consistantly then he stays, if he isn’t then you have to think about others.

        And it isn’t really much to say he is the best currently to nothave fought for teh championhip.

        Glock, Sutil, Rosberg!!! and Heidfeld are the others.

        Rosberg, I think may challenge Kubica quite well. He is dominating Schumacher, and we don’t know to what extent Schumacher is too slow and to what extent Rosberg is too fast. i.e. rosberg is super fast, schumacher is middle, or schumacher is super slow and rosberg is middle… where they lie on that radar.

        Heidfeld is interesting, matched Kubica at BMW Sauber, interesting that he isn’tnow, is/was it the car?, something in his mind?

    2. Athos says:

      Kubica would have already been there in 2012 if it weren’t for his accident, still, I’m convinced Kubica will be at Ferrari in 2013 at the latest, and this silly season isn’t over yet either, so don’t rule out some something zany happening.

    3. Marcin Bochra says:

      Evan James suggested not long ago that Ferrari looks like waiting to see what would happen to Kubica. Having in mind he is quickly getting better, one must wonder if it still influences Ferrari plans. From the commercial side the move would be excellent as the whole Kubica accident story is happening in Italy – tifosi would go mad. The only questions are when he’s back and at what level.

  12. Coral says:

    Agreed, if Lewis does not leave McLaren he is going to be a once-only WDC, which would be very sad for one of the best drivers on the grid. He should go to Mercedes…Haug likes Lewis and sooner or later Ross Brawn will get the car right. I just hope Lewis is brave enough to leave McLaren because he is wasting his career there.

    1. cjf says:

      I would play devils advocate and wonder if for example Rosberg came knocking at McLarens door at a reasonable price, Lewis might find himself being replaced. Rosberg seems to be held in high esteem by many team principles and must be getting frustrated with the lack of progress at Merc.

      1. James Allen says:

        He’s doing very well -albeit with this car he keeps finishing behind where he starts – but he’s not in Ham/Alo/Vett league

      2. Nico never seems to outdrive the car, even in the wet. And seems to give up the ghost too easily when defending his position. He almost jumped out of Lewis’ way in China.

      3. john mayer says:

        James, have you noticed a common trend this year of Rosberg qualifying ahead of Schumi but ending up behind him by the end of lap 1, he just seems to occasionally lack the killer instinct on race day following a great quali, can you shed any light on this?

    2. Sebee says:

      Like Kimi?

      At least Lewis got a WDC.

      1. andrew.cocos says:

        Which is compromised by Singapore GP, you know.

      2. Sebee says:

        100% compromised. Stained.

        It’s really unfortunate that exclusion of that one event changes the 08 WDC – but life being what it is, that’s how these things tend to work out.

      3. Anthony says:

        What? Did nelson crash into massa? The fuel hose was massa and ferrari’s mistake. not hamilton or renault’s fault.

      4. Sebee says:

        Anthony,

        Had Nelson not crashed, that pit stop would gave never happened under those circumstances. It would have occurred under more controlled and less dangerous conditions.

    3. garoidb says:

      I can’t see Mercedes being a more competitive team than McLaren anytime soon. If, as seems to be the case, the Red Bull and Ferrari options are off the table, the McLaren drive is the one to have. Right now (last two races), they have the best car. The wrong move now could be career suicide.

      1. Sebee says:

        Lewis is a carrier McLaren driver. If he jumps ship it will be a big mistake. He doesn’t fit anywhere else.

  13. Rich C says:

    I never thought for a minute it would ever happen.

    His other comment about the wind tunnel nails one major thing wrong with F1 today. Spending obscene amounts of money on microscopic 200 mph aero tweaks is nowhere close to relevant to anything.

    They should ban wind tunnels and spend their money on other ‘technology’.

  14. Ian C. says:

    “if Lewis does not leave McLaren he is going to be a once-only WDC,”

    He’s probably going to be a once only WC even if he does leave McLaren.

  15. Quercus says:

    You mark my words: the fact Stefano Domenicali says something, makes it neither more nor less likely that it will happen.

    One thing we can be sure of is that however much we’d like to see this and that, and however much teams say yes and no, the drivers’ careers will be full of moves that come out of the blue and catch us, and them, completely by surprise.

    Speculating is a bit of fun but nothing more.

  16. cjf says:

    So both Redbull and Ferrari have now said that they have no intention of signing Hamilton, that won’t do his contract negotiations a lot of good.

    I wonder if far from the saint Lewis/Dick darstardly Alonso image painted by the British media in 2007, it may not be quite as black and white and that actually Lewis may be seen as a little problematic in a team player context.

    This year he has hurt his credentials as a potential team leader with some of his remarks about McLaren and his lack of willing to partake in the wider obligations in his contract (PR events etc.). It must be quite demoralising for team personnel to see their hard work ruined by silly accidents and then have insult to injury added by Lewis effectivly blameing them for his lack of results.

    Contrast this with the way Alonso has galvanised Ferrari around him and acted as a catalyst for the team which appeared a little directionless during the Kimi/Felipe years.

    1. garoidb says:

      I agree with most of this. How did he go from being the future of McLaren to being in seemingly constant conflict with them? I don’t buy the suggestion that Button is pulling strings within the team. Lewis’s pace advantage over JB should be enough to galvanise the team around him, but it isn’t. It is also telling that Ferrari and Red Bull don’t want him despite the fact that each has a seat that he could conceivably fill (contracts notwithstanding).

      And it could be that the roots of this are in earlier incidents such as 2007 or “liegate” – I have no idea.

  17. Jarv027 says:

    So ferrari don’t want 2 world class drivers in same team whats new!
    Lewis is at the right place at the moment, Mclaren always produce fast cars at some point in the season but i can see a problem in the future.
    What if Mercedes start building championship winning cars. Mercedes will drop mclaren so they have one less rival on track for the championship. When was the last time 2 teams had championship winning cars with the same engines??

  18. F1_Badger says:

    My prediction is Perez and Alonso, maybe next year but def in two after massa’s contract expires. That is as long as Perez keeps developing at the rate he is.
    I wouldn’t be shocked if they buy massa out at the end of the year. Of course I could be wrong on all counts!

  19. kevsuths says:

    I don’t think Lewis should leave Mclaren, he is a better racer than Button and shouldn’t need to be a no1 driver at Mclaren.

    If Mclaren hook up a great car at the start of the season Lewis would win the Championship.

    Vettel has had a pretty easy time this season when he is leading from the front, as has been shown Vettel isn’t great when under pressure and wouldn’t match lewis,
    this is why I think if Mclaren had a good car from the start we wouldn’t even be talking about Lewis leaving

    1. F1_Dave says:

      “as has been shown Vettel isn’t great when under pressure”

      were not watching barcelona or monaco then? both times vettel made zero mistakes while under a ton of pressure.

      people point to one mistake at montreal & say ‘vettel cracks under pressure’ yet ignore the 2 races prior when he didn’t crack when under even more pressure than he was at montreal.

      1. Quercus says:

        “Isn’t great under pressure” is probably not the best phrase: “has not yet shown a great ability to race wheel-to-wheel” is probably more accurate.

        So far SV has just shown that he’s consistent when in a dominant car.

        As a thought exercise, imagine what the points would now be if Vettel had been in Hamilton’s place this year and vice versa: or if Vettel and Alonso had been in each others’ seats. Interesting to speculate, eh?

        As a comparison I think if Alonso and Hamilton had been in each other’s seats, points would be much the same as they are. Wha’d’ya think?

      2. irish con says:

        alonso would have more points than hamilton as he wouldnt self destruct at monaco or canada or malaysia the way lewis did. lewis is a mighty fine driver tho.

      3. KRB says:

        Under more pressure?!?!? Really? Button was closing at 1.5 sec’s a lap in Montreal, while in Spain Lewis had only 1-lap-fresher tires, and Vettel’s RB7 had supreme grip out of corners (especially the final corner) meaning that Hamilton was never close enough to pass. McLaren and Hamilton probably should’ve waited another 2-3 laps before changing tires in Spain … sure, they would’ve given up time in those laps, but they would’ve made it up in the final laps, been in clear air longer, and then when LH had caught SV up, he would’ve had a bigger tire advantage (less laps within which to make a pass, but a bigger advantage for said pass).

        Monaco he was holding his nerve, granted, but his tires were about to go totally “off the cliff” in those final laps. He would’ve been passed cleanly, or if he wanted to push the issue, we would’ve seen an incident like he had with Kubica in Australia ’09.

  20. terryshep says:

    I don’t see this McLaren/Lewis/no WDC business at all. When has Lewis ever been in a position to be handed 1st place by Jenson when it mattered? Given that McLaren can afford to provide both drivers with equal machinery, why would not the fastest driver rise to the top – and with the best will in the world towards Jenson, we know who that would be.

    Of course, situations may arise in the future which would need a decision and it would be taken then on the basis of the current WDC situation – though it must always be realised that WCC points are more important for the team and that’s what the drivers are employed to get.

    However, a request to a driver not to indulge in dangerous fighting is not the same as ‘Fernando is faster than you’, which is why I don’t think Red Bull should be castigated for their attempted manipulation at Silverstone.

    I really don’t understand why people who well understand the requirements of their daily jobs don’t realise that drivers are also workers. The team employs them to achieve the best possible result for the firm, their sponsors and ultimately, the jobs of their fellow workers, back in the factory. Should they not, therefore, do whatever is best for their firm? Or is the firm simply supposed to provide these drivers with racing cars for them to indulge their passion for speed on a Sunday afternoon? If that’s the case, why do they pay them? Think about it.

    If Lewis and Jenson are in this position of answering to no-one, they are incredibly privileged, they are being paid enormous sums, apparently with no responsibilty whatever to their employers.

    The truth is, of course, that as long as the sponsor gets the media exposure he contracts for, the details aren’t important; at that level, nobody cares who does what as long as it’s on TV. This is what gives McLaren the ability to let their drivers race.

    1. David Goss says:

      The reason McLaren let their drivers race is because they are much better at driver management than Red Bull.

      Whitmarsh accepts the risk of the occasional crash to give the drivers freedom, and as a result they feel trusted and respected by the team and each other. Happy employees perform better.

      Having said that I guess their job is a little easier to begin with – I don’t think Button and Hamilton feel they have much to prove to one another, so there is less potential for friction between them.

      Side note, I noticed Button dropped a hint about the excessive PR duties in his 200th GP party speech – “When someone said 200 to me I though it was the number of PR days I’ve done this year”. Clearly both drivers are a little fed up of doing so much media stuff.

  21. Stewart says:

    I completely disagree, Your comment isn’t based on any facts, the mercedes might never be a championship winning car and wasting his career seems a bit strong!

  22. Raymond says:

    I don’t see Hamilton in a Ferrari; after how long he was with McLaren. To be honest I don’t ever see Hamilton changing teams in F1. I can see Alonso finishing his career in Ferrari though. Before he goes out of retirement to drive for Merce… oh wait. That’s the other (then-)double world champion who joined Ferrari

    1. Andy c says:

      After Schumacher going to mercedes anything is possible.

  23. Robert Gunning says:

    I agree with what most people say here, if Hamilton stays at McLaren with Button as a team mate, then it is highly unlikely he will be world champion again. Looking at the evidence Alonso nearly won the title last year, despite making mistakes at the beginning of the season and having an inferior car, due to having number 1 status within the team. However, Red Bull nearly lost the driver’s title due to giving Vettel and Webber equal status (ignoring the Silverstone wing debacle). Equal treatment is what also lost Hamilton or Alonso the championship in 2007, forgetting the shenanigans or the laughable strategy in China. So based on this evidence, the best way to win the championship is have a clear number one and a strong supporting driver; Domenicali realises this. Let’s face it, when Hamilton won the Championship in 2008, he was a clear number 1 within the team; anyone who believes Kovalainen had equal status is deluding themselves.

  24. Becken says:

    Domenicalli is only praising his own drivers and making sure to Alonso that he would never have a driving with the same talent alongside him.

    Fair enough…

    But what amazes me in this thing about Lewis driving for McLaren and Fernando driving for Ferrari is that both men seem to be driving in the wrong team.

    Everybody knows how Fernando loved McLaren before the disaster in 2007 and for me his character – very cold and calculating – match with McLaren´s ethos.

    Question for you, James: Dont you think Lewis have some qualities that the Tifosi would love?

    Sometimes I think Lewis have a very latin personality. The man is a fighter, very passionate and brave, maybe in the same mood as was Gilles.

    Fernando would never risk a move like Lewis’s in Monza 2010, but Lewis would never sit and wait to see what happens like Fernando did at Abu Dhabi/2010. Lewis would go for it…

    I bet that every Tifosi would love to see Lewis in red hunting Vettel like Lewis did at Hungary last week.

    Enzo loved Gilles and I bet he would get in love for Lewis too.

    1. James Allen says:

      The tifosi love effort and passion and emotion. I’m sure he would be popular with them if he won for Ferrari in his way, but whether it would be the same having come from McLaren..

      1. The Tifosi would love Lewis’ style, I have no doubt of that. In 1990, although Prost won 5 times, and Mansell only once, the Tifosi loved Nigel’s attacking style, and personality(in the car!). They remember his passing of Gerhard Berger into Peraltada on the penultimate lap for 2nd, even though Prost won the race from 13th on the grid!
        They loved Alesi too, for similar heart on sleeve reasons.
        I’m sure they appreciate Michael’s relentless winning and Fernando’s application, but I’m not sure if I see the same ‘love’(for want of a better word).

    2. Wucash says:

      One thing is gold at Ferrari – no driver is bigger than the team. This is not what I’m getting from Lewis at the moment. Maybe in future this will change, but right now he is not ferrari ‘material’.

      1. Quercus says:

        What! — even MSC? I don’t think any other driver ever thought of himself as important as Michael did — and perhaps with some justification.

      2. Marc says:

        Shumi not a team player? Totally disagree. Him being the number 1 driver in his beneton and Ferrari years, does not mean he was not working for the team. 1999 comes to mind when being out of reach for the driver’s championship after his return from injuries, he did is best to help Irvin to the wdc and to win the wcc for his team.

  25. Mingojo says:

    Alonso has said he wouldn’t mind to be in Ferrari with Hamilton, and that could be an exciting prospect.
    James, do you think Fernando was treated fairly in 2007? I recall you mentioned in F1 racing that Lewis received better strategies than Fernando.

    1. irish con says:

      you have no chance on getting james opinion on this, he doesnt give his opinions when it will most likely result in a war on his website. but of course fernando didnt receive fair treatment from monaco onwards. no driver can out qualify fernando by 6 tenths as it was in china i think when fernando kicked the doors down in mclaren after they tampered with his tyre pressures and the fia guy had to be in the team in brazil. no smoke without fire.

    2. Robert Gunning says:

      A bit like the one in China – Lol. However, on a more serious note that there was a rumour that Alonso tyre pressures were not correct at Fuji and China, although I suspected this was sour grapes from Alonso at the time, what changed my opinion was Ron Dennis’ commented about Hamilton’s retirement from the race: “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando.” This does strike me as someone who is equally treating two employees.

      1. Robert Gunning says:

        Sorry meant to put “does not” instead of “does”

  26. Michael S says:

    Unless it is a situation like Hamilton and Alonso at Macca when no one knew how fast Hamilton would be out of the door I can’t see top drivers ever pairing up again. Alonso would never want anyone else at Ferrari PERIOD that would race him… Hamilton and Vettel I think would be up for a good challenge, but would not see Horner or Whitmarsh wanting both on their teams.

  27. Roddy says:

    When was the last time Ferrari had the best car straight out of the box? Maybe 2004?
    I can see Vettel going to Ferrari 2013. If Alonso doesn’t make champion next year his position be less than secure.
    “No one is indispensable!” said Montezemolo.

    1. Holly says:

      Alonso is doing his best with the car he has, his position is secure till 2016 because, if they can’t win the title next year is not gona be because Alonso.

  28. Fulveo Ballabeo says:

    Wants a young driver, unless not.
    Hamilton is welcome, unless not.
    Will focus on next year’s car, unless not.

    Talk about saying a lot, without saying anything.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think he’s very clear on both Hamilton and 2012.

  29. mo kahn says:

    TO ALL MCLAREN FANS

    Wasn’t Bruce Mclaren from New Zealand? So, how can Mclaren be called a British Team? Just coz’ its now owned by Brits? Hardly makes the difference who owns the company, it will be a team from New Zealand… just like, Rolls Royce will always be British irrelevant to the fact that Germans own it and like Jaguar and Ranger Rover the two distinct British Marques will always be British, irrelevant to the fact that Indians own them.

    The only true British Team and the most pure and Legendary British Marque is LOTUS. Irrelevant who owns it currently.

    Colin Chapman of Lotus has contributed the most in terms of technical innovations to formula one than any individual, from Monocoque Principal to Sidepod designs which is still the norm of Formula one and will always be.

    So to all the Brits out there… Get behind Lotus for it is your very own Ferrari.

    1. James Allen says:

      What anthem plays on the podium when they win? That’s surely the arbiter. When RBR win it’s now the Austrian anthem.

      1. Phil says:

        I’ve long beleived that F1 teams don’t really have a nationality in this day and age – they are multinational, even global, organisations. National Anthems certainly for the teams (if not the drivers too) are irrelevant. It’s not as if anyone in F1 is officially representing their country anyway.

        Perhaps it ought to be like boxing or wrestling and all the teams/drivers can have their own theme music. I’m sure everyone can think of some good suggestions…

      2. mo kahn says:

        James,
        RBR is a re-badged fresh entry, very much like Brawn and now Mercedes are re-badged Honda, we are accustomed to constant changes of Marques in F1, but when you strictly talk of a true British Marque, you have to admit it is Lotus. On a personal level, I am complete fan of Colin Chapman, and no one can deny the fundamental contribution he has single handedly made to Formula one and also to the Motorsport in general.
        Ofcourse, there have been other marques like BRM etc. and ofcourse Williams which are out and out right British Marques.
        When one comes across Mclaren, even though British Anthem plays for it now but it is a team that was brought into existence by Bruce Mclaren, so, it is but obvious that Mclaren does not have a 100% British pedigree as Lotus, and now Williams have.

        It is a debatable subject I completely understand, but it is a subject of debate nonetheless.

        On a personal level, for me… there have been brilliant engineers and contributors to Formula one over its existence and will be so in future, but no one has had a more powerful influence on Formula one other than Enzo Ferrari and Colin Chapman. So, while Italy practically worships Enzo Ferrari.. Britain should least bit hold and exhibit pride for the Legendary Englishman – Colin Chapman and his creation – Lotus.

        I hope I have not offended anyone, I’m only establishing a perspective.

        :)

    2. Bevan says:

      Better a Brit team than a New Zealand team anyway Mo Kahn as down here in NZ bugger all of my fellow Kiwi’s have even heard of Bruce McLaren & the amazing legacy he began.
      Ask any Kiwi who Denny Hulme is,9 times out of 10 they won’t have a clue who your talking about.Our 1 & only F1 WDC,in an era when that claim was worth 15 Olympic golds at least in my opinion.
      “McLaren UK,not a problem”.

      1. mo kahn says:

        Indeed, while I was in Christchurch (visiting), I was surprised to learn that Australian Touring-car championship is more treasured than F1. Sad, to see that. But, you have to hand it out UK they did turn Mclaren into a dominant force in F1.

      2. Damian J says:

        I think you will find that although McLaren had some very succesful years in the 1970′s, it was Ron Dennis that transformed McLaren into the very succesful F1 business it is today!

    3. Quercus says:

      Flawed argument.

      McLaren, the company, was always based in Britain even though it was started by a Kiwi — a Kiwi who had moved to Europe in 1958, aged 21.

      Surely a team ‘belongs’ emotionally to the country where the cars are developed and built, whoever the owner might be? I wonder how much support there is for Red Bull in Austria? Is there more or less than there is in the UK?

      1. mo kahn says:

        Its a very complex situation.. in this era of globalisation… Toyota and Honda and even BMW builds cars in the U.S. yet they remain Japanese and German car makers respectively.

        And no one can take one thing out from Britain.. They are epicentre of formula one technology and development, barring ofcourse Maranello and Hinwil, Toyota F1 tried it in Germany but couldn’t pull off a Ferrari for it is best advised to head to Britain if one wants to start an F1 team.

        Baring this in mind.. the origins of a marque is from the country or the individual’s country of origin where n’ who created it.

        Like Colin Chapman hails from Britain, hence Lotus will always be British.

        Like Enzo Ferrari hails from Italy, hence Ferrari will always be Italian.

        Like Renault hails from France, hence it will always be French.

        Likewise, RBR will be Austrian for Mateschitz, the owner of REDBULL hails from Austria.

        Interesting fact: Jaguar from whom Mateschitz bought the team from to form Red bull is now owned by Indians, now would you ever consider the Premium British Marque Jaguar an Indian Marque?

    4. Luke Roberts says:

      Mclaren merged with Ron Dennis’ Project FOUR team , so surely it can be considered British? After all that is the reason the chassis’ are named MP4.

      Also, Team Lotus will probably play the Malaysian national anthem if they win (since they’re a registered company there). Or if you mean the other Lotus, which is owned by Proton, who are Malaysian.

      1. mo kahn says:

        The marque LOTUS irrelevant to who’d own it, it is The Best Team ever to hail out of Great Britain.

    5. Damian J says:

      Have you heard of Ron Dennis?

    6. Damian J says:

      You can’t have it both ways!

      How can Lotus be British when it is a Malaysian team that purchased the Lotus name, yet in the same breath you try to claim McLaren is not British even though Ron Dennis aquired full control of McLaren in 1981 following the merger with his own successful Project FOUR team.

  30. mo kahn says:

    Coming to Hamilton and Ferrari, it would be Giles effect if Hamilton races for Ferrari.. True, Alonso is the most complete driver in F1 and the only man who beat Shuey in his Helm. But, the flawed out but fast Hamilton does bring entertainment value to F1… Mclaren’s image is too boring when compared to the Flamboyant image Ferrari posses.
    So, a driver of Hamilton’s mould is best suited at Ferrari.

    Mclaren has always misused their drivers, from Prost to Montoya to Alonso… So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would hand out the same treatment to Hamilton and so far the signs of which has not been surfaced, but with Mclaren you can never say… Mclaren have been dispassionate when it comes to their drivers… Ron Dennis was a joke in this aspect.

    Yes, a talent like Hamilton deserves a Ferrari, but since, its seems like an impossibility.. hence, which team he drives for is irrelevant.

    The only thing about Hamilton is that he shoots himself on the foot and is rather habituated to it, if not in car then out of the car… Like Steve Slater of ESPN-Starsports pointed out “Someone should put a tape on his (Hamilton’s) mouth when he steps out of the car”…. Maybe thats what we should do…. or even better… Mute the mike :)

    1. Damian J says:

      “Mclaren’s image is too boring when compared to the Flamboyant image Ferrari posses.”

      That is a matter of opinion.Some would disagree when you see McLaren’s drivers, Lewis and Jenson battle it out.

      Having a pre determined no 1 driver can be boring!

      Some would even say that Hamilton’s talent would be wasted given Ferrari’s recent performance.

  31. giorgio ch. says:

    Can’t understand the point for LH to go to Ferrari, that’s because there is Alonso already. If there wasn’t him then this case could be considered as a positive factor for Lewis. But, now seems that he is in best place where he could be for the time. And by the way, I don’t think Ferrari will go much quicker than Mclaren, more over, one can anticipate vice versa.

  32. Darren says:

    Ferrari can’t make it any clearer that they’ve put their long term faith in ALonso. Therefore they don’t need Hamilton.

    Equally, I can’t see Hamilton going to Ferrari without some sort of guarantee of equality, which would undoubtedly unsettle Alonso, which is the last thing they would want to do to their long term star.

    I am surprised that they have extended Massa again. He always seems to be at the back of the top 6 cars this has really hurt Ferrari in the WCC. It also seems that Alonso has given up on him his help to take points of Vettel and he only talks about Webber and McLaren in this capacity.

    There does not seem to be any better options for Lewis than to stay at McLaren, but then McLaren is a a pretty good option to keep.

    Whitmarsh seesm to be doing a very good job of keeping the two drivers happy. Lewis handled Button’s win and his own mistakes very well at Hiungary, so perhaps he’s learned a thing or two from his experiences this year – and from Button’s example.

    Ferrari and McLaren are in the same boat where they need to start the season on the pace of Red Bull and I’d say they both have equal chances if achieving that.

    So for Lewis its all about maxmising the chance he has right now. Learn from Button’s experience and how Button relates with the team. Reduce his errors and maximise his chances.

    With a team mate of Button’s class he’s not going to always be in front like he was with Heikki but he knows he has the speed to win most of the time and he needs to be picking up big points when it’s Button’s day.

    Without the 2x DNF’s Button recently suffered Button would be closer to Vettel than Lewis is now, so clearly it’s not all about the car.

    Lewis has had a tough year for whatever reasons, but his return to form in Germany seemed to do him the world of good.

    My hope is he has his mojo back permanently and he and Button can have a good campaign from the start next year.

    If his car is almost as quick as Vettel, he can win it.

  33. Ricardo Consulini says:

    I’am italian and have supported Ferrari since I was born, but I must say that I would be extremely disappointed and would possibly drop the sport. He is not consistent enough and his aggressiveness causes more damage than befefits. He is sure exciting to watch, but as a fan I want to see Ferrari on top, kinda like Alonso last year. Beside Hamilton will never speak our language.

    1. David Goss says:

      Do you mean Ferrari’s internal communication is all in Italian? I hadn’t thought about that.

    2. Peter C says:

      Like Il Leone spoke Italian? Does it matter?

    3. Martin,UK says:

      Ferrari weren’t on top last year. They came 2nd in WDC and 3rd in Constructors.

      Regardless of that though. Hamilton in a McLaren and Alonso in a Ferrari competing against each other is what most fans want to see. Its the early 90′s all over again. Unfortunately the pesky German in a fast car has come into the story a bit too early.

    4. Damian J says:

      Ross Brawn was n’t Italian, neither was Jean Todt, Neither was Scumacher or Massa…and along with neither almost all of Ferrari’s top drivers in history.

      So what difference does it make that Hamilton is not Italian?

  34. Anton says:

    There’s no need to hire Hamilton. Alonso is more than capable of winning the WDC.

  35. Dom Jones says:

    Focusing on the next year’s car as early as possible is always a good idea. Look what happened at Honda in 2008. They focussed on 2009 and produced the Brawn car for Button which absolutely destroyed the competition in the first half.

    Likewise, look at what happened at McLaren at the same time. The championship forced them to keep working on the 2008 car right until the end of the season. At the start of 2009 they had one of the worst McLarens ever made. Ferrari was similar but not as bad.

    Alonso and Hamilton need good cars at the start of the year if they want to challenge Vettel. But if they focus on 2012 now, RB will do the same. Hmm tricky.

  36. Enoch says:

    The relationship between Button and Hamilton is professional and artificial. Jenson doesn’t like Lewis. One of the reasons he joined Mclaren is the challenge from Lewis that Janson felt at Monza 2009, when Lewis crashed out trying to attack Button in the last round.

    I am conviced that Janson would prefer Vettel to Hamilton of winning the championship. Whenever Janson, Sebastian and Lewis are together, Janson always ignores Lewis to have a chit-chat with Sebastian. Watch attentively the situation after the qualification at Hungaroring.

    1. Goob says:

      Jenson is certainly fake on many levels.

      In my eyes, had the FIA not wanted to save Honda/Brawn – they would never have allowed one team to get away with the double diffuser scam.

      Jenson’s WDC is so artificial – it’s quite sickening.

  37. Justin Bieber says:

    Hamilton wont go to Ferrari or Red Bull because they don’t want him. They both already have 2 fast/strong drivers and what they need is not Hamilton but Button. Hamilton is getting to be a liability more than anything else. Why would a top team want a guy who’s called more often than not in front of the steward and still doesn’t get it, wins as a team but point fingers at anyone but himself when things go wrong and seems not to have evolved as a driver since he join F1. Hamilton is extremely fast, by now he should have realized that its not just about being fast, just ask Button.

  38. Holly says:

    Hamilton don’t have anywhere to go, he is stuck at McLaren and by the time Alonso retires, Hamilton will be too old to hire him, 32 or 33 years old, and we will see if Alonso retires at the end of 2016.

    Lewis should stay at McLAren and behave like a team leader and not like a baby, for once he should watch his teammate, perfect gentleman and perfect team supporter.

  39. Off topic:

    Currently the Indian GP bosses are worried about a very hot race there next April.

    I have a potential solution:

    1) Bernie and Hembrey want more rain races.

    2) It is cooler in July and August than April, in India.

    3) It rains a LOT in July and August in the Delhi region: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Delhi

    Ergo:

    Run the race in August! It’ll be cooler AND huge chance of rain! Problem solved.

    (If they want it even cooler, March or December are the only cooler months that fall within the current season… but very little chance of rain!)

  40. Rudy says:

    As a Ferrari fan I would very much like to see Lewis in a red car. But a mature Lewis, not this GP2 kind of driver making crazy moves and blaming everyone else.
    Stefano Domenicalli, with due respect, is [mod] uncapable of managing accordingly the Scuderia. Examples:
    1 Lack of development in 2009
    2 Appointing Fisichella to stand in for Massa
    3 Keeping Massa although how useless is today this little guy
    4 Underperform in 2010 and 2011 at season start
    5 The rescale problem in the wind tunnel
    6 Disastrous strategy management since 2009
    7 Lack of agressive development approach

    May I continue?

    In the days of Jean Todt he always was adamant Fernando Alonso would NEVER come to Ferrari. The moment he step down, the guy was already signed. Domenicalli says the same on Hamilton. I guess, and hope, 2011 to be the last season with Domenicalli as Sporting Director. Then, great things should happen in the Scuderia. By definition, Italians are too political, too passionate. It requires a good cold head up there. Stefano doesn’t has it. Strange Montezemolo has given such a wide margin. Weird.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      Yeah Jean Todt made the mistake of hiring Kimi instead of Fernando. Everybody makes mistake. Stephano is not Jean Todt but he could be worst.

      1. Rudy says:

        Mistake? Come on! Kimi’s first year = 1 WDC. Fernando already 1.5 years and no WDC. Head to head paired in the same team, Fernando would see nothing but Kimi’s back wing.

      2. Justin Bieber says:

        You have a short memory. Do you remember that Kimi was fired because he was slower than Massa in 2008/09. Kimi was hired to replace Schumacher and he failed miserably. I know he won the WDC on year 1 but for the next 2 years he was only a shadow of himself. He was sacked because clearly wasn’t the drivers need at Ferrari to lead and inspire the team.

        The guy was fast and won a WDC, you cant take that away from him. Bu then he got slow and unmotivated and got sacked.

        I respect Kimi and his fan, but Fernando Alonso was not responsible for Kimi’s sacking. Kimi was responsible for his own sacking, he is gone and its time to move on.

        Alonso is the new leader at Ferrari, he came very close to winning the WDC in 2010 and I’m sure he will have other opportunities in the near future.

  41. Goob says:

    It’s not that Hamilton is over aggressive, it’s that Button is so passive, that he follows way behind, and very occassionaly picks up the others left overs…

    Hamilton has the right amount of aggression…

    Button is so passive, that he could put a baby to sleep before his mum could finish a lullaby…

    I find it laughable that people think Hamilton has anything to learn from Button – his only skill is picking up scraps. Period.

    1. Sinkers says:

      Button does tend to take a more ‘active’ role with the team’s strategy and tyre selection, something I’d like to see more of from Lewis.

      He should have overruled the team in Monaco for example and demanded he go out and get the proverbial ‘banker’ lap in qualifying, instead of complaining about it afterwards.

      My guess is that Alonso is probably more Senna-like in terms of the demands he puts on the team his involvement in key decisions. He’s older of course and has 2 WDCs under his belt which helps.

  42. Marcel says:

    I would love to have a change in Ferrari and came a young driver to replace Massa. Give a new look to the team I think they need urgently. Youth and aggressiveness

    1. Goob says:

      Kobi is the obvious replacement for Massa.

      Unfortunately, there is a severe risk that Alonso might get a beating from him, like he did with Hamilton.

      This may push Alonso over the edge… nonetheless – it would be entertaining and explosive.

  43. lee jordan says:

    bring back shumi , just give him one more year in 2013 , he will delever .

  44. Exotic Cars says:

    Motor racing is a very passionate sport. Drivers fall in love with their cars. Never criticize a driver who can express his burning need both on the track and in the honesty of his words.

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