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Hamilton “ready to go” on new F1 deal
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jul 2012   |  5:04 pm GMT  |  67 comments

This being the British Grand Prix weekend, there is an inevitable focus on Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as the UK news media look for some fresh angles on the pair.

Inevitably most interest focusses on Hamilton’s next contract, as his existing deal is up at the end of this year. At a briefing with journalists on Thursday Hamilton said he is “ready to go” on the next contract and that he’s decided what he wants to do.

“A new contract is something I’m thinking about but I haven’t got anything sorted yet. I am ready to get it done,” he said. “Being ready means you’ve made a decision and you know what you’re going to do. At some point soon I would like to get something in place.”

This certainly sounds like he’s staying put; Hamilton’s management team XIX have been looking for improved terms from what McLaren already felt was a very generous contract, agreed in the pre-credit crunch days. Hamilton’s options are not extensive, as Ferrari wouldn’t want to pair him with Alonso and in any case seem to be looking elsewhere. Mark Webber seems set to stay at Red Bull, the only question being whether it’s for one year or the two years he’s looking for.

Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has said that the team will decide in the coming weeks on whether Michael Schumacher continues in the Silver Arrows although the seven times champion has said that he will not be ready to decide until October.

Hamilton is the kind of driver the team could do with to kick them forward, but there is little talk of that at the moment.

McLaren believe that Hamilton wants to stay with them. The fact that Hamilton was talking about wanting the new deal to allow him to break a long standing McLaren protocol and keep his race trophies (McLaren drivers have to get replicas) shows that they are into fine details rather than big picture items like retainer.

Jenson Button’s problems recently, with only six points scored in the last five races, will also have helped Hamilton’s cause in persuading the team how much they need him.

Hamilton was fastest in practice on Friday, but it doesn’t mean a great deal at this stage as many drivers didn’t do many laps.

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67 Comments
  1. Andy R says:

    James, what about other big teams? Do Ferrari/RBR/Williams/Renault allow winning drivers to keep original trophies?

  2. Lilian robins says:

    I reckon Lewis will stay with mclaren he’s now proved how much better than button he is when he’s on form even though he was still better at his worstt last year lol!! If not at mclaren would live to see him with Nico at Mercedes xx

    1. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

      I’m a mclaren fan but part of me is itching to see this happen as well. Mclaren can’t seem to get the operations and strategy side of things nailed and with margins as tight as they are, it’s really costing him in the championship. Merc haven’t been perfect (esp. With schumi) but you have to think that with the people and resources they have, that they will get it right sooner or later.

      James, who do you think has the most to gain from the change to engine regulations? Maybe looking at it a little simplistically but surely with the push for smaller capacity but greater efficiency, the likes of Renault and Merc should come out of this best given that the regulations are pushing in a direction that the mainstream auto industry is already well into.

      1. James Allen says:

        Mercedes feel that they will have an advantage with the new engines.

        That’s why Red Bull are reluctant to give up anything on the chassis side in the RRA negotiations

      2. Hendo says:

        Hi,
        What engine supply contract do McLaren have in place with Merc? Are they going to go their seperate ways when the current contract expires?

      3. James Allen says:

        I believe it’s to 2015, but I’d imagine they will go beyond that, as Merc feel they’ll have the best new generation engine.

    2. Craig D says:

      Well the second part of that makes no sense considering Button was runner-up last year!

  3. Matt W says:

    I hope he stays at Mclaren. Clearly the Ferrari seat won’t open up until Alonso retires, but it will happen eventually as its a marketing dream. Mclaren should concede on the individual sponsor clause and Hamilton should concede the trophies.

    They are stronger together than apart.

  4. Kay says:

    Hamilton can wait till MSC decides or even go to HRT Ferrari or whatever for all he wants, but at the moment I see McLaren as the only team that can offer him success and full team backing to be honest.

  5. Rob Newman says:

    It is not a done deal yet. I am not convinced that he is going to stay at McLarens. Hamilton looks very happy; Di Resta isn’t and Mercedes said they will make a decision on Schumi within six weeks. I wonder if all these are related or just a coincidence.

    Like Vettel, Webber will be better off staying at Red Bull. He is doing quite well this year and probably will be leading the championship after Silverstone.

    Wonder where this leaves Ferrari as they have already started talking about another driver. I think Jaime Alguersuari will be a better option for many reasons.

    1. Dave says:

      Shame about Di Resta – would be good to see what he could do in a better car and Merc would seem a logical step for him…

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      +1 It seems Hamilton going to Mercedes…

      Anyway James, which team can pay more for Lewis, McLaren or Mercedes? (I think money is the only real reason for everybody).

      1. James Allen says:

        Mercedes seem to be saying that the discussions with Schumacher will start after summer break, so they aren’t in a rush it seems

  6. Horno says:

    McLaren is the only serious option at the moment..
    Only if Webber moves to Ferrari, Hamilton might have a chance over there.. But i doubt it if Vettel wants that, but on the other hand, he is set to go to Ferrari in 2014 anyway…

  7. Peter says:

    Personally I would like to see Hamilton with an other team to prove that he can be just as good in an other car, too. Kimi was the fastest on the planet in his McLaren years, but since he is just not the same.

    1. Matt says:

      Yet he won the Championship with Ferrari…

    2. matthew says:

      how many other drivers have had 2 world champion team mates?i dont think he has anything to prove.
      his talent is clear to see,when he’s on form he wont be beaten by any of his team mates,regardless of who they are.

      1. Dave C says:

        Well you’re wrong.

    3. Elie says:

      Yeah but Kimiwas the fastest in a slow Ferrari ad well. He has been out for 2 years and has been on the podium in half the races do far for Lotus ( phenomenal effort really)

      I’m sure Lewis can do well at Mercedes or any team and that’s exactly why he should do it if he gets a chance. If he does his value and the teams will sky rocket anyway!!

  8. JimmiC says:

    Wow, I never knew that Mclaren drivers couldn’t keep their trophies.

    Are they allowed to keep one of their championship winning cars?

    1. daphne says:

      Only a replica. ;)

    2. Tom in adelaide says:

      I think Ron and Lewis have some kind of deal that kicks in if Lewis wins 3 or 4 WDC’s?

      1. gudien says:

        Too Much Information

      2. James Clayton says:

        I frowned. I read it again. And re-read it. I got it. I laughed!

      3. Alex W says:

        He’s allowed to buy a Mclaren F1 GT roadcar if he wins 3. One is kept new for the first driver to do so!

      4. Martin says:

        So he can go slower than his Pagani Zonda LM, which doesn’t have a BMW engine in it :-)

    3. Kay says:

      I’d say the teams would be quite stingy if they don’t allow their drivers to keep one car, since they have many over the course of the season, and they do no good to the team other than waste space for storage. Not many teams like McLaren, Ferrari or Mercedes have huge warehouses or museums for storing them.

  9. durannarud says:

    “The fact that Hamilton was talking about wanting the new deal to allow him to break a long standing McLaren protocol and keep his race trophies (McLaren drivers have to get replicas) shows that they are into fine details rather than big picture items like retainer.”

    From what I know of negotiations this is just a leverage point to get more money.

    1. Optimaximal says:

      I don’t think it is. McLaren have long since done this and enforced the same rules for Prost, Senna, Lauda, Hakkinnen, Coulthard & the rest.

      Lauda & Hakkinnen both received their genuine trophies (McLaren have the dupes) once they retired from racing.

      1. Kay says:

        and Hakkinen lost them all in a fire a few years ago…… :(

  10. Dmitry says:

    I reaaly do like Lewis, I am his fan since he entered F1… I don’t see him in any other team except McLaren.

    Not because I don’t want that, but because he doe not belong at any other place.
    Of course, I already anticipate the flood of disagreement comments, but c’mon, let’s be real (I must point that this is my point of view which I won’t change whatever happens, so please restrain from trying to change my mind).

    RBR… a drinks team, arrogant and without any respect to other teams. They have Vettel (and obviously his curly hair and finger).

    Ferrari… a nice team, a bit “over the others”, but they are the history of F1 and their respect to F1 is enormous. They have Alonso. Lewis won’t mind joining with Alonso again, but as already was noted – Ferrari won’t want that. No way.

    Mercedes. Possibly the best “other” team for Lewis (except McLaren). The biggest problem – their commitment to F1… or the lack of it. In addition they haven’t achieved much since Brawn GP’s days.

    Lotus. What? A team with a fictious name without any true F1 history… nah.

    And here we come to McLaren. It’s the team he grew with, became a champion and became the one who he is right now.
    But (unfortunately). This is the team which failed to give him a proper car since he became a champion. This is the team, which has a very nice car this year, but has it’s race operations in disarray. They have Button and they do NOT have anyone else the level of Lewis to sign – this is not good because it may give Lewis false confidence.

    But there’s a glimpse of hope, first mentally Lewis is stronger than anyone in F1 right now, he know what he can do and how to do it. Second, looks like his father can really once again play some importaint role in his career.
    And third – big changes are coming to F1, and may be it’s the right thing to do to enter new era with the same team you came to F1 and then decide where to move (or not) further.

    1. Dave C says:

      RBR – A drinks company that’s beating the pants off Mclaren year in year out, also Vettel is already better and more successful than Hamilton, the signs were there when the boy in the Torro Rosso basically nearly cost Lewis the title in 2008 with supreme dry/wet skills, Hamilton would get eaten alive at Redbull.

      Ferrari – They are Formula 1! With the best all round driver in Alonso and you wouldn’t hear Stafano coming out with “basically we were racing Fernando” like Ron did to stitch up Alonso and hand Hamilton the title, Karma took care of the rest, besides with the level Alonso is driving at this year he would also eat Hamilton alive.

      Mercedes – They power the Mclarens, so if thru quit Mclaren better hope Cosworth are up to the job seem as Redbull are now Renault’s number 1 team and obviously Ferrari wouldn’t power Mclaren, and they haven’t done anything since the Brawn days? I could have swore Nico won in China…

      Lotus – Ok the name is not real but to say the team hasn’t got history is false, obviously the 2 world titles Schumi gave Benetton and the 2 titles Alonso gave Renault have slipped your mind, besides Grosjean is proving he’s as quick as anyone and would also probably beat Hamilton.

      1. Fantomius says:

        ahah Maybe you mean Alonso’s arrogant and nearly unbelievable LUCK would eat Hamilton alive. I agree.
        If you mean something different, take a look at what rookie-lewis did in 2007 (despite Alonso having a contract that guaranteed him to play the first fiddle at macca.. and you could see it clearly in Monaco and Australia)

    2. MikeyB says:

      “mentally Lewis is stronger than anyone in F1 right now, he know what he can do and how to do it.” Mentally stronger than Alonso, who has two wins under his belt in a slow and difficult car and is single-handedly powering his team’s constructor championship score? On the basis of his season’s results to date, Lewis has got his work cut out to prove himself more resolute than the doughty Spaniard.

      1. AHK says:

        Totally agreed. I am no big fan of Alonso, but he has clearly shown this year to be mentally the strongest driver. Vettel can get rattled and pissed whenever he is not leading the race and Hamilton seems to have lost the spark since a couple of years and is inconsistent. I think he’s been mentally affected by his car’s and team’s performance. For this year, it seems that Alonso will win the title in the second best car, and that says it all about his driving this year. Hamilton is too cosy at McLaren and will stay, but I think he would be mistaken not to go to RBR or Ferrari if they want him of course.

    3. Surya says:

      Hi, I completely agree with you, Lewis wearing red bull overalls or the red simply sucks for me. Seeing him another team doesn’t really work for me, however I am not XIX management or Simon fuller, who are ensuring that their star gets his right share of the Pie. Now only if Mclaren can pull their socks together, it would be a different game altogether.

  11. Bo Amato says:

    Fast Cars make fast drivers, I have not seen young Hamilton drive a poor F1 car yet so I think he should be a little humble and remember who gave him his chance and opportunity. He is a little too negative if I were running the team. Need to be Mr. Positive in the press. I have no time for the fella. Seems like JB has been getting the short end of the stick once he signed his contract. Are McLaren a 1 car team now as well?

    1. Dave says:

      Not sure i agree he hasn’t driven a poor car – the 09 McLaren was a dog and yet he still managed some strong results in it….

      As for the negativity, I do agree to a point but I’d be disappointed if he wasnt pushing and hassling the team to deliver upgrades and improve the car and the pit stops – of the two drivers, JB seems to be the one that’s always moaning about poor set up etc…

    2. Elie says:

      Why does Fernando Alonso win races in a Ferrari that’s off the pace and Fellipe Massa finish outside the top 10?
      Why did Kimi Raikkonen win in a dog of a Ferrari in 2007?
      How many races do you think Jenson would have won had he not had a Brawn Double Diffuser advantage and a top 2 car since. ?
      Why did Lewis win just as many races last year as Jenson in 2011 in what he and everyone else acknowledges was his worst year?
      Are beginning to see the picture or would you me to give you another dozen or so more examples.

      1. AHK says:

        Massa has lost his form since his accident. Ferrari had the best car in 2007, with McLaren a close second. Kimi only won in 2007 because the McLaren boys were taking points each other…
        Jenson has earned some respect last year with some great performances, but he’s still not in the same league as Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton.

      2. Elie says:

        Which by your own reasoning means……it’s not just the car it’s the driver !

    3. Brendan says:

      I take it you weren’t watching F1 in 2009 when McLaren started the season 2.5 seconds off the pace.

    4. Wheels says:

      Okay, Bo!

      It seems to me that your main points here: Hamilton being negative this season and Button getting a raw deal from Team McLaren, go against all conventional wisdom and opinion written by the Motorsport press this season.

      First of all, Jenson Button’s problems have been well documented: setup/driving-style vs.tires operating within a narrow optimum performance window, hence being warmed properly, by said driver, to deliver competitive race track adhesion, or “grip”….

      Concerning your comments on Lewis Hamilton, they seem, to me, to be based on personal regard, and not really anything to do with what has gone on between, said driver, and Team McLaren this season.

      On recollection, I rate the comments I’ve read credited to Lewis, in the press, (including this website) at about 80-90% positive concerning his car and his Team’s performance. I mean, after all, have the race results for Team McLaren been perfect, or something, this season? Your reasoning comes off, kind of, lacking any real logic, in my opinion.

  12. Blazej says:

    McLaren looks like the only option for him at the moment. They may have their problems now, but in the long run moving to Mercedes will be a step down.

  13. Irish Con says:

    If webber and Hamilton and di resta isn’t going to Ferrari who is. Massa might stay yet.

    1. Dave C says:

      Perez or Kobayashi maybe even Di Resta

      1. gudien says:

        How long has it been since Ferrari have had a top car? Is Ferrari really the team a driver can MAKE a career at? Plenty have ruined their careers on moving to the Scuderia; Irvine, Barrichello, Massa, and arguably Kimi Raikkonen.

    2. Kris Grzegorczyk says:

      Does anybody know if di Resta speaks italian? Would be quite fitting for a guy with his surname to end up at Ferrari but not knowing Italian. I’m sure he’d do just fine but would be amusing to start.

  14. Darren says:

    Massa one more year , then to sauber .

  15. James Clayton says:

    If he does re-sign with McLaren, I can see it only being a one-year deal for now.

    Wouldn’t it be amuzing if, with all this silly season talk, the driver lineups at McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus, FI, Red Bull and Mecedees were to remain exactly the same for next year.

    Then we’d have all this to look forward to again this time next year! :D

  16. Sensei.GT says:

    I would love to see Heikki in the Ferrari! Lewis will stay at Macca, no doubt.

    1. James Allen says:

      You might get what you want..

      1. gudien says:

        thanks James

      2. Sensei.GT says:

        Yes!!!!

  17. Elie says:

    I think Lewis has already made his mind up to leave hence “let’s go” comments. I reckon he has already had discussions via his management and there are more than 1 interested teams-this is why he is upbeat. This is just my gut feeling. Im guessing he has a sure thing with Mercedes when Michael leaves and they sign the concorde agreement.Defintely Mclaren want to retain him, and wouldnt be at all surprised if Red Bull go after him although that’s a longer shot cause of Webber contract pending and Horner not a huge fan. I really hope he leaves Mclaren and really tests his mettle in another team.!

    As for the trophies James it would be great to know which teams have this rule and which teams don’t or whether it’s driver/ contract specific- would make an interesting post.

    1. James Allen says:

      As far as I know, only McLaren do that

    2. Dan Orsino says:

      I willing to bet he has already agreed terms with RBR. Just a question of a formal signature and announcement.

      Who are McL after as replacement, though, I wonder?

  18. kp says:

    For a supposedly successful F1 driver it seems the rush to hire Lewis Hamilton is almost non-existent.

    Oh dear, c’mon Dad, help me!

    1. AHK says:

      Hamilton is no doubt one of the top drivers with Alonso and Vettel. Problem is that for RBR, they know Vettel does not like the idea, so they can only push that if they know Vettel is leaving for Ferrari. Ferrari do not like two top drivers in the team, although I am sure Alonso/Hamilton or Alonso/Vettel would not mind racing at Ferrari against each other given the prestige and salary on offer.

    2. James Clayton says:

      It’s comments like this that make me feel really sad. Whether they be against Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, they are clearly delusional. Nobody who genuinely follows and loves Formula 1, regardless of their preferred team or driver(s), would genuinely believe any will be out of a drive next year.

      One can only wonder what the motivation for such a strong hatred towards any of the top drivers can be.

      1. ozmark says:

        Ah, “strong hatred” is a little strong. I understand @kp comment, LH seems a little toxic. Perhaps ragging on the team during a race, whether it’s their fault or not, gets a little old.

        Deserved or not, LH has a punk reputation.

  19. Alexx says:

    Just a theory!

    Could DiResta split with AH be because, he was wanting the McLaren drive from Lewis and AH was protecting Lewis’ negotiating stance by stalling negotiations between Paul & McLaren.

    This would take Paul away as a threat for the Lewis McLaren seat and give McLaren less options in the driver market, giving Lewis stronger marker value,

    inside trading

  20. Richard says:

    Trophies I think are only the smallest part. What Lewis wants is a team that can consistently make properly competitive cars which McLaren have failed to do over the last four years. The trouble is the Mickey Mouse tyres are spoiling proper racing. This year the McLaren seems to lack decent race pace, and starting performance. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes for a deal with McLaren with an opt out performance clause. Personally I’d like to see him move on.

  21. JohnBt says:

    Lewis has no choice but to stay at McLaren, ‘iffy’ is a waste of time IMHO. One hundred million pounds for five years, who can cough out that amount besides Ferarri and guess who will be there for a long time.

  22. The Crappest says:

    I know we have the big teams, who everyone is talking about, but what about the smaller teams like Williams or Sauber?

    I would say their cars are almost as fast as the big teams, and I think if anyone would be able to get 100% from one of these cars, it would be Lewis.

    Also, if it is all about money, for Lewis, as people are saying, and eveyone is banging on about how Lewis is a marketers dream, then like to see how these “second rate” teams (Sauber or Williams) would go if they go some big sponsorship dollars from signing someone like Lewis.

    I know it is never going to happen, but I would love to see Lewis back himself, find a major sponsor (like Alonso and Santander) and build a team around himself and see if he can win a Championship.

    Both Sauber and William have excellent pace this year as well as what seems like sound strategy and I don’t think they have had as many issues in the pits as Mclaren.

    Just a dream, but if Lewis was to do it and pull it off, then it would surely shut the haters up!

    1. ozmark says:

      I love this scenario, LH is a great driver, it would be fun to see him in an underdog car.

      Just as Alonso is a pay driver with Santander, I don’t see how LH bringing a sponsor can be a downside.

      Bring it on.

  23. Fantomius says:

    You all are forgetting the main points on it, I think.
    #1: money. Why should Hamilton be paid half than Alonso, given that he have beaten the Spaniard in ALL the duels they fought? Lewis is faster, no doubt about it. Being the best all-rounder driver, doesn’t mean being the quickest. And the main part of Alonso’s strenght is played by his mind and by his LUCK.

    #2: car consistency. McLaren had never had the best car. In 2007 and 2008 Ferrari had. And Lewis took home a title with his own skills. In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 things are consideralbly worst. I don’t know if McLaren have money-problem (or lack of money..), or it’s just Whitmarsh’s blind Button-centric politic, but it’s a big issue.
    IMHO, Mercedes are just waiting for Hamilton’s decision, before talking with schumacher..

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