Home boost for Ferrari?
Monza 2015
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Hamilton set to move to Mercedes
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Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2012   |  11:06 am GMT  |  844 comments

Lewis Hamilton’s demeanour and that of his team after victory in the Italian Grand Prix bore all the hallmarks of a divorce that has already been agreed. Minimal celebrations on the pit wall and beneath the podium, a team photo for appearances’ sake with an implacable looking Hamilton and Ron Dennis declining to join in.

Despite appearances, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said after the race that suggestions that a deal was already done were “fantasy” and insisted that the door is still open if Hamilton wants to stay.

However driver contracts often get signed during race weekends and there were strong indications that the situation may have been closed out before everyone left Monza.

Hamilton looks like he is moving on, perhaps the only way he can become his own man, certainly the only way he and XIX Entertainment can fully cash in on his status, box office power and his image rights. And that is a big part of what this is about. Mercedes is one of the world’s most powerful brands, while McLaren makes F1 cars and small volume sports cars. This deal will take Hamilton’s name and image well beyond the boundaries of F1. If Hamilton did not want this, why would he had signed up with XIX?

Also McLaren drivers have to work within strict guidelines with team sponsors. Mercedes need Hamilton and this deal will give him greater freedom. The suggested deal with Mercedes and its sponsors is very big and so too will be the impact it will make on the competition in F1 over the next three years and the driver market in the nearer term.

Mercedes had to do this, as one of only two “works” teams in F1 they had to get a champion on board, especially with Michael Schumacher winding down towards retirement again. There is risk if they don’t go on to win, but it’s a risk worth taking.

Ron Dennis’ fellow McLaren shareholders were all in Monza this weekend, from Friday onwards; Bahrain’s Sheikh Salman and long time shareholder Mansour Ojjeh could be observed in discussions with Whitmarsh over the next steps in a painful negotiation with a driver whom the team has nurtured since childhood.

Eddie Jordan, apparently prompted by both XIX and Bernie Ecclestone, lobbed the grenade in on Wednesday, saying that Hamilton was on the point of signing for Mercedes. It was a final call to McLaren to improve the deal on offer or lose their man.

But some signs were there from McLaren’s side that there was not only a reluctance to meet the financial terms, but also a weariness with the whole pantomime of ‘Life with Lewis.’ The tweeting of the set up sheet in Spa was a symbolic watershed in a relationship which has veered off track since the wide eyed enthusiasm of 2007.

The biggest problem for McLaren is how to replace Hamilton without losing significant performance. He’s worth £25 million a year because he’s one of the fastest drivers in the world and whoever sits in the car next year is unlikely to be able to match that speed. Whitmarsh said yesterday that he does not have a Plan B.

Paul di Resta senses an opportunity, but will he be able to meet the numbers on the stopwatch that Hamilton does? And will McLaren want both their drivers to be managed by the same person? Di Resta confirmed his deal with Jenson Button’s manager Richard Goddard this weekend, replacing Lewis’ father Anthony, who is suing Di Resta for wrongful dismissal and loss of earnings.

F1 is an incestuous world, with such complex intertwined relationships but there is great goodwill between Goddard and Whitmarsh. Goddard looked very pleased all weekend in sharp contrast to the careworn faces of the McLaren management.

Kimi Raikkonen is the only driver who could get close to Hamilton’s performance – he is only a single point behind him in the championship – but he seems happy at Lotus and he wasn’t terribly happy last time he drove for McLaren. His qualifying pace has yet to be rediscovered but he’s racing very strongly. He would work well with Button and form a strong team, but he’s come back to F1 to enjoy himself and the sponsor commitments would be a huge sticking point. Button would refuse to do more than his fair share for Vodafone, Mobil and the rest to compensate.

Speaking of Vodafone, there have been suggestions that discussions are taking place for Sergio Perez to join the team; Vodafone has been looking for years into expanding its reach in Latin America and particularly Brazil via Perez’ backers Telmex and America Movil. So this could provide a strong business case for a move. However Perez is a Ferrari Academy driver so there are some hurdles there.

There have been suggestions of a trade with Mercedes on Nico Rosberg, with Michael Schumacher staying on to partner Hamilton. But one senses that Mercedes were waiting to see if they could get Hamilton signed before making their next move, and now may start gently leaning on the seven times champion to ease him into retirement.

Hamilton at Mercedes, if and when confirmed, is good news for Bernie Ecclestone, who keeps Mercedes involved and committed, despite some very rocky times between the two parties recently over Mercedes’ share of the sport’s revenues in comparison with Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren. It could be Mercedes’ turn to do some winning in F1.


Ecclestone has got what he wants, but is known to be suspicious of Simon Fuller and XIX Entertainment. Such a group having so much power and control over one of his biggest stars is a situation he will be monitoring carefully.

This looks like the final push for Mercedes – Ross Brawn knows what it takes to win and has followed the tried and tested formula: he has built up his technical team, they have their own engine facilities and a clear plan and now it looks like they have the driver.

All the pieces are in place and Mercedes must deliver the title in the next three years.

Fail with this group and there would be pressure from Daimler shareholders to call time on the F1 adventure.

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844 Comments
  1. Ruse says:

    Wowzer.

    Lewis better win a title this year in that case, because my guess is that with Mercedes it will take a min of two years(?). First year to bed down, second year to reach for the prize.

    Your thoughts James?

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    1. James Allen says:

      Lot of change in 2014, hard to say.

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      1. Ruse says:

        For 2014, the Mercedes team sounds like the wisest place to be!

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      2. Warren Groenewald says:

        McLaren will still have Mercedes engines until 2014 and aero will still play a big part.

        There’s also no guarentee that Merc will have the best engine then.

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      3. Alex Pegg says:

        Exactly, New engine regs in 2014 is a roll of the dice.

        He’s got more chance of a championship in 2013 with Mclaren.

        He wont go this year.

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      4. James Clayton says:

        It’s not a case of “go this year or next year” it’s “go now or not at all”. McLaren aren’t going to give Lewis a one year contract, and Mercedees want him next year.

        I still see Lewis finishing his career at McLaren. I have a feeling he’ll come back to them for a couple of seasons before he retires (providing they remain competitive)

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      5. Alex Pegg says:

        It’d be crazy to go to Mercedes next year when they’re peforming so badly this year. 2014 is anyones guess. So to say the first year to be down and the second year to try and achieve a title is not a great theory.

        Especially for someone like Lewis who already feels he’s been let down by the machinery.

        He’ll be at Mclaren next year and the for the foreseable.

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      6. hippyneil says:

        Mercedes aren’t doing great this year but we have seen what Ross Brawn can do given a year or so of development at the expense of current performance – remember how bad the last Honda was before it became the all-conquering Brawn? RB knew how good the car was going to be out of the box which is why he formed the team – and so did Mercedes who, I suspect, had more than a small part in making that happen.
        I wonder if Mercedes are limiting development this year to build a better car for next year, possibly even 2014, and LH knows it. They will HAVE to deliver a championship winning car quickly because if they don’t, LH will be remembered as the driver who chased the money not the titles.

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      7. John Gill says:

        @James Clayton: It’s not a case of “go this year or next year” it’s “go now or not at all”.

        I think you’re on to something here – maybe it’s the length of the contracts that’s the sticking point. Contract speculation consensus seems to be, 5 years with Mclaren or 3 with Mercedes. Usually last year get out clause for duff performances [on both sides] mitigates these to 4 and 2 years. Four years down the line LH will have served 10 years with Mclaren [in F1]! Where does he go from there?

        Also, what are Mclaren likely to produce in the next 2 years. I understand Mclaren run alternate design teams – well – cars from 2009/2011 both struggled [particularly 2009] in the early part of the season. Does that bode well for 2013? I don’t know if the design team’s the same as 2009/2011 but LH will. 2014 is gonna be a lottery but Ross Brawn have form in these circumstances.

        So on balance switching to Mercedes for at least a couple of years is probably a fair risk and he can emerge with an F1 career that has more possibilities or risk the Mclaren option souring ever so slightly year on year if they under perform each others’ expectations.

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      8. beco says:

        Button may be a world champion, but probably the weakest one on activity. Even Barichello could have won with the Brawn car.And if it s true that Hamilton has been proposed less than his team mate, i can understand why he unhappy at mclaren. i always been a fan of mclaren but to see them loosing the title every year and keeping this absurd policy of team orders is absolut non sens. Do people seriously believe that Red bull didn t favour vettel in order to win the titles. there is plenty of different way of slowing down a car from the pit..everybody agree to say that Alonso is the best driver out there but without team orders he wouldn t stand a chance.so for Hamilton Mercedes still better than mclaren despite the difference of performance, specially if you consider the regulations change and engine fees…

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      9. Wayne says:

        I cannot fathom Hamilton’s demeanour after the Italian GP if James’ take on the situation proves to be incorrect. He looked like a man who has just realised the magnitude of the decision he has just taken (not necessarily regret – just sheer realisation).

        From Lewis’ point of view it’s a mixed bag and we have to trust in two things. The easy thing to trust in is that he knows what he is doing more than we could ever hope to know. The second, harder thing to believe is that his first priority is still winning races and not simply celebrity. It’s hard to see why he would move to Mercedes if winning is his first priority… Or is it? Staying at McLaren he is guaranteed to win races every year but the championship? I don’t think so.

        McLaren hamper their drivers by refusing to put in place team orders where they are clearly called for. F1 is a TEAM sport and I have no idea why we all seem to find this so hard to grasp and slam the teams for using every piece they have on the board to win. There is no question in my mind that Ferrari have it right. Massa let Alonso by at Monza because Alonso is their best chance of winning the wdc. It’s simple isn’t it? If I owned a team I would let the drivers race until half way through and then back one or the other of them – seems fair to me? Want the backing? Outperform your team mate.

        Then there is the car, how many time in the last 4 years have McLaren given their drivers the best car in the field? Once, never – depends on your own bias how you answer this.

        Also, said it before and say it again despite all the detractors – Hamilton’s insecurities mean that he needs to be overtly loved and his ego means that he needs a certain status in a team (no different from Alonso). Had I invested £50 million in Hamilton like McLaren did I would have ensured I got a return on that investment by flattering him and adoring him all he bloody-well wanted. It’s simple business. Hamilton would have thrived at Ferrari due to the overflowing passion and adoration.

        I think McLaren have ‘wasted’ their time with Hamilton both by the way the work and the cars they gave him. While Hamilton has proven himself to be a difficult character: childish, difficult, unfocused and arrogant – but then he is employed to drive a race car not be a saint. McLaren’s relationship with Alonso also ended horribly – is it both the drivers fault really or is it about the way that McLaren go racing that suits the journeymen like Button and Coulthard but does not suit the best of the best?

        Still, for fellow Hamilton fans out there (if he moves) it’ll be a merc engine in a merc car with a heads up on 2014 and Brawn at the helm? With McLaren’s track record of constructors and drivers championships over the past decade – is it really such a risk?

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      10. Enzo says:

        Really enjoyed your comment, thanks for that.
        But if Lewis moves to Mercedes, do you think it will be “tender love and care” with the Stuttgart boys?

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      11. Angela says:

        Totally agree with everything u just said, i think u hit the nail on the head totally… 😉

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      12. Wayne says:

        Enzo, it may not come naturally to them! But they may well make the effort to extract the most from their massive investment. All they have to do is what Ferrari do with Alonso – effectively worship him and give him number one status (only at the point where he earns it every year by beating his team mate) when deserved and it’s in their interests to do so for the championship – and I reckon he’ll repay them with his best form to date.

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      13. Andy V says:

        Disagree that Button is a journeyman. He’s a world champion!!!

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      14. Nick Hipkin says:

        couldnt have put it better myself, when Mclaren made their bed with Hamilton in 2007 their had a No.1 driver at their disposal for the next 15 years potentially but have squandered his talent.

        Not to say Lewis isnt blameless, it will be a shame he if squanders his talent away for iamge rights and $$$$$$’s

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      15. Antonio Palmiotto says:

        Wait until he finds himself midfield wheel to wheel with maldonado…

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      16. Rach says:

        +1

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      17. JF says:

        Well said: every point is bang on in my opinion. Except I think Mclaren had the best car when Hamilton got his first championship and I think that this year, Mclaren is currently at the top car-wise after some early jitters (Maybe Ferrari have moved up as well). Mclaren talks about being able to manage drivers well but has that ever really born out (in the public eye at least)?.

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      18. Anop says:

        Nice one. The part that really caught my eye was the one where you draw parallels between Lewis’s and Fernando’s relationship with the team. I am not sure whose fault was it in 2007 that made Fernando leave but if Lewis goes to Merc then obviously something is wrong in the way McLaren operate. They don’t know what their drivers want.

        And we are not even talking about “just” drivers. Its Fernando and Lewis – arguably the best drivers ever to sit in cockpit of an F1 car.

        Lewis was never going to miss out on anything. He will win driving for Merc too. I am sure of that. However, it will be fascinating to see how McLaren fare without Lewis.

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      19. Panayiotis says:

        Fully agree on that

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      20. XHIUNDA says:

        I don’t think Lewis is really a tender loving care type of guy. He looks that way because the media has worked hard to potray him that way. At those moments when people tend to provide a less sensational view of his life, I find him more like Schumacher or Vettel in the sense that he, like them, expects to be given undevided support when he are performing. Frankly there is alot of grey between Ferrari and McLaren for Lewis to drop in comfortably at Mercedes.

        Should he leave McLaren or not – well, the alternative could be another 5 years in the same team which is just not realistic. None of the drivers on the grid have spent as much time in the same team as Lewis has spent at McLaren so it should just be natural that a change was inevitable.

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      21. iceman says:

        @Enzo – the Mercedes team are Brackley boys, not Stuttgart boys 😉

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      22. Doug says:

        Wayne,

        Whilst I can see where you’re coming from, I (along with Martin Whitmarsh) think that the way McLaren race is both fair and sporting..and people watch F1 because it is a SPORT!
        Allowing both your drivers to race gives their victories a credibility that Ferrari ‘A’ drivers just don’t have (not wishing to take anything away from FA’s great driving this season).
        It’s interesting that Lewis is also against team orders & doesn’t want Button to help him…because if he win’s the WDC, he’ll have earn’t it!
        For me this is the reason I love McLaren & have little respect for Ferrari.
        Coulthard knows that the reason he didn’t win a WDC was that he wasn’t good enough…the same cannot be said for Ferrari’s ‘B’ drivers.
        Sure, when it comes down to the wire & only one driver can win then the ‘Team’ game can be played…to play it that way from the start of the season, as Ferrari do, in my opinion risks damaging the sport as much as it damages the ‘B’ drivers!

        I do agree with you however that Ferrari would be a great home for Lewis Hamilton…I’m just not sure about Mercedes.

        It’ll be a sad day if/when he leaves McLaren…but I think they’ll fair better than Lewis….certainly in the short term.

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      23. XHIUNDA says:

        Just taking up on the TLC argument once more … why does McLaren find it difficult to TLC their drivers? The same points that a driver wins goes toward the Constructors Championship so realistically, the team has equal responsibility to work for those points. Why does this team feel that it is all the driver’s responsibility and none for the team? Ron Dennis seems to be wired towards putting drivers down – he takes their trophies, denies them personal sponsorship, doesn’t prioritise them winning WDCs – hell, it seems like it is policy at McLaren to treat drivers badly!

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      24. JR says:

        Exactly my thoughts, thanks.

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      25. Sanstorm999 says:

        Wow! What an interesting and well thought out comment, (should be a Jorno). I think at this stage of Hamiltons career a change to Merc will provide the stimulus he needs. His next 5 years are when he will be in his prime and most potent. I think the added experience of helping Merc build a championship car and team, will make them dominant over the next decade.

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      26. Gareth says:

        To understand McLaren you need to understand that they are driven firstly by winning races. Not by championships. Ron even said this on Sunday. That’s why they still go for the win when the championship is out of reach. Once you understand this it’s easy to see why they don’t entertain team orders. That’s why I think they’re brilliant.

        This concept is completely at odds with Ferrari.

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      27. Edison says:

        Regarding track record of constructors and drivers championships over the past decade as you describe McLaren is very poor, but they have won 46 races in this time. If you take as basis since 2010 when Mercedes got Brawn, McLaren has won 16 races till now and Mercedes just 1. Mercedes record is poorer then McLaren about victories. Honda, BMW,Toyota, Porsche among others powerful car makers companies have failed in their task to succeed as brand name in this sport which Ferrari is dominant. We all know Hamilton’s abilities with a good car, but we just do not know IF Mercedes will be able to deliver a winner car to Lewis even in three year range. Hamilton needs to decide what he wants to be: A race winner or a pop star and the evidences have shown just one of this options. Good luck Lewis.

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      28. Wheels says:

        Great insight Wayne!

        I’ll say this–one thing that I’ve noticed since Lewis Hamilton burst on the Grand Prix scene in 07. That’s the lack of overall recognition (both media and F1 fans) given to the, absolutely, awesome pressure that this young man has had to endure, while trying focus on his craft.

        I’ve been following Grand Prix racing for all of four decades, and in my memory I cannot recall a driver who has enjoyed such success, at the same time, being vilified and pressured in the manner Lewis has faced.

        On top of that, he has had to live up to the immense expectations of the motor racing fans and media that his talents have dictated.

        I recollect that one driver–James Hunt faced something in a similar way to the negative press and animosity, due to his rebellious character and non-conformist behavior, that Hamilton has suffered. However, Hunt’s tabloid adversity was a mere drop in the bucket compared to what Lewis deals with….

        If I remember correctly, only ex-F1 driver Hans Stuck of Germany commented to the media, back in 07, about the, all-out, pressure assault aspect of Hamilton’s instant F1 stardom.

        Personally, Wayne, I think that all of the adjectives you use to describe Hamilton’s wayward behavior are a direct consequence of the intense stress this young man faces, day in and day out, during the Grand Prix season.

        Having to balance his professionalism, his racial identity, the needs of sponsors along with the corporate image, and his world-wide image, would certainly be an immense load for any human being to live up to….

        But then, there is also the expectations of Team McLaren and his responsibilities to his employers, add to this his attraction to other F1 team managers, plus the focus obviously needed for his burning desire to be successful, for winning, and being F1 World Champion.

        Although, every driver placed on the F1 grid faces most of these these challenges, Lewis has the added burden of his ethnicity, history, and overwhelming talent weighing on him.

        In my opinion, that’s what sets Lewis Hamilton apart from his other contemporaries in the Grand Prix paddock and, indeed, makes his F1 career that much more burdensome.

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      29. Tim says:

        I remember when McLaren were “Team McLaren” and hated it when they changed – for marketing purpo$e$.

        Tim

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      30. Wayne says:

        Wheels, thanks for such a great reply.

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      31. Wayne says:

        “To understand McLaren you need to understand that they are driven firstly by winning races. Not by championships. Ron even said this on Sunday. That’s why they still go for the win when the championship is out of reach. Once you understand this it’s easy to see why they don’t entertain team orders. That’s why I think they’re brilliant”

        Gareth, your insight into McLaren is most welcome and revealing, thank you. If this is the case it rather suggests that they sacrafice the ambition of their drivers on the alter of their own corporate agenda. And hey, it’s thier team so they can have whatever agenda they want but it does not seem fair to all the drivers out there who dream of emulating the greats and their multiple championships. It’s championships that drivers dream of – maybe this is why mcLaren have proven to be incompatible with the two best drivers in the world in Alosno and Hamilton.

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      32. Dan says:

        Nail on the head there, you speak such sense. Are you on twitter? @villa_dann

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      33. Rich B says:

        Frank Williams said he’d rather win the constructers table because it represents the team. That is where the TEAM sport lies. The drivers have their battle and they should be man enough to do it without help from their team-mate if they want to win with total credibility.

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      34. Cliff says:

        As much as I’d have loved to have seen Hamilton remain at McLaren I’m for one am glad that this saga is appears to be coming to an end. Lewis treated McLaren as his own and in the end had no desire to be a Team player. Had he done so, it would have been easier to make the decision to enforce team orders. Having said all that, I can’t help thinking that this is about the money, rather than ambition.

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      35. Paul Kirk says:

        Wayne, your description of Hamo is very good but you missed out one other term– “Spoilt”!
        PK.

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      36. Siddle says:

        Wayne

        I agree with every word that you have said in this and later posts.

        McLaren have wasted a great opportunity if they let Hamiliton go without realising his full potential.

        Ron Dennis looked very one dimensional on Sunday. My one fear is that Mr E is yet again playing power politics with a by product of making Ron Dennis look inadequate.

        Certainly I have thought for some time that Martin Whitmarsh’s Plan A was to get Lewis out of the team. For an intelligent man he does seem on occasion to be several gears short of a full box. Spa for the second year running he seemed out of his depth. He was right.

        Ross Brawn & Norbert Haugh v Ron Dennis & Martin Whitmarsh.

        I do hope that Lewis goes to Mercedes.

        Siddle

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      37. Sumanth says:

        Hi Wayne
        Very well deciphered. Loved the comment. You are bang on the money on this one i think.
        Mercedes may actually not be such a risk. Might pan out really well come 2014.

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      38. Wayne says:

        For those guys taking issue with the team orders thing from the point of view that teams care most about the Constructors….

        You may well be right, maybe they do care more about the constructors but you are vastly underestimating the marketing and PR value of having the world champion in their team, on all their merchandise and in all their sponsors’ adverts on TV all over the world.

        Why on earth not have both championships if you possible can? You are investing 500 million in a team in the hope that it will go 1/2 a second faster than the rest yet throw away WDC’s on a bloody principle that the rest of the field quite rightly does not give a jot about?

        That way lies utter madness.

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      39. Wayne says:

        We may also want to tag on here the 40+ points the team cost Hamilton at the start of the season. Must be soul destroying to go away for the winter, come back more grounded and focused and drive the car with a new maturity and then watch the pantomime of constant pit errors etc unfold around you.

        During this period Whitmarsh appeared to be totally impotent as a team manager to me.

        Funniest thing? The race where they made a huge song and dance about recording the fastest pit stop in history and then cost Hamilton around 4 seconds in his very next stop. Yet they still had the gaul to sing about shaving .2 of a second of the record despite achieving a nett loss on pit stops of around 3.8 seconds for the day!

        I know human beings will make mistakes and there is no getting around it (Lewis has made his share for sure) but this period of gaffes was so consistent and sustained as to be almost unheard of, and for me is the reason why Hamilton might just fail to catch Alonso this year. This takes nothing away from Alonso’s excellence this season.

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      40. JCC says:

        Why people think Lewis is all about “celebrity”? Because he dates a popstar? Because he wears “bling” on his ears? Because he’s friend of Pharrell Williams and the like?

        After all I think he’s just a driver who wants to win and wants be paid according to how he and his team values “Lewis Hamilton Brand”. Why arrogant? S you think Jenson is arrogant because he says he will not be helping Lewis because he still can win the title? whn the week before qualified 8th Hamilton said he would try help Jenson win the race at Spa?

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      41. Ruse says:

        + 1!

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      42. Optimaximal says:

        @JCC

        You’re talking two distinct questions there – Button won’t help Hamilton win the championship, because he can statistically do it himself, but Hamilton was willing to help Button win the race because statistically it was all he could do because of his setup.

        If the roles were reversed, they’d say the same thing.

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      43. Nick says:

        Wayne

        What an absolute load of utter tosh!

        You say that drivers like Hamilton and Alonso are the best ever drivers in the world, and get paid a ridiculous amount of money because of that.

        Yet you go on to say that they they only thrive if they get their egos stroked and their team mates get told to move over and get out of their way.

        They get paid huge amounts of money to do a job – they should bloody well go out and do it!

        To sit there and say, ‘Gee wiz, thanks for the £50M, but you didn’t tell me I was the greatest every single day, you didn’t cuddle me like mum used to and you didn’t tell Jenson to pull over and let me pass so sorry, I didn’t give you £50M worth’.

        Are you even serious?

        There is no way on this earth ANYONE can be considered the best if their biggest rival (the team mate driving the same equipment) is told to move over and let them pass.

        This idea, attitude and practice amazes and disgusts me!

        These people aren’t children – they are professional sportsmen for crying out loud!

        How you mindless Alonso and Hamilton fans can call them the ‘Best of the Best’ is testament that most of you lot are as lost and deluded as your idols!

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      44. Craig D says:

        Some good points, and it’s certainly arguably the case that Lewis may feel he hasn’t had the emotional support he perhaps needs, like say Alonso at Ferrari has.

        However, I disagree he’s suffered due to not being made a number 1 driver. If total team orders were in place this year you can argue Hamilton has lost but 10 points, through not being given Button’s victory (when he was still in 2nd place) in Melbourne, that’s it (forgive me if I’m wrong). But no team would force a driver to give up a victory like that in the first race, not even Ferrari with Massa/Alonso due to the political nightmare. (And Hakkinen/Coulthard was different as it was a driver pact.)

        Every team strives to provide – as they should – each driver equal equipment. You mention it’s a TEAM sport but as we know, every team cares most about winning the Constructors’ Championship first and foremost, and look where Ferrari are with their situation of having a no.2 driver?! Fans care about the Drivers’ Championship but not the teams, which is expected. So you can’t have a one car team to succeed. It’s the drivers responsibility to dominant his team mate to earn the number 1 status.

        I don’t think Hamilton would ever think his lack of success is due to not being no1; he doesn’t worry about Button I’m sure.

        Lack of success has been due to McLaren not building a Red Bull-like dominant car, plus Hamilton not currently being a complete enough driver; he is prone to making quite a few mistakes as happened through 2010 and 2011. He has great natural talent but doesn’t have Alonso’s level of completeness yet. Additionally, McLaren haven’t performed particularly great operationally. But is Mercedes massively better on all these fronts? The 09 Brawn car aside (achieved through massive early Honda investment), they haven’t performed as well technically as McLaren.

        I think it’s unfair for others to say McLaren have wasted their opportunity with Hamilton. It’s very competitive these days. They’ve made mistakes and not built a season long dominant car, but that’s the way it goes. Hamilton has to take some responsibility has his attitude at times as well, though I appreciate it’s been tough with all the scrutiny. Also the press have often being extremely unfair and frequently look for ways to find faults. Ironically though, that is part due to his celebrity draw, yet it appears part of the reason to move to Mercedes is to allow him to expand on his celebrity status! That’s not conducive to him having an easier time to focus on racing!

        In terms of opportunity for Championship success, I still think it’s a mistake leaving a seat like McLaren, but perhaps the change and fresh start is an emotional necessity for Lewis. Like with any job or task in life, you have to have your heart in it and feel emotionally secure to succeed.

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      45. Sebee says:

        Nick Reply:
        September 12th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

        Well, at least someone here sees the other side. I’m with you!

        Welcome to generation X or Y or whatever the heck 20 somethigns are called today. Cuddled, protected, shaltered.

        If I may recall a note I made a while back, about how the previous generation of Prosts, Sennas, Schumis were men, and this generation is mostly kids. They did their own dirty work, and handled their own matters, not cried about it.

        I’m also going to repeat a simple truth about McLaren which I think is accurate. They are in it to be profitable. Constructors championship brings big $$$ rewards. To put that ahead of drivers championships is extremely reasonable not only for the income, but for the fact that WCC is an asset they get to keep. Is there anything worse than having a driver leave and take the #1 with him? This policy also means they treat drivers equaly. So what you Wayne claim is a bad strategy because it goes agains TEAM, is actually exactly the right strategy for the TEAM.

        McLaren may not deliver the WDC to Lewis this year, but they sure as heck are going to focus on that WCC and get paid well for claiming it. And while there is a PR value in WDC as you say, in McLaren’s eyes there is even more value in WCC – becuase it declares them the most successful TEAM on the grid.

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      46. Wayne says:

        Nick thanks for posting he first rude reply in about 30. Congratulations on that. Others have disagreed, note how they did not feel it necessary to be insulting? There’s a lesson to learn there if you can see it.

        Your comments demonstrate that you have no concept or clue about how top sportsmen and women work – in any sport.

        Also, I would only expect a TEAMmate to pull over for his TEAMmate if he realistically has no chnace of winning. Note the word TEAM here? It’s how a lot of sports work.

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      47. Rishi says:

        Ron Dennis deserves tremendous credit for recognising, twenty or so years ago, that he needed to grow the business or brand in order to bring in sponsors keep the race team strong. You only need to look at Williams to see what would have happened had he not done this.

        A corporate structure has built up from this though and I do agree that it helps explain why they seem to struggle with drivers. Steve Cooper (then a journalist, now coincidentally enough a McLaren employee!) made this point best I think when discussing Juan Pablo Montoya back in 2005! He wrote that in McLaren’s ideal world the team will build a great car into which the driver will simply go out and do his job – i.e. deliver victory, before thanking team and partners for their contribution. Montoya, at the other end of the extreme, was said to feel the role of the team was to give him the bare bones (the car), from which he improvised a victory!

        The reality is, of course, between the two. McLaren may be closer than Montoya, but delicate man-management of the racing driver (a unique breed) is still important and I think at times this has failed them. Tbf, I think Whitmarsh has tried to give Lewis some leeway, but I think his hands are tied to a degree lest it upsets Jenson. A lot of credit has to go to Jenson for this; if Lewis had dominated him then Whitmarsh could maybe have indulged Lewis more, but because the gap has been closer the balancing act of keeping both drivers happy is finer. The team needed to help Lewis through his tough times in 2011, but they could hardly desert Jenson when he was racking up all those points. For all their faults – it’s not been an easy task for McLaren.

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      48. Sebee says:

        Wayne,

        You mean mathematically no chance to win WDC.

        We’ve bumped ideas last few weeks. And you can’t possibly take the road here to claim divine knowledge of.sports figures. Sport psychologists are wrong about these guys.

        I know you want to be right, as do I. All I propose to you is the recognition that like most things in life, coins have two sides. And there is no single right way to approach F1. The more I think about it the more I realize that maclaren is in it for the constructors championship first, because they want the prize money. This is why they are okay with treating drivers equally. Ferrari on the other hand are guaranteed large prize money annually in their agreement with Bernie for that reason the focus is strictly on the driver championship. Once you accept the reality you can understand the 2 different approaches

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      49. Wayne says:

        Sebee.

        “To put that ahead of drivers championships is extremely reasonable not only for the income, but for the fact that WCC is an asset they get to keep. Is there anything worse than having a driver leave and take the #1 with him? This policy also means they treat drivers equally. So what you Wayne claim is a bad strategy because it goes agains TEAM, is actually exactly the right strategy for the TEAM.

        See my reply above!

        Why do people with this argument simply ignore the fact that the team can have both if the play the team game? the wcc and the wdc are not mutually exclusive for goodness sake! Which order they finish in makes no difference to the constructors. But if they are running one behind the other in the last 1/4 of the race then swap the two about to ensure that you win the WDC as well. Why the hell is this so very difficult to understand?

        If you think that team orders have not always been a part of F1 you are incredibly naive. All this ‘back in my day garbage’ is just that – garbage. Drivers were every bit as fragile then as they are now, and just as prone to fits of rage and petulance. Because that’s simply what top sports people are like. Their mindset is a razor’s edge, they are focused and driven beyond what you or I understand and this magnifies every manifestation of their personality which in turn magnifies every little obstacle and insecurity.

        The fact is that sports psychology now exists and is incredibly important in getting the best from your 50 million investment.

        Where. WHERE is the sense in investing 50 million in a driver and then saying not doing everything you can to get the best out of him? Whatever he believes will make him happier and more secure and faster? It is utter insanity to turn around and say you cannot have pink diamond studded jock strap because we don’t like pink as a team. Juts like it is insanity to allow one driver to take 25 points that do not help the team win the wdc when they could be given to the other with NO cost to the constructors.

        In football players pass the ball sometimes, even if they have a shot at goal. They pass the ball because their TEAMmate has a better shot at the goal. This is how teams all over the planet work. What is this garbage about F1 being different? It’s idealistic tosh and totally incompatible with every team’s reason for existing.

        McLaren constantly say ‘we exist to win’ not ‘we exist to win wccs’ – why not win all you can? Quite apart from anything else, team orders are legal in F1 – a legitimate way of benefitting your team. To not take advantage of that is beyond stubborn when you pay 500 million per year to hope to circulate ½ a second faster than the next guy!

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      50. Simon Donald says:

        You raise some interesting points Wayne, but I have to disagree with you.

        The Ron Dennis incarnation of McLaren (the Martin Whitmarsh era is really just an extension of this) has a rich history of nurturing and developing talented world champions. Prost, Senna and Hakkinen to name but the three most prominent.

        McLaren do enact team orders. They just choose to employ two drivers capable of winning the world championship and then when one has no mathematical chance of winning it, then they play the team orders card. Ferrari do team orders in a different way. They employ only one driver capable of winning the world championship (or capable of scoring wins or podiums in post-accident Felipe Massa) and the on the rare occasions (only two or three times in the last 3 seasons) that driver 2 is ahead of driver 1, they shuffle the cards. You say that Ferrari are maximizing their chance of winning the WDC. I disagree. I believe by having two drivers capable of winning the WDC AND by being able to provide TWO cars capable of winning races, McLaren are maximizing their chance of winning BOTH the WDC and WCC championship. Ferrari are limiting their options especially if the lead car gets caught up in a number of accidents or has a number of mechanical failures in key races or if the lead driver gets injured. You can debate both ways of running a team ad-infinitum and both methods throughout the history of F1 and by both teams. In recent history you could say that McLaren lost the 2007 WDC thanks to their way of running things and Ferrari lost the 1999 WDC thanks to their way. Personally, the McLaren way sits best with my belief and passion of F1, whereas the Ferrari one car team leaves me with a slightly bitter taste in comparison. Formula 1 isn’t football or rugby or any of the other ball-based team sports. In those games, you have only two teams and many players on each side. Formula One is the opposite – many teams and only two drivers per team. The mentality of the sport is completely different in my opinion, and whilst you do have two drivers per team, it is much more suited to an individualist approach, provided you don’t take out your team-mate. Help them if you can, but not at the sacrifice of your own chance to win the WDC. However, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

        About Lewis, I personally don’t see how McLaren could have done anymore. It’s adoration of Lewis in 2007 in my opinion played a big part in why the McLaren-Alonso relationship soured so quickly. They havn’t always provided him with the fastest car and the pit stop issues earlier this season became a bit of a joke, but he has caused himself as many problems. Last seasons continuous accidents involving a number of drivers though most prominently Felipe Massa was ridiculous. He is massively talented, but petulant and childish. Moving to Merecedes may be the making of him, but it is a huge risk. Ironic seeing as sitting in his second place in the WDC with seven races to go after winning two of the last three and with arguably the best car and a team currently on the ascendancy, he certainly has his best chance since 2008 to add a second championship at McLaren.

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      51. Wayne says:

        James a couple of things, do you have any insights?

        With the twitter fiasco. What was Hamilton trying to prove? I would have thought that the final decision on what wing to run would have been down to him… So what did he have to gain with the twitter thing other than to prove he made the wrong decision?

        Do you think Hamilton’s partnership with McLaren might have charted a different course if Dennis had stayed in F1? I’ve always thought the Hamilton/Whitmarsh partnership was a mismatch?

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      52. Dan says:

        What if Lewis thinks that McLaren knew which wing was faster and deliberately gave it him? Would they rather Button be top driver? (which would be silly, because he isn’t fast enough)

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      53. matthew says:

        no,he was simply saying,what he was told by his team,didnt match what was on the telemetry.he only chose to go with that wing because of what he was told.i dont think anyone showed him the telemetry until AFTER quali,thats why he was so suprised by what it showed.

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      54. Prab says:

        There was no fiasco. If you follow Lewis on twitter you’ll know he watched The Dictator the night before with his girlfriend NS. The next tweet was ‘WTF, Jenson has new wing’ etc meant as a humorous play of words from the film which was taken out of context. Finally, the famous pic of the graph plot, he wanted to share insight with his fans to show them behind the scenes and techincal reasons for the difference between his time and Jenson. I was appreciative but perhaps not his better judgement in hindsight.

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      55. Optimaximal says:

        I was under the impression the wing decision was a decision from both sides of the garage as a result of the limited running in Belgium – they didn’t know what to run with so ran both drivers with different setups.

        Maybe it was a bit of a gaff in retrospect as they didn’t have time to move Hamilton to Button’s setup ahead of qualifying, but it was almost certainly a mutual decision in the team.

        Hamilton wasn’t told ‘you’re running Setup A’ by Whitmarsh or anything, despite what his shirty demeanour about it may say.

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      56. Stephen Taylor says:

        What if both merc and mclaren were rubbish in the next few years?

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      57. Toleman fan says:

        James,

        What about 2013? Merc might come good, but I wouldn’t bet too heavily on that.

        If the car is (for example) a solid but distant third, ahead of Lotus again but still some way off Ferrari & Macca, how well do you think that Lewis would handle that? And how do you think Ross & the team would respond to a toy / pram interface failure moment or two?

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    2. **Paul** says:

      The engine regulations change in 2014 (as do a few other bits and bobs), McLaren will at that point need to sort out an engine deal. As we all know, Merc make the best F1 engine, and it’s no fluke that at the power circuits of Monza and Spa, that it’s Merc who’ve dominanted.

      I’d be rather smug if Lewis left McLaren; nothing to do with Lewis, but because I predicted it the morning before EJs comments:

      “Lewis’ tweets this weekend were interesting, they felt like the guy was let off the corperate leash, which is a dangerous thing for a professional sports person. Given that I’m wondering if his future was decided pre-Spa and it’s not with McLaren, hence he doesn’t really care about what they think? A drive at Mercedes may make sense given Bernie’s comments about Michael not winning in his second F1 career?

      Of course that may just be co-incidence, but then again this is F1, and anything is possible !”

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      1. AlexD says:

        I would say that Ferrari engines were fast too (Ferrari and Sauber)

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      2. That should be Sauber and Ferrari

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      3. **Paul** says:

        Yes, the second best engine on the grid IMO. The Mercedes KERS is the best on the grid as well though, contributing to the whole power package. If you were to put the engines on a dyno I think the Mercedes would win, Ferrari some 10hp back, and Renault even further back (perhaps as much as 20hp down). But that’s only my opinion.

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      4. @DieselKicks says:

        Ferrari are fast yes however they are a one man team sadly and that means Alonso’s teammate will be a “B Spec” driver…

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      5. Rich C says:

        Better check those results again:
        Merc engine – 1st
        Ferrari engine – 2nd
        Ferrari engine – 3rd
        Ferrari engine – 4th

        Yeah, thats Merc dominating alright.

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      6. AlexD says:

        And Ferrari 2 and 3 started 12th and 10th.

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      7. Dan says:

        Merc engine has won last 3 races, the key word there is WIN, and that’s with only one McLaren finishing the last two races.
        So I’d say yes, dominating.

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      8. **Paul** says:

        You make a fair point, but you’re missing the complication that race pace in F1 is largely dominated by tyre wear. It’s qualfication pace that gives you a real indication of engine supremity at the power circuits. Monza, gives the best example of this and we would have seen every Mercedes powered car make the top 10 in qualifying if Hulkenburg hadn’t had a car issue.

        I’ll grant you the Ferrari engine is also good, but it’s the Mercedes engine which is widely regarded as the best in the sport still.

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      9. johnybravo says:

        I suggest checking Monza’s speedtrap numbers of Lotus and RedBull (both having same engine, as we know) – maybe (if you spot that Lotus were fastest and RedBull were slowest if not counting back of the field) that would prove, that engine is only a a part of the F1 car. Also Mercedes proves to be a very fast car with “best engine” just wins nothing.
        It’s not Indy – engine is not enough. Even in 2014 (with more engine influence and less aerodynamics) engine alone is not going to win a title.
        Also I don’t get that hype with Mercedes engine for 2014 – it seems that Ferrari, Renault should be terrified because they should already know that Mercedes in 2014 would crush them? Dream on

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      10. Optimaximal says:

        McLaren have free customer engines till 2015 as part of the Works breakup agreement.

        Whitmarsh has also said that unless something very strange happens, they’ll probably stick with Mercedes. They certainly won’t be using Ferrari or Renault power units, given their main rivals (SF & RBR) are the respective works teams.

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    3. mike says:

      James, this article certainly gets the tongues wagging.

      You make a valid point though. Lewis seemed very despondent after his victory. Almost as if he regrets signing for another team after seeing how fast the McLaren is.

      However, during an interview, Lewis does respond to a failed McLaren 1-2, quoting “maybe next year.”

      He might have been instructed, not to act in an overly excited manner – to help his negotiations. If he seems too happy and eager it would diminish his bargaining power. If so, XIX are really screwing with this boy’s head.

      If he does move, it will be one of the biggest news story (for F1) to date – possibly for 2012! Wowzer!

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    4. Nigel Beechey says:

      Interesting synopsis. All points suggest that Lewis will be moving and perhaps will be wise to and better off -not just financially either.

      I wasnt sure it would be a good move initially but i’ve come round to it. Plus wehere better to be with new 2014 engines than with a manufacturer?! A definate head start. By then Lewis will also be settled in nicely. It will definately be McLarens loss and i feel that they have mostly edged Lewis out, well Martin has. I wonder who will step in? It might suit Kimi for a year or two whilst they ready someone else? Perhaps I wont order my McLaren clothing just yet. Rocket red wins could be off the swcreens for a while. Will Lewis take the #1 car to Mercedes with him though? That would be a great welcoming present and some comfort for him as he reminisces on the ‘good old days’… oh dear.

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      1. **Paul** says:

        Actually thinking about this, 2014 is unlikely to see much difference engine wise between a factory Merc engine and a customer one.

        As the engines are ‘locked’ from development over the season (other than reliability upgrades), what are the chances of Mercedes making multiple versions of the same engine with different power outputs to sell on to customers? It’s easier and cheaper for them to make one version and sell that. That exact scenario is what happened in MotoGP at the start of the 1000cc era, and it’s only once development gets moving that the factory boys would benefit – but if you can’t develop upgrades then the whole engine advantage is negated? Unless Mercedes don’t sell customer engines and lose the funds that they attract?

        James – any idea on that theory?

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      2. James Clayton says:

        I don’t think the engines will be locked from development from 2014

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      3. Doug says:

        I don’t think it’s fair to say that MW or McLaren have pushed Lewis away.
        Although they have a very ‘corporate’ image (a legacy of Ron’s years at the helm). McLaren seem to me to act like understanding parents with a difficult but talented child.

        When JB went to McLaren everyone thought that he’d made a massive error by going into Lewis’s house. But JB’s relaxed demenour helped him settle into the team & Lewis has obviously been threatened by it.
        Since this time I feel it is Lewis himself who has pushed the team away, not Vice Versa.

        It was interesting to speak to the McLaren guys at Goodwood this year on the Friday regarding the drivers appearence…”Jenson will be here most of the day…and Lewis is dropping in for an hour..kind of sums them up”
        It was delivered with a tone of regret, not malice.

        I’m a massive LH fan, I think he’s probably got more natural talent than anyone else in the sport..I just feel he’s taking his eye of the F1 ball…reminds me of JV going to BAR for a great deal..to go nowhere…and the scary thing is…it’s the same team. :-(

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      4. Dan says:

        There in lies McLaren’s problem, they like ‘yes men’ drivers like Button, problem is Button will never win you a championship when it’s a competitive season, if you have a major advantage over everyone (like Brawn) then he will.

        But the team should be fully behind a driver like Lewis, difficult or not he is a driver who will win you a championship when you might not have the fastest car.

        I think McLaren have handled Lewis very badly, Lewis is a world class driver, in my opinion only Alonso is on par with him, if not slightly ahead as Fernando is more complete.

        Jenson is good but would never have won the title in the circumstances Lewis did and could again in the future.

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      5. peruvian says:

        Jenson got hired by Whitmarsh, and I think it was a mistake, lewis proof to be a better driver than Jenson, BUT Whitmarsh is his daddy, and Ron Denis WAS Lewis daddy.
        Now the better drivers needs to leave the team, because Whitmarsh made a mistake in hiring Jenson, and of course Lewis is the foster child…
        Whitmarsh thinks that a driver is just a driver, wrong theses are different kind of people and need to be handle in a different way, I am a good driver, but I don’t get pay millions to drive, and Lewis is a special talent worth millions… when is Mclaren going to find out, that Whitmarsh is the one that needs to go somewhere else, come ON, he will let go of the best driver in the paddoc (Lewis).
        I would fired Whitmarsh right away… end of rant.

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      6. Timmay says:

        Its not natural talent to drive karts from age 4. Natural talent ala Kimi Raikkonen is evident when he can start car racing to a world champion level at a late age. Lewis is good but no natural.

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      7. JCC says:

        During his stint as a Chicago Bulls player Dennis Rodman had an erratic lifestyle but Phill Jackson (coach) had nothing to worry as long as Rodman performed, actually they feared that they coud piss him off trying to change his off court lifestyle and ending up screwing his performance, actually he was perfectly balanced. Maybe McLaren should let broaden their boundaries…

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      8. Steven Pritchard says:

        Actually JB went to Mclaren and pushed Lewis harder than he has ever been pushed, he beat Lewis last year and it appears Lewis ego didn’t take kindly to that – same with the Belgium qualifying, Lewis just has to be first.

        The Mclaren love affair is over between the two parties concerned – time to move on and move forward for all.

        And who said JB made a mistake in moving to Mclaren – perhaps Lewis made an incorrect assumption on JB’s ability to race him?

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    5. Kay says:

      Jenson ain’t finding it so easy in his second year with McLaren, or third even lol.

      With Hamilton moving to Mercedes, this is seriously expose Jenson’s abilities in adapting to the car, leading the design front and setting up the car. He won’t have the help from one of the fastest guy on the grid anymore. Anyone else bar Kimi joining him, it’d make McLaren weaker. Imagine having two Kovalainens or de la Rosas within one team.

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      1. Horoldo says:

        Hamilton hasn’t really shown he can develop a car yet either or for that matter a team.
        He won the title (Just, from Massa) after Alonso was there the year before to develop the car for him.

        So far all I’ve seen is Hamilton criticising and distancing himself from the team every time a problem comes around. For latest example see twitter episode.

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      2. Serrated_Edge says:

        “He won the title (Just, from Massa) after Alonso was there the year before to develop the car for him”

        Nail on the head Horoldo! Look at the disaster of a car Mclaren produced for 2009- when the car was developed with sole Hamiltons imput.

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      3. Andrew M says:

        Exactly, Alonso is so good at developing the car he was able to bring 6/10ths a lap speed advantage to McLaren a year after he left the team.

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      4. KRB says:

        Yeah, the change in reg’s had NOTHING to do with it. The team that designed the 2007 car designed the 2009 car, and if anything, that 2007 car was the best car that Hamilton has had at McLaren. I guess you guys would say that Kimi had a hand in its development? Alonso has said before that that 2007 was the best car he’s had, but that was the last year for traction control, etc.

        The 2009 car also would’ve suffered as McLaren again went deep with development for the 2008 season, drawing resources away from the new car. Just like how the 2011 Ferrari suffered from Ferrari going deep on development in 2010. Where was Alonso’s development then???

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      5. Paul J says:

        Alonso and Hamilton both joined McLaren in 2007…

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      6. sevopie says:

        And look at who’s developing the Mercedes that Hamilton’s going to be inheriting – Schumacher and Brawn. Then take a look at Mercedes’ money and track record in excellence. I’d like to see the odds on him taking the title next year when this deal is announced.

        There’s not many combinations I’d take over that one going into the new regulations in 2014, either.

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      7. Sascha says:

        So why did it need all mclaren engineers ans every tiny bit of lewis data for Button & McLaren to understand how to switch on the tyres and bring them into the right operation window?
        Lewis worked it out, as the engineers- at least on Buttons side had absolutely no clue about it.
        Lewis was winning the Canada GP while his team mate was lapped from him , and the engineers around Button did not know why.
        Guess who is the driver who is able to set up & “develop” a car better?

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      8. JF says:

        I would argue Jenson is better at setting up than Lewis is, at least based on last years results when Button was usually fastest in the race if not quali.

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      9. Andrew M says:

        What about this year, when Hamilton is usually faster in both?

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      10. Zoltan says:

        Button was not generally faster in the races last year at all. Lewis was in fact mostly faster in race trim but some of McLaren’s bad tyre strategies for Lewis and Lewis not finishing a lot because people crashed into him / or he crashed makes it look that way.

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      11. Steven Pritchard says:

        Zoltan,

        Based on belief or fact?

        There were many races last year (particularly towards the end of the year when JBs race pace was superior).

        Last year Lewis was burning his tyres out, while Jenson was looking after them. Its the other way around this year. The edgy operating temperatures of the various constructions this year has suited Lewis. JB now has them switched on and is showing similar if not faster race pace.

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      12. Chris says:

        Jenson admitted himself earlier this year that he went the wrong way on setup. Remember Canada when Lewis won – think he might have even lapped his team-mate who only managed to beat the hrt’s – so yeah overall Jenson is awesome on setup… hmmm

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      13. Elie says:

        Jenson is only good at “setting-up” his team mate for a fall ! Lol & really that’s what this all about.

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      14. Andrew Carter says:

        Given that McLaren apparently already take their development and to some extent set up lead from Jenso already, I don’t think they have any problems there.

        As for the driver front you’re probably right, they will be at least a little weaker in the short term since Lewis is one of the best out there, but who knows in a couple of years.

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      15. KRB says:

        I hope not … Jenson had a stretch this year of six races where he only scored 7 points!!! IN A MCLAREN!!! If he had 3-4 mechanical DNF’s in there, you could understand it. But he only had one (the puncture in Bahrain while running 7th).

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      16. Optimaximal says:

        Jenson & Lewis fundamentally understand how to drive their cars, not actually design them and modify them.

        All a driver can do is advise on what he wants and needs from his car. The engineers and designers are the ones who do the actual work.

        All this talk of ‘Jenson’s blind alley’ – he said to his engineering team ‘I want the car to behave like this on these tyres’ and the people who are paid lots of money to use CAD & CFD tried to make it do that.

        The inconsistency of the tyres and the temperature imbalance that the team experienced caused them to try various things, most of which didn’t work for Jenson.

        Total votes:
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      17. Andrew Carter says:

        @KRB, Its also well reported that McLaren were running a suspension system that just didn’t work with Jensons’s driving style, killing his tyres at an alarming rate.

        There were other races were the McLaren was just downright slow, like Valenci and Silverstone.

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      18. iceman says:

        I don’t follow this logic at all. Button’s second year at McLaren was considered his best season ever by many. He outscored Hamilton and finished second in the WDC behind a dominant Red Bull. This season has been less successful but he’s still had two wins and there’s a third of the season still to go.
        The engineers lead the design of the car, not the drivers, and in any case I’ve seen no evidence that Hamilton is better at “leading the design front” than any other driver.
        Surely Hamilton moving away would make it more likely that McLaren will build a car to suit Button’s requirements, not less.
        And finally comparing Button to Kovalainen or De La Rosa at McLaren is pretty ridiculous.

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      19. Doug says:

        Kay,

        You are 100% wrong.

        Lewis is a much more adaptable driver than JB which is why he can drive around a cars problems much more than JB.

        Because of this ability Lewis is not as strong at setting up his car as many of his competitors are…JB included.

        JB’s dip mid season was due to a change of floor design resulting in uneven front to rear temperature that eventualy even Lewis’s supreme talent could not drive around.

        JB is a WDC and has many more wins than the other 2 drivers you mentioned. I think your LH bias is resulting in somewhat cloudy vision regarding JB’s talent…and this is coming from a LH fan!

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      20. matthew says:

        if button is so good at setup,how comes he had to look at all of lewis’s data to help him get back on track this season?and how come he struggled big time before he was allowed to look at lewis’s data?also,at brawn,they went backwards not forwards in development.and if jenson is so good at development,how comes he was never really looked upon as a great driver earlier in his career?

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      21. Optimaximal says:

        @matthew

        It sounds like you have some deep insider knowledge about how McLaren (and the Brackley team) share data between both sides of the garage?

        It has nothing to do with Jenson being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at setting up his car – the designers tried something that simply didn’t work and both drivers suffered, Hamilton less so because his driving style allows a wider operating platform.

        re: Jenson’s earlier career – lets look back…

        In his first year at Williams, he didn’t do too badly – 8th I believe in a championship where points were only offered down to 6th place. Pretty sharp for a rookie, no?

        The Benetton years were pretty awful, but then Briatore hated him and we all know how he handled drivers he didn’t like.

        He came third in the championship in 2004 for BAR, after both the Ferrari drivers effectively dominated it.

        Then Honda bought the team, assigned a Japanese designer who only knew how to design motorbikes and results dried up in short order…

        Brawn bought the team for £1 but ran out of money around Silverstone, so had to lay off half the staff. Development predictably stalled.

        Pretty much none of the problems in Jenson’s early career were of his manufacturing – he was just given some dreadful cars and was told to make do.

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      22. Doug says:

        Hi Matthew,

        I’m not saying that JB is ‘so good’ at setting up his car…I’m just saying that he’s better than LH, because LH supreme talent has enabled him to drive round issues rather than fixing them from a mechanical/set-up direction.

        JB (& his mechanics) went into a blind alley in his attempt to overcome a problem that LH could just drive round. Due to this, when they changed the floor they defalted to LH’s settings for base-line setup.

        The reason Brawn went backwards through the year was that they were very short of money…if you remember, the car was very bare!
        JB learnt a lot that year about setup from RB who was a driver known for his excellent feedback…and the car still went slower due to lack of development MONEY!

        P.S. When JB went to BAR he blew JV out of the water…and eventualy out of the team.
        JB is a great driver, I don’t think he’s as good as Hamilton or Alonso…but he’s not that far off!

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    6. Kris says:

      Bed down… or have a team injected with a new lease of life unlike any other and have potentially the most-motivated, most-determined-to-prove-a-point driver on the 2013 grid.

      Yes, I’m sure there’ll be some bedding down, but I don’t think you can understate the potentially positive impact of a move like this. With an investment like this, Merc will have an awful lot of motivation and financial investment in doing everything not to fail.

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    7. John says:

      Looks like LH won’t get his special edition McLaren F1 then, can’t win 3 championships if he leaves, but how likely would it have been? Mercedes will bring lotsa bling :)

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      1. Optimaximal says:

        I was sure that RD originally promised him the F1 if he won his first season. The deal then mysteriously change to winning 3 championships upon his second successful campaign.

        Seems a little disingenuous…

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    8. JD says:

      Don’t know why people think McLaren is the best place for him if he wants to win a title. How many Drivers titles have they won since 2000? One. And Constructors? None. No team markets itself better, but in terms of actually bringing home the bacon, sadly, the stats don’t lie.

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    9. Pete says:

      the-“Lewis to Mercedes”-story says nothing about what Schumacher plans to do

      nor, why Mercedes should replace Schumi (or Rosberg) with Lewis

      in fact, the usually extremely well informed “Bild”-Zeitung now tells us that Mercedes are in the middle of negotiations with Schumi

      BOTH parties WANT to extend the contract !!!

      Schmumi angles for a 1+1 contract, whereby he could unilaterally go for an extra year in 2013

      Mercedes want to keep it down to one year only

      in this context, Hamilton would be their option B ; talking to him is also a way to keep pressure on Schumi

      http://www.bild.de/sport/motorsport/michael-schumacher/pokert-um-einen-neuen-vertrag-26164746.bild.html

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    10. Lez St John says:

      I dont get any of it. Do you really think that Lewis’s move to Mercedes is going to suddenly bring an abudance of wins?
      Lewis does not do well in cars that are not doing well.
      As for Ross Brawn knowing how to win Championships? ….. I think someone should remind him of that because I think he has forgotten.
      Lewis is heading for the wilderness trust me.
      The reason that Mercedes has failed to make an impact during the last three years, has very little to do with driver line-up and far more to do with team infrastructure,something that took Ferrari over 25 odd years to achieve.
      Team Brawn was a lucky ‘loope’ hole W.D.C it will not be repeated.
      By the time Mercedes get up to speed, no pun intended both Ferrari, RedBull and Mclaren will be in another realm …… and Lewis won’t be the King of it, maybe the Court Jester but that’s about all.

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  2. Matthew says:

    Reading this, it was only at the end that it sunk in that it wasn’t confirmed

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    1. James Allen says:

      It’s very clear all the way through that this is my read on it – of course it hasn’t been confirmed!

      It actually says “If and when confirmed” at one point.

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      1. **Paul** says:

        A question mark at the end of the title might assist :-)

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      2. KGBVD says:

        And maybe a picture of Hamilton with shifty eyes, so we know he’s up to something!

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      3. Andy Whyte says:

        It reads really well for me. Brilliant insight as always James.

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      4. Andrew says:

        Change the title then!

        This article is very misleading. A single line buried 3/4 of the way down is not good enough.

        Poor show.

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      5. James Allen says:

        No it’s not. It’s true.

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      6. tim says:

        It almost feels that this story was planted, took on a life of its own, and will eventually force both sides to make it true.

        I think it was XIX that dropped the story into Jordan’s ear as that benefits them and it benefits Lewis. I bet Lewis didn’t know it was coming. I also think McLaren are weary of the constant media furor over Lewis–whether he’s leaving, how he’s acting, what he’s tweeting, how his romantic life is affecting him on track. You can see a certain resignation in them that he’s just not worth it, even if he’s the fastest guy in an F1 car, full stop.

        I’m guessing McLaren will make their final offer to Lewis this week. We’ll know by the next race if he goes for it. What a way to leave — challenging and perhaps even winning the WDC.

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      7. Rich C says:

        There’s always a lot of drama in F1 about stuff like this.
        I think they must be used to it by now and even enjoy it.
        It’d be pretty immature of any team to just decide a top driver’s not worth the hassel.

        And there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

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      8. John says:

        Very interesting point, quite Machiavellian if it happened that way…story planted by XIX, neither side can blink first & it takes on a life of its own…still more fun to watch the actual driving once the lights go out, though…:)

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      9. Lazystig says:

        I have to agree with ‘Paul’, James; the lack of a question mark, at the end of the title, made me start reading this article thinking that the deal HAD been confirmed.

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      10. Peter says:

        I agree. “JA On Why Merc Switch Makes Most Sense For Brand LH” or words to that effect would have been clearer. I shouted it out, only having to backtrack rather sheepishly soon after. The title is misleading. I call linkbait.

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      11. James Clayton says:

        I would have gone with “Hamilton LOOKS set to move to Mercedes”. When I read the headline I thought it was a news item, and again like others have said it took me until about half way through before I realised it was an opinion.

        Great piece, though.

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    2. Phil says:

      Well I thought Lewis’ comments on the slowing down lap were significant, he thanked the team “for this opportunity”. Very unusual language, unless he knows he’s leaving. Otherwise he’d thank them for their part in the win.

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      1. Robert Gunning says:

        Those were my thoughts also

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      2. Sascha says:

        Lewis said in an interview (iMO after canada Gp)he always thanks Ron Dennis and the team after every victory for the opportunity they gave him. Maybe we just never heard it before on the radio.It was not the only thing he said at Italy to his crew over the radio, it wa just a part of it.

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      3. Sophie says:

        I thought it was significant too. It made me think of so many earlier times when Ron Dennis would reply to accusations of preferring to see one of his drivers win over the other by just saying each driver at McLaren was given the same opportunity to race. Which always seemed to be deliberately missing the point.

        Here, I wondered if Hamilton’s comment was as significant for what he *didn’t* say as for what he did. That he felt the opportunity to drive the car was all he was getting, and nothing in the way of support. There was a similar turn of phrase in the quali press conference:

        “I haven’t had any distractions this weekend so it’s been quite positive. The support from my family and friends, as always, has been incredible,”

        Support from family & friends… but from his team? Interesting and kind of sad.

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    3. Sebastian says:

      I didn’t realise it was unconfirmed until I read this comment… Perhaps a question mark in the title would be good?

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      1. Colin says:

        I agree. James should know better.

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      2. James Allen says:

        Turned out right though, didn’t it?

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      3. iceman says:

        He’s “set” to move… that’s one step after “on your marks” but still one step away from “go” :)

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      4. James Allen says:

        Spot on

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    4. William Wilgus says:

      Why would Hamilton be so glum if he’d just signed a contract with Mercedes? He wouldn’t. No, I believe he realized the McLaren doesn’t want him. I further believe that no other team is knocking on his door. He wins only when conditions are exactly right for him. That isn’t the mark of a true champion.

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      1. Nathan Jones says:

        He wins only when conditions are exactly right for him?

        Are you talking about Jenson Button? You can’t be talking about Lewis Hamilton.

        If you are then you’re pretty much contradicting every statement Fernando Alonso has made with regards to who are the drivers that can make a difference when the chips are down. I’m sure Fernando knows what he is talking about. Even when Lewis was having his very well publicised meltdown last year, he was still winning races. Three in fact.

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      2. KRB says:

        Many regarded 2011 as Button’s best year, and Lewis’ worst. Yet both won 3x, and in terms of swashbuckling wins, I think you’d have to score it 2-1 for Lewis (China & Germany for LH vs. Canada for JB). Of course Button scooped up 12 podiums last year, which was very impressive.

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      3. VanDhloms says:

        I disagree, stats show that LH out performed JB in most categories in 2011.

        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/statistics/2011-f1-statistics/

        Unfortunately points are only earned at the finish line but stats will tell you who’s a better driver.

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      4. Robert Gunning says:

        I agree, if McLaren do not want him, he only has himself to blame. After all, without McLaren investing in him, Hamilton would never have made to Formula One. Hamilton’s actions in Spa were deplorable. McLaren owe him nothing!

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      5. Zoltan says:

        Well that’s interesting because when McLaren dropped Lewis in 2004 because of a disagreement Williams snatched him up straight away and were to bring Lewis into Formula 1 but McLaren realized their mistake begged him to sign with them instead.

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      6. Andrew M says:

        Hamilton brought McLaren their only world championship in the last 12 years, without him their record over the last decade would look particularly mediocre.

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      7. Robert Gunning says:

        Yes, but without McLaren’s initially investment when he was a teenager, he would never have been able to do a deal with Williams. Yes, you could argue that without Hamilton, McLaren would not have won a world championship for over 10 years years. However, it is likely that without Hamilton, Alonso would have won both the 2007 and 2008, as he would have had a dominant role within the team.

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      8. Andrew M says:

        I know, Hamilton is only capable of winning when conditions are exactly right for him, like when he has the fastest car, or when he doesn’t have the fastest race car (like Hungary this year), or when it’s pouring with rain (like Fuji 2007), or when it’s tricky changeable conditions (like Monaco 2008), or when he has to fight through the field with overtaking moves (like Hockenheim 2008), or when it’s a slow twisty street circuit (like Singapore 2009) or when it’s a low downforce circuit (like Monza) or when it’s a circuit that requires commitment and speed through classic sweeping turns (like Spa 2010) or when he’s under pressure from his two-time world champion teammate in his debut season (like Indy 2007) or when he’s in the heat of a title battle under pressure to perform at the race he pretty much lost the world championship the year before (like China 2008).

        He’s so one-dimensional.

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      9. Wayne says:

        I know, right, ridiculous isn’t it. Same old same old from this poster.

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      10. hal says:

        +1

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  3. Antonio Palmiotto says:

    I don’t think it’s a wise move: you can be a worldwide brand as long as you deliver in what you are involved in, and i don’t think this hasn’t happened at mercedes because of Nico and Michael. McLaren is maybe the most committed and skillful organization when it comes to project and development engineering, albeit the opposite is true regarding political weight. There will always be a McL without LH, i’m not that sure of the opposite.

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    1. **Paul** says:

      Think of David Beckham going to the US. A backward step for his sporting career, yes, but he opened the door to a whole new career and revenue stream. Even though he’s well past his prime the attention he recieves is staggering, and I dare say he earns more now than when he played for Real Madrid or Man Utd.

      It’s not smart from a sporting perspective for Lewis to go to Mercedes, but from a ‘life’ perspective? It’s a move that has the potential to set up his family for several generations. That’s hard to ignore for anyone with a bit of common sense.

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      1. Antonio Palmiotto says:

        Well, i’d see it differently: what if david beckham had signed for, let’s say, rangers glasgow when he was 25? Money would have been ok, but would he have been a global star? Would anyone have called it in the national team? Would he have won any other thing? And would he have gone straight to the history books but for an ill judged move? In my opinion, no.

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      2. KRB says:

        Following the football analogy s’more, Alan Shearer had a chance to go from Southampton to Man Utd, instead of Blackburn. He won with Rovers (and I’m glad such a great player won at least one title), but then went close with Newcastle, but never won the league again. How many winners’ medals would he have had with Man Utd?

        I say all this as a long-suffering Reds fan.

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  4. Andrew Barratt says:

    On the face of it a massive backward step for LH but with the ever cooler relationship at McLaren it was always going to be him or MW to leave. In the medium term this may well re-ignite him

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    1. Wayne says:

      I’m not sure it’s a backward step at all to be honest. McLaren’s track record of delivering Drivers and Constructors championships over the past decade is appalling. Yes, staying at McLAren, Lewis was sure to win a race or two each season – but the championship? No.

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      1. Andrew Carter says:

        Its still a considerably stronger record than the Brackley teams record since they came into existence in ’99.

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      2. Optimaximal says:

        The ‘Brackley team’ didn’t ‘come into existence’ in 1999 – I suggest you look up Tyrell in the history books.

        The whole reason Mercedes are getting shitty with Bernie about the CA is because Red Bull are getting preferential treatment design changing hands twice in the last decade (Steward->Ford/Jaguar->RBR), yet Mercedes are getting the short shrift on a team that essentially went Tyrell->BAR->Honda->Brawn (out of necessity)->Mercedes.

        Yes, more changes of hands and less recent success, but the team have more historical success, coupled with Mercedes long term engine supply involvement and the success that has delivered.

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      3. Andrew Carter says:

        @Optimaximal, I suggest you pay closer attention to history yourself. British American Tobaco and it’s cohorts bought Tyrrell in 97 and Pollock pretty quickly decided that the only thing he wanted to keep was the entry, creating a new base and recruiting an all new staff. By the time he’d come to realise that the Tyrrell team was actually pretty good, if underfunded, and that he should keep them the majority had already signed on to Honda’s development team for ’99. Despite being overweight that car was capable of lapping Barcelona as fast as the Benetton or Williams, making it a damn site better than the BAR 001.

        My point is that it was a start up operation since they kept nothing of Tyrrell but the automatic entry. Since then as BAR and Honda they’ve had a history of mismanagement and since becoming Mercedes have dithered about how much they really want to spend. The result of the teams incessant cutbacks and hirings has been 3 poor cars and a team that’s only now starting to gel.

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      4. Warren Groenewald says:

        Not many drivers have had the luxury of race winning cars in every single year of their career so far.

        A lack of championships cant all be placed at the door the team – Hamilton might be fast but he has the same win it or bin it attitude that Raikkonen used to have.

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      5. Andrew M says:

        Raikkonen lost out on world titles in 2003 and 2005 due to mechanical failures, not because he “binned it”.

        And Hamilton hasn’t “binned it” at all this season.

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      6. Quattro_T says:

        “McLaren’s track record of delivering Drivers and Constructors championships over the past decade is appalling.”

        The team cannot “deliver championships” no matter how much they want to. The teams’ main job is to deliver a package able of winning. The rest is up to the drivers. Mclaren have delivered championship winning packages more than once, since 2007. Hamilton has managed to score once, barely, competing with Massa…

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      7. johnybravo says:

        +1. Hamilton has made many mistakes during those few years

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      8. KRB says:

        2007 and 2008 were the best cars he’s driven. But in 2008 the Ferrari was clearly faster (see Kimi’s 10 fastest laps set that year in it). Massa was decent back then, and should really have sailed to that title. He had misfortune, mistakes, etc., but even with all that Massa still should’ve won.

        As I say time and time again, since 1986, no driver has won the DWC with their teammate finishing lower than 5th. Kovaleinen was 7th in 2008 when Lewis won. Both Lewis and Fernando have the chance to do that this season.

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      9. Wayne says:

        Love the way this totally ignores the years where McLaren started with a car a second off the pace, and when it only because competitive in the latter half of the season, or when it may have been second to a RBR but a full second slower!

        Hamilton has indeed made many mistakes, but he has also won many races despite the car he was given. It’s generally thought that even in his WDC year the McLaren was slightly slower than the Ferrari on average across the season. What year did McLaren give Lewis the fastest car?

        This year? Well maybe, but then they went and cost him 40+ points in operation errors at the start of the season didn’t they?

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      10. Andrew M says:

        Since Hakkinen’s world titles, Coulthard, Raikkonen, Montoya, Alonso, Hamilton, Kovalainen and Button have all driven for McLaren. Are you seriously telling me they all “underdelivered”?

        When you have had such a string of top level drivers but such a poor return in terms of drivers and constructors titles, I think you have to lay the blame at the door of the team rather than the drivers. If McLaren had been dominating (a la Schumacher) and then Hamilton came in and the team stopped winning, you could make a case for him underperforming. But that’s not the case – in fact the opposite is true, Hamilton is the only one to have sealed the deal.

        For one of F1s leading teams, McLaren’s recent track record at winning titles is very poor. And I’m a McLaren fan…

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      11. Jenks says:

        Wayne, you keep ploughing this line about McLaren not winning Championships, and of course you are right.

        But who HAS won championships in that time? Not that many teams… 5 in fact (and thats including the Brawn anomaly), and that is more than in any point in history really.
        Working backwards:
        Red Bull 2,
        Mercedes (as Brawn) 1,
        Mclaren 1,
        Ferrari 4,
        Renault 2.

        Extend it to 25 years and its still only 6 teams (add Williams), when way over 30 have competed in that time, for what it is worth Mclaren have won 10 in that time.

        All time only 15 teams have won the title, with one team Renault/Benneton having won it under two different names.

        I only post all this because it is incredibly rare to be a championship winning team, and Mclaren have produced championship contenders nearly every season in the last 10 years.

        2002 – DC 5th
        2003 – Kimi 2nd (decided in last race)
        2004 – Kimi 7th (one of only two non Ferrari wins that year though)
        2005 – Kimi 2nd
        2006 – Kimi 5th
        2007 – Lewis 2nd, Alonso 3rd (tied 1 point behind, decided in last race) – one could argue Lewis beaching a car in the gravel in the pit entry cost him the title
        2008 – Lewis 1st
        2009 – Lewis 5th, a dog that Lewis developed for two wins
        2010 – Lewis 4th (16 points off the title, having crashed out in Italy and Singapore)
        2011 – Button 2nd

        Lewis has been incredibly lucky to have the cars he has had!

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      12. Jenks says:

        Lewis has been incredibly lucky to have the cars he has had!

        Just to add to this, not only has he been lucky, but he really should have 3 titles to his name now.
        In 2010 the Mclaren let him down once (gearbox in Hungary), he had a puncture in Spain and he had 2011 style crashes twice.
        In 2007, as a rookie, he beached the car in the gravel when the title was in his hands.

        And what exactly have Merc/Brawn/Honda/BAR produced in those 10 years?? A title and a 3rd, both, ironically, for Button.

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      13. Wayne says:

        It’s not really a case of luck is it? He would not be in a McLaren at all if he were not as good as he is.

        Your own stats indicate that Ferrari have outscored McLaren at a rate of 4-1. Additionally you make no mention of constructors titles of which McLaren have managed 0.

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      14. Jenks says:

        No Wayne it isn’t a case of luck in terms of his ability, he is incredibly gifted, that is down to his own hard work as much as his natural talent. However, it is a case of luck in terms of the fact that Dennis picked him up and nurtured him for years, then gave him cars in which he could compete for the Drivers title in all but two years of his F1 career so far. Most F1 drivers rarely get the chance to compete for a title more than once, let alone in two thirds of their seasons in F1, even the best drivers like the great Senna and Prost didn’t have cars capable of winning a championship as regularly as Lewis has.

        Additionally, i ignore the Constructors titles because you keep saying LEWIS won’t win a Championship at Mclaren, i assumed you therefore meant a drivers championship, as Lewis didn’t grow up dreaming of winning numerous constructors championships.

        You are right in the fact Ferrari outscore Mclaren 4-1 in the last 10 years, 3 of which were at the start of the 10 year period. But that is largely irrelevant in the context of you saying Lewis is better off at Mercedes isn’t it??

        Additionally Mclaren and Ferrari are consistently the two dominant teams in F1, between them they have won over 50% of the races they have both been entered into. And the fact that both teams have been competitive in the drivers championship in 6 or 7 of the last 10 years (Mclaren 03,05,07,08,10,11?,12), in one of the most unpredictable eras in F1 history, is a credit to them both. Where have the Brackley Mercedes team been in that time??

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      15. Andrew M says:

        In 2007 he could (arguably should) have won the title in China, but the team has to take some of the blame for leaving him out so long, and at Brazil it was an engine misfire that cost him, that can’t be blamed on him.

        Yes he could have won the title in 2010, but they weren’t really competitive with Red Bull over the course of the season. Vettel would have cantered to the title if unreliability hadn’t cost him 3 wins, not to mention all his other errors.

        And to say McLaren had a championship contending car in 2011 is just a joke surely…

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      16. andrewBarratt says:

        I’d have to say that having considered it I tend to agree with you. For whatever reason he’s increasingly marginalised in the team JB’s refusal to support his championship fight, MW’s coolness towards him all imply the relationship is over. His best chance of future success lies with building a team around him as No1 driver in the same way Alonso has. Financial future of McLaaren is also far from rosey with Vodaphone moving on… imagine if they followed him to mercedes too 😉

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  5. Ed says:

    If this is true it must have been sold to Lewis on the basis of what Mercedes think they can do with the 2014 engines. I see nothing from the last 2 years that suggests they’ll be fighting for the championship before that. Image rights are all well and good but I believe that winning races and championships is still the main motivation for Lewis.

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    1. Sossoliso says:

      Winning is not really that important if you have market gurus on your side.. Look at David Beckham.. The man has $$$$ coming out of his ears but is he really a good footballer. NO.

      That may be what Hamilton is striving at too.

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      1. Rich C says:

        “but is he really a good footballer”

        Absolute heresy!

        A fatwah upon you! Better start using an alias!

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      2. Jordan says:

        I this there was supposed to be a question mark preceding the last NO.

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      3. **Paul** says:

        /\ great minds…

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      4. Guillermo says:

        It saddens me that Lewis appears to be making this decision based on how to develop his “brand”.

        Sports personalities become brands if they’re serial winners (Jordan, Woods) or if they look good in their undies (Kournikova, Beckham).

        I think Lewis should focus on trying to be the former.

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      5. Enzo says:

        Hmm..i think my wife would disagree with you, that Lewis doesn’t look good in his undies. :)

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      6. Andrew M says:

        Beckham won six Premier league titles, the Champions League and La Liga. I’d say he was better than average :)

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      7. Voiceofreason says:

        Err, no. Beckham was part of a TEAM that won said titles.

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      8. Andrew M says:

        He still won them.

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  6. F12012 says:

    When Eddie Jordan said Hamilton to Mercedes everyone said well its Eddie talking, but over the years Bernie has used Eddie for his own help in matters, so I feared Hamilton was on his way, it’s a shame that the Hamilton/Mclaren relationship is finished, but it looks like Mercedes is slowly putting a team to compete at the very highest level and everyone knows what Ross Brawn is capable off

    Looks like di resta wants to be in a Mclaren with button as he switched to buttons management, however after sundays race it looks like Perez is a future star/world champion and if Mclaren could get him this would surely compensate for losing Hamilton and please Vodafone as James has said, would Ferrari release him, that’s another question

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    1. Sossoliso says:

      Hulkenburg/Perez looks faster to me ..if McLaren want the Constructors.

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      1. johnybravo says:

        IMHO Perez will be dressed in red next year so McLaren need to look somewhere else

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      2. Sammy says:

        Perez to Marrussia? Wow.. That’s a rumour I didn’t see coming…

        Seriously though, if anyone replaces Massa at Ferrari, it’s just going to be a waste of talent, no-one is going to expect a driver to come in as Alonso’s team-mate and get a fair hearing at Ferrari.. At the moment the best person for that Ferrari seat is Massa, as he can get the points and play tactically, but knows that he won’t be near Alonso..

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      3. Aaron James says:

        “Seriously though, if anyone replaces Massa at Ferrari, it’s just going to be a waste of talent, no-one is going to expect a driver to come in as Alonso’s team-mate and get a fair hearing at Ferrari”

        Yes, I had heard Narain Karthikeyan is their number one choice 😉

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  7. Thomas says:

    Good news for Lewis, for McLaren, for Mercedes and for F1.

    Lewis can finally move on from his “parents” and come into his own as a man. He can joins the modern greats in helping the building of a team. This will surely help him.

    McLaren can get a fresh start and find a lower-maintenance driver. Lewis is fast for sure, but he also seems to take a lot of energy with his various antics.

    Mercedes finally gets a proven benchmark. Michael seems to be rediscovering his form this year, would be cool to see him one more year alongside Hamilton. Will probably be Rosberg lurking Massa-esque around tho.

    F1 is better for trades like this. Driver lineups is quite stale with the opportunities for newer drivers to prove themselves fewer and fewer.

    Alternatives for McLaren: Kimi. Maybe Massa if they dare, there should still be a fast brazilian in there.

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    1. Wayne says:

      Agree all round, Thomas, well put.

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    2. Martin says:

      +1

      On drivers, I think Hulkenberg as a German might be on McLaren’s mind to help keep Mercedes engines as an option into the future.

      I wouldn’t mind seeing less of McLaren being cast as Team UK too. It doesn’t really fit in with the New Zealand heritage of the team, for starters.

      I like seeing drivers move between teams too. It shows drivers in a different light. Different aerodynamic philosophies suddenly change the way drivers overtake being one of the more subtle ones.

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    3. Tombstone says:

      ‘Massa and’ ‘fast Brazilian’ parted company within the same sentence 3 years ago.

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    4. johnybravo says:

      Let’s see how it develops.
      IMHO, building team with lead of Schumacher or Alonso is not the same as building team with Hamilton. Two of them have proved already they can handle bad car, drive it fast. One of them, when he has an average car, usualy is involved with Maldonado and wants to retire after few laps.
      Despite great talent of both – Brawn and Hamilton and even all others, I guess we are going to see something like PSG in football – money and good players are not enough to win something. This has been proven in F1 also.

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      1. Aaron James says:

        I say lets put Barrichello in the second seat with Button. Let us not forget 2009….

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  8. Nick says:

    Well, it seems to me Lewis is more concerned with being rich that he is a racing driver. It’s like his priorities are totally backwards. I get the impression that almost all F1 drivers would be willing to race for free if they had the chance to win, yet Lewis is potentially about to leave a top running to team to a lower team; and for what? Nothing but money and ‘branding’? It’s not like he’s poor at the moment. McLaren have paid him tens of millions of pounds during his time there. If he’s strapped for cash these days then maybe he should hire an accountant rather than an entertainment company as a manager.

    That said, Mercedes does have so much potential and Lewis will only bring them forwards. It would also be nice to see him and Nico as team mates once again (although I think Nico would jump to McLaren if the opportunity came along, rather than stay with a friend… I would!) 2012 brought Mercedes their first win and I’m sure others are on the way once the factory sort out their car development gremlins. With the 2014 engine regs coming in too, it could be a stroke of genius to move there now. But who knows eh?

    PS. Paul Di Resta does not deserve a seat at McLaren yet, he is extremely average in my opinion. He seems no better or worse than Kobayashi or Hulkenberg; the latter I would rate as the best of the three.

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    1. Wayne says:

      “I get the impression that almost all F1 drivers would be willing to race for free if they had the chance to win.” This is pure sugar-stands, daisies and little boys’ smiles fantasy. It’s just something that poorer pundits like to wax lyrical about. None of them would do it for free – they’d move on to something else to pay for their private jets and houses in Monaco.

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      1. Nick says:

        Everyone is different. Money means different things to different people. Maybe I’m being naive, but I believe that many of the drivers in F1 or other categories would trade the lifestyle for the trophies and success.

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      2. matthew says:

        have you seen how much alonso is paid?what about kimi?he was even being paid by ferrari when he wasnt even racing for them anymore.they all want the big money.

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      3. Frankie says:

        No – see Jensen Button’s Top Gear interview just before his first race win. He explicitly said that he would trade all the money/glamour/luxury for that one win.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOVxj5yd2aA

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      4. James Clayton says:

        It’s easy to say you would.

        If you really felt that way why not go to whatever team you think will give you the best chance, and offer them a contract where you give back a percentage of your earnings for each win you get?

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      5. Andrew M says:

        To be fair, Jenson did pay a huge amount of his own money to get out of his Williams contract. But he was hardly driving for free…

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      6. Jenks says:

        Wayne? Seriously?? So the drivers that pay MILLIONS for F1 drives are doing it for what reason exactly?

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      7. Uncle D says:

        Jenks, which driver do you know that pays to drive from their own money? I always thought it was their corporate sponsors that paid.

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      8. Wayne says:

        What are you talking about? They do not pay with their own money, huge corporate sponsors pay! AND the drivers till get paid!

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  9. nathhulal says:

    Also McLaren drivers have to work within strict guidelines with team sponsors.
    >> Didn’t the Hamilton(s) violated that guideline in Hamilton’s second season when the father-son duo signed personal endorsement deal with Adidas? Adidas or their associated brands never featured on McLaren car. But McLaren that was known for its strict guidelines when it comes to managing drivers bent over to accommodate Lewis, and that pretty much set the tone of what was to come for the McLaren-Hamilton relationship.

    Anyhow, for the driver who was built in mould of JPM, the acrimonious split reminds me of the split between the British team and its Latin driver in 2006.

    At least this one was lucky to be part of the “Dennis Project” which resulted in the 2007-08 wins and title, and which has indirectly helped in securing on to the straw called Mercedes F1. I wish his Latin predecessor had similar team support back in 01-06 to show a title for someone of his immense talent.

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  10. Munchies says:

    McLaren for sure is one of the great F1 teams of the paddock. But to me it has always given me the impression that being at McLaren as a driver means rmembering the rules to you to abide by back at school. I’m not going to go into writing about them all, but for me Hamilton’s move away from McLaren is by far the best move of his career so far. He should also be grateful to McLaren for how he’s become the driver he is. Forgetting that would be disrespectful… But Lewis now needs to become his own man and now show what he’s really capable off!

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  11. AndyFov says:

    ” If Hamilton did not want this, why would he had signed up with XIX?”

    I’m not sure Lewis knows what he really wants. I suspect he’s a bit gullbile and has fallen for Fuller’s Jerry Maguire spiel. He split with his father for XIX, and now he’s splitting with his surrogate dad, Ron Dennis. He had been doing better till he got involved with XIX in my eyes.

    His lifestyle and ambitions for celebrity status appear to be at odds with his success on the track, I’m not all all convinced this move will result in any more WDCs for Lewis. I reckon he’s a far better chance of winning 2012’s in this year’s McLaren than 2013’s in next year’s Merc.

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    1. James Clayton says:

      He signed with XIX what? In the middle of last season? Within a few races his results were getting better and he was getting into less incidents. This year he has been right on it.

      I’m not saying it’s all down to, or even at all related to XIX. But so far we have no real evidence that signing with XIX has been a bad move, either.

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  12. nomis says:

    If true Wow!

    We can all see the true talent of Rosberg and see how he rates against Hamilton.

    My opinion is Rosberg is overrated.

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    1. Kay says:

      +1 on Rosberg lol.
      Ain’t like his daddy could teach him a few good tricks on how to be fast… 😀

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      1. Glennb says:

        Unlike Lewis’ ex-WDC dad….

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      2. Antti says:

        I think Keke actually has a reputation of having being very fast.

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    2. Warren Groenewald says:

      And what if it turns out like the Button / Hamilton pairing?

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      1. James Clayton says:

        you mean 2-1 after 3 years? In who’s favour?

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  13. AlexD says:

    This is very unfortunate for McLaren because they are left without one of the fastest drivers.

    Ferrari has Alonso
    Red Bull has Vettel
    Mercedes has Hamilton
    Lotus has Raikkonen

    McLaren has Button, but he is not Alonso or Vettel, let’s be honest. Buton is not the future of the team, but I might be wrong.

    The only real option for McLaren is to snatch Vettel, but he is happy in Red Bull now and is dreaming about Ferrari without Alonso…or to get Kimi, but Kimi will never do it, he loves freedom and this is why he is with Lotus.

    So….really, there are no valid options for McLaren in terms of Top drivers.

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    1. Kay says:

      Agree with you.

      McLaren is just gonna go downhill from now on with Lewis. Button won’t be able to drive fast and dev the car coz the car just won’t be right for him. Buckle up and prepare yourselves to see a repeat of 2007-08 but this time in the form of McLaren rather than Honda!

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      1. Andrew Carter says:

        I hope your prepared to eat those words.

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      2. Quattro_T says:

        LoL, Mclaren downhill? Based on what exactly? Hamilton, was working aside as chief aerodynamicist also?

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  14. B Grylls says:

    If Hamilton moves, I hope McLaren signs Kimi.

    BG

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    1. Chad says:

      …and builds him an over-steery car that Button can’t control 😉

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    2. Simmo says:

      Kimi is already in contract with Lotus for 2013 :)

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      1. James says:

        No he’s not

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      2. Simmo says:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Formula_One_season see the list of signed drivers. Unless, of course, that is incorrect too :/

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      3. DanWilliams from Aust says:

        In the same statment that Lotus made this week that confirms RAI will be at the team for 2013, they also said that this is F1 and a team and driver should not be forced to be together if one of them does not want to be together…

        They also mentioned the contract for 2013 was based on performance, and Kimi had met them all now so I’m assuming that it why he is automatically lockied in for 2013.

        I assume that means that there is something in Kimi’s contact with Lotus that would give either party an ‘out’ if either of them wanted it.

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    3. Simmo says:

      But it would be nice to see Heikki there again

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  15. AlexD says:

    For some reason I think this is also good news for Alonso this year. McLaren will not be eager to help Hamilton take the #1 to Mercedes.

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    1. Wayne says:

      No, I don’t think they will either. Whitmarsh probably would continue as was but I get the impression that Dennis can be vindictive and every bit as petulant as Hamilton.

      Plus, wouldn’t be really awkward come the end of the season to witness the strained celebrations and crocodile smiles.

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  16. Mark says:

    I would suggest this move is more about money than ambition. Realistically only 3 teams are capable of providing a car to win a title, McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari.

    Hamiltons demeanor would suggest he wishes he could stay at McLaren, but with XIX involved it would more be about the money than the ambition to win the title, who is actually in charge here, Lewis or his management?

    Believe this is a backward step for Lewis and his chance to win title number 2 is now further away.

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    1. Wayne says:

      Have to disagree, Mark, no-one owuld have said RBR or Brawn would have been capable beofre they went out and did it. There is no reason why mercedes are not about to do the same thing.

      I’m a Hamilton fan and I’m quite excited about the prospect.

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      1. Cookie says:

        +1 Mclaren have mostly had a resoanbly good car, but not often the best. No team WDC proves this, and the only recent drivers championship is – LH.

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      2. Mark says:

        Don’t get me wrong I would love to see Hamilton get another title but my feeling is this moved would hinder that.
        I would agree as far as RBR, but looking at Brawn that was a one off season, RBR are showing a consistent challenge for the title. Brawn blew the competition away in the first half of that season with their car design though as the season wore on teams (inevitably) caught up. Since then they havent really shown any consistancy in challenging for titles, though Rosberg/Schumi have had some good races, I dont see the consistancy needed to get a world title.
        I concede that 2014 rule changes may render my views obsolete as who knows what may happen but based on team performances over the past couple seasons I would question the wisdom of this move.

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      3. tharris19 says:

        I concur Wayne. I have had a sense that Lewis was out of place every since Whitmarsh has become team principal. This became clearer in 2010 when Button joined the team.
        His (Whitmarsh) partiality towards Button has gone to the point of posting on blogs about the car problems he is having this year being the reason he is so far behind Lewis. Never seen that from a team principal before. He has never done it for Lewis.

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    2. Sanstorm999 says:

      I have to agree with Wayne. I am also very excited about Hamiltons potential move to Merc. I have been telling my wife he should do this since the end of last season. McLaren just do not have the winners killer instinct under Martin Whitmarsh. Hamilton has given them 5 years of his talent and as far as I am concerned at least 2 years were wasted by poor car developement stratergy i.e. designing a new car from scratch instead of morphing the cars that always seemed to come good at the end of the season. Whitmarsh morphs the car design for 2012 and suddenly they have a decent car again but then have operational issues. Hamilton has always had strong ties with MERC and Norbert Haug, who think the world of him. I say go to Merc and help build a dominant team in 2-3 years time MERC will be a force to be reconned with.

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    3. Bob S says:

      I think the beginning of the end of the Hamilton/Mclaren affair came in 2009 when the team didn’t give him a car to defend his title with (Lewis can be quoted saying pretty much the same that year). This wound had vast amounts of salt rubbed into it in 2011 when RBR provided Vettel with the machinery he needed to successfully defend his 2010 WDC. Couple these obvious disappointments with the arrival of Button and the team’s focus on getting him integrated into the Mclaren set-up together with Lewis’s many problems last season and the writing was almost on the wall. Then, along came 2012 and despite Lewis’s apparently new found maturity both on and off the track, the team let him down time after time and may well have cost him 40+ points in the WDC. Result (if these rumours turn out to be true) = divorce. Hamilton just wants to win WDCs, I think that he would consider his career to be a failure if he finished it with only 1 to his name. Money will always play a part in the decisions these F1 drivers make purely because lots of it is on offer but I doubt they would be F1 drivers if winning wasn’t their main priority.
      Lewis leaving Mclaren was always going to happen one day. Personally, I think that if he does go to Mercedes next season it will do him the world of good. Besides the obvious on track, performance related interest in that move, it will also be very interesting to see how Button copes with a new driver on the other side of the Mclaren garage because they seem to have history in losing focus on the established driver when that happens.
      Interesting times indeed.

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  17. parthi says:

    As a Mclaren fan, I’ll be glad if he’s out.

    Too much work to keep him happy, too moody, surely takes it toll on the team.

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    1. Wayne says:

      This just does not make sense – as a McLaren fan do you not want to see them win? You’d rather they had a quiet, slower driver?

      Just don’t take up supporting football – it would never work out for you.

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      1. parthi says:

        your response fails to take into consideration the other variables involved in winning races, for example the car, pretty important factor

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      2. tharris19 says:

        Compare him to his team mate in the same car and what do you get.

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      3. Nathan Jones says:

        Well said! + a few.

        I have never understood this pro-Mclaren/anti-Hamilton stance. One seems somewhat out of kilter with the other.

        Surely, if you were actually a McLaren fan you’d be begging McLaren to bite their tongue, clench their fists, and generally do anything they could to manage the Hamilton petulance and keep him within the team. You know that the team loses their rag with him from time to time, but as a fan, you want them to suck it up and do whatever is necessary to stay in winning ways, ie. keep him!

        He’s a proven race winner. He gets the business done. If you can’t see that then you’ve really missed something.

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      4. parthi says:

        @tharris19 2012 is not nearly over. 2011 Button smashed Hamilton.

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  18. mayberth says:

    kimi just need his light yet sensitive steering to return to his top form in qualifying~~!! mclaren had spent 5 years developing the suspension setting just for kimi…it will be great to see kimi back to mclaren and finish the unfinish business back then due to engine and car reliability~~~

    mclaren + kimi = ultra speed combination !!

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    1. hal says:

      Remind me again how many years Kimi was at Mclaren and how many titles he won?

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      1. Sebastian says:

        Ask Norbert Haug why Kimi never won with McLaren…

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      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        All those V10s and V8s that ended in a blazing mess

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      3. Waseem says:

        @hal, I think you will find that kimi not winning titles was because mclaren would always have engine\hydraulic failures, mainly to do with how tight the car was packaged.

        Newey was the designer for them during those years :-)

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      4. hal says:

        I know. I was stirring a bit. What I don’t get is the common belief amongst some posters that Kimi is the silver bullet. During his time he had arguably the best designer in season, in season testing etc yet Kimi did not win.

        Losing LH is a blow and I agree Kimi is a good choice but if I was Kimi I would stay at lotus. He seems happy there and the team look to have a good pair of drivers – the fast by inexperienced (relatively) RG with a KE as team lead. If he goes to McLaren he will have to wrestle the team from Button. Something I don’t see Kimi is interested in doing.

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      5. mayberth says:

        you should watch back 2002- 2006~~~ why kimi failed to win a title with mclaren??? If you dont know, it means that you’re an amateur!!

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      6. Shah Alam says:

        In 2003 it was so close, I still blame Rubens Barichello/Ferrari for ruining kimi’s WDC win as he was taken out in one race by him. if you look at RB at Ferrari all he did is hold the pack up with pace.

        All Kimi needed was 3 points from that DNF race and hay presto Kimi would have been a two time champion just as Alonso is.

        Like Sterling Moss kimi waited so long to win he became philosophical about wining the WDC.

        THOSE WHO SUPPORT KIMI LIKE HIM BECAUSE HE MAY NOT BE A THINKER IN THE COCKPIT OR A POLITICAL PLAYER BUT IN THE SAME CAR AGAINST ANY OTHER DRIVER HE IS THE FASTEST.

        I REMEMBER EVEN ALONSO SAYING THAT ABOUT HIM.

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      7. Elie says:

        Shah alam – the reason why Kimi is a great driver is because he is a great thinker ! Just ask Martin Whitmarsh and Stephano Dominacali.

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      8. Antti says:

        I believe that’s exactly what mayberth refers to as “unfinished business”. Both McLaren and Mercedes have used such language when referring to Kimi and the unreliability of the Merc engine during those years, which meant Kimi lost at least the 2005 title to Alonso.

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      9. mayberth says:

        and 2003…he was 2 points off schumi despite driving a 2002 version ‘s car!!

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      10. KRB says:

        2005 was real bad … basically spotted Alonso near half-a-season!

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      11. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Remind yourself how many races in that period his cars destroyed themselves through a Grand Prix weekend!

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      12. hal says:

        So zero then. Thanks.

        Seriously, i know the reasons and my reply was aimed at everyone quick to hail Kimi as the answer. To win a WDC takes a number of things to go right. So while he is one of my favourites – I don’t see this as the answer. LH is as capable if not more than KR.

        Remember even Kimi is prone to inter-team dynamics – I just do not see how he came to lose to Massa after wining WDC in 2008 (the only I can think of was the news that Alonso was coming unsettled him).

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      13. Kimi4WDC says:

        Very interesting read about whole Kimi/Fernando/Ferrari situation.

        http://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/

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      14. Megan says:

        Kimi suffered because of Ferrari’s politics, there where many things going on there and yet he has never said a bad word about Ferrari or complained about it. He is much more of a team player then people sometimes give him credit for. They where just not a good match, much like Alonso and Mclaren.

        In any case Kimi knows Mclaren and they know him, there are a lot of people in Mclaren who really likes Kimi, Withmarsh included.

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      15. heX says:

        Can’t you read his post? Unfinished business in Mclaren DUE TO ENGINE AND CAR RELIABILITY. If not for horrible reliability, he would’ve easily won both ’03 and ’05 titles.

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      16. Elie says:

        Hal I will remind you he won with Ferrari

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      17. Elie says:

        Im many opinions 2003 & 2005 was has Kimis but for Engine failures etc .So really he is the equivalent of a triple WC

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    2. heX says:

      It was truly enjoyable to watch Raikkonen during his Mclaren days, with his raw visceral pace back in the day. He seems to have lost a bit of that edge though… Especially after he left Mclaren.

      Still a very competent racer that I like though, great to see him back in F1.

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      1. Paul J says:

        I think he has matured a lot since his return to F1. Seeing him at Lotus really reminds me why I liked him so much back in the McLaren days. IMO he never really seemed at home in Ferrari overalls.

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      2. Megan says:

        Competent racer? lol

        Yeah he is 3rd in the WDC, just one point behind Lewis with a Lotus, without having won a race yet. I’d say that is really, really, really, really competent.

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      3. Elie says:

        I keep telling J A. Put him in a Mclaren & we will see who qualifies faster &, we will also see who leads the championship.. I hope he gets a run in a top team or Lotus improves-no one is more deserving of another Championship

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      4. heX says:

        @Megan Since you think that isn’t good enough, why don’t you take over his job then?

        I’m sure a nobody on the Internet would be able to do a lot better than the proven world champion himself

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  19. Paul Leeson says:

    If this does pan out as you think it might then this is good news for McLaren, as you say a large part of the last 5 years have been something of a pantomime, he’s a very high maintenance driver, of course he can also be a very high rewards one as well, but it seems to me there have been far to many distractions, far to big an entourage of late, and a lack of the level of self discipline required to be the very best.

    I believe that petulance is Lewis Hamiltons default state when things dont go his way, perhaps we’ll see how long Mercedes allow the panto to run before they also bring the curtain down, I doubt there’ll be calls for an encore.

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  20. ThatLindseyGuy says:

    “Mercedes had to do this, as one of only two ‘works’ teams in F1…”

    Aren’t Red Bull effectively Renault’s ‘works’ team, or would that be overstating the case?

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    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, they aren’t owned by a manufacturer, but they get free engines

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      1. Kay says:

        Whoa?! Red Bull gets free engines?
        How about Lotus (old Renault team)? Do they get it free or now they gotta pay? That’d surely feel awkward for the guys there.

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      2. James Allen says:

        THat’s business

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      3. KRB says:

        Renault must’ve loved it when Newey inquired about getting Mercedes engines for RBR, eh?

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  21. Irish con says:

    I have thought all year long that Lewis hasn’t been happy in McLaren and wants out. I thought though that mark webber would join Ferrari and that Lewis would join red bull. I never could of imagined him joining Mercedes. When webber signed for a year I expected Lewis to do a shorter term deal and keep himself free for a 2014 move with webber possibly retiring and talk of seb moving to the reds. But I think it’s a done deal to Mercedes. Sad to see Michael looks like losing out as its clear from spa and monza he still has more than enough to be a f1 driver. And I think hulkenburg has jumped ahead of di resta in the que for a Ferrari or Mercedes drive.

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  22. Logie says:

    If Hamilton wants to think of a bigger picture of just being a top racing driver, then a move to Merc for the reasons said by James has said is must.

    But, is Hamilton losing sight of what he is? a Racing Driver?

    He seems to be moving to a celeb/singer/super star which is not really what he is or about.

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  23. Mike from Colombia says:

    I have to say that I think that Jenson Button has not behaved particularly honourably during this episode.

    Button is still only an employee, but is acting like management. He should not have chimed in during the twitter saga. I feel that his two pence worth against Lewis Hamilton changed the team dynamics. Yes, people will go on about 2011 and Button outscoring Hamilton during his off year – but the case seems that Button has gone down the tried the tested route of getting ahead internally…suck up to the boss.

    There seems to be an air of opportunism and stealth in terms of exploiting the situation to get on board a driver that is in your management company’s books. It also seems that there is little point in getting a No. 2 driver for the world’s best No. 2 driver.

    Whitmarsh seems to have lost his air of authority and it is now impossible to make the Hamilton-McLaren relationship work as a result. The same happened between Dennis and Alonso.

    McLaren seem to need a breath of fresh air and change of approach – but more on the management side.

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    1. John Nicholas says:

      Intra-team struggling and politicking between team-mates is as old as F1. Drivers that always top the lists of best F1 drivers (such as Schumacher and Senna) were past masters at this.

      I also can’t see how you could construe any action by Jenson this year as being “dishonourable”, unless you consider that you may be potentially somewhat biased. (Evinced by the quote “It also seems that there is little point in getting a No. 2 driver for the world’s best No. 2 driver.”)

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      1. Kay says:

        I agree with Mike actually.

        The difference between Button and MSC/Senna are, the latter two do the talking on track. Button? He speaks them out, mostly trash talk as well. That’s especially the case this season.

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      2. Mike from Colombia says:

        Button is a good driver..but he is not great driver. That might be part of the reason why he never seems that bothered by being outqualified or outraced by his team mate.

        He is the world’s best No. 2 driver…that’s why Ferrari wanted him for Alonso

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      3. John Nicholas says:

        Being a number #1 or #2 is irrelevant to the initial point that he was being disingenuous or disloyal. At no point this season have I seen Jenson talking ‘trash’, his comment last week about the tweeted lap trace were I think restrained, and apart from that I can’t really think of any examples this year that would prove your point.

        Regardless, I think this site has been great in keeping out rampant [mod], so perhaps we can all let it remain that way?

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      4. iceman says:

        Did he take the title of “world’s best number 2” by beating Rubens Barrichello?

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    2. Stephen Kennedy says:

      So what you’re saying is: Button went to “Lewis’ team” – where most of us expected him to be decimated by Hamilton; he matched Lewis on points; and he then manoeuvred Hamilton out so that he can be number one?

      F1 has always been political and if Jenson has achieved the above he’s better than Prost!

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      1. Mike from Colombia says:

        The fact is that McLaren will still feel that Button is not an adequate No. 1 for them going forward. If he was so, then they would not be in a panic right now.

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    3. Serrated_Edge says:

      Are you serious Mike?

      remind me who tweeted sensitve telementry data which contained his team mates race settings…

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    4. Sascha says:

      Very well said. It smells not good if a driver of a certain team criticises his team mate publicly, when even the real team mangement has put it to rest.
      Neither is it good a driver pushes for a new tean mmate who himelf has some profit from, as he is involved in the management.
      Button is a potical intrigant

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    5. KRB says:

      Yeah, dunno what Button is trying to accomplish there. I mean, if you are going to come out and say stuff, in total ‘Kill the King’ fashion, then you better make sure you can finish it off.

      I was amazed that Button came out with the “McLaren will be wasting their time asking me to back up Lewis” after Monza. Whoa dude, you drive for the team. If it makes sense for you to move over for Lewis, then tough. If the team can snag the same amount of points, plus get Lewis s’more for the DWC table, then of course you do that!

      If Lewis doesn’t go, and re-signs with McLaren, then I could see Button being off-loaded at yearend.

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      1. Elie says:

        Yeah if anyone doubted what Jenson has been upto behind the scenes his comments of “being upset” was just as childish as what Lewis did!
        it happened all through 2011 also- in some post races he was even heard foul mouthing Lewis- got no more time for the guy. But he is so far up MW arse he’s going nowhere.. Good luck to Lewis wherever he goes is better than where he currently is.

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  24. Dave says:

    As a LH fan, I really hope he knows something we don’t, because no matter what you say about McLaren, they are always there or thereabouts, and are a committed F1 team.

    Mercedes are, what, 5th fastest? And their future in the sport seems uncertain. If Lewis leaves McLaren now, and in two years they decide not to continue, where next?

    Also, if Lewis is looking ‘to win’, isn’t he going to look a bit silly if he leaves after winning the WDC to join a team who are off the pace?

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    1. JP says:

      Damon Hill?

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      1. Kay says:

        Nice one. Forgotten about him actually.

        Let’s hope this isn’t the way for LH to end lol, LH too good to end up like how Dhill did.

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      2. Sander says:

        Michael Schumacher

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      3. Bill says:

        Damon was forced out.
        Schumi did a great job of turning ferrari into winners when everyone said he was nuts leaving benetton to go to ferrari.
        I’d like to see if hamilton can do the same with merc, but I doubt it.

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      4. Dave says:

        Touché!!

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    2. aezy_doc says:

      I think that (winning the WC this year) would be the perfect outcome for Lewis. A double world champion then moves on to help a currently weaker team flourish. (That sounds familiar…!) and it would somewhat lessen the gamble.

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      1. KRB says:

        It took Schumi 5 more seasons to win again. Don’t think Lewis would want the same.

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  25. Rich in Norway says:

    Really hope Schumacher stays. He has been getting up to speed each year. It looks as though now that he’s on his way. Gutted.

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    1. Una says:

      My thoughts exactly. Really couldn’t give a crap about Hamilton – he seems more interested in celebrity than actually racing and whatever his beef with McLaren mgt that was such a low thing to do to your engineers to release the telemetry on the cars – show him the door Martin!! More importantly I feel sad for Michael, he came back to win and he has being doing a great job lately if they could just get that car up to form they might possibly mount a decent challenge next season. It would kill me to see Hamilton benefit from these improvements. Really hope this isn’t true…..I remain in denial until I get confirmation!!!

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    2. Kate_wise says:

      Me too :(

      If this is all true, I can’t see how Schumacher will fit in at all to the current line up but I just don’t understand – I’m sure everyone in Mercedes has a lot of respect for Schumacher, so why would they be letting all these things get out without allowing Schumacher to declare his own position first?

      I really don’t want him to retire yet, I think he can smell a win and it’s so close. He is performing in general better than Rosberg now. It seems really unceremonious if they are booting him out right now with all these rumours and then the pressure after that.

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      1. Una says:

        I haven’t being able to work out the dynamics in the Mercedes team. As in is the final decision with RB, Norbert Haug or some suit in charge of Mercedes in Germany. When Michael retired from Ferrari you could tell that the request/order came from Di Montezemelo and he wanted newer blood in sooner rather than later to take over from Michael. As little respect as I have for Hamilton, I genuinely think that he is a good driver however I think that mgt company that he has working for him was such a bad move. His Dad kept him a lot more grounded. With these guys its all about brand Hamilton. Not enough about the team. I don’t think that in the long term this is a good move for Mercedes either. How long before he starts acting like a kid if he doesn’t get what he wants at Mercedes? I really hope this isn’t true. If it is Michael is going to retire. Talk of moves to another team at this stage at his age is ridiculous. I would say that Michael wants one more shot at it and then he will retire….

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  26. Ben says:

    James I have to agree with nearly everything you say but this is my take on who goes where.

    I think Hamilton is especially nark at he isnt seen now as the ‘team leader’ at Mclaren, they dont seem to have a no1 and no2 driver, all seems far to equal for his liking.

    Clearly at Red Bull Vettel is seen as no1, Ferrari its Alonso, Lotus its Kimi, thats why Hamitlon could not and would not move to any of those teams and now at Mclaren it seems to him he is not wanted. Mclaren will NOT attract a so called big name, it will be an up and coming rookie driver or you may find it even to be Massa who ends up there. As for Mercedes, the ideal choice would be Hamilton and Rosberg, grew up karting together, friends, young and both quick

    Mercedes is an ideal choice for him, one of the best and most respected team principles around, massive brand and in 2014 I think they will be leading in the new engine production.

    As an avid viewer and huge Hamilton fan, himself just like me I suspect has fallen out of affection for Whitmarsh, stratergy, decision making and communication he seems to get wrong most of the time and if Hamilton can forge a relationship with Ross Brawn who I think both have massive mutual respect for each other, I think Mercedes, with brawns knowledge and stratergy and Hamiltons pace, they will become a terrific team

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    1. caringforapathy says:

      Ding, ding, ding. I agree with every word you just typed. I think Lewis is exasperated with Whitmarsh, as am I, and I think he is looking forward to 2014 when Mercedes should have a jump on the other teams as an engine manufacturer. This gives them 2013 to become a team, so that they just have to wrap their heads around the new machinery when it is introduced – not do both at the same time. Granted, this is all still speculation, and neither will surprise me if he decides to stay or move on, but they both make sense to me.

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      1. tharris19 says:

        +1

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      2. yellowbelly says:

        McLaren have a contract with Mercedes to be their engine supplier until 2015, taking in the initial V6 turbo season.

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    2. GP says:

      Somehow I don’t think Ross Brawn will have anywhere near the patience that Whitmarsh has shown with Lewis. Brawn always struck me as a no nonsense type who will kick Lewis’ butt if he behaves again like he did at Spa.

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      1. Robb says:

        “Brawn always struck me as a no nonsense type who will kick Lewis’ butt if he behaves again like he did at Spa.”
        Which is exactly why this relationship might work.

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    3. Aaron says:

      I wouldn’t assume Hamilton will be given No. 1 driver status at Mercedes. Rosberg is no slouch, and has been beating Michael on a fairly regular basis. Rosberg also has the advantage of having been at Mercedes for 2 years.

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      1. hal says:

        Except you don’t bring in someone like Lewis for £25m a year to play number 2. There are better alternatives.

        You bring him on for the reasons James mentions in his article.

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    4. Shah Alam says:

      I find what you said about 2014 and the prospect of Merc building a class leading engine which may tempt Lewis over there very interesting and relevant.

      But what I dont get is when Merc came into F1 with the mind set of becoming a top team WHY ARE THEY STILL PROVIDING MCLAREN WITH ENGINES.

      ‘Force India’ and another beck mark team is fine but why don’t they now play it political and drop Mclaren.

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      1. James Clayton says:

        Existing contracts…

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      2. Shah Alam says:

        Does the contract between Merc and Mac extend beyond 2014 is the question?

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      3. James Allen says:

        At least to 2015

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  27. Michael Fahey says:

    James,

    Michael Schumacher seems to have really got his groove back and is outperforming Nico Rosberg at this point. Are you positive he is going to retire again at the end of this year? You seem so sure about it.

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    1. HammerRacing says:

      I fancy the idea of Schumacher to Ferrari for a year to partner Alonso. Hamilton to Mercedes alongside Rosberg. McLaren will have Button, but his teammate is a mystery to me. But if Perez could line-up there or DiResta (Perez looks the more impressive at the moment) Massa may likely fill the void at either Sauber or Force India. In the back of mind though, I think Hulkenburg could be a surprise and great invest for McLaren. That could be a very nice line-up!

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      1. Kay says:

        Massa did say if he’s pushed out of Ferrari, he’d leave F1 altogether.

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      2. Quick Nick Rules says:

        And more importantly, will Rosberg want to drive in the same team as Hamilton? It was widely reported that he was offered the McLaren drive at the end of ’07 that eventually went to Kovalainen but that his father advised him not to drive in the same team as Lewis, who I understand gave him a thorough spanking when they were karting team-mates.

        I think it’s more than possible Schumi could return to Ferrari too, this year his form has been superb, Barcelona aside. If Bernie is really the man pulling the strings then what bigger box office draw could there be than Schumi back in a Ferrari alongside his natural heir Alonso? Anyone who would not love to see Schumi round off his career with a win in a prancing horse doesn’t have a romantic bone in their body!

        So is it that unfeasible that the following could happen?

        Hamilton to Mercedes
        Rosberg to McLaren
        Schumacher to Ferrari

        As for Hamilton’s team-mate, I’d fancy The Hulk – future world championship material and he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would be scared of going toe to toe with one of the best.

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      3. iceman says:

        Yes it could easily be career suicide for a driver like Rosberg, regarded by many as a second-string driver, to go up against Hamilton in the same team. On the other hand perhaps in 3 years’ time he’ll be pushing Hamilton out of the door!

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      4. Nathan Jones says:

        I really don’t get why people go on about Di Resta. Aside from the fact the man is duller than dishwater, I’ve rarely seen any real spark in him. Yes, he qualified well on the weekend gone, but not that much else that inspires me.

        Lewis is moving on to a team of real potential come 2014, all things considered, and freedom from Whitmarsh/McLaren. Mclaren on the other hand, if they do take on Di Resta, will be substituting a delightful lemon sorbet with a stodgy jam sandwich.

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    2. Bill says:

      Totally agree. Schumi’s got his pace back now and would be a shame to lose him at this point. He’s the only reason I still watch F1. If he’s forced out (again!) I don’t think I’d keep watching the series. But if merc drops him, surely he has other options? Mclaren, lotus, or even ferrari.
      Not to mention I would never buy a mercedes again for the effrontery. BMWs are much nicer to drive anyway. You don’t feel like you’re involved with a merc at all, too many computers

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    3. Simmo says:

      I hope he’s not going. I think Button and Schumacher wouldn’t be a bad team?

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      1. zombie says:

        Norbert Haug once said Mclaren tried hiring Schumacher almost every year from 1995 to 2005, so in a way it would be poetic justice if he moves to Mclaren. But i just don’t see that happening though. If he retires this year, i’m sure to see him around Mercedes pits once in a while..and in a few years time maybe him and Ross Brawn will do what they had said they’ll do post-Ferrari, go fishing together at Rory Byrne’s resort in Thailand !

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    4. Señor Sjon says:

      I see this as well, since Rosberg had his win and podium, he hasn’t scored a whole lot of points. When the Merc was really good, they only could field one good car at a time and the other one broke down.

      In fact, if you look at the season, the later part is quite bad from Rosberg.
      Schumacher had 2 points after 7 races. Rosberg 67
      Since the last 6 races: Schumacher 41, Rosberg 16.

      Also in Q, Schumacher is much closer and often faster. That wasn’t the case last year. So why would he quit? He is beating the young gun lately.

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    5. Jack says:

      I think these developments (if true) are more likely to make Schumacher stay on. I’m not sure someone of his self belief will shy away from a battle with one of the sport’s big 3. And Mercedes, of Germany, cannot be seen to sack Michael Schumacher, German hero, against his will: If he wants to stay he can.

      Perez has put himself in the perfect position with that Monza drive. He can now say to Ferrari take me next year or I’m off to McLaren. The latter might be a better drive as it isn’t team Alonso…

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      1. Quick Nick Rules says:

        And if this move is largely about Marketing (which it seems to be from Hamilton’s side) then surely Merc can spot a huge opportunity – England vs Germany, Old vs Young, Most Exciting driver of the Nineties versus the sensation of the Naughties.

        I just hope Schumi isn’t forced to retire from this one as he was in 2006 when he feared Raikkonen in the same team, when the realities are that he would have won at least the 2007 if not the 2008 title.

        Rosberg also sounded a lot happier in late 09 when he thought his team-mate would be Button rather than Schumi – I can see him trying to do a bit of maneuvering now to avoid Hamilton being his stable mate.

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  28. Andrew Jarman says:

    Like the idea of a bit of a shake up. I completely agree that Hamilton looks like he’s on the move. Surely the only possibilities for McLaren are Kimi, Sergio Perez or Rosberg?

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    1. Chad says:

      If you want to win, employ the Finn.

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      1. MISTER says:

        Would you say that to Lotus?
        Lotus want to win and have a decent car, but so far no win. Doesn’t look that easy as you say…

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    2. Simmo says:

      Rosberg and Kimi are locked in contracts elsewhere, and it’s looking like Perez could be moving to Ferrari. I think their best bet would be Heikki.

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      1. Andrew Jarman says:

        If what you say about Kimi and Perez is true, what about Kamui as a wild card? Or even, dare I say it – Maldonado. Jenson is the safe pair of hands – they need someone with that special touch of craziness and flair. Heikki is just like Button but not quite as good… A one year contract for Schumacher?

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      2. Simmo says:

        Maldonado also in contract with Williams (I dare say, that contract is ruining Williams results and rep), but I thought Schumi to McLaren for one year would be good. Button and Schumacher? Sounds decent.

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      3. CanadaGP says:

        You guys lack experience if you believe in what you read about contracts. Most contracts have an out clause. And any contract can be renegotiated and be superseded. Eventually everything has a price and money (or threats) can be persuasive. Just look at football if you need another sports reference.

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      4. Andrew M says:

        I can’t see McLaren going for Heikki, he was too far off Lewis’ pace.

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      5. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Agreed, he had his chance and was found wanting. I’d rather they gave it to The Hulk – his pole lap in Brazil 2010 was one of those moments you sit back and think ‘The boy’s a bit special’. Something that I have never thought when watching Di Resta or Kovalainen.

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  29. Blake says:

    I believe that if Ferrari thinks they’re going to lose out on Perez that they will put him in the #2 seat next to Alonso, or do Ferrari not have to worry about losing Perez to another team just yet?

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    1. CanadaGP says:

      The Hamilton saga is working out quite nicely for Perez. He must surely be the hottest new young thing in the drivers’ market at the moment. Lewis at Mercedes could turn out to be Perez deciding between Ferrari and McLaren! A dream situation for any driver. One might suppose that even if he is a Ferrari academy driver, going up against Jenson might be less intimidating than joining Team Alonso. If McLaren loses Vodafone sponsorship, Carlos Slim has more than enough money to make up for it.

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  30. tharris19 says:

    Sign the papers Lewis. End this chapter of the drama.
    Can’t wait till next year; Lewis at Mercedes, Alonso at Ferrari, Kimi at Lotus, don’t know who will be at McLaren, Perez at Sauber.
    Winter testing can’t come soon enough.

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    1. Kay says:

      LOL looks like it’s a general consensus that Button is no number 1 material… 😀

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      1. Jack says:

        Last years championship result rather disagrees…I’d make Button one of the favourites if he were a clear number 1 driver – McLaren is never slow, and the car could be built completely around him. And when Jenson gets a car hes totally in tune with his style then, well, see Spa 2012.

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      2. KRB says:

        Spa 2012 wasn’t a “normal” weekend, was it? No Friday running, bit of a gamble for all. In 2009 it was clear that Brawn had installed Button as the number 1. I forget what race it was, but Brawn screwed over Barrichello to get Button the win. I just remember Barrichello in the driver’s room afterwards keep asking “how did I lose that race?” 51 races, and just the lone pole for McLaren?!? That’s an awful record (even Heikki was better on that score).

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      3. tharris19 says:

        Spa was good. However, last year was a one off and the worst of Hamilton’s career and he still won three races. This year the car was built to Jenson’s (his words) specifications and he still had to end up copying Lewis’s setup in Hungary.
        It got so bad for him that Whitmarsh took to explaining what his problem was on another blog. No team principal has ever done that.
        Let me get to the point, I think Jenson is a number 2 driver.

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      4. iceman says:

        It clearly is in your house. He’s not the one trying to get a drive with the 5th best team on the grid though.

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      5. hal says:

        I think your dislike of LH is skewing the situation.

        Merc offering LH £20-£25 million per year (based on article above and others). Last I heard Merc didn’t want do much to keep JB (and he wasn’t looking for anything like what LH is being offered – not even half!).

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  31. Surb says:

    I find it difficult to understand, why Schumacher would retire? He is on a consistent basis, out-performing his team-mate (who’s touted to be very quick). Unfathomable.

    Total votes:
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    1. Kay says:

      Maybe because he’s going to retire some time soon anyway?

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  32. Ravi says:

    Does Hamilton have a choice? The money at McLaren will always be an issue if only for the “emotional” angle to it. Hamilton is being a bit of a prima donna, but then he cannot really be blamed for wanting to cash in as best as possible. It is what every employed person tries.

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  33. Neil Williams says:

    I do agree with Thomas that sometimes you have to cut the apron strings to realise your future potential. Lewis possibly hasn’t been happy within McLaren for some time; his five year deal signed after the stella 2007 season was perhaps too long at the outset? He’ll have been bound to some degree by a sense of loyalty to the team that brought him through the junior ranks but that doesn’t mean they own him for ever. Maybe it’s the latter point that he is now pushing away from – he NEEDS to prove he is capable of taking a team to the top as Schumacher did with Ferrari from 1996 onwards.

    Whether Mercedes can initially offer him the car he would need is open to question but 2014 (like 2009) provides Ross Brawn with the clean sheet of paper design challenges he and his team clearly relish. I think if I were Lewis I’d take the view, I have been with one team for six years which is pretty loyal in these days of F1 and that it is my right to seek new challenges.

    Could Nick Heidfeld get the Mclaren drive denied him in 2002?!!!

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    1. Quick Nick Rules says:

      If there’s any justice in the world Quick Nick will be inking a deal at Woking as we speak! Stranger things have happened….I think

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      1. KRB says:

        I am quite convinced now that Q.N.R. is actually Nick Heidfeld himself.

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      2. Quick Nick Rules says:

        All I’ll say is this : I have no strong feelings one way or the other on the above comment

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      3. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Looking good…a shock Williams comeback?!

        http://www.planetf1.com/driver/3213/8074970/Heidfeld-chasing-F1-comeback

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    2. Kay says:

      2009 was more of a loophole exploited than the team good with designs tbh.

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      1. Steven Pritchard says:

        Your distinction would be?

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    3. zombie says:

      No please ! Not Nick Heidfeld again ! Is there a team on the grid that he hasn’t driven for already ?

      Total votes:
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      1. Quick Nick Rules says:

        McLaren? Ferrari? Mercedes? Red Bull? He’s basically got his pick of the top teams!

        Total votes:
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      2. Elie says:

        Tell him he’s dreaming

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  34. Lotto says:

    Put your money on 2014 title for Lewis and Mercedes. I know that Mercedes have been very strongly focusing on 2014 for the new regs, it should be Brawn all over again. I really hope so. Im happy if he leaves as it opens up the door for another great driver to take his place at Mclaren such as Perez, Di resta etc which is good for us all. Lewis needs to move on, he will prove his worth by winning at mercedes.

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  35. thejudge13 says:

    …weariness with the whole pantomime of “life with Lewis” I believe is the key James identifies. I know from a couple of people who work for Mclaren, there was huge frustration from senior management with Lewis’ ongoing petulance in 2011.

    Of course the senior figures would not say this to the media – but I understand there were expressions in off the cuff moments of intense and complete frustration to more lowly engineers and employees in the safety of the McLaren technology centre.

    It was interesting how in the early part of this season, Lewis appeared to have radically changed his ways – such that he gave the impression he was on happy pills. Even after the Barcelona qualifying cock up he said smiled saying “We win as a team – we lose as a team” – not a sentiment the Lewis of 2011 would have expressed. Maybe he’d been given a wake up call by XIX.

    Big Ron was publicly adamant on SKY several races ago that the economic climate was different from when Lewis signed his last contract and “Lewis will have to understand this”.

    The problem is when you sign XIX to get you more money, publicity and a higher profile – a reduced deal from the one negotiated with Anthony is a failure for all.

    I don’t know for certain, but it appears to be a case of being pushed…rather than having jumped….weariness with the whole pantomime of “Life with Lewis” maybe just about right.

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    1. xrr says:

      +1

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    2. JR says:

      Agreed, I was sure in 2007 that Ron Dennis was making the wrong decision by letting Alonso go, time is proving me right.

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      1. hal says:

        It seems they are now about to make the same mistake again.

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      2. JR says:

        Yes, probably you are right and two wrongs don’t make a right!

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      3. KRB says:

        Alonso played a game of extortion with the boss, which ended up costing the team $100 million!!! How on God’s green earth could he have stayed after doing that?!?!

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      4. JR says:

        Are you sure that is what really happened or have you ever considered it might be just what they told you in the British media?

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  36. Ed says:

    James,

    On his BBC blog, Gary Anderson makes reference not only to Hamilton and McLaren’s relationship going down the pan, but that Hamilton and Button are now suffering from a strained relationship.

    Is that fair, or do you have a different take on the situation?! (Could you elaborate?!)

    Best wishes

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    1. Kay says:

      I think James talked about this earlier this year. Button got the team around him, sent them post cards which has a picture of them all together. Hamilton did the same, but only a pic of himself driving in the car.

      Tells you quite a bit, doesn’t it? :)

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    2. Quick Nick Rules says:

      I read that too, apparently they didn’t even acknowledge eachother’s presence despite sitting at adjacent tables…allegedly because Lewis had tweeted to the world what Jenson had ordered before his food had even arrived.

      Joking aside though, the contrast between the crowd’s responses to the winning McLaren drivers on the podium in the last week couldn’t have been more stark – Jenson gave a very articulate and genuine speech that the Spa crowd cheered loudly whilst Lewis was booed throughout his, even when he started going on about the Italian fans being the ‘best in the world’ which seemed pretty sycophantic and if anything, the jeering then got louder. Ok so the Tifosi don’t like McLaren drivers, but does anyone really believe Jenson would have got such a dire reception?

      JB comes across as a real bloke, the kind you could go for a few pints with. Lewis seems anything but real, manufactured and fairly insincere. His Twitter feed is bizarre – one minute spouting inane platitudes such as ‘every day is a gift’, ‘our memories are like clouds’ before shuddering back down to earth as soon as things don’t go his way. ‘WTF’ indeed…

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      1. JR says:

        haha, that joke really made me laugh! :)

        I don’t follow Lewis Twitter feed, interesting observation…

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      2. woofie39 says:

        +1

        Problem is F1 in general (James and a few others excluded) don’t get social media.

        So Lewis is being Lewis with “WTF” – which is fine if that’s who he is.

        BUT then the “coporate’s” of either Mclaren or XIX are trying to tell us Lewis is now a modern day philosopher to massage his public image.

        Social Media is a nightmare for image makers…but for us its fantastic because we see through the slick presentation and glimpse reality….

        …the way it used to be when stood on a box with the winners wreath around his neck…James Hunt refused to answer questions until someone gave him a cigarette. Lovin it! (Ooops that’s a corporate tag line these days isn’t it).

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      3. Tom says:

        I think the previous Alonso/Hamilton rivalry counts against Lewis significantly when it comes to the tifosi, to be fair.

        But I do agree about the twitter stuff – I had a cursory look the other day and you could be given for thinking Hamilton was a global music star, not a racing driver!

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      4. Sascha says:

        @qickNick Lewis wrotte those tweets “every day is a gift…” as he was at the hospital at the side of his dying aunt. He spenthis time to be at her last days& nights with her there.
        The thing about memories and clouds, he said at the day she passed away.

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      5. Quick Nick Rules says:

        Apologies didn’t know about that. Cheerfully withdrawn

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      6. KRB says:

        You must be the only one who thinks that the Tifosi were cheering and clapping loudly for Jenson when his car pulled off onto the grass!

        The comparison can’t be made … the Tifosi booed Alonso when he won in 2007 with McLaren. It’s only about who’s wearing red with them.

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  37. Andrew M says:

    In some ways I’m very sad at this, I’m both a McLaren and a Lewis fan so seeing them apart will hurt. However, the more I think about it the more comfortable I am with it. It shows that Lewis (like Schumacher and Alonso before him) is willing to move on from his comfort zone and look for new challenges. I hope Mercedes can give him a car worthy of his talents, and likewise he performs well for them during the lean years which are surely coming up.

    I’ll be very interested if the Vettel-to-Ferrari rumours come true, it would also demonstrate a lot about Vettel’s self belief if he wanted to test himself against Alonso in the same equipment after Fernando has had years to bed himself in.

    Unfortunately, I do think it leaves McLaren in the lurch somewhat. Jenson is a strong driver but he is a notch down from Lewis, and the options for replacing Hamilton look thin. Di Resta and Hulkenburg look like the likely candidates, but I think they’ll both turn out to be more Kovalainen than Hamilton. Kimi could probably match Hamilton pace wise, but I can’t see him putting himself back into the McLaren-machine at this stage of his career.

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    1. Kay says:

      Your words just totally reflect how I feel. Thanks!

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    2. Nick says:

      “…Jenson is a strong driver but he is a notch down from Lewis…”

      The points tally for both drivers since they have been team mates totally blows that statement out of the water.

      Honestly, what drugs do you Hamilton fanboys take – cause I want some! That way I won’t have to let the facts stand in the way of my reality!

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      1. Andrew M says:

        Because you have to do some analysis and not blindly follow statistics.

        Yes, they have both scored roughly the same amount of points in their time together at McLaren (I believe Lewis is slightly ahead after Monza), but that doesn’t take into consideration things outside the drivers’ control. For example, this season operational errors have cost Lewis about 40 points, as well as two retirements that were no fault of his own (a puncture in Germany and the Spa crash), both in races he had a car fast enough to score podiums. Jenson lost out on 2nd (possibly 3rd if Perez caught him) at Monza, but over the three years together Lewis has lost far more points out of his control than Jenson.

        Then there’s 2011, when Jenson did outscore Lewis over the course of the season. However, it was clear from a very early point in the season that Vettel was going to walk to the title, and McLaren didn’t have a good enough car to challenge Red Bull. In 2010 and (presumably) 2012, when McLaren have a front running car, Lewis has shown Jenson the way home more often than not. It’s a similar situation to Heidfeld and Kubica and their three years together at BMW – Heidfeld outscored Kubica over their three years together, and in two out of their three years together, but when they had a front running car capable of challenging for the championship it was Kubica who led the way. You wont find many people who rated Heidfeld a better driver than Kubica, no matter what the statistics say.

        Similarly Lewis “beat” Fernando in their year together, but it was on countback. To all intents and purposes, they were equal over the course of their season together.

        Like I said, Jenson is a strong driver, but Lewis is more highly regarded as a driver by most in the paddock. My view on this matches those of many highly regarded F1 commentators, it’s not something dreamed up by “Lewis fanboys”.

        And for the record, I’m a Jenson “fanboy” as well as a Lewis “fanboy”, I was supporting Jenson before I even knew who Lewis was in fact.

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  38. Rafael / Seville says:

    Hi James.
    This article is simply great. Great reading for tuesday morning.
    Congratulations.
    Best regards from Spain.
    Rafael.

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  39. David Nicol says:

    Any chance of Kovalainen returning to McLaren?

    The team always seemed fond of him and he’s a better driver now than he was then.

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    1. Kay says:

      Jeez… Kovo again?!

      At best he’s another Fisichella.

      Just because he’s beaten someone worse than him, it doesn’t necessarily make him better than he was.

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      1. Bill says:

        Agreed, He’s totally useless. Even Fisi was better.
        I’m sure mclaren remember the spanking he got from lewis during his tenure there.

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      2. Timmay says:

        +1

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  40. Cedricbaum says:

    Would love to see Lewis next to Michael Schumacher at Mercedes next year!

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    1. madmax says:

      Think everybody would.

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  41. TheGreatTeflonso says:

    Interesting read James. I’m not really that concerned with where Waamilton goes, I think of the current crop of drivers he is 3rd best and he seems to be more concerned with being a star than an F1 star. Maybe in South East Asia we see another side of the Mercedes team because of Petronas, I’ve seen Michael Schumacher and nico do a ton of promotional activities so much so i feel sorry for them…so i guess if Waamilton signs it’ll just be Nico or MS doing the majority of promo work.

    I loathed Michael Schumacher for so many years I Formula One for his ethics, but in recent times the returning champion has really grown on me. He seems to be a true professional, always with a smile on his face. Years ago I never thought I’d support him but now i do and I hope he gets another year in Formula One at Mercedes, Mclaren or even Lotus. One thing that seems a mystery to me is what has happened to Nico Rosberg. He seems to be a different man from the start of the season… I think he’d be a great fit at Mclaren.

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  42. Zac says:

    so this is the end for schumacher then?? think i may cry

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  43. Rach says:

    I am really happy for Lewis but gutted if this means that Schumacher will leave.

    Anyone who thinks this is a bad move should look at how many championships mclaren have won in the last decade. History shows no matter what they always find a way to mess things up whether it be drivers falling out reliability or simple strategy errors. Mercedes will hopefully give Hamilton a proper environment to flourish away from mclaren who just shoot themselves in the foot.

    I hope to see Schumacher paired with hamilton. Whether this will happen I doubt because rosberg is obviously contracted. However rosberg hasn’t exactly shown good form of late and the marketing power of a partnership with Schumacher (who has showed much better performance) would be a dream for the mercedes marketing team.

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    1. Kay says:

      That gave me a thought actually.

      McLaren had various strategic errors, car problems, etc, but with a fast driver and good company with strong racing developments.

      Mercedes, not so good on racing, might just come and go as they wish, not so good on design but great leader in Ross Brawn.

      Why not switch MW for Brawn instead? 😀 😀 That way McLaren would definitely become better and start winning! AT least Brawn has the huge experience from Ferrari and knows how to win. And oh, they can send Sam Michael to Merc while at it LOL.

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      1. Bill says:

        Haha, funniest post I’ve read.

        MW just babbles on endlessly. I like how Brundle described him, ‘a man unlikely to use one word when a hundred will do’.

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      2. Elie says:

        Yep on SM he did nothing at Williams will be getting paid more to do nothing at Mclaren. That’s the problem with these guys they like people who talk well like Jenson but if you speak mind and show them up they get all cold on you.

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  44. V8 fan says:

    I suspect Lewis will sign on for Mclaren if they offer him a 1 year contract.

    A driver like Hamilton is capable of numerous WDC’s. Completing his tenure in F1 with only 1 or 2 WDC’s would be the biggest disappointment to him. One might even see a as a waste of talent.

    By keeping his options open for 2014 (with it’s new rules & regs), he ensures that he is ready to capitalise on any options 2014 & beyond bring.

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    1. Kay says:

      That’s a very big “IF”.

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  45. nomis says:

    @ James Allen,

    Do you know the current salary + bonus offerings
    for Lewis vs Jenson?

    And what was the new contract to Lewis offering?

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  46. xrr says:

    I think ppl are over exaggerating mclaren effect, a team which could not won a constructor title since 1998 and hardly won a drives title with Hamilton.

    Not only mclaren but no team in F1 can guarantee success for a driver for the coming years especially if there are big regulation changes coming in near future.

    If Hamilton decides to go mercedes that may be a good move if not it is not the end of world as he is still young and may go another team or even return back to mclaren.

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    1. Bill says:

      Agreed. Hamilton was lucky his stiffest competition in 08 was Massa. Schumi or Alonson in the red car would have resulted in 0 titles for Hammy

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  47. Owen says:

    I find it laughable that anyone would suggest Massa will be racing next year, let alone in a Ferrari or a McLaren! He might get a go in a Caterham if he is lucky!

    I sincerely hope that Schumi can win again before the year is out. It isn’t looking good for Mercedes thus far; though with their new exhaust revealed at the young driver test, you never know.

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    1. Aaron James says:

      Sure by Caterham you don’t mean HRT? 😉

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  48. Andrew says:

    James

    if the deal is already done with lewis and mercedes. whats stopping them from confirming it to the world?

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    1. Kay says:

      Not James here, but why do they need to announce just coz they signed? They can wait for a good time that both parties feel comfortable with. They also have to consider MSC.

      When MSC retired, it was also when Hamilton got signed to McLaren, an unknown rookie back then. McLaren didn’t announce Hamilton’s signing until 2 months later.

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  49. dont mclaren have anyone on the books , like they did hamilton ? young rookie to go with button for next year ?

    Matt

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    1. Kay says:

      All bets went to Hamilton… McLaren the big losers if they cannot retain Ham.

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  50. Jon Wilde says:

    Either Lewis, Ron and Martin are masters of negotiation and controlling body language or the deal to move on is done…

    Having watch the race replay last night I totally agree with James, the Mclaren relationship looks to be finished. At least for now.

    The one thing I wouldn’t dismiss is a move to Ferrari. Lewis did his tap on the red of his helmet of course, but usually Fernando and He would talk a bit more post-race. Fernando consciously avoided talking to him, I think to avoid any new conjecture about him moving to Ferrari.

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    1. Monza 01 says:

      The only way Lewis would agree to go to Ferrari is if the top line of the contract states in big red letters “NO TEAM ORDERS WILL BE GIVEN”

      This is the one thing that will always stop Ferrari picking up another top notch driver for the second car. It was one of the reasons they failed to do a deal with Mark Webber.

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      1. JR says:

        I think there is a very distorted view on this subject. Massa is playing a second driver role in Ferrari just because his performances from 2010 had been extremely poor, not because it was something pre-arranged. If Alonso’s team mate qualified always higher than him and scored consistently much more points than him (currently Alonso 179- Massa 47) who do you think Ferrari would support?

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    2. tharris19 says:

      In my opinion Lewis will never go to Ferrari. SD made it clear earlier this year that Ferrari has no desire to hire Hamilton.
      If he did goes to Ferrari he would be doing it to spite McLaren. No way he wins a WDC with Alonso the clear number one. That would truly be a childish move on his part.

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  51. Steve says:

    If Lewis gets a Merc seat, Schumi should get his Mclaren seat, it would be heartbreaking for him to retire now when he’s driving so well and obviously still has the passion.

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    1. Smudger says:

      That’s exactly what I thought. Didn’t Ron try and sign him when he was at Benetton?
      Gary Paffett could get the drive as he would of been in the team if it wasn’t for Ron promoting Lewis earlier than expected.

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      1. Bill says:

        He tried when he was at Ferrari after a few years of losing out on the title. Schumi would have walked the title in the superior mclaren for those years

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      2. James Clayton says:

        So the Engines wouldn’t have failed if it had been Schumacher driving the car? Interesting thought… :)

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  52. Paul F says:

    I’m a huge Hamilton fan – not a fan of him due to his personality or nationality, but because of how he drives an F1 car. Absolutely breathtaking.

    I can’t help but feel this is going to be a huge mistake. In addition their car issues (have they ever not been hard on their tyres?)I can see Mercedes ‘doing a Honda’ at some point – maybe even before the big rule changes of 2014 – and where will this leave Lewis?

    McLaren seem like the best place to have a shot at the title for this year and, maybe, next, so why not sign a shorter deal and wait and see who is best out the box in 2014 and move to that team in 2015? He’ll be 30 then, with still a good few years left in his F1 career, even if it does feel – for a Hamilton fan – as if time is passing pretty quickly at the moment.

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    1. Kay says:

      With only Button left at McLaren, looks like they are the ones who’s more likely become the next Honda.

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    2. iceman says:

      If they “do a Honda” in the sense of blowing a billion dollars developing a phenomenal car, then handing it over to Brawn with a bit of walking-around money to win the championship with, I’m sure Lewis will have no complaints!

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    3. James Clayton says:

      I guess this is one of the complications in announcing the deal. If we see that it was apparently Mr Ecclescakes who ‘privately’ told Eddie Jordan that the deal was done then I have the idea that the situation has gone something like this:

      Merc: We want to be on the board
      Bernie: No
      Merc: We’re quitting
      Bernie: How about putting Hamiton in your car?
      Merc: What? why?
      Bernie: Never mind why. For some reason that James Clayton has yet to figure out, I (Bernie) have an interest in seeing Lewis in your car.
      Merc: Um ok. And that gives us a place on the board?
      Bernie: Do the deal and come back to me. I’ll see what I can do…

      The deal now apparently all but done, Merc and Bernie are now in the process of coming to a better understanding on the value that Merc bring to the sport.

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      1. Paul F says:

        You’re probably entirely correct.

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  53. chris says:

    Has it been considered that Hamilton’s demeanour could be actually be down to having received a severe telling off from Ron Denis behind the scenes regarding his telemetry tweets. Ron Dennis is highly protective of anything Mclaren. It’s not inconceivable that he was threatened with the sack. Amid all the speculation, does anyone have any hard evidence that he is off to Mercedes. I don’t buy the global image branding nonsense. Lewis has been around a number of years now, can’t see his profile growing.
    Still do not see why Schumacher would want to throw the towel in now that things are starting to come together and the team reckon they have some strong upgrades coming.

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    1. aezy_doc says:

      I agree with the global brand thing – honestly how could he be a bigger celebrity than he is already? (whether that is a good thing or bad thing is up for discussion). And tapping the red on his helmet? He also tapped his chest on the podium, where “gasp” the Santander logo is! Maybe he is joining them as their new CEO! Although it is Red, so maybe the Ferrari rumours are true after all!

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      1. CHIUNDA says:

        He’s got all of you twisted in his little panties hasn’t he – i mean everybody is busy second guessing every little gesture he makes; he’s been fired (several times over) from McLaren by all Button and all Whitmarsh fans!! Now apparently Ron Dennis threatened him with the sack … jeez!! What next? Its his life, if he wants to screw it up, let him – his haters should be happy that he now has enough rope to hang himself. It’s irrational to hate him and then want him to stay at McLaren and succeed. It is starting to look like this is less about Lewis and more about those who do not like him.

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    2. aadil says:

      I totally agree!

      Schumi is in the best form since his comeback!
      his not a person 2 waste 3 yrs of hard work for nothing!His not a person who will be happy to retire a failure its absolutely not in his character!

      I think his just looking @ his options!
      Things dont seem as simple as merc just offering him a contract!

      Maybe his on way back 2 Maranello! :)

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    3. Kay says:

      True. As I said in my other comment (pending moderation), the only driver that’s been happy with Ron is Hakkinen. Anyone else – Montoya, Coulthard, Raikkonen, now Lewis… they ain’t happy bunnies under Ron’s control.

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      1. Steven Pritchard says:

        Let’s be fair, I work for a large Health company, if I tweeted secrets about what my work mates were up to, I’d get the sack. Period. Wouldn’t make me much of a Human being either.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Hamilton has been pushed hard by Button (beaten last year), he’s not comfortable with not being the defactor numero uno.

        Throw in the obvious ego and lifestyle choices Mclaren don’t fit any more. Shame, I think Hamilton is a superb driver. Very shallow person.

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  54. HappY_F1-fan says:

    Great news for Hamilton on a personal level. How many of us out have changed jobs/companies for that new start even if it meant ‘downsizing’. Sure its formula1 but on a human level if in my late 20’s i have already achieved the pinnacle of my career after one and a half decades in the same ‘Blue-chip’ firm then an interesting opportunity with an upstart company arose, with promises of mega financial rewards, i would take it.

    Who knows if he will win another championship or not, 10 years from now when he has settled down (wife, kids etc) it wont matter so much, no one can take away his achievements whether he is a single or multiple world champ.He will be glad he made the switch, after all it is a JOB opportunity.

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    1. HappY_F1-fan says:

      Just to add, i think PEREZ or KIMI would be better options based on performance than DiResta but i wouldn’t be too surprised if Whitmarsh chose DiResta.

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      1. iceman says:

        I agree DiResta seems the sort of driver that Whitmarsh would favour. But it would be a bit disappointing if McLaren signed him I think, he hasn’t shown enough to justify a top drive. Perez on the other hand could be an exciting prospect in a McLaren.

        I’d love to see Kimi back at McLaren but it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere!

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  55. Arnie S says:

    James,

    To me it looked quite clear that it was your thinking.

    I think the ones that are up to look for new seats are:
    MS => retirement = Sporting director Mercedes
    Massa => Retirement = similar Ferrari (with the strong support at the Scuderia)
    Rosberg =>??
    Kimi =>?? Maybe Macca without Ron Dennis
    Checo => Ferrari
    Bottas => New flying Finn??

    Apart from this –
    STR might be looking at replacing
    Williams might as well be replacing
    HRT should change Kartak.

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    1. Kay says:

      Interesting, isn’t it? Just not so long ago we all thought the driver’s market is pretty stale. 😀

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  56. Chris Searle says:

    Great post again James. Thanks.

    History shows that many F1 drivers have changed as their years in the sport have gone by, not only in terms of performance, but as people, and LH has shown that in recent years.

    While recognising we can’t ‘fast rewind’, i think all that LH’s huge fan base want to see is the driving, the speed, and the spell-binding performance that had us all so captivated back in 2007/8.

    In recent seasons I’ve felt that was not going to happen at McLaren, but whether it will at Mercedes, only time will tell. And I sensed from his broadcasted comments at the w/end, that probably Jackie Stewart thinks the same.

    CS.

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  57. Joe says:

    My punt:

    Perez to Ferarri, Kimi to stay where he is, Massa to the back of the grid somewhere like Heiki, De Resta to McLaren in exchange for a discount on the Mercedes engines they are going to have to pay for next.

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    1. Kay says:

      Hmm..
      1. SD already said Ferrari not ready to welcome Perez despite strong showing.
      2. Massa already said if he’s pushed out, he’d rather not drive in F1 than driving for some mid/low team.

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      1. CanadaGP says:

        But the prospect of Checo going to McLaren might change all that.

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  58. James P says:

    So much for Button Walking into Lewis Team. Button needs to stamp his authority on the team and get the car built around him I think they will be a real threat next year.

    If Lewis does go to Merc I hope it works for him as it will be great to have another team in the mix at the front. I don’t think they will through till the new rules in 2014.

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    1. Chris G says:

      Agreed!

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      1. CHIUNDA says:

        I want to believe for every 4th to 6th spot Nico got in the Mercedes in 2012, Lewis would have got a podium – which makes the Merc faily competetive. Maybe Ross Brawn sees it the same way.

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    2. James Clayton says:

      I don’t see why we’re all writing off Mercs chances next year, anyway. Let’s be objective for just one minute:

      They *almost* had a fantastic car this year. Nobody really realized just how poorly the tyres were going to behave with the lack of blown diffusers (except for a few of the backmarkers who never perfected the EBD who, interestingly, are a lot closer to the front this year). Mercedes were unlucky in developing in a dead-end direction with their tyre-chewing double DRS. Just as Renault last year got themselves into a tiz with the front-blown system. While other cars were able to develop their cars to better make use of the tyres Mercedes got lost. Had the tyre characteristics not been such a surprise, they may well have been regularly challenging at the front.

      With the regs not changing much next year, who’s to say they can’t have a decent crack next year?

      (please note this is NOT the start of another discussion about tyres!!!!)

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  59. JCA says:

    James, there have been rumours about both ferrari and merc being interested in Vettel in 2014/5. Will mclaren be interested now?

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    1. CanadaGP says:

      Excellent question JCA! Vettel and McLaren have never been linked but aside from Alonso and Hamilton, the only other driver arguably in the same class at the moment is Vettel. Potentially with an even brighter future than the older two. You can be sure that McL would be seriously looking at Seb now if they hope to remain one of the top 3 teams in F1!

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  60. Tuckmeister says:

    Surprised Bernie is pushing for HAM to replace Schu. Schu is still a big draw card in F1’s new markets (Asia & America). Would’ve thought Bernie would like Schu to hang around a little longer. I This is not going to go down too well in Germany.

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    1. Andrew says:

      The truth is to bernie,Schumacher represents the past. Hamilton and Vettel for example are the Future.

      Formula One is a business and once your reach your sell by date theres nothing you can do about it.

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    2. woofie39 says:

      …and BE may be yet spending an extended period of time in the Fatherland….

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    3. madmax says:

      Bernie recently stated he hoped Schumacher never retires because he’s such a massive draw-card.

      I think he will be pushing for Hamilton to line up alongside him at Mercedes because that would be massive box office.

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      1. CanadaGP says:

        I agree. A way will be found among the powers that be to place Rosberg somewhere. Nico is good enough to be a No. 2 driver at Ferrari or RBR and might even be good enough to challenge Jenson for No. 1 at McLaren.

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      2. madmax says:

        I think Rosberg is underrated. I hope he gets a chance to show his speed alongside someone other than Schumacher and Schumacher likewise because both are hard to judge right now.

        Schumacher because of his comeback and Rosberg because of his only noteworthy team mate being Webber when Nico was just 20 in his debut year.

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  61. Soren says:

    Kimi Raikkonen the only driver who could get close to Hamilton’s performance? He is only one point behind Lewis in the standings – and that with no wins. If Kimi can do that in a Lotus with only semi-good qualifying pace, then he should have no trouble topping that in a McLaren. Not many people have driven a McLaren faster than Kimi has in the past. If any. And the way he has been driving this year shows he has matured and is on top of his game. That being said, I don’t think Kimi will go to McLaren next year. I hope McLaren goes for Perez instead of Perez possibly just becoming another Alonso servant at Ferrari.

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    1. mayberth says:

      miss those years…..those magical wins~~ Suzuka 2005 +)

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      1. Bill says:

        I have been watching f1 since 1992 and suzuka 2005 was the best race I have ever seen.
        When schumi and kimi came in to the pits at the same time and out with kimi behind again, you knew you were in for something special

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    2. nusratholla says:

      Oh, Suzuka 2005… The Best race of the Decade by far… And that too without any overtaking assists such as KERS and DRS.

      And yes… no one apart from Senna & Kimi has done justice to Mclarens… in pure speed context.

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      1. mayberth says:

        yea, i just dont understand the hype surround lewis as fastest guy….his performance nvr exceed the excitement of senna and kimi in their respective mclaren years!!!

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    3. Elie says:

      Peace Brothers those were the days – We should be calling him King Kimi .

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  62. Alonso fan says:

    Schumacher back in red? now that would be fun to watch! let touch paper, stand back and BOOM!

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    1. Alonso fan says:

      * Light

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  63. Ez Pez says:

    if ham isnt in a mclaren next year ill eat my hat. too risky for him to move, Mercedes have h shown flashes of promise, but they haven’t exactly returned to the Brawn year! Also what if Schumi doesn’t want to move on? Mercedes cant force him out of the way, they would sell less cars in Germany, and they cant get rid of Nico! he won their first race!
    all things considered, i think Lewis will sign a one or 2 year contract for Mclaren.

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    1. DK says:

      I think you better start looking for a nice recipe to make your hat taste better …. :)

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    2. James Clayton says:

      McLaren won’t give him a 1 year deal. And thank heavens for that – I don’t think I could face going through this all over again next year!

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  64. Iain Hammond says:

    If Lewis does go to Mercedes I’d love to see Perez in a McLaren next season but its doubtful due to his Ferrari connections, however if Massa were to be replaced by Perez then Massa with a fresh start at McLaren and without being suffocated by Alonso could be a front runner in 2013. He’s shown in the past how fast he can be and a move could give him a new lease of life. I cant see Kimi coming back to McLaren and Di Resta is still a bit raw in my opinion. Nobody has mentioned either of the Red Bull drivers have they both committed to RBR for 2013

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    1. Angelina says:

      They have Iain. Both have contracts till 2013. Seb has a get out clause for 2014.

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  65. Endless says:

    James, what sponsors would leave McLaren with Lewis?

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    1. Timmay says:

      Vodafone, Santander, Mobil 1, Hugo Boss, and Johnny Walker would all leave with her.

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      1. Endless says:

        Thank you for such an insightful reply.

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  66. Anil says:

    James I must say I am truly gutted that Michael may retire again. His pace has been great this year and he’s outperformed rosberg (at least when his car works!!)

    Only hope left is that he leaves and goes to ferrari for 1 year.

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  67. Martin Shepherd says:

    With all respect to James Allen, the whole story seems to be pure speculation. However, one thing is for sure, there seems to be poor relationship between Martin Whitmarsh and Lewis. The fatherly love of Ron Dennis is no longer there. Maybe is to do with every week having to be asked something about Lewis, maybe is his love for Button, maybe Lewis is asking for too much and seems to have too much say at Mclaren…i believe this divorce is good for both. The unfortunate thing is timing, in the middle of a hotting up championship. However, if he moves, he will mature more and if he wins a champioship, he will become a truly great.

    I think, it is time for Hamilton to move on. I believe, Mercedes in time will build a good car. Mclaren can make good cars, but it seems quite hard these days to win any silverware with them. I also think, Button is good in the politics of manipulation, the art of projecting yourself as the good character, very astute at the subtlety of image management…while Lewis just cares about racing and is still immature in the arts of communication. I don’t believe Lewis is irreplaceable, but it might be tough before it gets better.

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  68. Philip says:

    Like any move there are pro’s and con’s. I just hope that money isn’t the deciding factor in Hamilton’s decision. Being in a car that can win must always come first.

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  69. Mike says:

    Hamilton appears to be more interested in becoming a global brand, like David Beckham, than being an F1 driver which I think is a shame. As this raises questions about his commitment. If he concentrated on driving and becoming a legend (and he is a long way off being a legend in my opinion) in your own sport, surely the global brand and image comes automatically. Why would you want to force the issue?

    And how many millions do you really need?

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    1. Tom says:

      For some people there’s no such thing as “enough”.

      Makes you wonder… if Hamilton dislikes the public scrutiny currently, why try to increase your exposure and level of scrutiny for a few more £million?

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  70. JBROONEY says:

    LH just doesn’t strike me as the type of person who wants to give the time and effort to build a team like mercedes from a average team to a world championship winning team, he would much prefer to be sitting at some award show with his girlfriend. I have been a LH diehard since he burst on the scene but recently my opinion of him has changed greatly. He talks of wanting to win multiple championships but i don’t understand how he is going to achieve this if he goes to merc. The whole telemetry saga has made me come to realise either he’s jostling for position or he’s just think sadly i think its the latter. LH i hope you know what your doing.

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    1. JBROONEY says:

      *thick

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    2. JR says:

      Agreed, I could be wrong and would have to see him in a different environment out of McLaren, but according to what I have seen so far, I think he is very far, in terms of commitment, of Alonso or Schumi.

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  71. Vinto says:

    How about Adrian Sutil for McLaren.

    Outperformed Di Resta last year, especially once he got used to the Pirellis by the end of the season. Has always been quick.

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    1. Quick Nick Rules says:

      Hear Hear! Fast, Experienced and Very Aggressive – both on and off the track

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    2. snailtrail says:

      Might just have to place neck protection on Jenson…

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    3. Kay says:

      Out-performing teammates equals to a McLaren drive?
      How about Narain for McLaren lol. He sure beat a load of teammates and those of lower formulae

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    4. Quick Nick Rules says:

      Fair point though, honestly think if Sutil had got the Williams drive over Senna then he would have wracked up the podiums this year. He was crash-happy in his early years but by 2010-11 he was a pretty polished performer.

      Pretty sure we would have seen far more consistent displays from Maldonado if he had a decent team-mate too – compare his performances in 2011 when he had Barrichello alongside – apart from Spa Quali he was rarely wild or reckless in the way he has been this season – I honestly believe that’s because The Pastor knows that whatever he does, he’ll still be well ahead of his useless team-mate.

      Look at Spa – Maldonado had an absolute shocker, but he still qualified 2 seconds quicker than Senna. If Williams want both drivers scoring points next year they should hire Sutil or Bottas – Maldonado needs a fast team-mate to focus his wayward mind!

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  72. Wade Parmino says:

    Schumacher has driven better than Rosberg. It just doesn’t show in the points because of Schumacher’s poor luck and the ‘freak’ win by Rosberg.

    It would be unconscienable for Mercedes to sack Schumacher if he wanted to stay on. I certainly hope a Hamilton/Rosberg trade happens instead.

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    1. madmax says:

      If Schumacher doesn’t want to retire Merc can’t push him because of 1)The bad publicity in Germany and 2) Schumi is supposed to have a unilateral contract where he has the final say whether he continues or not.

      These points are backed up by Ross brawn keeping saying it will be a joint decision on Schumi’s retirement and not individual on either side.

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  73. Dmitry says:

    I believe it when I see it… until then I refuse to believe Lewis will move.

    Yes, mostly it is because I don’t want him to move, but partially – because it is the move into the unknown.
    Of course it is not set in stone, but there’s little doubt Mercedes will be able to produce winning-capable car in 2013.

    And in 2014 it will be a clean sheet for everyone… so why not to stay (at least until then in a team who knows how to win)…

    So I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

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  74. Daniel Spiller says:

    I think we’re jumping on the assumption here that Lewis is headed to Mercedes a little too quickly. Mercedes like having a German pairing for a German works team and Rosberg is established enough in F1 to keep his seat alongside maybe Nico Hulkenberg on the future but more likely alongside Michael who had proved for another year he still has great race speed an potential to secure points, and maybe even win given the right machinery. People have dismissed Lewis moving to Ferrrari (also a worldwide brand with massive potential), because Alonso has “vetoed” the idea but look at the evidence. There has been no press release to say he would. In fact he has suggested he has more respect for Lewis than any other driver and would have (I quote) “no problem” driving alongside Hamilton. Does nobody else think its just a little coincidental Massa has not secured a seat at Ferrrari for 2013? I for one wouldn’t think Ferarri would leave it so long to confirm a 2013 driver lineup without good reason.

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    1. CanadaGP says:

      Too much is being made of Mercedes being a German team by English fans. Mercedes Benz is a global corporation with growth markets in emerging economies of the world. Tailor made for Hamilton marketing wise.

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  75. Trespasser says:

    If he leaves McLaren to Mercedes I could live with that, as long it’s not Ferrari. Please do not jump on me on the Ferrari thing, I do not think that he fits in their team whether Alonso is there or not.
    I can understand the desire to go to Mercedes and be the no. 1 driver and build the team around you, Schumi style. This could be a good move for F1 in general. Whether Lewis is capable of such things is a whole different story, it remains to be seen.
    I for one will enjoy watching what he does best, driving the wheels of the car he sits in.

    As for a replacement, mark my words, I have a feeling that it will be a finn. Valteri Bottas is a very viable option (even though he is with Williams now). Ron Dennis stated that McLaren does not need 2 british drivers. They have been very successful with Mika and Kimi. Even Keke Rosberg had a decent year with McLaren. So why not do it again?

    Personally I would like to see Perez in a McLaren if Lewis decides to move on. Heck, why not Kobayashi for a season or two. Both are a joy to watch.

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  76. Racyboy says:

    James,
    I’ve been reading your articles long enough to know that you wouldn’t have posted this unless you’ve got the lowdown from an “insider”.
    I think you broke the Alonso to Ferrari story nearly 2 years before it happened….and I didn’t believe it.

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    1. James Allen says:

      It’s my take on it, as you say, based on insights.

      Not saying its a done deal, saying I’ve been given indications it’s a done deal and this is what I think is behind it

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      1. Anop says:

        James, what are your insights on Michael for next year? He is faster than Nico most of the times then why would he stop racing?

        Any indications on his deal for next year? Reading the this article can one infer that he is going to Ferrari?

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      2. CanadaGP says:

        Why are people assuming Hamilton/Rosberg? Because Rosberg has a contract? Then you have not been in big business. Just see how Abramovich “renegotiates” contracts in football.

        Hamilton/Schumacher is a dream team in marketing terms, and perhaps in sporting terms as well. Bernie and Ross can certainly see that. Even the Daimler board can see it. That’s precisely why Bernie intentionally threw out a red herring that Michael is retiring. That’s the last thing Schumi would do now precisely because he’ll want to show he is his own man. Bernie is playing everyone as usual.

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      3. Pete says:

        Schumacher had shown time and again that he’s still got it

        +

        he is a FAR BIGGER name world-wide than Hamilton

        “Lewis to Mercedes” therefore only makes sense, IF Michael has decided to hang up his gloves

        in fact, in an interview only a few days ago, Eddie Jordon tells Welt am Sonntag, that he has NO exclusive insights and based his comments merely on what Bernie had already said

        the rest, he points out , is speculation

        he also says that Michael can unilaterally extend his contract at Mercedes by one or two years , if he so choses

        @James

        try to find out why Michael would want to leave F1

        only a few days ago he called rumours that he was about to leave Mercedes, just that, “rumours” and added “laughingly” that Monza was always part of the Silly Season

        then he added that he was still a big name/brand

        God knows what he meant by that: maybe that he could/would drive for another team ?

        German media also report that he has just signed a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with an Asian company

        and THEN, he goes off to retire ?

        TOO many elements of this “Lewis to Merc” story do NOT make sense

        and virtually NONE of the German journos have picked up on it either !!!!!!!

        it fact, it’s VERY unlikely, unless Lewis replaces Rosberg, who then, in turn is off to join McLaren

        then again, Haug/Brawn are in love with Rosberg and he, in turn, is raving about the Silver Arrows

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      4. Anop says:

        That assumption is based on the fact that Nico signed the contract this year. It has not even gone into effect. Not sure why will Mercedes dishonor it. If they do, then instead of gaining anything on marketing terms they will only lose and also lose their credibility – purely my opinion.

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  77. Ruth says:

    I think the writing was on the wall for some time. The relationship between Lewis and the team “appears” to have gotten worst over time given his body language.

    So far everyone appears to be blaming Lewis though. There are two sides to a story. I’m sure McLaren is also to blame for this situation and I wish some F1 journalist will attempt to give both sides of the story. There have been occassions this season where fans have been incredulous of McLaren’s managment/ direction.

    McLaren says they want Lewis’ committment, but is McLaren fully committed to him? I wonder if they are.

    Mercedes may not seem like the best choice given where they’re on the field right now but in time we’ll know whether leaving McLaren would be a master stoke for Lewis….of course that is if he actually leaves 😉

    Whatever happens congrats to Jenson, the garage appears to be his! I’ve never trusted him and never will. A bit too smooth for my liking.

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    1. Gemz says:

      agreed. Hamilton didn’t show great judgement with his telemetry tweets but the team were appalling with at the start of the season. There are two sides to every story. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this view of Jenson -yes he’s good but too wily and cunning with regards to F1 politics for me to warm to him.

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    2. Chris G says:

      ‘Never trust anyone that’s likeable’

      Excellent philosophy (?)

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      1. Ruth says:

        It’s not about not trusting anyone that appears likeable. It’s whether they’re genuine in that regard. I’m going to quote what Martin Shepherd said in his comment @ 1:16pm above as he probably explains where I’m coming from best:

        “…Button is good in the politics of manipulation, the art of projecting yourself as the good character, very astute at the subtlety of image management…while Lewis just cares about racing and is still immature in the arts of communication…”

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  78. Nathaniel Rackham says:

    Does anyone think it possible MSC might move to McLaren for a year or two? Personally i still think MSC has wins in him, his form has been steadily improving….i would love him to stick around a bit longer.

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  79. Monji says:

    I’m not impressed with Button’s behaviour either,

    His comments on Lewis’ tweets (which I also thought was unnecessary by the way – tweets that is) was as if he and Martin knew something Hamilton doesn’t…

    As an employee “Lewis”, felt left out which is very understandable.

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  80. James Encore says:

    Let’s see: nearly won the championship in his first season.
    Actually won in his second season.
    Then off to Brackley not because it made racing sense, but because of his management. Lewis is the new Jacques Villeneuve. And we know how things worked out for JV.

    Alternatively, only 4 championships have been won in the last 20 without either Ross Brawn or Adrian Newey. (Newey won 92,93 with Mansell and Prost at Williams, Brawn won 94,95 with Schumacher at Benneton, Newey won 96,97 with Hill and Villenueve at Williams and 98,99 with Hakkinen at Mclaren, Brawn won 2000-2004 with Schumacher at Ferrari, he’d stepped down when Kimi won in 2007, he won with Button as Brawn GP in 2009, and Newey won with Vettel at Red Bull in 2010&11).

    So Hamilton’s, Alonso’s (2) and Raikkonen’s championships stack up against 8 for Newey and 8 for Brawn.
    Since 2000 McLaren have won 1 drivers and no constructors championships (they last won the). Renualt two of each, Red Bull Two of each, Brawn GP one of each, and Ferrari (with Brawn) the other 7.

    Going to race with Ross makes some sense, and I think Norbert Haug is a fully paid up member of Lewis’ fan club. But aside from 2009, the team at Brackley – whether called Honda, BAR, or Mercedes have always underpeformed; McLaren look more likely to win races.

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    1. TMAX says:

      James, Good Analysis. Leiws could turn out to be a JV or could be Michael of the “Brawn-Micahel” era.

      One thing I really don’t understand is the over-hype about McLaren. I agree they are a team with great Legacy etc, but after Senna left Mclaren or in realistic terms in the last 20 years they have won 2 Constructors championship (0 in last 12 years). As far as drivers championship is concerned again in last 20 years 3( 1 in last 12 years). Statistically they are worse than Renault, Ferrari or even new baby Red bull. Statistically they are only better than Williams. To sum it all their performance in the modern era has been quite disappointing.

      For a Driver like Lewis’s Speed and appetite there is more hype and fanfare in Mclaren than actual results.

      Lets take the case of Button. After moving out of Brawn GP. He won the first pole position in Mclaren in the 3rd year. He has not been a serious contender for the championship this year and last year. Again statistically he has not gained much with Mclaren. It is a different story that personally he is very happy being in McLaren. They have taken good care of him. Sometimes they felt more homely with him than Lewis. So on the personal front it has been a good move. But this is racing not personal stuff. Teams get drivers to win races not to see them happy.

      Lets Give Lewis and Ross a Chance to see how they can work the magic together or fade out as another JV.

      And as James mentioned only 4 WDC of the last 20 has been from a non Brawn and Newey team. I would like to make that as 3 because Brawn has setup the whole team for 2007 before he moved out on his sabbatical.

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      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        But Mclaren in that time have always been there at the front. First half of the 2004 and 2009 seasons aside, they are always competetive.
        The Brackely lot were super fast in 2004, second only to Ferrari, and were quite competetive in 2006. Aside from that, only 2009 was a good season, the rest were at best average.

        But given the talent at Mercedes, this is far from a stupid move, even if the logic behind it can be questioned.

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      2. Kay says:

        If they aren’t happy how do you expect to perform? If you aren’t happy with your work, would you give your full?

        I wouldn’t, and to be completely honest with you I ain’t happy with my work, so I can tell ya you need your team behind you to give your best.

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      3. TMAX says:

        Kay Point Well Taken. Alas! I wish all employers or Team principals think the same. Ask Kimi, Montoyo and Alonso when they were with MCLaren. Or Rubens when he was with Ferrari.

        Because of the commercial, economic and other geopolitcal dynamics team are very much aligned with their sponsors and other stake holders. The happiness of the driver is last in the line of those priorities. I don’t blame them because running a F1 team needs a lot of backing and money.

        As far as Drivers are concerned it is up to them to make themselves happy with the team. Button has done a good job in that regards with McLaren so did Alonso with Ferrari so is Vettel with RedBull.

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      4. James Encore says:

        The hype for Mclaren is from these figures. The last 100 GP wins break down like this
        McLaren-Mercedes..31
        Red Bull-Renault..30
        Ferrari………..25
        Brawn-Mercedes…..8
        Mercedes………..1
        Renault…………2
        BMW Sauber………1
        Toro Rosso-Ferrari.1
        Williams-Renault…1

        In that time Mclaren have won 1 drivers and no constructors, Brawn GP 1 of Each, Red Bull 2 of each, Ferrari 1 drivers and 1 constructors.

        If you want to win races, drive for McLaren. If you want to championships however …

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      5. TMAX says:

        James , Looks like you have answered the question… If you want to win a championship then McLaren is not the best place around. And more than winning races every racer wants to be a champion. That is what matters in the end.

        Also on the above facts that you have stated. Out of the 31 McLaren wins in the last 100 races, 20 of them belongs to Lewis Hamilton. So that 31 wins is little bit skewed because of the Higher number of wins by Hamilton. Again technically after Senna Lewis is the the second most winnigest driver for McLaren tying with Mika. One more win and he will be ahead of Mika.

        I think we F1 fans should stop looking at him like a 12 year old Kid. what is wrong in him wanting a new team. I am sure he know what he is doing.

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      6. James encore says:

        Typing error. Ferrari have won 1 drivers and *two* constructors

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      7. alex says:

        If you are in McLaren and want title, don’t crash in the last lap of Monza, don’t waste your time with Maldonado and Massa. If there is somebody to blame – imho it’s driver – not the team

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    2. flash says:

      Funny how people always talk about Ross Brawn and Adrian Newey being so magical. The obvious truth seems to be that Rory Byrne is the more of a reason behind Ferrari being so dominant as it was in the beginning of 2000’s. Not forgetting that Mr. Byrne was behind Benetton WDC cars as well.
      Only drivers like Damon Hill could’ve lost WDC with Ferrari between 2000-2004 as he did in the mid-nineties with even more dominant Williams car.

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  81. Dufus says:

    Im Sorry but Lewis Hamilton is a 3yr old.
    I’ll bet Martin is releived he doesn’t have to deal wit this any more.
    And as far as the Lewis Hamilton brand…..huh ?
    What brand ? he is a driver and nothing more. The brand if there is such as thing in Motorsport is, F1, full stop.

    Total votes:
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    1. chris says:

      Totally agree. I really do not understand why Mercedes would be keen on promoting “brand Hamilton” whatever that is supposed to be. They already have two excellent ambassadors for the team who do not regularly throw their toys out of the pram.

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    2. hal says:

      Take your blinkers off…of course Lewis is a ‘brand’. All drivers are to an extent…he just seems to be one of the biggest in F1 (alongside Schu, Alonso).

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    3. Baggins says:

      I agree. ‘The Hamilton Brand’ makes me shake my head everytime I hear it. Who knows how far XIX is going to exploit the boy? Bernie is right to be wary of these people, especially if they intend to market Lewis as being bigger than the sport.
      I’m no McLaren fan, but they should wash their hands of him. I’d cheer them on if they did, regardless of who takes the second seat.

      Total votes:
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    4. thestretch says:

      really you think whitmarsh will be releived hamilton is going?? if it wasnt for hamiltons results this season whitmarsh would be out of a job!! when all the cars are this close in performance can you honestly say Jenson is the man mclaren can turn to to win a WDC i dont think so!!! JB can drive a car in one style only the best drives need to adapt their style to suit the car and JB just hasnt got that in his locker im afraid!! if lewis leaves they need a better driver than JB to be successfull and stay competetive and their are no better drivers availble only vettel alonso and hamilton are good enough to win championships in F1 at the moment.

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      1. hal says:

        I would also put Kimi in there. Also JB is no slouch but just not as good as those four. I can see him winning if Mclaren do another Brawn in terms of performance (look at Spa).

        If I was principal I would not consider losing one of the best F1 talents as a job well done.

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  82. Mark says:

    I’m not surprised. I mentioned this potential outcome in some circles last year (after Lewis’ infamous visit to the Red Bull garage) and was basically told to stay off the wacky-baccy.

    But Lewis has a great relationship with Norbert Haug, and as James points out, he’s already provided great publicity for Mercedes. The team itself has proved that they can put together a race-winning car (but then so has Williams this season).

    People saying only Ferrari, McLaren, and Red Bull will give Lewis a championship winning car are severely short-sighted. Five years ago, where were Red Bull? Nowhere. Now they have two Driver’s championships and two Constructors championships.

    Mercedes already have more than just an eye on next season’s car development, and they’ll be one of the few teams to get the engine/car specs for the 2014 season before the rest of the paddock.

    Long-term, it’s a smart move for Lewis. He’s still young, and has plenty of years ahead of him (though admittedly, I think he needs to realise this himself). If this deal does go ahead, then this could well prove to emulate Schumacher’s move to Ferrari all those years ago.

    Remind me again how that turned out? 😉

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    1. Kay says:

      You conveniently neglected:
      1. Adrian Newey went to RBR and huge rule changes in 2009 which played into his favour;
      2. Mike Coughlan went to Williams last year and developed this year’s car, and he ain’t a bad F1 car designer.
      3. Williams got rid of Sam Michael
      4. Mercedes have a history of screw up developments of their cars (in various guises), including Brawn mid way through the ’09 season where Jenson described as being not the same as the one he drove at the beginning of the season.

      It’s not simply about moves, it’s also about the whole package of personnel, team building, spotting and using talents that’d help you.

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  83. moxlox says:

    He’s going to get a shock when he gets in that Mercedes.

    But move forward to 2014 and the engine formula change, and the best place is to be with an engine manufacturer. So together with the Mercedes kudos image, may be it has got what Hamilton wants.

    If it happens, then it would be brilliant to have Perez in a McLaren.

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  84. GP says:

    This would confirm Lewis’ pointing to the new silver stripe on his helmet in the room the top 3 drivers use before going out on the podium.

    Lewis is not really honest with himself and his fans when he says it’s all about winning. It looks like it’s all about fame and fortune, the winning I guess is for other drivers…

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  85. Tim Few says:

    Did anyone else notice Lewis tapping his helmet for the camera backstage before the podium. I am probably reading too much into it, but he was pointing at the red bit!

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    1. Kay says:

      Yes, doesn’t the Union Jack also have Red? Doesn’t McLaren also have a rocket red t-shirt which the entire team wear when one of their drivers win? Heck even the Vodafone logo is red for crying out loud!

      Total votes:
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      1. Tim Few says:

        its odd that no one is mentioning Ferrari tho, i’m a big Mclaren fan and will continue to be if he goes, but losing him doesn’t seem a wise move to me!

        Total votes:
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      2. Kay says:

        From what I read, everyone is saying Ferrari / Italy.

        No one else is saying McLaren rocket red / Union Jack red / England red or even Vodafone red.

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    2. iceman says:

      It was an Italian flag I think, the bit that’s normally all red was red, white and green.

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  86. David says:

    There’s a different story lurking under this headline…

    Has anyone ever actually seen Simon Fuller and James Allen in the same room at the same time?

    http://i45.tinypic.com/34rhco5.jpg

    Eery. Separated at birth?

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    1. James Allen says:

      Busted!

      Total votes:
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    2. Mike from Colombia says:

      James does not have the Fuller pout

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      1. James Allen says:

        I’m also significantly taller..

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      2. mark says:

        And less annoying fuller is very annoying james is only a bit annoying sorry james only kidding about you being annoying lol. It would be interesting to see how hamilton handles being in a team that wont put up with public outbursts etc etc.

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      3. Elie says:

        Were you guys separated at birth or something

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    3. Kay says:

      I’d pick James over Simon any day. James looks a way lot better too, AND without plastics underneath the skin.

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  87. Franco says:

    Don’t understand why some folk seem to think this a bad move for LH. This move is purely tactical with the view of 2014 in mind. I agree money is a key factor but when you look at Mercedes technical team they got so many good people, I recall James mentioning on a previous post they had 6 former technical director.

    From a fans perspective we are in for a real teat in the coming years of this move is confirmed.

    James, do u think LH has managed to agree to keep his winners trophies if he agree’s to this move and do Ferrari have a similar policy?

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  88. Rory says:

    Again great insight James. Interesting move on Hamiltons part. However I too am gutted if indeed Schumacher is on the way out. The work that he has put into this massively under achieving team, now to just walk away with out reaping any of the payback. He still clearly has plenty of speed and raw talent. Trade Nico to Mclaren, he is a steady driver that will cover the team till the next superstar comes along. If Mercedes can deliver then let Schumacher enjoy the spoils of his hard labour. He is still a huge draw for the sport. I for one will be so annoyed that he was forced into retirement for a second time. He has given his life o F1 now let him enjoy some brief success before he chooses to call time on his own career.

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    1. Señor Sjon says:

      Perhaps Bernie expects Hamilton to win at every possible occasion, as in being faster than the old fox.

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    2. Andrew says:

      In my view there aint room for both Schumacher and Hamilton in the same team..

      Hamilton would go there to win and be the number 1 without question, thats why Nico would be the perfect team mate for him.

      With Schumacher there the people of Germany would’nt accpet Schumacher being beaten by Lewis. It would be too much trouble for Merecedes to have them in the same team together. but thats just my view

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    3. Jay says:

      You said it, Rory. Hope Mercedes allows Schumi to stay on. It’ll be grave injustice if he’s shoved out.

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    4. Kushal says:

      exactly!!!

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    5. chris says:

      Exactly – why is this all about Hamilton. Schumacher looked like he was trying not to laugh when asked about Eddie’s theory.

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  89. Gustavo says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Hamilton’s since 2007, but before that I was a fan of Hakinnen’s, Raikonnen’s, etc. Above all, I will always be a McLaren fan and as a loyal one, I think the best they can do now is to let Lewis go. For all his talents, he is a spoiled immature 27 year old boy and no team should ever have to bend over backwards for a driver that causes so much friction inside the team. I can only imagine how much discomfort I would have felt as a McLaren team member just before the start of the Spa GP.

    Teams like other organizations have their own “culture” and no culture is worth defending if it isn’t solidly built on strong values. Allowing one immature team member to disrupt the whole team you’ve worked so hard to build over the years does not seem to me like something McLaren should let happen. It’s ok for Lewis and his managers to negotiate hard to get what they want, but I feel Whitmarsh and Dennis know deep inside that Lewis’ commitment and team spirit will forever depend upon his mood, which in turn depends so much on external factors outside of their control. This is my own interpretation of their comments regarding Lewis “absolute commitment” to winning as a condition to agree on a deal. In other words, they have to negotiate hard the best possible conditions for the team because it isn’t worth to go beyond those for a guy whose commitment will always be questioned.

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    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      At least Hakkinen never behaved like this with mclaren .Whatever happens Hamilton,Fuller and to extent Button haven’t behaved well at all.

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  90. Christopher says:

    James in your blog you state the following.

    “one senses that Mercedes were waiting to see if they could get Hamilton signed before making their next move, and now may start gently leaning on the seven times champion to ease him into retirement”

    My question to you is this. Do you think Mercedes would actually ask Schumacher to retire if Schumacher does indeed decide to stay on?

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    1. Kay says:

      Ask?
      Merc board: Hey u gonna retire?
      MSc: No, why?
      Merc board: NO, I’M TELLIN’ YA, U GONNA RETIRE?
      MSc: Right…… ok. I’ll announce my retirement first thing tomorrow morning.

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      1. dc says:

        And imagine the story showing up on a front page of ‘Sonntag build’ or something like that. Mercedes could as well move their HQ to Mongolia (no disrespect for the country but you get my point)

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  91. f1316 says:

    You mention the idea of Hamilton and Rosberg swapping – is it not possible for Hamilton and Schumacher to do a swap?

    Schumacher would surely be a big boon for McLaren sponsors and he would relish the opportunity for one last year in a competitive car.

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    1. Anop says:

      How about that last year in a competitive prancing horse?

      Michael knows the team better than Luca or Stefano. Ferrari need a driver for at least 1 year before Sebastian’s so called move in 2014.

      But how abut that last challenge for Michael to have a go at the best driver in F1 right now in the same car? Just thinking about it gives me chills.

      Ferrari has nothing to lose. They get the dream lineup Michael and Fernando. In addition, win the constructors even before the season’s 1st race. :-)

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  92. TMAX says:

    Tit for Tat ….

    Let’s just say Hamilton wins 2012 WDC and moves to Mercedes for 2013. Revenge is the best dish when served cold. Old Fox Ross Brawn has some unfinished business with McLaren for snatching Button away from him in 2010. Nothing better than taking away McLaren’s Star prodigy to fill that gap.

    And unlike Newey or Whitmarsh or Horner or Domenecilli, Ross Brawn know one thing at the best How to Build a underperforming team in disarray into a championship winner. He has done it many times in the past with
    1) Benetton
    2) Ferrari
    3) Honda/Brawn GP.

    Looks like that is exactly what is happening here, With the fastest driver on the grid, Is it starting of a Brawn-Hamilton era ?

    ” Lewis I need 14 seconds from the next 16 Laps….” I cant wait to hear that.

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    1. James Clayton says:

      McLaren didn’t snatch button away. Brawn didn’t want him; they already had Schumacher lined up!

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      1. TMax says:

        James, That is not true. Brawn really felt hurt when button left. Button demanded more money after winning the championship which they could not afford. Brawn tried to hold him back but the money at Mclaren was too good so he left. Once Button left BrawnGP, brawn was trying hard to get a good replacement who has experience. Thus finally convinced Schumi to come back. The Schumi deal was done almost a month after button signed for Mclaren.

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  93. Monza 01 says:

    It looked like a done deal after the chequered flag fell at Monza : Lewis looked so embarrassed to have won.

    With the Guardian’s Paul Weaver reporting very strained relationships at the team over the weekend it looks to be all over.

    Maybe it’s time Lewis moved on. He’s still a young driver and, while he would surely have a better chance of the title this year and next if he was staying at McLaren, all bets are off for 2014.

    Few would be disappointed to be the No 1 driver in a team run by Ross Brawn, backed by the financial power of Daimler Benz and in total control of their engine supply.

    And who would not like to see their name alongside Fangio, Moss, Seaman, Caracciola, Lang, von Brauchitsch and all those other great drivers who have driven for Mercedes Benz.

    The downside is that the Mercedes board will only give Ross and Lewis three years – four at the most to win the Championship before pulling the plug.

    After all, Every time the Silver Arrows have been in F1 before, they have dominated the sport.

    As for driver combinations, wouldn’t it have been fantastic to see Lewis and Michael Schumacher in identical cars when Michael was at the top of his game ?

    But back to reality, I hope McLaren recall Heikki or Kimi.

    If not, I would probably take Perez over DiResta and Rosberg.

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    1. jeffrey says:

      I doubt that besides perhaps Moss and Fangio, Lewis has ever heard of these drivers… Especially coming from a team that had Fittipaldi, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Häkkinen…

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  94. Keilly says:

    What if Lewis wins the championship this year? That would be quite a coup for Mercedes to have the world champion driving for them (and More than slightly embarrassing for McLaren)

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    1. TMAX says:

      As I had mentioned Tit for Tat for Ross Brawn for the Button Coupe of 2010 by McLaren.

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    2. Bluefroggle says:

      At least they would get the number #1 on their car which they were robbed of when Jenson took it with him to McLaren!

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  95. ArJay says:

    Question is, how good is Hamilton at technical feed-back with respect to helping development of the machinery?
    Assuming he does move to Mercedes, would this ability be a contributing factor to any future success? How about a post comparing the relative merits of the top ten drivers in this regard?

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    1. F1Fan says:

      I would like to know this as well. But I think it is a myth that a driver helps massively with car development. Drivers provide feedback as to how the car performs and whether they can go flat out at high speed corners etc. They provide whether there is under-steer or over-steer. These technical feedback helps to improve the car set-up for the racing weekend but it doesn’t helps massively to develop a car…that’s just my opinion. I don’t think they will help by saying; we need to put a bargeboard to help with this balance or we need more wing to help improve rear tear-wear.

      They have preference of how they would like the car to behave and other things I mentioned above. All other factors are down to designers and engineers. It is a massive team effort. There are super talented people behind the scene who are responsible for car development and we don’t hear about them that much.

      If it was true that a driver helps develop a car massively then mercedes should be winning the championship this year as MS is regarded as one of the best drivers who can develop a car!

      What a team need is a disciplined, calm, level head driver who brings home the points and victories to win championship. Driver needs to provide very good feedback and help the engineers analyse tons of data and provide constant feedback of how the car behaves.

      Also a driver should extract the extra tenth or two from the car that is not there. That is the kind of driver a team requires. LH is 60-70% that driver. There is no 100% such driver!

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  96. Jay says:

    I’m extremely sad that Schumi will be on his way out. He doesn’t deserve this. He’s rediscovered his mojo. Hope Merc allow him another go. Please, with a cherry on top.

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  97. FerrariFan says:

    I still think Mercedes will keep Schumi. He is great for marketing and he has driven better than Rosberg this season. A Hamilton and Schumi pairing will be great.

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  98. Kay says:

    “Eddie Jordan, apparently prompted by both XIX and Bernie Ecclestone, lobbed the grenade in on Wednesday, saying that Hamilton was on the point of signing for Mercedes.”

    LOLLLLLLL I like that “lobbed the grenade”. Nice writing James.

    Hamilton to Merc? I don’t particularly fancy that as that’d most probably mean the end of the winning road for Hamilton. That team is where Button came from and has known to be awkward in car designs. Button knows that team and he has his reasons on leaving that team in 2009/10. I say that’s a step backwards, but if Hamilton does somehow find success, then good luck to him and it’d be the best move in years 😀 I gott say tho, Hamilton leaving McLaren in other words means Button succeeded in making McLaren his own team and kick out the fallen king, his original ambition when he joined in 2010.

    It seems like whoever goes to McLaren, they’d end up being unhappy with them (other than Hakkinen). Just think – Coulthard, Kimi, Fernando and now Lewis, all ended in tears. Though gotta stress that those were mostly with Ron, Lewis were with the whole management and team. The team were actually quite fond of Kimi from what I read, it’s just Kimi never liked the control-freak style of Ron’s management. I still quietly wish Kimi would go back to McLaren to find his winning ways again though.

    Btw James, I thought Vodafone were pulling the plug on F1, no?

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  99. Kushal says:

    the only thing i want to see is schumacher driving in 2013……rest doesn’t matter!!!!1

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    1. Rich in Norway says:

      +1

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  100. Matt W says:

    Schumacher would be mad to retire now given he is just about back on form. The typical critics have been unusually quiet about him over the last few races when he has quietly put in impressive performances in a bad car. He has outshone Rosberg massively for the last few months too.

    I can’t see the appeal for Lewis going to Merc. The Brackley unit are patchy at best and 2009 aside don’t look anything like an up and coming team. In anything Lotus look like the next team to break through.

    I just don’t see Lewis having the patience or personality to sit through entire seasons of Mercedes/Honda/BAR failure. He can’t blame Mclaren entirely for the mistakes in Spa. He was also involved in setting that car up and choosing the old wing was as much his error as the teams.

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  101. jjpm says:

    James I agree 100% with you that divorce is agreed upon!
    However a few points with your paper :

    …”This deal will take Hamilton’s name and image well beyond the boundaries of F1. If Hamilton did not want this, why would he had signed up with XIX?”…
    -IMO Ferrari should be more interesting to XIX than Mercedes for Hamilton’s image.

    …”Also McLaren drivers have to work within strict guidelines with team sponsors.
    Mercedes need Hamilton”…
    -Schumacher and Rosberg can be seen as models for their comportments. and the Spanish bank SANTANDER would be saving money having both its stars under one color and easier control as well, which with the state Spain in Europe today would be rather positive…

    …”and this deal will give him greater freedom”…
    -It’s really doubtful with the rigidity associated to the German behavior.

    …”The suggested deal with Mercedes and its sponsors is very big”…
    – I have read about £60M on 3 years or +-75M€.
    They (Mercedes) could save a lot of money keeping Schumacher and Rosberg for the next 3 years… with a good prospect of success!

    …”and so too will be the impact it will make on the competition in F1 over the next three y