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Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Sep 2012   |  5:50 pm GMT  |  351 comments

The BBC’s Eddie Jordan has broken a story today that Michael Schumacher is set to retire from driving at the end of this season and that Lewis Hamilton is shaping up to replace him.

It was clear from the “Tweetgate” incident that Hamilton and McLaren were not on the same page last weekend, with the driver making public a telemetry set up sheet, to the disappointment of his team mate and team boss, who described it as “an error of judgement”.


Hamilton is said by Jordan to be discussing terms with Mercedes, via his management team led by music impresario Simon Fuller, which doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen; it could be an extreme negotiating tactic to bring McLaren and its sponsors to the table with an improved offer. Mercedes has always been Hamilton’s only real bargaining chip when trying to scare McLaren into paying him more money.

But have they had enough of him and are they willing to let him go? That is one of the key questions here, especially after the weekend.

I have to admit I heard a whisper about this on Monday, but didn’t have any more evidence than a word from an insider, who seemed to have an insight. But this site doesn’t really deal in rumour, unless it is opened up to public debate as this one has now been.

“I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent,” Jordan said on the BBC Sport website this afternoon.

A McLaren spokesman commented this evening, “We have been told by Lewis Hamilton’s management team that the story is untrue.”

This is different from McLaren saying that the story is untrue. The nuance between the two is to be noted.

If Hamilton pulls the trigger and leaves the team that raised him as a driver and brought him into F1, it looks as though Force India’s Paul Di Resta is at the front of the queue to replace him.

And what of Schumacher’s role in all of this? The seven times champion has been saying that he will not decide his future until October and if this Hamilton development turns out to be true he will not be pleased that his retirement has been anticipated in this way.

Could there be an ongoing role for Schumacher in the management team at Mercedes or AMG, if that is the brand they choose to run it under? The team which has been assembled around Ross Brawn is interesting in that it features a number of “chiefs” in all the technical areas; design, technical management, research and development and operations. It is a set up that doesn’t necessarily need Brawn to run it in the future, if he sees his own retirement in prospect at some point in the next year or two.

So a role for Schumacher in the management of the team might be the next step. It’s hard to see him moving to Brackley, so the role would not be as hands-on as Brawn has been, but it gives him an ongoing role and a reason to get up in the mornings.

Maybe this is what Bernie Ecclestone meant at the weekend when he said it was sad to lose Schumacher as a driver without him winning a race on his comeback.

Mercedes has had an up-and-down season, indeed the last few years have not met expectations, so if Hamilton does make this move, on the face of it, he is taking a gamble.

But Brawn is on the record as saying that he is confident that the team he has assembled will come good next season, that is what they have been building towards, so they may be about to deliver a car to bear comparison with the 2009 car from that group, which bore Brawn’s name.

More is bound to emerge over the Monza weekend and as Ferrari is not set to make any driver announcements, this story will be at the centre of attention in the F1 paddock.

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351 Comments
  1. AlexD says:

    James, I might be wrong, but I think you mentioned somewhere that the deal between Schumacher and Mercedes is set in stone already and that they will announce it soon anyways. Am I wrong?

    1. Rich in Norway says:

      This is what I thought also. Gutted Schumi is leaving :(

      1. woofie39 says:

        Would be funny if its not true and Mclaren just crack on and find another driver! Talk about overplaying your hand.

      2. William Wilgus says:

        I think the only high-speed venue Hamilton will be driving on next year is Britain’s M-1—a public highway with a speed limit of 150. I certainly wouldn’t want him driving for me. He isn’t a ‘team player’.

    2. Wayne says:

      I thought so too…

      Congrats on your stance on not dealing in rumour, James, leave the gutter press to Sky and planet F1 where it belongs.

      I for one would be happy to see Lewis leave McLaren. I’ve said before that they are too sterile a team for his emotional personality. He needs a team to love him (like Alonso has at Ferrari) to get the best from him (his problem not McLaren’s).

      Then there is McLAren’s ridiculous stubborn attitude towards not asking one driver to support another, deliberately disadvantaging themselves. They spend millions for a few tenths but throw championships away on principle.

      Then there is Whitmarsh’s obvious favouritism for Jenson. I do not believe for one minute that this means they are not treated fairly, but it really does show, the way Whitmarsh gushes every time JB does well.

      Then there are the 40 points worth of operational errors that the team has cost Lewis this year.

      I just hope Lewis follows the best chance for winning races and not the dollars. I’d love to see an article weighing up the pros and cons of such a move, James, if it is proven to be true.

      1. Sebee says:

        So you think that when he was being asked before Spa, Button should have surrendered and said yes Lewis is now #1 and I will suport him? He did absolutely the right thing, said not until I’m mathematically out. I will go on a limb and say I speak for the majority when I say most support McLaren driver treatment. At least you know when a McLaren driver wins the championship it’s been won by that driver on fairest terms.

        It is my belief that Ferrari gets a lump sum equal to or bigger than Constructor’s champion each and every year they race. Which is why to them #1/#2 strategy works just fine. McLaren is probably more focused on constructors position to win the most cash and for that you need to have to equal drivers to bring home the wins.

      2. Wayne says:

        Ok, swapping the position of two cars about makes absolutely no difference to the constrcutors points, does not matter who gets the points. But it can make it more likely that the team brings home the WDC as well.

        You may like their approach, others may too but it makes no sense what so ever from the team’s perspective.

        As for what Button does or does not say? You seem to forget that the is am employee, as are all the drivers, it should not be his choice to make.

        Makes a mockery of spending hundreds of millions per year for .5 of a second, and then not using all the tools at your disposal to win both championships. Ridiculous. Ferrari have exactly the right approach, they are a TEAM entered into a TEAM sport, and do nothing wrong by using all the pieces they have on the board (now that it is legal).

      3. forzaminardi says:

        The image of McLaren being cold and sterile remains, despite every driver who has worked there, and team members, stating that it isn’t true! And the truth is that Hamilton is the most molly-coddled, pampered driver McLaren have probably ever indulged! If he wants love, he should either get a dog, or earn it from the team by showing a degree of humility and gratitude.

      4. Wayne says:

        forzaminardi, you may not like the fact that top sports people perform better with maximum support, ‘love’, encouragement, backing etc but that does not chnage the fact and Hamilton is not the only sports person like this, not even the only one in F1. Look how Alonso reacted when he did not have number 1 status early enough in the season in his year at McLaren alongside Hamilton (another year when they could have easily won the WDC had they backed Alonso early enough).

        If I were running a team investing upwards of 200 million a year to win, I would do whatever it took to get the best out of my star driver whom I’m paying a fortune to. I’d want the best return for my money, if that meant flattering their ego then so bloody what?

      5. Nick says:

        @Wayne

        Are you even serious dude? You appear to be more delusional than Hamilton!

        What EXACTLY does McLaren have to do to show ‘Love’ encouragement and backing to Hamilton?

        *They finance his junior career
        *They put him straight into a front running car
        *They back HIM against his 2xWDC team mate in his first year
        *They have NEVER criticized him for destroying the millions of dollars worth of F1 cars since driving for them (most of them last year)
        *EVERY TIME Hamilton bad mouths the team (almost every second race) they do nothing but defend him
        *Hamilton posts HIGHLY confidential team data on Twitter and they do nothing but defend it as ‘an error of judgement’.

        I have never known a F1 team in history to stretch to the lengths that McLaren do to support, ‘love’ and encourage Hamilton.

        It’s utterly ridiculous how you or anyone can ever sit by and say that McLaren have EVER done anything wrong by Hamilton!

        Hamilton is 27 years old now and it’s time he GREW UP!

        I hope McLaren give him what he deserves – THE SACK!

      6. Wayne says:

        Nick, like it or not Hamilton does not deserve the sack and McLaren are not about to sack him. You ask me if I am serious? You sound like a fanatical hater. Hamilton is one of the best drivers in the world, perhaps the fastest if not the most complete. Just who are McLaren going to replace him with that is better?

      7. Doug says:

        Hi,
        Couldn’t agree more…McLaren do it the sporting way.
        In response to Waynes reply about Ferrari having exactly the right approach…tell that to Massa!
        Can you possibly imagine the mental damage caused to a No.2 driver, knowing that as soon as you make a good start etc. the “Please move over” call is never far away?
        It is a team sport…but SPORT first..TEAM second!

      8. Cliff says:

        I for one don’t want McLaren to adopt the approach we see at Ferrari, let the drivers race! Who’s to say that Nico Rosberg will accept playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton?

        I want Lewis to stay at McLaren, but not if he continues to show petulance towards “his Team”, as he soften likes to say.

        The events over the weekend will, if anything have reduced his stock and standing in the Team, how do the team know that he can be trusted? As for the favouritsm, Lewis needs none, all he has to do is start showing the talent that most of us beleve he has. As for Martin Whitmarsh, Lewis is giving him every reason to favour JB with his display of self-importance. Lewis says that he would like to follow in the emulate Ayrto Senna, he should remember that RD eventually let Senna go…and he delvered 3WDC’s

      9. Wayne says:

        But they have and do race, but the TEAM’s drivers should only continue to do so until it becomes critically statistically likely that one driver has a significantly better chance to bring home the silverware.

        The driver’s own results should dictate if and when the play second fiddle. No driver should accept it at the beginning of the year, but there has to come a point long before it is mathematically impossible where it is very likely. By the time it is mathematically impossible it is usually too late.

        We see team play in almost all other sports, why do we hate the concept so much in F1? It can also add a rather inetresting strategic element.

      10. Doug says:

        Wayne!!

        You’re saying above that…and I quote

        “The driver’s own results should dictate if and when the play second fiddle. No driver should accept it at the beginning of the year”

        Yet a few posts ago you said that in relation to No.1 & No.2 drivers…and I quote again…

        “Ferrari have exactly the right approach”.

        These 2 statements contradict each other.

        Can I suggest you pick one opinion and stick to it for the sake of your fellow posters? :-)

      11. Blade Runner says:

        Well said Cliff, you have summed it up exactly as it is. Also as Nick said above, Lewis is now 27 he is a great talent that needs to get his act together.

        Last weekends interviews with Lewis showed him to be unhappy again. The Twitter posts are not something that should of happened, could you imagine Alonso doing similar? Yet we are asked to believe that those 2 are the best drivers.

        Mclaren should of fined Lewis an amount of money that would hurt because of that telemetry post, he MUST of known how sensitive that information was. If he didn’t then he is not the complete driver that they seem to want to hang onto.

      12. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        +1

        Moreover, I think there is a “Kimi factor”: Kimi comes to a modest team and he gets the best of the car and the each weekend, and being 3rd in Spa he gets most of the cheers from the fans, that’s is a star, and also he can win the WDC!

        I guess Hamilton noticed that, as everybody else, and a Mercedes option (who will engineer the new engine soon for 2014) can’t be a bad idea…

      13. Wingforce says:

        Lewis to Lotus with Kimi!

      14. James Clayton says:

        @Wingforce

        I’m hearing you. I’ve been saying it from about Race 3. They don’t have the funds for him though, so it all depends on which sponsors XiX could persuade to jump ship.

        Hamilton and Raikonen would be an amazing line up for any team!

      15. Sebee says:

        Wayne,

        Why should have McLaren backed Alonso in 2007?
        Sure Alonso had the #1. But Lewis was McLaren’s long term investment. Favoring one over the other was a no-win.

        Alonso, you think you’re #1? Prove it. Lewis, you think you’re better than Alonso? Prove it.

        They put two drivers in the car and let them race fairly. Think about Vettel in 2010 – what would have happened if they backed Webber? Would we have had that season finish?

        We have be benefit of hindsight, and looking back what were the results of that 2007 season McLaren decision? We got to learn a bit about Alonso. We learned about McLaren and that they will not budge from the equal driver treatment. We got Kimi as WDC – a fan favorite. We got tons of drama. We got Alonso just beaten by a team mate. I think the fans were the winners in 2007.

        Who were the losers? Well; Alonso, Lewis, many carriers were ruined with that 2007 season. If McLaren declare Alonso #1, he probably stays at McLaren for 2008 and we never have Singapore 2008 – a carrier crushing event for many. Now that I think about it, McLaren’s equal driver treatment sure caused a lot of trouble. But I’m still in favor of it.

        As for the money the teams invest, I always say: it’s not mine, it’s not yours. Let’s not worry about it. Let the rich team owners worry about their team’s finances and ROI.

      16. Wayne says:

        Had they backed either one of them they would have won the WDC, mate, it’s that simple.

      17. Sebee says:

        Yes.

        OR perhaps if Alonso didn’t pull that stunt in Hungary and didn’t get the panalty, he would have finished second in the GP. Would those 3 extra points been enough for Alonso to win the WDC? Yes the would have. F1 is awesome! So many ways to look at every situation. Maybe they would have avoided that whole SpyGate mess and kept the lovely 180m Euro or whatever it was that McLaren had to forfeit for the WCC purse.

      18. Sebee says:

        Few replies for you on this Mercedes/McLaren discussion below.

        Just for clarity, I do agree with your points. Simply hold a different view myself on certian points. Don’t think I hate team orders or #1/#2 status. I don’t. I just don’t like it when the #2 gets ripped on for being #2. And clearly there are cases where #1/#2 strategy works and when it doesn’t. Just like there are point where equal treatment works.

        I think the best conclusion is this. If you have the most dominant car on the grid, no point to have #1/#2, let them work it out. But if you don’t, you clearly need to push an advantage to keep your driver in the chase, which is when #1/#2 works. Even this is not always applicable, but a good starting point rule of thumb.

      19. Sebee says:

        One more thing Wayne. If you are a team owner, you care about Constructor’s championship most – because that’s what you, the team owner get paid big money for. I don’t think you get any reward for driver’s championship. In fact, you probably have to pay some large bonuses to the winner. And who won the constructors championship and took the big purse home in 2007? Indeed, McLaren.

        Also, isn’t garage choice determined by constructor’s championship results?

      20. Sebee says:

        Correction. McLaren WOULD have taken the purse if not for SpyGate.

      21. Wayne says:

        Sebee, the WDC comes with a hell of a lot more PR value than the constructors, a hell of a lot more. In this business PR and marketing carries an unbelievable amount of weight. Having the Champion in your car is literally worth its weight in gold in terms of sponsorship etc. WCC? Less so.

      22. Sebee says:

        Agreed. That’s why teams want to win both.

        From Ron’s perspective however, remember that McLaren gets to keep the WCC purse money if they win it, while the WDC travels with the driver and it’s an asset they can take away. Like Lewis may now take to Mercedes who may want a WDC to replace Schumi.

        Perhaps the conclusion here is that McLaren are such a strong brand and attract huge sponsors just because they are McLaren their priority is team WCC, and WDC comes second. Hence what we may think is equal driver treatment may simply be income driven corporate policy.

    3. Bunsy says:

      Michael is leaving no doubt . Lewis going to Mercedes is pure speculation aimed at increasing his worth. I am surprised journalist are reporting this as news. It’s just one of Eddie’ predictions. Yeah Lewis is speaking to Mercedes, but it doesn’t mean the deal is done.

      1. Wayne says:

        How do you know that? How do you know what EJ does and does not know?

      2. SamBot says:

        Read

        http://www.supersport.com/motorsport/article.aspx?Id=1567461

        Paragraphs 4 and 5

        Note the key words – “I believe”, “could be imminent”, “I felt”

        “I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent,” the BBC quoted the Irishman as saying ahead of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

        “Some weeks ago I said on TV that I felt Lewis was on the move and I had an idea at the time he had been speaking to Ferrari, which we now know is true,” Jordan said. “But I can now confirm his people have had meetings with Mercedes.”

        As I said, Lewis’s management have talked to Mercedes. He would be silly not to given he is in contract negotiations with McLaren. Mark did the same thing with Ferrari and after hearing that, RBR pretty much begged him to stay. It’s a way of increasing one’s stock price.

        I quote from Lewis “The first contract is always sh**” – so clearly he is in contract negotiation mode.

        So to answer your question, unless the deal is officially announced by Lewis and his team, it is still speculation.

      3. Charles says:

        I don’t think it is that easy for Brawn to judge Schumacher performance… althought Rosberg has outqualified Schumacher 7 out of 12 times, Schumi has done much better during the races (without considering his DNFs):
        http://grandprixrankings.com/compare/2012-f1/schumacher-versus-rosberg/

        So I would say that Schumi still got it… probably Mercedes has had a hard time getting to terms with the tire problem, as Button and McLaren experienced before they started to get some results.

      4. Oliver says:

        Actually its 6-6 in qualie. Schumi out qualified nico at Aus, Malaysia, Monaco (5 grid pen) Germany, Silverstone and Spa.

        And, if schumi had the reliabilty nico had, he would have gotten 90-100 points by now

      5. Il Drago Rosso says:

        Agreed. The results for Rosberg have been horrific the past five races – ten points is all he has managed – finishing all five races. Schumacher on the other hand has finished four with a DNF in the other and has amassed 33 points. I honestly wouldn’t be bringing Hamilton in if I was Brawn, he’s too emotional, too much of a diva. It might well have taken three seasons but Schumacher is definitely pushing Nico now. I wouldn’t rock the boat. Otherwise Mercedes could well end up with a diva (Lewis) and reputed star (Nico).

      6. Skanda says:

        Wasnt it Eddie that first broke the news of the return of Schumacher with Mercedes?

      7. Thebe says:

        He is also the same guy that predicted Schumacher would retire the first year of his comeback , anyway let’s wait and see.

      8. @thejudge13 says:

        Well remembered

      9. forzaminardi says:

        EJ comes over as a bit of a foll on TV, but you’re the fool if you underestimate his sharpness and contacts. He was not just a wheeler-dealer as a team boss, he was arguably the most successful driver-manager in F1 before Jordan arrived as a team. He knows the nuances, politics and personalities and for him to make this statement it would seem to me that he’s confident contact between Mercedes and Hamilton has happened to a fairly high level. The question is, has it been done in good faith by Hamilton and his management, or is it simply a bargaining strategy?

    4. Geee says:

      True.

      In fact James you replied to one of my comments recently stating that Schumacher was staying put at Mercedes – This was after I made a quip about him moving to Ferrari to replace Massa… When some one else queried this I believe you said ‘That’s just what I heard’.

      Either way I hope this isn’t true & Schumacher’s staying, there’s life in the old dog yet!

      1. That would work out just perfectly for Ferrari as well as Michael, wouldnt it, ie, if rumors of Vettel moving to Ferrari in 2014 are true.

        Even if Vettel is not going scarlet in 2014, it would give Perez another year to gain experience at Sauber to fill in at Ferrari in 2014.

        It would be awesome to see Michael and Alonso race together at Ferrari and it would be poetic for him to end his career where he saw most of his success in Formula 1. Not wanting Massa to lose his drive at Maranello might have had some influence on his decision to quit in 2006. It was definitely not the only reason, but seemed a reason nevertheless.

        I’m quite excited about this!!!!

        And back to the point, I would like to see Hamilton in Mercedes next year and hopefully they will still have a car that is still a work in progress. As Calvin’s dad would say “It builds character”

        He’s had it too easy till now and has always had one of the fastest cars, if not the fastest since coming into the sport. That is not how it should be.

        Alonso had to show his teeth in a Minardi, Webber also in a Minardi, Schumacher in a Jordan, as did most others.

        Daniel Ricciardo is a prodigy and definite world champion material, but he had to prove it in an HRT and now in a Torro Rosso. He is not going to get his hands on the Red Bull until he proves his mettle.

        Cant wait till October.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Micheal didn’t want to race with Kimi in 2007.

        What on earth makes people think he would drive for Ferrari now, with an Italian speaking driver who is regarded as the best out there…

      3. KRB says:

        What a weird thing to put in there … Schumacher speaks Italian too, though I’m sure not as “nice” as Alonso (i.e. with a hard German accent to it).

  2. Sebee says:

    WOW! Say it ain’t so Michael!

    But the way this whole thing has been playing out, it makes some sense. Personally, I don’t think Lewis to Mercedes move is either an upgrade or as insightful as Button to McLaren. Clearly money is on McLaren being ahead next year, even with the car info that Lewis may bring to the team.

    1. Sebee says:

      Someone remind us please how long McLaren has the Mercedes engine deal in place?

      Maybe Lewis feels that while next year McLaren may be fast, the year after, not so much. Obviously a gamble as James notes, but it’s easier to make such gambles when $$$ is there and a championship is alraedy in the bag. Even if I would like to see him win one in a more dominating fashion than the ’08 effort.

      1. Optimaximal says:

        We have no idea what’s going to happen. Just because McLaren are going to have to start paying for engines in 2015, there’s nothing to say they can’t be Mercedes.

        The engine cost for the season is capped in advance, so it’s easy to budget for. McLaren are bringing in more money through other endeavours, so they can either use this to cover the cost or convince a title sponsor (Vodafone/Lucozade/ANOther) to front up some more to make it easier.

    2. Davexxx says:

      Without wishing to get too far ahead of ourselves, your last line raises a good point. I wonder what IS the legal position when a driver takes valuable info to another team?! (Pretty muddy I’d guess! Lawyers, Start Your Engines!). Maybe McLaren will now have to start snatching Lewis’ photo-taking phone away from him each time he’s within their territory?

      1. @thejudge13 says:

        Firstly, I have it on good authority that Lewis is not considered to be one of the brightest drivers in F1. He has raw talent, but doesn’t understand the mechanics of the car like MS or SV. In fact, it was impressive he understood the chart he so infamously tweeted this weekend.

        Secondly, as in Premier Leaque football, agents/management companies make their cash when their player makes a move. Of course they have a % of the clients’ earnings anyway, but there is usually a big lump some for the agent when they switch teams.

        XIX have obviously joined ‘team Lewis’ since his last deal with Mclaren and therefore have no claim on his income other than incremental appearance fees they have delivered. For them a move to another team is a big chance to claim their bigger agents fees – as they will argue they are the ones who have engineered the opportunity.

        As to whether Mercedes is a good option or not for Lewis – Yes Brawn won the title in 09 – but Honda had spent a reputed $1b on developing the car – only to sell it to RB for $1. Brawn couldn’t continue the development of the car and Jenson was off the pace for the second half of the season – just making it over the line to win the championship based on the results from earlier in the year.

        The history of the Brackley based team is not that impressive. As BAR they were merely average and with the exception of the early part of 2009 – they have been equally unimpressive under any of their 3 recent names.

        RB is obviously a respected figure in F1 and was highly successful at Ferrari in the MS years – but as one of the Big 3 drivers in F1, to place your future with the Brackley based team is a dubious decision at best. This of course leads us to the question, did Lewis jump or was he pushed (assuming the story is true at all).

  3. LD says:

    This does feel like a huge win for everyone involved.

    Lewis is a great talent but like Vettel there are always ‘he’s had it too easy’ detractors and he need to prove himself at a new team. Mercedes are not exactly mid table but at least they are not ‘father figures’ to him and won’t be accused of pandering to beyond what’s healthy.

    McLaren get a new lease of life and (with no disrespect to Lewis) have to deal with less managing of personalities and their fan-bases. Less showbiz and more driving.

    The F1 family will ensure Schumacher gets a respectful send off and the Mercedes team go from ‘dull mechanical German-like’ o having some glitz and glamour (good for sponsors).

    James, is this now a bit odd now that DiResta has just got rid of Hamilton’s dad as manager..? or more to develop here too if this deal happens…

    1. caringforapathy says:

      It seems to me that it is McLaren that are creating the “showbiz” environment and the drivers are having to work within it. During the testing session earlier this year they didn’t even have their two drivers there – they were away having to do promotional stuff for the team. And then throw in the new ‘Toons’ cartoon, and I’d say it is the team creating the atmosphere and not Jenson and Lewis; beyond the celebrity that all F1 drivers enjoy to some extent, that is.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a McLaren fan, but I’d point to the team, and specifically Whitmarsh, as to why they produce more like a mid-field team. I want to punch my TV every time his face appears on the screen, and I get the feeling that Lewis has had enough and wants a change. I’d want to work with/for Brawn over Whitmarsh any day.

      1. woofie39 says:

        Then Lewis is has proven he is as stupid as he behaves.

    2. phil says:

      I agree. I’m not a big Hamilton fan because he came into a number 1 team from the get go. Next year, if he is at Merc I will cheer for him because I know the challenge that he faces and that success is overcoming the odds, not because he has a silver spoon.

    3. Optimaximal says:

      Di Resta dropped Hamilton because he lied to him about a deal with a sponsor. If you can’t trust your manager, what’s the point in dealing with him?

  4. Tim says:

    Believe it when I see it.

    Tim

  5. Richard says:

    I’ve thought for along time Hamilton has been frustrated with McLaren. Since 2008 they have delivered a succession of nearly cars ranging from awful to quite good with this years being the best. Unfortunately as they certainly must know quite good doesn’t cut it, and they have been past masters at operational errors losing Hamilton a significant number of points from which he could be leading championship had he gained them. Of course the whole thing could be bluff and counter bluff, but I don’t think so, and if he leaves for Mercedes I can only wish him well.

    1. Liam says:

      This isn’t right… If you look at the car’s performance in the hands of BOTH drivers instead of just Lewis you’ll see that since 2007 McLaren have produced a genuine chamionship contender in every season apart from 2009.

      1. Richard says:

        Don’t be ridiculous! The only time Lewis was outperformed by his team mate was in 2011 by Jenson, and then only marginally, but while Jenson was second in the championship he was no way in contention for the championship against Vettel in the Red Bull as he was beaten by a substantial margin. – Again the car was simply not consistently good enough.
        Being properly competitive means being able to cut it with the front runners in every race throughout a season which McLaren achieved in 2007/2008, but have subsequently failed do ever since. Of course there have been other substantial factors such as the Pirelli tyres which have favoured some drivers and disadvantaged others. The best chance McLaren have had has been this year, but they mess it up by a series of operational errors which simply should not happen in a team of their experience. I rest my case!

      2. Liam says:

        Well, no, you don’t rest your case. You didn’t read what I said. I said look at the performance of BOTH drivers, not just one. When Vettel won last year he basically got all of RB’s wins right?

        You add up the highest scoring position for each race that McLaren achieved and you’ll see that actually they were genuine championship contenders all along it’s just that the points were shared between the drivers rather than being dominated by one driver.

        I rest my case!

      3. Richard says:

        It simply is not the case at all. Red Bull had twice as many wins as McLaren. The Red Bull car was dominant last year with very high downforce levels that McLaren could not match. That meant that Red Bull were supreme around high/medium speed corners, and most of the time achieve a very fast lap time as a result. McLaren on the other hand had good straight line speed where on some circuits they were able to put in a competitive lap time but it was a struggle. If the McLaren had been on par with Red Bull as in 2007/8 with Ferrari, the wins would have alternated between the two as either team gained an a temporary advantage. As Red Bull won the constructors title by some margin I suspect that says it all. What you need to look at is how easily the wins were achieved very similarly to Button in Spa. – Like a walk in the park!

      4. KRB says:

        Liam, if you think ANYONE could’ve beaten Vettel in a McLaren, or any other car other than the second RB7, then you clearly have no idea about F1.

        Richard is right, 2007/08 were the only truly front-fighting cars that McLaren have provided Lewis. Lewis could’ve won in 2010 (Ita and Sin results put him out of the running), but had he done so that would’ve been more down to Red Bull completely blowing it, than to the strength of the MP4-25 that year. In many ways 2008 was down to Ferrari and Massa blowing it, though not as bad as 2010 would’ve been had RBR blown it.

    2. Liam says:

      Richard & KRB I’m sorry but you’re both wrong.. Like many people you believe that Vettel walked 2011 when he didn’t. He walked quali but definitely not the races.

      You can’t argue with 2010.. Both McLarens were still in the WDC hunt until the end of the season so that car was definitely a contender.

      2011 – A lot of the races were super close and could’ve easily been won by a McLaren, Monaco springs to mind. Plus, Button outscored every other driver in the second half of the season, even Vettel so to say that the 2011 McLaren wasn’t a genuine championship contender is plain silly.

      A lot of people, evidently you two included, believe that because Vettel won so many races nobody else stood a chance but he didn’t win any of them easily. If anything the 2010 RB was more dominant but the points were shared more evenly between SV & MW plus the car was unreliable but that’s all part of racing.

      I stand by my assertion that McLaren have delivered a genuine championship contender every year since ’07 apart from ’09.

      Lewis would be daft to leave McLaren, especially to go to Mercedes.

      1. Richard says:

        I think Liam we will have to agree to disagree! There’s no doubt that Vettel is a top driver, but all top drivers have to have a car that will allow them to do it. As I’ve always said it’s about 90% car 10% driver. These days aerodynamics are king, so high aerodynamic efficiency coupled with the ability to maximise downforce when required will win through on most of the circuits. What Vettel did was drive with very good consistency which won him the championship. The only exception to that is when conditions, circuit configuration or incidents intervene to alter the pecking order. Cars in F1 aren’t all the same and they have strengths and weaknesses, even cars in the same team are not identical with the set up, balance, and the way they interact with the tyres. As I said you need to understand how the cars work to make any real judgement.
        As to Lewis’s future I agree at the moment Mclaren look very healthy, but I think Mercedes will come up to the front in the future, certainly a company with their heritage, and financial clout are not going to be happy as things are. In 2014 the character of the cars will be totally different, and Mercedes will initially have an advantage because they can start design so much earlier.

  6. Vipin says:

    Finally, one of my long wish is going to come to pass.

    Hamilton leaving Mclaren.

    And next thing going to happen is,

    Vettel leaving Red Bull.

    It will be cool to look how these two guys will be looking in two different dresses.

    1. Wingforce says:

      MBZ will invest a lot to have Seb. Corporate needs to up their R&D to get him to talk. Lot at stake.

      MBZ wants a photo of Schumi on podium before it’s over. Michael wants a better car before retiring. If he can retake pole without penalty in Monaco next year and win, he walks out at end of season and declares victory.

      If Seb stays at Red Bull (most likely), then Rosberg and Hulkenberg lead MBZ to future. Mallya may need to sell to someone. His businesses in bad shape. Hulkenberg is Weber/Schumi protege.they protect him for long term. Nicos have yet to cross into truly top tier potential, but right backing and tech could up their positioning.

  7. Michael Bicak says:

    This would not be a net gain for MBZ. Can’t see Ross (or Norbert) making this deal.
    Still think it more likely that MSC drives one more year before moving up to a lead, team role for MBZ. New MBZ driver for 2014 would be . . . Sebastian Vettel. The Deutsch connection is a strong one for MBZ, and MSC and VET have a special relationship. Might all depend on the anxiety level within MBZ’s Board of D’s.

  8. Bo says:

    Schumacher out at Merc
    Hamilton to Merc
    Schumacher to Ferrari on a 1 year Deal
    Massa to McLaren

    and so the wheels on the bus go round and round.

    1. Jon says:

      No way McLaren would take Massa

    2. Sebee says:

      Never. Gonna. Happen.

      Schumacher, a German driver gave up his links to Ferrari to link up with Mercedes, a German car maker. Schumi is not going to drive a Ferrari for 1 year next to Alonso to give up that renewed link with Merceds. He will be a Mercedes man from here on end.

    3. Roberto Arroyo says:

      If Marketing wouldn´t exist your thinking will be right on target…

    4. Richard D says:

      If Ferrari dump Massa, I can’t see another team taking him on; especially not McLaren.

    5. Dan Orsino says:

      Massa to McLaren ?!
      I think NOT !!

    6. Charles says:

      If Massa leaves Ferrari… or in other words: if Ferrari does not renew Massa, then Massa is out of F1 for good.

      I don’t think Hamilton fits in the German team… maybe Hulkenberg does better there.

    7. AndyFov says:

      What’s the liklihood that McLaren and Merc would simply switch Hamilton with Rosberg for 2013?

      If next year’s Mercedes really is that fast I’d not write off Michael’s desire to race it.

    8. Elie says:

      Massa driving the Lunch truck maybe

      1. Sebee says:

        Ferrari has built a car as fast as one often enough.

  9. Mark V says:

    Moving to Mercedes may not be as risky a move as it first appears. While Mercedes may currently be behind the pack, they may be well placed to excel by 2014 when the new engines are introduced. They have many resources to take advantages from developing a new engine from scratch.

    1. Sebee says:

      What about McLaren having the same engine? What about McLaren spanking Mercedes last 3 years like there is no tomorrow?

      To be quite honestly with you, I can’t believe how gentle the media has been with Mercedes over this team. Since Mercedes bought the team it’s been a mid fielder with an occassional spark. But in terms of meeting expectations of fans and Mercedes alike, this team has been a failure in my view. B.A.R. Honda DNA as present as ever.

      1. Mark V says:

        You may be right, although that remains to be seen. All I mean to point out is that any time there is a significant change in the formula, there is always the potential for a shake up in the field. A team like Mercedes that has a lot of resources could be working on the 2014 car to be perfectly matched to the new engine as we speak. Say what you will about BAR Honda’s DNA but that team did create a super fast car that won the championship in 2009.

      2. Kay says:

        Resources mean nothing if you don’t know how to use them effectively.

        Recall Toyota, anyone?

        Biggest financial muscles, biggest failure of them all.

      3. Liam says:

        +1 – They were also a front running team in 04 & 05 – Ok, they didn’t win any races but th Ferrari, McLaren and Renault were dominating through that period… 06 not so good and obviously 07 & 08 a disaster but they’ve never been as bad as many suggest really.

      4. Sebee says:

        Kay,

        What do you mean Toyota is biggest failure of them all? Didn’t Lewis win a championship thanks to Toyota? :-)

    2. Casey says:

      Hamilton doesn’t strike me as the type to accept a potentially crappy car in 2013 for a potentially well-positioned one in 2014… patience doesn’t seem to be one of his virtues.

      1. Il Drago Rosso says:

        Too true.

      2. Busamann says:

        If Lewis had the ‘patience’ you so admire he would not be the racer that he is.

  10. GM Grand says:

    I´m not a huge fan of Schumacher, but I´d be sad to se him go. The grid is a more interesting place thanks to him. I watch F1 for the racing AND the characters. Raikkonen, Alonso, Schumi, Hamilton and so on. God save us from DiResta.

    This is also why I don´t watch Sky. Cheers from the Eddie Jordan fan club.

    1. GM Grand says:

      Oh oh oh. Forgot about Vettel. And when I say Hamilton is a character, I mean a whiny brat. But it´s thats also character. Please don´t ask what I think about Maldonado. Let´s disregard him.. Or call him the villain of F1.

      Sorry for rambling.

    2. Charles says:

      What about bringing back Jean Alesi? He raced the Indy 500 this year… that will re-unite a whole generation.

      Or maybe Barrichello to replace Massa at Ferrari!

      1. James Allen says:

        He’s older than me!!

      2. Il Drago Rosso says:

        Only proves that age is just a number James!

      3. JohnBt says:

        LOLOLOLOL!!!

      4. Stephen Taylor says:

        Why not bring back Mika to partner Michael? That’d be fun.

  11. Irish con says:

    In 2007 mclaren made the wrong decision in backing Lewis over Fernando. Now in 2012 it seems there going to make a similar mistake and pick jenson over Lewis. I would have Lewis 100 times out of a 100 over jenson. As this year has proved jenson isn’t adaptable enough. There’s no doubt that when everything is perfect jenson is world class but f1 isn’t quite that simple. Ps wait to you hear the Michael to Ferrari rumours start very soon.

    1. Andrew M says:

      They hardly “backed” Lewis over Fernando, they were racing each other for the title right up until the last race. If they had backed either driver (in the way Ferrari backed Schumacher in the past or Alonso now) they would have won the title.

      1. JR says:

        “We were racing Fernando” Ron Dennis, China 2007

      2. Liam says:

        Exactly – Racing Fernando… Not Fernando move over!

      3. JR says:

        @Liam
        Lewis was racing Fernando, Mclaren (“We”) were supposed to be racing the rest of the field.

      4. Diesel says:

        I think you’re missing the important bit – Dennis, the boss of a racing team for whom both Hamilton and Alonso were racing, said ‘We’ were racing Fernando. If that doesn’t tell you how Dennis saw it, nothing will.
        Add to that the incident in Monaco (‘be nice to Lewis’ was the first thing he said to race-winner Alonso) and Hungary (protested the steward’s penalty against the team but not Alonso even though it is beyond debate that the initial blame lay firmly at Hamilton’s door) and you will see that whilst they may have given the drivers equal equipment, they were certainly backing Hamilton in every other way possible from an early stage.
        Well, I say they, Dennis was although recent leaks suggest the McLaren rank and file were less than impressed with Hamilton even then. ‘Alonso was shafted’ is one quote I’ve seen this week.
        Or is the above appraisal unfair James?

      5. KRB says:

        [mod]. Their race (Hamilton’s) was against Fernando, as he was at that point second in the championship, and Hamilton had the chance to win it at that race.

        They didn’t back any driver over the other. If they had wanted to back Hamilton solely, they could’ve kept Alonso out of the car entirely. Given what he did in Hungary, I think they’d have been fully within their contract rights to do so. Fernando is just paranoid that way, like also when he accused Renault in ’06 of not wanting him to win the championship (I guess in his mind Renault didn’t want him to win b/c he was leaving at the end of the season), in a press conference before the Japanese GP that year.

      6. Diesel says:

        KRB – it appears to me that you haven’t researched the events of Hungary 2007 thouroughly enough.
        Alonso made a petulent (from which he has since learned) verbal threat for which he promptly apologised. I’m not sure that constitutes summary dismissal in any job.
        Hamilton disobeyed team orders in Qualifying 3, an act of which type would, in some industries, lead to disciplinary. Although I grant you, nothing as serious as in Australia 2009 which should have led to dismissal if that course of action applied to Dave Ryan.

    2. Busamann says:

      Lewis was always faster than his team mate in 2007. This didn’t sit well with Alonso. He is still quicker than JB and JB knows it and is honest enough to admit it.

  12. DC says:

    A swap would be nice… Schumi’s final year in a competitive McLaren – unfinished business from his ‘nearly move’ in ’96…

    1. zombie says:

      He “nearly” moved almost every year to either Mclaren or Williams from 1995-2005.

  13. whatevs says:

    Hamilton will stay at McLaren. Just watch.

    1. James Allen says:

      That would make more sense

      1. Phil says:

        If I was his management though I’d push for a 1 year deal with subsequent years only triggered by KPI’s (potentially on both sides).

        If I was Hamilton I’d want to be in a Newey car for the big rule change in ’14.

      2. WiLL says:

        Whats a KPI?

        You are right though. Didn’t they keep Coulthard on a 1 year deal throughout most of his time there.

        So works both ways.

        I think a 1 year deal with an option for a 2nd if he wins the WDC is quite fair to both sides.

      3. Dominic J says:

        WiLL: a KPI is a Key Performance Indicator. In this context it is likely to be (for a driver) points, wins, % of team’s points, etc and for a team time gap to pole, average race finish (both cars).

        This would in theory allow for a good driver being held back by his team to say: see, I met my targets, you failed in yours, so I’m off!

        I read recently, for example, that Lotus has achieved the performance required to give it the choice to renew Kimi’s contract. Massa on the other hand will not be achieving his.

      4. JC says:

        The engine will be the key performance differentiator in 2014. Newey is worried already…

      5. James Allen says:

        Hence the splits in FOTA over cost restriction. He fears Merc want to “dumb down” the chassis so that they shine thanks to the engine post 2014

      6. Jodum5 says:

        I’d be happy to see him leave having someone else in the other McLaren will be a nice change. Too much continuity bores me.

      7. ch says:

        Kudos James for not swallowing every rumor that comes along. I’d like to see EJ say something of substance backing it up. Expect if it does not come true he might then be hard to contact. Maybe just his back door way to toss some dust in MS’s thoughts.

    2. DB4Tim says:

      He has already signed with Honda :)

  14. Trix says:

    Hi there James. You admit that you heard a whisper. Was it about Mclaren being tired of Hamilton or about Hamilton moving to Mercedes? Could you please clarify?

      1. Soumya Banerjee says:

        Im no HAM fan,but the best way for him to prove that he’s one of the best of all time is by getting the most out of a mediocre car. He has always been getting competitive cars at Macca…so i hope he moves to a less competitive team next season,it can only help him.

      2. Phil says:

        You’ve got a very short memory. In 2009, the year after his WDC, he was in a car that was 1-2 seconds slower than the leaders – thoroughly midfield pace.

        The first race of the year? He dragged it up to third (before [mod] getting DSQ ).

  15. michael grievson says:

    Personally I think its a mistake. Merc have shown no signs of solving the problems with their car this year. Until they start showing signs of moving up the grid I’d stay clear.

    Mclaren seem to have solved their problems. He’s be much better off going to RedBull if he really had to move.

    1. Kay says:

      Merc will never be able to solve their problems. It’s inherited stuff from BAR / Honda / Brawn days.

      I recall Jens in 2007 or 2007 saying along the lines of the car just isn’t right, the front and rear seems to argue no matter how you set it up.

      The same in mid-2009 when Jens won the title. At Spa that year Jens complained it’s not the same car as the beginning of the year, so you see something is flawed in the designers’ approach.

      I think it’s the designers problems, they can’t get things right.

  16. Christopher says:

    Very unfair to break this story. I am surprised at the BBC This more a tabloid story. Schumacher will not be very happy that his retirement has been leaked to the media if true. He deserved to announce it when he was ready

    1. franed says:

      It was Bernie that leaked Schumi’s retirement live on tv. Quite why he did so is not clear, but Bernie always has a purpose, often it’s mis-direction.

    2. FatherTed says:

      EJ finally gets back at Schumi for leaving him 21 years ago :)

    3. Elie says:

      Who gives a flying f… What Schumacher thinks. This sort of business happens to everyone. It’s just everyday talk. No one had leaked anything yet and some MS follows are now more Precious than he his…I hope he disappears never to be seen again -biggest cheat in the history of sport (regardless of his brilliance) & you people are still kissing his a. He created the mess that is Massa at Ferrari and he will stick his nose into everybody’s business given half a chance..let him go please

      1. Kay says:

        LOL to be honest, I dislike MSC a lot too, but in Spa watching him drive was quite thrilling and entertaining.

        Provided that he does not repeat what he did to Barrichello in Hungary 2011 (or was it 2010?), I don’t really mind or care if he’s on the grid. I appreciate fair racing, and if he’s moved on to learn that, I’m happy to have him here :D

      2. Bart says:

        Oh dear, someone has to sort out their bitterness…

  17. Dan says:

    I really hope Lewis doesn’t leave McLaren, but I think it will be a much bigger loss to McLaren in my opinion.

    For me the best drivers in the world by a distance are Hamilton and Alonso, they are the only drivers that drag their teams up when the car isn’t performing. Just imagine if Ferrari never had Alonso and McLaren never had Alonso the performance difference between them and their teammates has been huge.

    I just hope Lewis doesn’t move to another team and end up having to spend/waste a few years not competing like Alonso had to after McLaren.

    1. Carlos Marques says:

      I like how you say ” Just imagine if Ferrari never had Alonso and McLaren never had Alonso”

      1. Dan says:

        I meant if McLaren never had Hamilton.. I think you knew that though.

    2. Dino says:

      Dear Dan, I just think like you. If I could pick two any drivers of the grid, they would be no doubt Fernando and Lewis.

      Since Jenson moved to McLaren, I think that Lewis has been feeling himself less and less loved by the team. Obviously his issues on and out of the track on many times have helped this situation too.

      Now maybe he feels in a position where to renew his McLaren contract, he has to pressure the team and make them see that if they don’t love him any more, he can go elsewhere. Even if it means going to a lesser team.

      Somehow everything will hopefully be resolved and the contract will be renewed. Would McLaren really risk loosing his brightest star?

      1. Kay says:

        +1, and I don’t blame Lewis.

        Speaking of Jenson, I am getting less and less fond of him, and I used to think of him as a nice gentleman albeit not being part of the elite group of drivers, like Alonso, Hamilton.

        Ever since the start of 2012 he’s been speaking trash, playing with mind games, etc etc etc. Didn’t at the start of 2012 he dismissed Alonso as a title contender? That backfired to him great time and glad to see his own words slapped himself. A week or so ago he came out saying he don’t know why Alonso is speaking BS about his car being slow. Rather than doing the talk on track (which he rarely could this year) he just speaks speaks speaks speaks speaks.

        Hamilton got his head right and do the stuff on track, but his team fav’ing Jens over him must feel quite bad.

      2. Elie says:

        Yeah I agree to some extent. I think Jenson plays the team game very well. In public he is like “oh yeah Lewis and I get along real well” but behind closed doors he stabs him in the back.. Btw that “Oops I didnt see you there Lewis Canada “last year – I still don’t buy he was about to be beaten & he did not like it one little bit. People can say what they like but I saw his face – it was an intentional block ! But what was worse was that he got the other drivers on his side over it ! He is very crafty.Lewis should move if he gets the chance. He needs a new challenge and Mercedes will be better next year and beyond.

      3. Busamann says:

        So true!

  18. vinod says:

    I had asked this question before to james and he had answered “He’d be brave to leave McLaren for Mercedes, but Ross Brawn said that he’s got the group he wants now and that 2013 will be a different story so you never know.” If this turns out to be true then Kimi would be the most likely candidate going to Mclaren.

    1. Dino says:

      Dear Vinod, I don’t think so, too much politics for Kimi, he knows them already. Lotus-Kimi is a marriage made in heaven. He is enjoying F1 once more time, why change? I can’t see it happening.

      1. Kay says:

        As much as I’d love Kimi driving a McLaren car again, I agree with Dino.

        Kimi just hates media stuff and promotion work. Lotus able to understand that and provide him the environment he needs to perform is clearly evident from the results Kimi brings. Kudos to Lotus.

      2. B Grylls says:

        Kimi was negotating with McLaren by the end of 2009 but they chose JB for 2010 (which really made sense back then).

        In my view, Kimi is a more likely candidate than Di Riesta to fill Lewis’ spot in McLaren should he leave. Regarding politics and history, I believe that both McLaren and Kimi have developed over the last years.

        BG

      3. James Clayton says:

        “I believe that both McLaren and Kimi have developed over the last years…”

        …in opposite directions!!

  19. Baggins says:

    Don’t care where Lewis ends up really. I’ve had enough of him and the circus he creates.
    Im much more interested in Michaels future. I hope its not retirement. How good would It be to see him go back to Ferrari for one more year? Get Massa out of there!

    1. Roberto Arroyo says:

      If you leave your wife and she´s re-married will you go back, knowing there is a new “owner” in the house?

      1. veeru says:

        while I think your comment is not funny and a bad analogy , on the matter that you really meant with your analogy:

        why cant schumaher go back to Ferrari and test himself out with Alonso?

        sure he is going to suck, but it will be a treat to fans

      2. Roberto Arroyo says:

        Sorry if you took it personally, i wasn´t my intention. Regarding if MSC is going to suck doubt it, even if Alonso is a tremendous driver, Schumacher can compete with him with no problem. I don´t think Ferrari will want to have that power strugle between garages, although different times and personalities it could be a modernized Senna-Prost situation.

        The best driver of this generation vs the all records one.

        But Scumacher is going to suck in a Ferrari? Never….

  20. Ashboy says:

    Do you think that “tweet” knocked £10,mill of the mclaren deal so he is trying his luck with a bit of poker?

    1. James Allen says:

      It has the feeling of a ploy about it.

      Classic negotiating tactic – create a sense of loss….

      1. Irish con says:

        The last time Eddie came up with something like this was when he broke the news about michael going to Mercedes in December time 2009. So that’s why I think this has serious credibility now as I laughed it off the last time.

      2. James Allen says:

        I thought that was Kevin Garside, who got it from a bloke who was plastering his bathroom who had family connections with Brawn/Mercedes

      3. Steven Pritchard says:

        The news came from a plasterer! LOL. The writing was on the wall.

      4. Phil R says:

        EJ does do a good bit of plastering…special rates for cash too

      5. Irish con says:

        James check out jakes tweet tonight about eddie breaking the news.

      6. vinod says:

        but don’t you think james it might backfire since the tweetergate in spa.

      7. Jodum5 says:

        Ha, this would never work with Williams. Though I couldn’t stand their arrogance (from my POV) when they were a top team, it’d be amusing to see a driver attempt this stuff with them.

      8. Calum says:

        Or as Bernie likes to do – create a market.

  21. Ritchie Hicks says:

    I’m a McLaren supporter but I’m not a big fan of Lewis. I find him sulky and sometimes immature in interviews. He seems to forget just how lucky he has been with McLaren’s huge support and investment over the years. A spell at another team would do him good and hopefully make him see just how hard some drivers struggle to get where they are. Paul Di Resta is good driver with a much better attitude towards the press and I think he would be a better ambassador for McLaren but I think when it comes to the crunch Lewis knows just which side his bread it buttered; and I suspect McLaren do too.

    1. ReviLO says:

      Must have been a very good look a like posing as very upset P Diresta becausevhis Kers was working when he was interviewed after the race at Spa.

      1. Ritchie Hicks says:

        Perhaps – but at least it’s a rare thing with Paul and not a common occurance (as it is with Lewis). In addition, Paul seems more level-headed and I doubt he would be stupid enough to post telemetry of his (and Nico’s) laps on Twitter!

      2. ReviLO says:

        More level-headed maybe… I’m not that concerned about it. What I would be concerned about is how quick the driver is and what he would bring to the team. For me the jury is still out with regard to P D. I think we all know what Lewis brings from that point of view. With regard to the telemetry, I really don’t see what all the hysteria is about, hasn’t Paddy Lowe already stated that it has not caused that much damage, and if the other engineers really wanted to, they could deduce or get a hold of the information that it provided anyway. Seems to me that there has been the usually jumping on the band wagon/irrational reaction to every any anything where a certain Mr Hamilton is involved.

    2. Calum says:

      Agreed on all counts….although I’m a little nostalgic and would love to see Kimi back at Woking (sorry Paul).

      1. Ritchie Hicks says:

        Totally agree. Kimi has been consistently good this season. He’s an excellent driver and his previous form proves it. I wouldn’t mind seeing get a drive for McLaren.

      2. iceman says:

        That would be fantastic. Someone phone up Eddie Jordan and get him to start a rumour about it!

  22. Colin says:

    Hamiltons manager Simon Fuller is close friends with Nick Fry going back to when they did the weird BAR world car season together so that all makes sense…

  23. Rach says:

    The whole story makes sense. Clearly Hamilton felt there were other reasons possibly why button was quicker than him and that is why he went so public.

    Personally I think mclaren are mad and have created this situation by there insistence on supporting Button.

    The one hole in this is it has come from eddie Jordan. Let’s not forget he has been trying to retire Schumacher ever since he came back and has always been wrong!!!

    1. Craig D says:

      By supporting Button I assume you mean in supporting him as much as Lewis? McLaren haven’t favoured him over Hamilton or vice versa. They’ve always said they treat their drivers fairly.

      I can’t see him moving though, just negotiation rustlings.

      1. Rach says:

        Yep I mean by this whole treat them equally. Mclaren have never built a car good enough to be able to do that. They need to back one or the other.

        The only way I see it happening is if Lewis has negotiated good get out clauses if merc don’t produce the goods.

      2. Craig D says:

        Yeah and I’m sure Lewis would want to win through being gifted victories and points by his team mate! Wanting all this assistance just diminishes his ability. I remember how when Massa had to let Alonso win in Germany 2010 people were up in arms saying, “if Alonso wins (by fewer than x points), it will be a tainted Championship!”

        The whole concept of one team mate being the chosen one is quite rare these days anyway, and in terms of affecting race results it hardly ever has a chance to be enacted. Drivers should be given equal opportunity. Plus if Button had been made to play no.2 this year I doubt it would have affected a single result as they haven’t raced together much this year (or are you suggesting he should have been told to yield in Australia)?!

        The reason Alonso is de facto number 1 at Ferrari is because he’s dominated Massa and a natural hierarchy has formed. Button is too strong a team mate for that ever to happen, even if only because Lewis isn’t consistent enough like Alonso and to some extent Vettel. Plus Jenson did beat Lewis last year remember.

        What you’re really wanting is for a weaker driver to be brought in alongside Hamilton but that’s detrimental for the Constructors’.

        Also, McLaren have built cars strong enough to win; obviously 07 and 08 but so was the one in 2010 if things had gone differently but Hamilton lost that chance largely to crashing in Monza and Singapore.

        This year’s car is strong enough to win but again, things aren’t working out (team errors, etc). It is still capable of giving either McLaren driver the Championship though. After all, Alonso is leading the Championship in the worst car of the contenders.

      3. Kay says:

        Christian Horner says he treats drivers equally. That’s not how the world or the team’s no.2 feels.

      4. Craig D says:

        That’s Red Bull though. And it’s more of an emotional favouritism towards Vettel I feel – wing-gate notwithstanding.

    2. Steve Rogers says:

      Yes, but Eddie was the one person who correctly predicted Schumacher’s return in the first place, so give him some credit.

      1. Rach says:

        No chance!

  24. Roberto Arroyo says:

    Dear James,

    If Mercedes is on the brink to have a breakthrough car, why Schumacher will want to retire?, he´s running good, very consistent apart from some mistakes, with a front leading car he´s more than capable to translate that into winnings and certainly the championship

    1. James Allen says:

      Exactly. Not everything about this story adds up.

      1. Bloke says:

        Maybe Mike has simply decided that he wants to have a normal life back again, time with the family, enjoy the fruits of his tremendous career – and without the ever present risk that motor racing will always bring. I dont think he likes DRS or KERS, or the Pirelli rubber – so maybe the current version of F1 simply doesnt float his boat.

        I dont think Merc have a ‘breakthrough’ – but I think they sense an opportunity.

      2. Alex says:

        Racing’s ‘normal life’ for Michael! I though that’s why hr came back: nothing away from F1 felt right.

      3. olivier says:

        Indeed. Wasn’t Schumacher feeling bored as a Ferrari consultant? I really can’t see him as a manager. Spa showed us that this man is a true blooded racing driver.

        I hope he keeps his Spa helmet. It’s much better than the nostalgic red helmet. Here’s to a new beginning!

      4. Steven Pritchard says:

        Or maybe wife and family are adding some emotional pressure to quit?

      5. Kay says:

        Get them to join in, put a couple more Merc F1s to the grid and let his family have a go :D :D :D :D :D :D
        Voila family united and problem solved!

      6. Liam in Sydney says:

        How can anyone believe that Lewis, who no longer has his mentor Ron propping him up all the time, would move from one stiff, button-down organisation to another one over at Mercedes? He just doesn’t fit in over there very well. And Lewis was just on the grapevine just this year complaining of all the sponsor-related mumbo he has had to complete. What does he think he is going to get by driving for Mercedes?

      7. Stephen Taylor says:

        But Schumacher is 43 and why need he take the risk?

  25. @thejudge13 says:

    A couple of people I know at Mclaren, told me senior figures in the Group were definitely unhappy with Lewis’ general demeanour last year.

    Then we have Big Ron’s assertions (I think in Barcelona this year) that the economic climate is not what it was – in other words Lewis should not expect as much money if he wants to stay at McLaren.

    Lewis response when questioned was, “Martin [Whitmarsh] is my boss, it’s with him I’ll be sitting down and having contract discussions”. A fairly blunt snub to Big Ron – something no one gets to do and survive,

    Although Lewis has attempted to portray a Zen like persona for the media for most of this year, many think its a mask which appeared to slip with twittergate this weekend just gone.

    I remember Martin Brundle this year suggesting he’d made decisions to jump teams that with hindsight he may not have done. So if this story is true, the next story is – has Lewis jumped, or has he been pushed?

  26. Rang says:

    James, Do you think Schumacher would retire even without winning a race? By this character looks highly unlikely. But then if this news is true do you think Mercedes would dump Nico or has Schumacher planned something bigger…probably a switch Ferrari :-) ?

    But I am sure Mercedes would be a front runner sooner than later and the make or break should be next season. Hence I feel Schumacher would continue. Seeing his form I am sure he is almost there, its just the car which is lacking at the moment.

    1. JohnBt says:

      MS had the whole cake to himself from 2000 to 2004. Others would like a piece of the cake too. Barrichello must be sniggering and smiling I suspect.

      1. mark says:

        yes ms did have the whole cake from 2000 to 2004 but michael helped bake that cake from the disaster that was ferrari in 1996

  27. quest says:

    Who to Mclaren then. Hopefully Kimi. Somehow I don’t see Lotus producing championship contending cars year after year.

    Although it would be sad to see Schu leave. He has really be back upto to pace this year only to be let down by the Merc time and again. Or maybe Schu stays and Rosberg moves.

    Also change could be good for Hamilton. He has been with the same team since he was kid. Maybe a new enviroment could lead to him becoming more mature and do justice to his talent even if he has to endure one or two uncomepetitive years at Mercedes.

    1. olivier says:

      Scenario 1:
      Hamilton > Mercedes
      Rosberg > McLaren

      Scenario 2:
      Hamilton > Mercedes
      Kimi > McLaren
      Schumi > Ferrari

      … as long as Schumi stays. I can’t see him leaving though. He will stay loyal to Ross. They have unfinished business … Mercedes AMG GP for 2013 Champion!

      1. Charles says:

        I don’t Kimi will go anywhere… he is number one driver at Lotus why changing?

        What Hamilton is looking for is more assurances that he is number 1 driver…

        Rosberg to McLaren impossible! or Schumi for Ferrari is like saying Alonso back to McLaren

      2. Kay says:

        +1 on Rosberg.

      3. mark says:

        How do you work out schumi ferrari is like alonso to mclaren ? alonso and mclaren’s relationship disintegrated. but michael left ferrari when he retired and stayed on with the team also when massa was injured who did ferrari first contact schumi

      4. iceman says:

        How about a 3-way swap between Hamilton, Schumacher and Raikonnen? Lewis to Mercedes, Kimi back home to McLaren and Michael to BenettonLotus.

    2. Il Leone says:

      I absolutely agree with this: ‘Maybe a new enviroment could lead to him becoming more mature and do justice to his talent even if he has to endure one or two uncomepetitive years at Mercedes.’

      No one should stay in the same place at 27 where they were at 13. Life is about change and moving on and I really think Lewis + Mercedes could be a dream team. I know that Norbert Haug really rates him so why not?

    3. StaffsSteve says:

      James said that Paul DiResta would be at the front of the queue. What about Heikki Kovalainen returning to McLaren? or even Heikki replacing Massa at Ferrari?

      1. Kay says:

        What’s this with the Heikki hype?

        Just coz he got sent back to primary school due to being crappy in secondary school, and owned a couple of classmates that had worse results than him, doesn’t mean he’ll do well again in secondary school.

        I for one do not wish to see Heikki on the grid.

      2. Elie says:

        What happened to Heikki at Mclaren the last time ?? He’s ok but he’s not a top 8 driver.top teams need at least this.

    4. Casey says:

      A Rosberg / Hamilton swap is one that I see having some real potential. I don’t think Merc is what Nico expected, he’s hardly doing better than he did with Williams and I think many of his recent comments are good PR but not the way he really feels.

      Hamilton to Merc, Rosberg to McLaren, Schumi stays where he is, Perez to replace Massa, Massa to replace RG @ Renault.

      :-)

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        If massa leaves Ferrari he is F1 History. He won’t get another drive.

  28. Val from montreal says:

    Watch this , schumacher retires and next year mercedes will be the best car on the grid !!

  29. Guillermo says:

    It sounds like a bad move for all concerned. Lewis is difficult enough when he doesn’t have the best car, so can you imagine him if he’s struggling to get in the top 10?! Also, surely the only driver Mercedes would break the bank for is Vettel?

    Once again, it makes me question the advice being given to Lewis by his advisors. I don’t think the image he is cultivating for himself appeals to sponsors, so he shouldn’t be surprised when the lucrative contract he craves doesn’t land on the table?

    1. Dan says:

      Vettel? I think most teams would pick Hamilton over Vettel, Seb is the biggest Sulker on the grid and is a double champion because of an amazing advantage in his car the last 2 years.

      Without Red Bull’s dodgy engine maps, would he have dominated qualifying and raced off at the beginning of races? He had the backing of his team and had to just out qualify Webber.

      1. Guillermo says:

        I think that given the choice, Mercedes would much rather build a German super team around Vettel than Lewis.

        My point is that drivers don’t just get signed based on how fast they are. I’m a Lewis fan and I think that ultimately he is faster than Vettel, but his image and temperament count against him in contract negotiations.

      2. Dan says:

        Very true, I hadn’t considered the German aspect.

        I think Lewis has Abit of an unfair bad reputation, he won his world title in a competitive season and would have won in his debut, but for Alonso who thought (rightly) he was number 1.

        Vettel won two titles with a car that had huge advantages over the field and has shown that when things are not going his way can act Abit spoilt.

        I think there isn’t much between them with regards to temperament, Vettel served his dues at Torro Rosso whereas Lewis was thrust straight into a competitive car.

        So I would hope that in the end it did come down to who was the fastest, because that’s what we all want to see… The fastest drivers.

      3. Bart says:

        If we’re going to try that hard to downplay the talents of today’s grid, then we might as well say Hamilton wouldn’t be champion if Glock’s tyres held on for anohter lap. All despite starting his career in the class of the field which no-one in recent memory bar Villeneuve has been able to do.

        Vettel is a double champoion because he got the most out of those cars. You don’t ever see a below par or average driver win championships like Vettel did in 2011.

      4. Dan says:

        I’m sorry but it’s not that black and white, Vettel is very talented, but he cruised to his titles with that car.

        Glock’s tyres? Lasting one more lap? Glock’s tyres didn’t last because it was raining and the correct thing to do was pit for wets like Lewis and the rest of leaders did.

        If Vettel wins the title this year then yes he has earned it. But having an engine map which is Virtually unbeatable when turned on isn’t exactly the expression of true speed.

      5. Bart says:

        “I’m sorry but it’s not that black and white, Vettel is very talented, but he cruised to his titles with that car.”

        You also have to consider the job he did. If he wasn’t on top of his game, such a margin wouldn’t have materialised.

        “Glock’s tyres? Lasting one more lap? Glock’s tyres didn’t last because it was raining and the correct thing to do was pit for wets like Lewis and the rest of leaders did.”

        I highlighted Brazil 08 because on that day, when the pressure was at its greatest, Hamilton didn’t produce a particularly good performance. Contrast with Vettel at Abu Dhabi 2010, when he did everything he needed to do. I don’t mean Hamilton didn’t deserve it, but I’m pointing out that LH that was close to not being an F1 champion at all, which may have hurt his bargaining position with other teams.

      6. Dan says:

        So going back to my original point, Hamilton won it in a competitive season, Lewis did what he had to, to win, which was finish at least 5th and stay out of trouble.

        I like Vettel but like Jenson buttons title having something on the car no one else has bar your teammate taints the triumph for me.

    2. Kay says:

      “Lewis is difficult enough when he doesn’t have the best car”

      Lewis may be difficult with a bad car but still drives around it and bag in the results. Jens with a bad car cannot drive it at all.

      1. Guillermo says:

        That’s very true. But Lewis’s speed doesn’t come without a fair amount of drama!

        I just think that when you have guys like Kimi that can also bring home the points regardless of what they’re driving (with no drama), why is anyone going to pay Lewis silly money to drive for them?

  30. Fay Ridd says:

    I don’t really what to say I am feeling really upset at this I do want Lewis to stay at m laren and only hope that this is a rumour. Mclaren would be nothing without Lewis so I would have to support him where ever he goes. BUt I dont know about mercedas would rather. Have liked him to go to Ferrari h he is moving on so for your sake mclaren give him what he wants it will be a long time before anybody as great as him comes along again. He’s like Mohammed alis what he did for boxing being the whole package. So awaiting now what happens.

    1. RodgerT says:

      McLaren nothing without Lewis? That team was round and winning long before Hamilton came along, and probably will be well after he moves on.

      The highest Hamilton has been in the standings since his WDC is 4th. But McLaren had a driver place second in the standings last year.

      No driver is more important than the team.

    2. Jim Dee says:

      I have been a McLaren fan since Nigel couldn’t fit in it and Mika came along. If Lewis moves it looks like I will need to buy a new scarf.

  31. Carlos F. says:

    What about Schumacher to Ferrari next year? Surely he would do better than Massa and warm up Vettel’s seat assuming the rumors from the Italian media are true. He could then keep a management role in Ferrari rather than Mercedes.

    1. Kay says:

      If MSC doesn’t mind a management role, he wouldn’t have left for Merc GP for a drive.

  32. Bloke says:

    I think Hamilton needs a change of air, and I also think Mclaren need one too. I think ‘Golden Gonads’ has become a bit of a pain…..

    High maintenance, occasionally incredibly immature, very high cost and – when you tumble the numbers, he has actually been outscored by Jenson across their 3 seasons together – so you have to ask, is he worth it? My answer would be ‘No’. Not until he (a) decides what he wants his legacy to be (ie one of the best racing drivers, or a popstar celebrity) and (b) has matured both as a person and as a complete driver (ala Alonso).

    If it is true, it will be for the best for all parties.

    Not sure about Di Resta as a replacement though… nice guy, talented, but seems a bit … steady eddie to me.

    1. Dan says:

      Without Lewis the McLaren would have been very poor the last few seasons.

      Lewis has lost a load of points by being to aggressive, but I’m sure we can all agree that’s what we want to see, people racing. Not tip toeing round and praising the driver who is kinder on his tyres.

      Jenson is a good driver, but not in the same league as Hamilton & Alonso.

  33. Phil says:

    Schumacher back to Ferrari. Wouldn’t that be a story?

  34. franed says:

    I thought Merc had confirmed that they will be withdrawing from direct F1 team entry in the not too distant future.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Thanks Mr Allen for giving the right info on Merc pulling outhe newspapers/press seem to think otherwise.

    1. Edmund says:

      If that’s the case the concorde agreement would have been signed way back!

    2. Liam in Sydney says:

      I think that was just a leverage thing over the cut of the F1 pie.

  35. Siddle says:

    James

    I do hope that this is true. McLaren(Martin Whitmarsh) have been so busy making Jens comfortable that they have lost sight of the big picture.

    The admissision from Martin Whitmarsh that he did not recognise that Spa was Jens first pole for McLaren says so much. It does not excuse Lewis’s tweets but does explain a great deal.

    The Lewis/McLaren partnership has not been flourishing since Jens joined McL. No adverse reflection on Jens. He has always made it clear that he needs his setup right to be comfortable. MW has consistently been more stoked when his signing has performed well.

    I do hope that the switch comes about so that those detractors who say that Lewis has had it all laid for him can find out if they are right. I am sure they want to!

    Siddle

    1. James Clayton says:

      When confronted with the “Jenson’s first pole” questions, I think both Whitmarsh and Hamilton both have “was it? really?” responses to try and save face and avoid the questions all together!

  36. Il Leone says:

    I have long said on this website that I think Lewis should go to Merc for 2013, as I think both he and Macca would benefit from a parting of the ways.

    That is not to say that Lewis might not be taking a step down in terms of team strength, history etc, but then again how successful have Macca actually been in recent years in terms of CCs or WDCs? 2008 has been their only WDC since 1999 and that was only won by the skin of their teeth at Brazil. Surely Lewis has nothing to lose by going to Merc and hoping Ross comes up with a good car.

    I think Lewis would benefit from being away from people like Ron and Martin, who always go on about ‘I remember when Lewis was 12′ and so on and actually stand on his own two feet for a change in a new team.

    I think he knows that as well, hence his demeanour which seems to me that he is agitating for a change of team and I am sure that Simon Fuller and IX entertainment are doing all they can to get him into the Merc for next year.

    The great unknown is of course Schumi and whether he will tolerate getting ‘kicked upstairs’ and take on a non-driving role.

    But I for one think that Lewis + Nico, in a good car, will both challenge for the title next year. And I would applaud Lewis’ bravery in turning down the safe option and taking a risk in changing teams.

    As for Macca, I don’t think two British drivers is the way forward. How about Button + Senna, the proposed ’09 Honda line-up before they pulled out of the sport and Brawn stepped in??

    1. CanadaGP says:

      Why are we assuming that it is Schumi who will be out?
      Rosberg has not impressed and does not look like a future WDC. He’s a good No. 2 driver.
      The problem is right now, Merc has two good No. 2 drivers.
      Schumi is past his prime but is still a superstar and helps sell cars.
      Lewis is the No. 1 that Mercedes needs.
      It’s probably better for both Macca and Hamilton to have a change of scenery. Often, even in the best of relationships, it is what’s needed.

  37. Val from montreal says:

    After seeing bernie’s interview last sunday at spa , when he mentioned Schumacher retiring , I wrote two letters to Michael Schumacher and yesterday they were sent to his offices in Switzerland and Germany … My letters begged him to not retire and continue racing beyond 2012 …I wrote that he is still the best Formula one driver presently on the grid and that I still believed in him …. I hope that Michael himself will read those letters before he makes up his mind come october ….. Go Michael !!

    1. zombie says:

      From one MS fan to another – thank you !

      1. Val from montreal says:

        Thanx – btw , zombie , any chance your also a Walking Dead fan too ? Andrew Lincoln rocks !!

      2. Il Drago Rosso says:

        I second this.

  38. Brad says:

    Lewis, for god sake where is your head?

    Bar/Honda/brawn/Mercedes….. What’s the odd one out? The answer is brawn. That is the only good car they made and even that was not refined, and won based on a loop hole. That company don’t make good cars, and Lewis you will end up with nothing other than a few mediocre results and grey hair befor you slip down the order and people talk about how good you WERE!

    McLaren may not be perfect, but they do know how to make a good car, and in 5 years time they will have won more with or without you than you will have to show at Mercedes/AMG/addthenextnamehere…

    Button was smart beyond his years, he won the lot and got out.

    Lewis in case you doubt me, watch a few races when the “earth dreams” car was out??? Goodness gracious me, that car would have gone better on 3 wheels and would probably have been better balanced!

    Your greatest fan, and yes I did cry at brazil 2008 last lap!!

    1. Nick Hipkin says:

      agree and would add two words – Jacques Villeneuve!

  39. Calum says:

    Negotiating tactic.

    Can’t see Lewis leaving the current class of the field for what is currently a B-team. Mercedes issues do not come from a lack of driving talent…

  40. VV says:

    Dear Sir Frank

    Surely this would be the perfect opportunity to get Michael in one of your cars at long last? You missed the chance in ’91 and on countless other opportunities, and surely he’d be a much better team-mate for Bottas than Maldonadork? I’m sure he could get some sponsors to help make up the budget shortfall as well.

    Lots of love
    VV

  41. Dave says:

    Is everyone forgetting Gay Paffet in all of this. Surely someone should give him his big break.. finally

    1. Nathhulal says:

      He is too “happy” to end up as an test driver I think. If he was serious about racing in F1 he would have taken his chances like PDLR

    2. JohnBt says:

      Seriously, you must be joking.

  42. Kevin says:

    Schumi to Ferrari, to retire at the end of 2013.

    Just like he did at the end of his first career.

    Ferrari gets their act together with their car, while Mercedes can’t.

    Maybe that’s a plus for Michael to move.

  43. Elaine says:

    I heard last weekend Lewis was going to take a year out of driving altogether, so that’s another mix

    1. James Clayton says:

      I would love to see your source!

  44. madmax says:

    With Schumacher’s form continuously improving since his comeback I can’t see why he would retire.

    The only conclusion I can come up with is he thinks Mercedes won’t make that step Ross has been talking about this last couple of years.

    So this is massive vote of no confidence by Schumacher on Mercedes chances of having a championship winning car anytime soon.

    I don’t think the story adds up because if it was true why wouldn’t Schumacher announce his retirement at his special place Spa at his 300 GP celebrations.

    1. Ritchie Hicks says:

      “Schumacher’s form continuously improving since his comeback”.

      Really?

      1. Rach says:

        Yes.

        1st year struggled. 2nd year poor qualy good race pace. 3rd year improved qualy and good race pace.

      2. Sarb says:

        Yep, his race pace has been mighty this year! Shame about all those retirements though.

      3. Ritchie Hicks says:

        I wouldn’t call 10th in the points table “mighty”. Especially given his career record.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Ritchie, look at the context of his placement (woefull reliability), then consider again.

  45. someone says:

    I might be mistaken, but maybe the rumors are just partially right and it’s all a bit more complicated. Imagine Hamilton trying to get a 1-year deal at McLaren and both a McLaren and Mercedes option for 2014, while McLaren could be trying to get a fixed 2-year deal with Hamilton and Mercedes trying to get Schumacher into another 2 years, while Schumacher could be longing for a 2013 seat and some kind of ambassador role in 2014.

  46. ArJay says:

    I don’t mind which team Lewis joins next year so long as HAM.i.Leaks.com stays up and running and provides us with more telemetry data. Just hope the presentation moves away from that retro-chic, 1970s dot-matrix printer style format – not suitable for a supposedly hi-tech organisation.

  47. luke says:

    i haven’t read all the comments, so it may have been asked already. any chance schumacher replaces massa for a year at ferrari? one last hurrah, perhaps?

  48. Abashrawi says:

    Imagine they swap; Hamilton to Merc and MSC to Mclaren, and MSC wins the championship? :p

  49. Dan Orsino says:

    This news is exciting, even if we don’t know for sure: I mean Eddie Jordan … you know…

    But Kimi has not signed to stay with Lotus although Eric has been making lots of supportive statements about his star driver lately. It may well be that Whitmarsh has been courting the Iceman. There is no doubt Kimi has made a great success of his F1 return, and not just McLaren, but Ferrari too it seems, want to buy in. Luca di M may not like Kimi, but he likes success.
    So while Kimi is mulling things over, Lewis’s options have been getting fewer …

  50. Dmitry says:

    I just really wish it is not true.

  51. Patrick Byrne says:

    Was it Maurice Hamilton or some other old sage who wrote a piece earlier this year opinioning that someone of Ross Brawn’s stature would be able to calm Lewis down and help him utilise his talents?

    I think the relationship with McLaren is very fragile at this point and that there is a loss of respect on both sides. I just can’t see it being a mutually beneficial relationship long-term.

    Where would all this leave Hulk though – if Di Resta were to go to McLaren and Hamilton to Mercedes. He’s arguably been the most impressive of the Force India guys this year.

    1. Ani Iyer says:

      Hulk stay with Force India. PUNY GOD

  52. Nick says:

    I seriously don’t get what all the song and praise is for for Paul DiResta! He has had 2 good races this year; Bahrain and Monaco. He got 7th in Valencia… (when dozens of cars ahead of him had retired/crashed!) He is talked up so much on the TV simply because MB/DC are close friends of his. I’m not saying his is bad, but he does not deserve to go to McLaren when the likes of Sergio Perez is out there; Hulk is beating him too, HIS TEAM MATE!

  53. Shaun says:

    when I saw the BBC story on Saturday/Sunday where Bernie seemed to make a faux pas I wondered if he was genuinely losing it a bit. But now, looking back on it it seems like it was fully intentional and carefully worded, as was the chosen interviewer I suspect because Mr Jordan can be distracted by tittle tattle and hearsay.

    Lewis’s ‘management’ team do him no favours. The red bull discussions were carefully orchestrated in the same way Will Carling was played by Diana’s little ‘closed door’ stunt way back when and LH looked equally naive.

    This opportunity may well galvanise McLaren into closing the door as there is plenty of talent out there in Di Resta and others and Lewis, undoubted talent that he is, seems to be becoming poisoned by celebrity.

    Shame, I liked him. but wtf.

  54. Davids says:

    DiResta to McLaren? I would have thought Kimi would be a more obvious choice for them?

    1. Kay says:

      Kimi has a huge dislike for any other duties other than driving the car.

  55. Sleeves says:

    I hope the rumors are true. Hamilton has never had the opportunity to mature, still a “child”. He has become a superstar too fast, you feel sorry for him!
    Kimi, no bullsh*t man, put him together with Janson!
    What a fantastic line up!

  56. Peter Miles says:

    I just can’t see it. Oh Schumacher may or may not retire again but given Mercedes desire for German drivers where would Lewis fit in?

    I could be wrong but I really believe Lewis will still be at McLaren next year. But maybe neither party will be totally happy about it!

  57. Adam Baldock-Apps says:

    Why does everyone assume its to replace Michael? perhaps Nico is off to ferrari?

    1. CanadaGP says:

      Yes, it does make complete sense Adam.
      Ferrari needs a good No. 2 driver and Nico fits the bill.
      Rosberg Jr. is simply not good enough to be No. 1 for a top team.
      For Ferrai, he will bring in the points, a win or two a year, and challenge Alonso enough to bring out Fernando’s maximum.
      Schumi stays on at Merc one more year so he can finally retire from F1 on his own terms.
      Lewis becomes heir apparent at Mercedes.
      I think people are assuming too much that Merc wants two German drivers – they are a global corporation even more than a McLaren or a Ferrari.
      And after Schumi retires, they can bring on Nico Hulkenberg who might end up being just as good as anyone.

  58. Darren says:

    I can certinaly understand why McLaren are reluctant to pay so much for Hamilton this time around. Even if economic times weren’t different, he has not performend to the same level and has reduced his own worth in my opinion.

    The big problem is that there is no one else around, near Lewis’s level to replace him with. DiResta is solid but Hulkenburg is starting to lead him quite substantially now.

    Ironically the youngster showing speed at the moment is Grosjean and he clearly needs more time to settle.

    Hamilton seems immature enough to blame the team for the times when he can’t win and I think he feels miffed at how Button has garnered such support and respect in “his” team.

    I’m a big Lewis fan and feel it is a great shame that he hasn’t delivered the full potential he has for one reason or another. A change in environment would probably do him good on a personal level. However any team switch other than Red Bull or Ferrari is clearly a step backwards.

    The sensible thing is for both sides to just get on with it and continue in a more mature fashion.

  59. T Nelan Esq says:

    It`s a negotiating tactic. Lewis would never fit in at Mercedes, and they wouldn`t be prepared put up with his drama-queen antics anyway. They play their game like a serious group of professonals. Schumi and Nico are both super professional, when things go wrong they don`t have a public rant at the team. Instead they find out what went wrong and fix it.
    Schumi won`t be going back to Ferrari, I`m 100% sure. He was pushed out by them at the end of his previous career. I say that because he wanted the team focused on him, and they were unwilling to give him that anymore because they were planning for their long-term future and the need to hire Kimi sooner rather than later.
    I hope and pray Schumi stays at Merc for one more year. If they finally have their problems solved and have their ducks in a row, it would be asolute magic to see Schumi fighing for wins and the championship. Then he could go out on a high, and be even more of a living legend than he is already.

    1. RodgerT says:

      I don’t know where Nico stands in terms of when his contract ends, but wouldn’t this be interesting?

      Merc let’s Nico go, and pairs Lewis with Schumacher for a year. If there’s anybody who could get Hamilton to shut up and get on with it, it would be Schumacher & Brawn.

      1. T Nelan Esq says:

        If there was a spirit of cooperation there between Schumacher and Lewis, it would help Lewis to grow up. But if Schumacher wants to pressure Lewis into having bad weekends, it is within his power to do that too. As Eddie Irvine said one time, being Schumacher’s team mate at a grand prix is like getting hit over the head with a cricket bat for the course of the whole weekend. You know how Schumacher loves to play mind games with his opposition, although he doesn’t seem to do this to Nico.

      2. James Clayton says:

        I don’t really think he has earned the ‘authority’ to do it in his second career.

  60. Truth or Lies says:

    If we’re going to call this in my view, Hamilton stays at McLaren they can’t afford to lose him, Schumacher extends for a year at Mercedes and Ferrari probably drop Massa unless he wins or has several podiums before the season end.

  61. Andy R says:

    James, all I read is its good for Hamilton to stay at Mclaren for all various reasons (no better options, longetivity, internal knowledge of the team etc etc).

    But no one has suggested is it really good for Mclaren?
    All said and done it does demoralize the humble team mechanics and even some senior engineers, technicians to see all their sweat and hard work proved to zilch by the prima-dona Hamilton.

    Especially last year, where he let personal issues get in the way. This year has been ok, but even so the issue on tweet-gate.

    I am sure they must be looking for someone fast yet balanced, say Raikkonen or Rosberg.

    What are your thoughts?

    1. James Allen says:

      Raikkonen is possible to imagine yes. They approached him in 2009

      1. Kay says:

        I’ve always wondered how come that didn’t materialise. o_O
        Why is it McLaren picked Button over Raikkonen in ’09, James?

      2. James Allen says:

        Obvious one that he was current, the WC, Kimi has question marks over motivation etc

        Question mark now would be quail pace

      3. Kay says:

        Righto… cheers for the reply and info James :)

      4. Elie says:

        I think KImi wanted too much money also. Remember he was used to earning €34m. I think Mclaren were paying like 8 or 10 at the time for JB.Budgets started to come off !! I think he understands this now from “doing the rounds ”
        & two years out.

        James, aside of Spa how quick was Jenson in Quali ?
        How quick do you reckon Kimi would be in the MP4-27. Mate that Mercedes engine wound up for one lap.. It’s goodbye I’m telling you..

      5. Kay says:

        I don’t think so Elie.

        Ain’t exactly Lotus are writing fat cheques to Kimi now! His salary is like peanuts compared to his Ferrari days.

      6. James Clayton says:

        Kay. What Kimi is being paid now, and what he may have been demanding a couple of years ago are, I would imagine, two very different things.

      7. sname says:

        But isn’t Kimi too expensive for Mclaren? i thought that was one of the top reasons why Lewis was angry..

    2. Warren Groenewald says:

      This I agree with. If it does happen, I don’t believe it’s Hamilton deciding to move, but rather McLaren lowering their offer to him substantially or simply withdrawing it altogether.

      He may be talented but let’s his personal life affect his racing too much and publicly criticizes the team too often. It’s almost as though he feels entitled to success for some reason or another.

      Jenson Button admitted to believing his own hype in the beginning of his career, perhaps Hamilton does the same.

  62. Ed says:

    Hi James,

    Do you know what the McLaren heirarchy think of LH current/recent outbursts and behaviour. Does he believe himself to be untouchable do you think?

    Are you aware of any drivers talking to McLaren?

    Best wishes,
    Ed

    1. James Allen says:

      Kimi is the other possibility. McLaren approached him when JB went there.

      He’s proven he still has it although quali speed is not there yet, is it him losing the edge or is it getting used to Pirellis? That’s the question

      1. Kay says:

        Well it took Kimi half a year to get up to speed with the Bridgestones when Michlin pulled out.

      2. Elie says:

        James, Lotus had their best chance at Hungary in the warmer conditions. But even there Mclaren were on another level, so too at Spa. I don’t think Lotus ever had that single lap pace – if they did either Romain or Kimi would have a pole – everyone got it wrong and dreamt up them up as being fastest. Sadly I don’t think they will either now as Mclaren are dominant and the Ferrari and Red Bull are getting better .The old story the development race ( especially on these tyres) is being won by the top 3 and too late for Lotus & their “devise”.. They might pick up some podiums but the other 3 will have to drop the ball for them to win now..Hope I’m wrong as no one wants Kimi to win more than me, but I always believed Mclaren will be be the team to beat this year.

      3. CanadaGP says:

        I think Kimi will go back to McLaren.

        Kimi’s return to F1 and how fast it’s taken him to be in the mix (especially compared to Schumacher) has impressed a lot of people.
        In a way, it weakened Lewis negotiating position with Macca because now they have the option of getting Kimi back without much of a downgrade or question mark in terms of driver quality if Lewis leaves.

        In summary then, Hamilton to Mercedes. One more year for Schumacher then to be replaced by Hulkenberg.
        Raikkonen to McLaren to partner Button.
        Rosberg to Ferrari to partner Alonso.
        Grosjean comes back more grown up after his ban to be Lotus No. 1 next year. He does have the speed.
        That takes care of the lineup for the top 4 teams.

      4. Elie says:

        I never once doubted Kimis ability when he committed to returning. It’s also crazy for people to compare to Schumis return – his age and 3 years out- ( & i dislike him)it was always going to take time and he’s fighting better than his younger team mate.

        I think the deal with Lewis & Mercedes has been on the cards for some time now & the announcement will take place post Monza where Schumi will announce his retirement. I don’t see Rosberg going anywhere – Mercedes renewed his contract last year? Ferrari would be mad not to take a new driver- I think Perez is the man (both Sauber boys proved themselves so far).

        I’m just miffed what Mclaren will do- I don’t think they can steal Kimi away form Lotus just yet.- although stranger things have happened. It’s gotta be between Hulkenberg & Di Resta one would think- and they were really “putting on a show” at Spa. The only other situation I see is Hulkenberg going to Mercedes if for whatever reason the deal falls through with Lewis.

  63. Matthew says:

    I don’t think Lewis will leave McLaren because there isn’t another credible drive.

    All this talk of Mercedes (or any team for that matter) having even the faintest idea how quick their car will be in 2013 is hilarious.

    Do people forget what it’s like even at the first tests in March? No-one has a clue where they stand even after seeing the opposition and pouring over enough reams of data to circle the world.

    Making a promise that next year’s car will be a winner is at best optimistic thinking and more likely a complete fabrication!

  64. Amritraj says:

    Hi James,

    In all of this, what are your thoughts about McLaren dumping Alonso at the end of 2007.
    I agree the situation was untenable, but Alonso is just so strong when it comes to leading a team. Look at what he has been able to do at Ferrari in the last 3 years.
    Do you think McLaren secretly regret that they lost a driver like Fernando?

    Regards,

    Amritraj

    1. James Allen says:

      They didn’t – he walked

    2. Kay says:

      +1 on James.

      Imagine Alonso with McLaren would’ve matched MSC’s records by now if they had let him be #1. :(

      1. James Clayton says:

        He’d have had to win every year since joining McLaren! I think he’d be well on his way to matching them, but not there yet!

  65. VanDhloms says:

    Let’s hypothetically assume it happens that LH moves to MBZ. My feeling is LH may achieve more at MBZ than he has at McLaren for one big element, team principal. Great respect for Whitmarsh but I don’t think he’s in the same league as Ross Brown, Ron Denies and maybe even Christian Horner. The ability to harness performance and deliver championships from good equipment and a great driver, and we know the list of great drivers is very short. LH is a great driver and has very good equipment in his disposal, but the rest of the team and the organisation can only be sorted by the team principle, if that is weak then it’s going to be tough to win races. MBZ has good equipment we’ve seen the demo by Rosburg, Ross is a great principal record speaks for itself and he has sorted the organisation, unfortunately MSC is in his twilight only the heart is still racing. So LH type of a calibre would catapult the team’s performance to wins and championships.

    I think it would be a good move by LH.

  66. Joe Cardoza says:

    Hi James,

    I’ve been a life long McLaren supporter, and while I would be sad if he left, I really wouldn’t mind if he did as long as we found a capable replacement. As much as I love Lewis, I think we could really do without all the drama that comes along with him. This is where I really admire Fernando Alonso, you never see or hear about him except at race weekends, while Lewis’ hip-hop superstar wannabe life style has been well documented.

    An interesting point to note is how McLaren signed Jenson right under Brawn/Mercedes noses in 2009. That must have been quite embarrassing and I’d think they’d like to get McLaren back for it. There really isn’t anyone who would just come and explode on the scene like Lewis did. I think thats just a once in a life time phenomenon. And we haven’t really been reading anything about the ‘next big thing’ in F1. The only driver getting any press is this Valterri Bottas, how good is he? McLaren do have a good history with Finns, so he might be an option. But I’d really love Kimi to come back and win a WDC with us. I think we both deserve it.

    Another point was while McLaren was considering a replacement for Heikki, Nico was approached and I believe he was advised by his dad Keke that it was not wise to go to McLaren as it was ‘Lewis’ Team’. How will they react to Lewis’ arrival into ‘their team’?

    Could McLaren use Lewis to negotiate some sort of engine supply deal for them while they figure out if they want to start manufacturing their own. I read somewhere ages ago that McLaren were considering buying out the defunct BMW engine department but haven’t heard anything about it since.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on the above points.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think 2014 is vital in this, Merc feel they will have an advantage with new turbo engines

      McLaren’s deal runs to 2015 I believe, but it’s do expensive to make the new engines there’s no way McLaren would do it themselves

      2014 is at forefront of LH’s mind too.

  67. Erik says:

    James, there is no mention on how Nico might take this move… Could he be on the cards for Lewis’ seat kaybe…

    I know he might be under contract but has clearly voiced his need for a better car a few times this year? Could Mercedes release him to make sure they get Lewis? How highly is Nico valued at Mercedes?

    Straight swap between them? Would also allow Michael to stay another year…

  68. IP says:

    personally i think a few season in a HRT or a Caterham for lewis to earn some credibility back

  69. Kris says:

    “it looks as though Force India’s Paul Di Resta is at the front of the queue to replace him.”

    How clear cut is this? I like Di Resta but can’t help but think there is a touch more hype there due to him being British. I know Perez is part of the Ferrari young drivers’ academy, but has Di Resta really shown himself to be better than Hulkenberg this year? You could even make a strong argument that either of the two Williams drivers have performed as well or better. Wouldn’t they make decent candidates, both from a performance and sponsorship-generating perspective?

  70. P King says:

    I think we are all overlooking what Lewis said last week on Friday 31 August:

    “When asked on Friday whether there was a sticking point the driver revealed: “There are lots of things. You never just sign a contract that’s given to you. Most of the time it’s shit. There are still lots of factors to be taken into account.”

    And when asked whether he saw himself at McLaren next year, Hamilton sounded even more vague. He said: “I don’t see myself anywhere at the moment. I really don’t because it is difficult to picture what is going to happen in the future.

    “It is quite a difficult, interesting time in Formula One at the moment. If the rules were to stay the same for the next five years it would make the decision a lot easier. But you don’t know what is going to happen because in 2014 the rule regulations change quite heavily. So you don’t know what is going to be the place.

    “In the end you have to take a gamble on that, though, don’t you, and I am not much of a gambler. I always lose money at the casino!”

    From
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/31/lewis-hamilton-mclaren-contract

  71. DonSimón says:

    It needs saying, so I’ll say it;

    DIR is not good enough to drive that car. Him and JB would be a woeful combo next season. That would set the gray cars back a couple of seasons.

    Hamilton is one of the elite drivers. Certainly second only to Fernando. (Probably joint second too, if we’re honest.) The Merc doesn’t look like it’s going to develop massively until the rule changes really kick in so it suits no one except Mercedes.

    Don’t see it happening.

    1. Kay says:

      Well one good thing would be showing the world JB really can’t develope / drive the McLaren well enough.

      At least Hamilton can drive a bad car around and still bring home the bacon.

  72. Andrew Carter says:

    If Schumacher is retiring again I find it difficult to believe he’ll be taking up a desk job for Mercedes. I can, however, see him being moved sideways into the DTM, probably taking over from a certain other Schumacher who’s proved to be little more than a seat warmer.

  73. F12012 says:

    If Bernie is saying that michael is leaving F1 then its true, but it’s hard to see why Lewis would leave Mclaren, I believe di resta has already done a deal for next year, as he always talks as if ‘this is what I’ve got at the minute and have to make best use of it’

    Lewis to stay at Mclaren
    Di resta to replace Schumacher
    Perez to Ferrari

  74. JohnO says:

    I don’t see Schumi retiring yet. He’s finally back up to speed and has been highly competitive this season. I know its been mentioned before but I think there is a big twist yet to happen.

    1. Kay says:

      MSC was still highly competitive when he first retired.

  75. Gareth says:

    Wait a minute, Lewis wants to win a world championship and be in a ” warm and happy atmosphere”. At Mercedes their season has been frankly awful, they have won just one race in 3 years compared to Mclarens 11 and have finished no higher than 4th. Whats more they could do a Toyota and vanish? Big name manufactures don’t always have success, ask Jenson Button about the god awful Honda in 2007 and 2008. If Hamilton goes there he will also have to contend with Rosberg who will not want his team turned into F1`s version of stars in their eyes. Whats more I think Ross wont stand for any nonsense, Hamiltons move there could either make him or break him

  76. caringforapathy says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read through all the comments yet, but has anyone else thought that perhaps Lewis isn’t getting the terms he wants from McLaren and so he is now looking elsewhere? Maybe he is looking for a 1yr deal like Webber keeps getting and McLaren want to do a longer deal for less money per year, which I imagine helps secure sponsors? If I were Lewis, I’d be wanting a 1yr to see if McLaren can get their act together, just to get to 2014 – new engines and rumors of everyone flying to new teams; Vettel to Ferrari being the loudest one. There aren’t many places to move to next year, but it looks like he might be able to pick his team the year after that, and with a clean slate due to the regulation changes.

  77. saleh says:

    You know something???
    this shouldn’t be like that
    i was hoping that Kimi returns to McLaren and be Lewis teammate
    that’s a Dream Team :)
    ;)

  78. Will says:

    Lets take stock for a moment. Of the races that both Schumacher and Rosberg have finished this season, Schumacher beat his team mate 5 to 1. That is the only statistic that matters. And if Shumachers torrid reliability issues abate in the dog of a car he drives, that chasm will only widen.

    Schumacher Should not go anywhere next season unless it is to another F1 team.

    Hamilton’s stock is far too high. His ability in the car has been pedestrian. He has Timo Glock to thank for his championship and his behaviour bears more of resemblance to that of a spoiled child who has a serious lack of tact rather than one of the “slick” controlled professional he so desperately tries to project. Surely Mercedes understand that he will not be able to offer them much.

    1. Steve says:

      Makes sense to me. I can’t see Hamilton offering Mercedes anything that Michael and Nico don’t already offer. If the car is good enough Schumacher and Rosberg will win races. No need for Lewis. If I was Ross Brawn and Hamilton was offered to me, I’d say “You’re alright”

  79. Andrew Kirk says:

    James if it does happen would you say it will be Schumacher who leaves? Rosberg has been off and on this year for me winning strongly in China but beaten often by Schumacher on weekends.

  80. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    Personally, I think the more likely scenario is that Rosberg goes. Perhaps to partner Alonso. Schumi has unfinished business and when the car doesn’t break hasn’t been too far off the pace, especially when compared to Rosberg, who was at the time thought to be one of the better up and comers.

    Freeing up the seat would give them the opportunity to snag Lewis. In my opinion, there are only 3 standout drivers in the current pack – Lewis, Alsonso and Vettel. There are others that are close (eg Button, Webber) but are not as all rounded and are only able to win/place when the conditions suit. The other drivers are able to driver around problems with their cars. So Mercedes need to target these three if they want the championship on genuine terms rather than flukeing a good year, like 2009. Say what you like about Lewis (and I’m not his biggest fan by any means), he has the talent – he just needs the right management. Make him feel like the team leader/star and he will probably shine.

    With Rosberg underperforming (in my opinion) and DiResta probably needing another year to mature, Lewis would give them a multi-year option on a confirmed top tier driver. They could continue to build a team around him. I don’t think either DiResta or Rosberg give Mercedes the stand out they need. A bit like when TR cleared the books when they didn’t identify the next Vettel. Partnering DiResta (as no.2 driver) and Lewis in 2014 (after Schumi retires) would be a good long term partnership for Mercedes to go to the next level.

  81. JohnBt says:

    The tweet somehow was a major hint. Lewis ain’t that dumb!! as some will perceive him to be. And Fuller…….. The interesting bit will be the fee though if it’s published accurately as we know Alonso fees has been exaggerated previously.

    Off late one can feel Button has been favored and Lewis will not take that, some karma going on here I guess.

    MONZA!!!

  82. Klaus Kåg says:

    I’ve now read all the comments on this “move”, and with all the drivers to replace Hamilton, one thing continues to be in my mind.

    The balance of the car.

    If we look at the drivers talked about in the comments we then have:

    Alonso -> Understeer
    Masse -> Pointy front
    Schumacher -> pointy front
    Rosberg -> tend to understeer
    Grosjean -> pointy front
    Raikkonen -> pointy front
    Button -> Stable rear end -> tend to understeer
    Hamitlon -> I don’t know.
    Vettel -> ?
    Webber -> ?

    (to sum it all up)

    Moving on.

    In the first and a half year of Schumi’s return, we have heard numbers of times about the style of the car to doesn’t suits Michael. Whereas Rosberg prefers slightly understeer, Shumacher likes a car where the rear end moves around. Late 2011 and basically 2012 we have seen some great drives from Michael, so I guess they have sorted out balance issues like this.

    If you look at the other teams for the past few years, it’s easy to see why some might struggle a bit and some excels. Ferrari 2007/2008 had Kimi and Felipe. Both drivers that wants a pointy front end, just like Michael. 2009 what a doggy car but since Alonsos arrival in 2010 Massa have fallen further behind. Remember, Massa did beat Alonso in qualifying in Bahrain 2010 (but lost the race).
    My guess is, that Alonso have been able to change the behavior of the car more to his driving style, which also makes sense. We know from the Benetton days that he preferred quite a bit of understeer from the car. With 1 year at McLaren it might have been difficult for him to drive a car just like he wants it.
    At that year in McLaren I guess they have continued the design from previous. Kimi in the car -> a pointy front end. Perhaps that’s why Hamilton was so close with Alonso that year?

    Talking the same argument to Lotus in 2008 where Grosjean had a go with a car made for Alonso -> understeer, and compare this to a car this year where both Kimi and Grosjean likes a car with… a pointy front end.

    1. mayberth says:

      massa and romain nvr like pointy front end~~~ both of them are understeer lover………

      Kimi and lewis are kinda similar thats why lewis can adapt the 2007 car better because basically that car was built based on Kimi’s DNA!!

  83. F1addicted says:

    Even if Mercedes have a slower car, at least they will remember to, oh I don’t know, put enough fuel in the car for qualifying. That’s points gained right there.

  84. I think I’ll nickname Lewis “Michael Jackson” – he started as a cute little kid and has turned into a terrible monster. When will his fake nose come off? Nice wig, by the way – looks very real. That must’ve been quite expensive, now I understand the need for a more lucrative contract. I bet Vodafone is to blame – those long hours LH spends on Twitter tweeting and embracing social media/trying to inspire us fans to start posting secret F1 data have pierced him with radiation coming from that iPhone. To tweet or not to tweet – that is the question.

  85. Nitin says:

    How abt Kimi moving back to Mclaren to fill the vacancy there…

  86. Steve JR says:

    If Lewis isn’t sitting in a McLaren on the grid in Australia come March then I’ll personally buy everyone on this website (including James) a fully paid trip to the Melbourne Grand Prix staying in the Sofitel with all expenses paid plus £50,000 spending money.

    1. kp says:

      I’ll let you have my contact details shortly.

    2. Ryan Eckford says:

      Does that include the people making comments, or is it only the people who make this blog the best one dedicated to Formula 1?

    3. Mitchel says:

      Is this legally binding? I’m in!

    4. SamBot says:

      Please provide details on how I can claim my prize! :)

      But seriously….

      Lewis wants to win. I really don’t “think” (this is my opinion – not a generalised assertion) that Lewis is going to risk giving up the chance of winning races. Over the last two and a half years, Mercedes have had 1 win, McLaren 15 wins. And, McLaren look set to win many more by the year’s end.

      Mr Fuller and his gang are a tough lot and I believe they behind all of these PR stunts.

    5. Casey says:

      What if he’s sitting in it and has to be forcibly removed by the local constables? Does that still count?

  87. Elie says:

    I’ve been saying since the start of this year that Lewis should leave Mclaren. But if MS stays as Mercedes Nothing is going to happen. Its very ,very close to call at the moment Michael drove a good race in a bad car at Spa. If he performs well at Monza I reckon he will opt for another year.

    On the flip slide to this Mercedes must really weigh up where they want to be next year. If they have people to make things happen they need every 1/10 out of the car- so I think a Lewis Hamilton type driver is a better fit. I think Vettel should end up there also- obviously not till 2014now.

    I’m over Lewis antics in the media it’s getting really silly now. But I also think that something’s going on in Mclaren and he is reacting to it. For 6months JB is a zero and one race he is a Hero -politics galore-funny how it comes around at contract time isn’t it.!

  88. RV says:

    This story is only half right. And no one has figured out the wrong half yet.

    Lewis is leaving McLaren, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t have pulled any of his Spa antics if he planned on staying.

    But he’s not going to Mercedes. No, only one team has enough cachet – and money – for him to thumb his nose at McLaren like he did last weekend.

    Lewis is going to Ferrari. Believe it.

    I’ve been saying it for months, ever since I saw Fernando congratulate Lewis for a pole or a win. (For the life of me I can’t remember which race. Spain maybe?) But they shook hands in a way that said both have the utmost respect for each other now.

    And read between the lines of what Fernando says lately. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s always something like, “Lewis is the threat for the title.” He’s talking up his future teammate, mark my words!

    Steve JR, I’ll be waiting for my tickets, Sofitel reservations and spending cash…

    1. Casey says:

      “Lewis is leaving McLaren, that’s for sure. He wouldn’t have pulled any of his Spa antics if he planned on staying.”

      That assumes he’s developed a mature reaction to adversity. I’d suggest there’s a flaw in that premise…

  89. Alex says:

    I hope LH leaves Mclaren, bottom line is that not even with the 2 best drivers in the world won the title 5 years ago and barely did the year after. There is only one winning car and that has not been Mclaren lately. Since everybody is talking about possible line ups for next year why not Hamilton going to Mercedes for one year and then move to Red Bull when Vettel (as many says) goes to Ferrari?

  90. Sanjog says:

    Don’t see Lewis at Merc… more likely it’s a gimmick by his management to get more $$.. for the new deal..:P..If Schumi does leave. Di Resta or Hulkenberg seem to be the ones more likely to grab the drive..

  91. Michael says:

    Hamilton needs to get the hell out of Mclaren plain and simple

  92. Paul Mc says:

    This is a bargaining tool used by Lewis’ management to broker a better deal. Simple!

    I find it interesting that out of the drivers on twitter, Alonso appears to use it to best effect. I think he has changed a lot of peoples opinion of him for the good where as Lewis appears to be doing the opposite.

    Personally id be gutted if Schumacher retires i still feel he has race wins in him and given the car i think he can deliver.

    Id love to see him jump in a McLaren! Perhaps Ron Dennis’ drunken attempt to lure Schumacher in the early 90s is worth another try :)

  93. Roger W says:

    Mercedes have not denied it…

  94. Mike Lea says:

    If Hamilton moves to Mercedes, that will be a sign that he puts money ahead of performance. What he really wants, I suspect, is a Red Bull…

  95. mickiehill says:

    Please please can it be Kimi or Kobayashi to Mclaren deffo not DiResta!

  96. My McLaren contacts have feared this since the end of last season, if feared is the right word. It could be a good move on Hamilton’s part – McLaren have been ‘nearly’ men for a few years now and you can be sure Brawn will come good eventually (most likely with the next big regulation change in 2014). It would be very sad to see Michael retire without winning a race in his comeback, though.

    As for McLaren, it leaves them in a slightly tricky situation. By now they probably feel that Jenson Button’s performance is a bit too sensitive for them to rely on him as an out-and-out number one, so they need a real race winner in the other car. Di Resta is the obvious choice, but I could also see them tidying up a slightly raw talent like Romain Grosjean. I wouldn’t bet against Perez either, but he appears happy to learn his trade with Sauber for a few years yet.

    It’s all speculation at this point, though. Who knows, Robert Kubica could stun everyone and announce he’s fit for 2013. That would blow the driver market wide open!

  97. AdrianP says:

    Probably there’s a substantial degree of truth in the rumour-mill. NB:
    (i) Bernie’s comment (always judicious, if seldom the whole story…)
    (ii) Eddie Jordan’s gone public (he might be mad, but he’s got his ear close to the ground and the BBC don’t seem to be reining this one in – rather there has been tacit endorsement)
    (iii) James’ whisper
    (iv) Hamilton’s comment re *2014*. I just don’t see Hamilton as switched on enough to be looking that far forward off his own bat. It must be a reference to what Mercedes think they can promise with the new engines (it’s true that Mclaren will have a Mercedes engine at least for the first year of the new regs, but the ‘works’ team will nevertheless have an advantage).
    (v) It all fits in nicely with Paul Di Resta’s falling out with Anthony Hamilton. One wonders whether the problem was PdR thinks the next Mercedes seat will be his, but AH rather than advancing PdR’s case has somehow advanced HAM’s negotiations. Whether that is the case or not, there’s a clear potential for conflict of interest (or perception of that) vis-a-vis AH if both PdR and HAM are going for the same seat.
    (vi) HAM’s twitter antics last weekend become more readily explicable if he feels that he is able to play ‘hardball’ with Mclaren (in his own naive way).
    (vii) HAM’s management team are probably more interested/experienced in brand and money than the racing element – why should they worry very much about the likely relative competitiveness if they are on a percentage of a fat 5-year deal? Are they going to spite their own wallets by taking the smaller money that Mclaren will offer.

    Probably, nothing is written in stone yet, but it looks like the HAM to Mercedes may be gathering enough momentum to make it difficult to stop. Mclaren will not give HAM the blank cheque he wants and his antics are probably making the prospect of him re-signing with Mclaren less and less. HAM has hardly eclipsed BUT while they have been teammates, and Mclaren will be able to attract a decent driver in the second seat. HAM in a midfield car (if the Merc stays where it is) is likely to be a entertaining train wreck, with moments of brilliance.

    The last piece of the jigsaw is MSC. I’d be surprised to see him bow out while he’s on an upward curve, but maybe he’s finally satisfied his racing addiction.

    Objectively, I think it’s a bad move for HAM. Mclaren is probably more likely to consistently produce championship winning cars. The HAM-BUT partnership has been remarkably smooth (as such things go). If HAM could just settle a bit, it’s difficult to see a better place for him. Taking the bigger pay cheque is just going to be more of an indulgence to the worse features of HAM’s character.

    1. Marcelo Valois says:

      Roger W remembered very well:

      viii) Merc did not deny it.

  98. Nick Hipkin says:

    The problem is I think Merc would ideally like to have Schumy and Lewis. Wonder if they regret re-signing Nico?

    Shame Schumy cant do one last year at Ferrari to keep the seat warm for Seb

  99. Enzo says:

    I really hope this is all a negotiation tactic from Hamilton’s management. Schumacher has been working his ass of at Merc pushing the team foreward. Now it seems the team is finnaly starting to deliver and 2013 can be the fairytale ending to a great carriere of a great legend. These are Schumacher fruits to pick, not Hamilton. If Schumacher quits now it would give the same feeling as in 2006. Leaving his fan’s wondering why…

  100. SK Anand says:

    Jamess ,

    Needless to say the prospect of Michael leaving is not heartening, at least not in this manner.

    The dissonance of Lewis is quite palpable. But right now this is only going to be conjecture.

    Coz if he is leaving Mclaren, and is bound to Mercedes, and if If Michael is not quitting, then the spotlight also gets on to Massa and Rosberg. Massa runs out of contract and Rosberg has a multi year deal, but if massa does not get extended, then the silly season will have a huge new level.

    While coz of the merecdes connection, Lewis may be tempted by big bucks, but i just wonder despite the hugely talented team at Mercedes, what is the assurance that they have provided to Lewis for 2013 onwards? or is this professional suicide?

    Well we have not heard the last on this one for sure.

    Sincerely
    SK Anand

  101. Chris C says:

    In my opinion the rumour is quite credible, not just because it is coming from people that in the past were spot on but mainly because of the situation in the pilot market

    Michael, is getting quite old. I doubt anyone of us couch observers can imagine the difficulty in driving competitively. He may be still fit but the age factor will reduce his reflexes. Can he stay for one more year? Possibly but why should he? He does not need to prove anything, the only record still missing is to surpass the races done but who cares? He had his fun the last 3 years, he had a nice salary and he has managed to associate with a strong brand from his own country for the rest of his lifetime. Possibilities are many for some kind of involvement with motor racing in the future. Despite liking his current participation in F1 as I am a fan of his, its time to move on

    Could he be replaced by Hamilton? Given that the job market is due a nice reshuffle in 2014 probably it would not make sense. He is better off in Mclaren for one more year. The real question is would this be offered to him? Whitmarsh is not stupid he obviously understands the talent of Hamilton and he would prefer to tie him with a long term contract.

    Moving to Mercedes would be a good mone in my opinion especially from 2014 onwards. People seem to forget that Mclaren despite its competitive form and its strong history has not really overperformed the other teams for more than 10 years. In my opinion the team is slowly going down in resources and capabilities. I believe that once Mercedes full free themselves from the current relationship with Mclaren (in 2015) the gradual decline will become more rapid and we may see a Mclaren resembling Williams in terms of possible performance.

    We will soon find out anyway

  102. Neshaen says:

    Stories – that’s all it is!
    All parties invloved have to much to lose!
    Nothing adds up!

  103. Ben G says:

    Simon Fuller needs a better brand of hair dye.

  104. Ant Dale says:

    i would be suprised if Lewis went to mercedes..quietly hoping he’ll go to Williams but theres more chance of me driving for them heh. If Lewis does go then, i see Lewis/Mercedes Di Resta/Mclaren Schumacher/Ferrari??

  105. Dren says:

    Is DiResta really rated that highly James? I’d pick Hulkenberg over him.

    1. James Allen says:

      Both are on the radars of top teams.

  106. Charalampos says:

    I think Eddie came up with the rumor just to make up a story. Journalists should not make up stories like these or say them further just to create some headlines out of nothing.

    It makes completely no sense for Hami or Macs to look elsewhere. Hami going there cannot even be used from Hamilton as a negotiation tool because Macs will not believe it. He will be better at Macs and everyone knows it.

    Next story please.

  107. Jon Wilde says:

    Mercedes could be a sensible move for 2014 onwards. Hamilton could be being very logical and business like and thinking longer term. Mercedes may have offered him not only cash, but the guarantee of an engine that will only be available to one other driver. ( as per the rumour that Mercedes will only supply the works team when the new engine regs come in)

    Mclaren will either be a customer team or announce their own engine programme, which will take time to come good. I predict they will announce their own engine plans when they launch the P12 at the end of the month. Lewis to Mercedes could be a strong and logical move, longer term

    1. Marcelo Valois says:

      That is an interesting point of view. And I could add the following: Merc might have promised him (in medium to long term) a exclusively dedicated team to develop a suitable car along with a comfy #1 driver seat, much like Ferrari.

      Just a thought.

  108. David Goss says:

    I think you could make a decent living betting against everything Eddie Jordan predicts.

    1. Marcelo Valois says:

      He scored Schumacher’s return and Heidfield’s mid-seaseon replacement by Senna. I wouldn’t bet against all his guessings.

  109. Lawrence says:

    LH should post a photo of telemetry showing his career trajectory since 2008, that’d irritate McLaren! Genuinely wish both parties all the best.

  110. Vivek says:

    Take my word, we’ll be laughing out when we see this story after a month.

    Lewis leaving McLaren to a team which has won only one race in 3 yrs now?! Really funny.

    Except 2016 (when mercedes may not supply engines) I dont see any value in lewis leaving McLaren.. money wont be a criteria.. he wants to win and for getting a better deal, he is just using mercedes.

  111. nismo + f1 says:

    Since Lewis Hamilton graduated in f1 2007, we were hoping to see a driver fall into the hallmark of the Late Ayrton Senna. Then again in 2008 as well as till 2010.

    Now Lewis maturity is getting worse; Belgium Gp he was a sore looser in displaying telemetry of his and Jensons laps in terms of Downforce levels. Did he think before no. The damage has been done why did he do this? All he had to say wrong set up no worries i will race. He gives up too quickly no aspirations. It will be hard for him to join any new team. Mclaren know this and Lewis will sign with Mclaren after twitter gate. He says his idol is Senna but Senna would never do such rant but simply race. Lewis will need couple of more years before he can find a leading team to accept him in.

  112. Thompson says:

    I’ve read through the whole thread and really have to wonder if you guys have really short memories.

    Kimi spent how many years at Macca and was in more or less the same position Hamilton is in now – and at that time he was the man. That partnership brought some epic drives but bore no fruit.

    So why would he go back?

    Regards MSC,its time, the current Merc has been designed around him and the team is suffering because of it. Rosberg (most underatted driver on the grid) is falling behind becoming a #2 as merc try to fit the car to him and Schumi is not finishing races the team needs to accept new blood is needed & a new direction.

    But its the Redbull team you have to consider in all of this,Vettel changed their fortunes, now everyone speaks of the team as though the team has history never questioning their DNA.

    seriously if Coultard & Webber were still the drivers how do you think they would of fared over the past couple of years?

    Hamilton to Merc would be a great move for him ( I predicted this some time ago, on this very forum….what you don’t read me….prrrft).

    if true or not it really is the best move for him, the brand as the resources to produce a car that can do the bizniz. (and Norbets wanted and admired Lewis for some time).and I believe he & Rosberg would be a quality pairing.

    In the past many have argued about loyalty were Hamilton is concerned regards Mclaren, the double standards – Alsonso could use Renault like an ugly girlfriend without question. no one says a word.

    I say give Whitemarsh Button.

    Eddie Jorden is a god for letting this out the bag if this proves to be true.

    Honestly James commenting on tittle tattle sometimes ain’t all bad.

  113. Gareth says:

    Rosberg to Mclaren and Hamilton to Mercedes.

  114. Ryan Eckford says:

    I think Hamilton is going to wait until the end of the season to make up his mind. If he wins the Drivers World Championship, he will stay. If he doesn’t, it will come down to a number of factors including, McLaren’s position in the Constructors Championship in relation to other teams in discussion with Hamilton, and his position in relation to Button in the Drivers Championship.

    I think Hamilton can win this World Championship, and I think with the way McLaren are going at the moment, I can see them taking this form into 2013, and being very hard to stop.

  115. Charlie says:

    Hello James,
    Thank you for your email reply to my recent post. For what it’s worth I think you have thoroughly misinterpreted what I intended to be a positive comment – with hindsight it was worded rather poorly as a result of my attempting to be too brief. I’m therefore grateful to you that you haven’t left it up for similar public misinterpretation.

    Sadly my reply to your email bounced, so my apologies for commenting here. I couldn’t really let your email drop without any attempt at an explanation on my part. It is all too easy to jump to conclusions and then pass comment when there is no option to enter in to a dialogue.

    Regards, Charles.

  116. Patrick says:

    It’s sad to see Schumi’s career v2 end in a similar fashion to v1 when Ferrari “was looking to the future”. A stint at McLaren would be awesome but I doubt it will happen.
    As for Hamilton he is super quick and can race however his little tantrums aren’t impressive to anyone. McLaren has backed him through thick and thin yet he seems to feel he can throw his toys out of the pram Alonso style. A stint at Mercedes will set him straight, Brawn won’t put up with this rubbish behaviour however I do think that Hamilton’s behaviour will change once he is in a different team so Brawn can bring the best out of him. Button will get a wake up call once Perez steps into the McLaren seat.

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