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Hamilton turns back on McLaren and signs for Mercedes
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Hamilton's deal was done at the peak in 2007 (Darren Heath)
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Sep 2012   |  9:52 am GMT  |  946 comments

[Updated] Lewis Hamilton has cut his 14-year umbilical cord to McLaren and announced he will join Mercedes at the end of the season on a three-year deal.

In a huge coup for Mercedes and major shot in the arm for its ambitions of winning consistently in Formula 1 that was predicted by JA on F1 earlier this month, the 2008 world champion will replace Michael Schumacher in the team’s 2013 line-up, reuniting him with his old karting team-mate Nico Rosberg. Sauber’s Sergio Perez will replace Hamilton at McLaren.

Intriguingly, however, there was no mention in the Mercedes press release of what Schumacher will do now, despite an expectation that Hamilton’s arrival would prompt the 43-year-old into permanent retirement.

What there was confirmation of however – and which clearly paved the way for the Hamilton deal – is that Mercedes have committed to F1 and signed the new eight-year Concorde Agreement. Niki Lauda, who is said to have played a key role in convincing Hamilton of the Mercedes ‘project’, has also joined the team’s board of directors as non-executive chairman.

An hour or so earlier McLaren, having to face up to life without the driver they have nurtured since the age of 13 and took all the way to world champion, were the first to confirm news of Hamilton’s departure and duly announced that in his place will come Mexican youngster Perez to partner Jenson Button next season, the team crediting the 22-year-old’s “string of giantkilling performances” for the decision to sign him on a “multi-year deal” from Sauber.

But while Martin Whitmarsh expressed confidence in McLaren’s statement that Perez is “perfectly poised to develop into a world championship challenger”, the stark reality hitting home for the team and its shareholders this morning is that they have just lost a driver who’s a proven champion and 20 time race winner.

“It’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis Hamilton. He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions’ club,” Whitmarsh said in McLaren’s statment.

“It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying that we hope and believe that Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long.”

It is Mercedes therefore who will certainly feel they have got the better end of the deal, having signed one of the top three stars on the grid and biggest names in world sport. Speaking in the press release issued by this new team, Hamilton admitted it was time for a new challenge and that, cruically, he believes he can win more world championships with his new employer.

“It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share,” Hamilton said.

“Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.”

Team chief Ross Brawn, who has overseen a major restructing at Mercedes to get them in position to win races on a consistent basis over the coming years, is likely to see the arrival of a world champion in his prime as the final piece in a similar jigsaw to which he was first part of at Ferrari with a then much younger Schumacher in the late 1990s.

“The arrival of a driver of Lewis’ calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows,” Brawn said. “I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.

“Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship. Behind the scenes, we have assembled a team that is technically stronger, more experienced and better resourced. The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team. Our task is now to translate that potential into on-track performance for next season and beyond.”

As reported by this website, Hamilton’s decision to end his association with McLaren and jump ship to Mercedes had already appeared made at Monza given the demeanour of both him and the team in their post-race victory celebrations, despite Martin Whitmarsh’s claim that suggestions that a deal between the two parties was already signed as “fantasy”.

Although media reports suggested in the week that McLaren had upped their basic offer to Hamilton to try and get him to stay, the 27-year-old is set to earn more than what was offer at Woking with his earning potential increased by Mercedes giving him more freedom to strike his own personal sponsorship deals and maximise his image rights, a major factor behind his decision to hire XIX Entertainment as his management last year in the first place.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, however, Whitmarsh has said that McLaren’s offer to Hamilton would have made him the highest paid driver in F1.

“We have made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula 1, other than himself, receives today, and that is something that I am comfortable with,” he said. “I know we made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula 1 driver is enjoying today.”

Nonetheless it is believed that with a deal to bring Hamilton to Mercedes was already in place by the end of the Italian GP, Brawn and the Mercedes F1 hierarchy were waiting for the sign-off on their F1 future from the main Mercedes board in Stuttgart before going ahead, which duly arrived on Wednesday.

Indeed 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, confident they will be in a position to take advantage when the new engine regulations come into place in 2014, know they now have to start delivering over the next few seasons.

That will now be without Germany’s star sportsman Schumacher, his departure a relative footnote in Hamilton’s arrival in contrast to the fanfare that greeted his shock decision to come out of retirement in the winter of 2009 to spearhead what he and the team had expected to be a push for the title by now.

“I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side,” Schumacher said today. “I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up. I would like to thank the team for their trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races.“

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  1. AlexD says:

    I think it is great for Perez, but a bad move for Hamilton.

    1. Quercus says:

      Time will tell, of course, but the pairing of Ross Brawn and Hamilton is extremely powerful, with the historic precedent of what happened at Ferrari when Brawn and Schumacher came together.

      Having said that, Perez will be thinking he’s hit the jackpot but he’s given us every indication since he appeared in F1 that he’s got what it takes to step into Hamilton’s shoes. It takes a lot to shine as much as he has when you’re not in a top team (ask Jenson about his first few years in F1!).

      I think we’ll know very quickly how good Perez is — due to the exceptional benchmark we know as Button.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        that “historic precedent” of Brawn and Schumacher worked at Benetton, worked at Ferrari but has been largely uninspired at Mercedes.
        I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that at the other 2 teams, Brawn was technical director, Schumacher the driver and the car was designed by Rory Byrne.

        It still rankles that he doesn’t get anywhere near the plaudits he should.

      2. Quercus says:

        I think the weak link at Mercedes has been Schumacher, and that’s why the ‘magic pairing’ didn’t work this time. Once again it proves the old adage ‘never come out of retirement’.

        OK, I know everyone is going to say ‘Kimi’: but let’s be realistic — Kimi departed F1 to take up a new challenge, not because age was catching up with him.

        I think MSC came back because he was in denial.

      3. Erik W says:

        Good for Mercedes bad for McLaren.
        I am not too sure about Perez capabilities.

        He is a great racer but has been outqualified by Kobayashi this year, a Kobayashi who might be out of F1 2013.

        To turn the tyres on have been crucial this year and some performances have been more tyre related than driver.

        Next year the cars will be even closer in performance since regulations are “the same”.

        Then Qualy will get even more important than this year. Even if you can overtake in todays F1 qualy is crucial for using the speed you have.

        Perez is a very good driver, but is he great,
        I doubt it. With Button who is slow in qualy(compared to the best) McLaren takes a huge risk by signing Perez who also is a slow qualifyer.

      4. Rory Byrne was a legend. Better than Newey IMO. His best cars were as dominant as Newey’s and his worst cars were still up there in the races.

      5. Lucas says:

        Hisham Akhtar: Completely agree. And I would also add that Byrne’s cars were way more reliable than Newey’s. Ferrari was having insane reliability from 97-2006, while McLaren and Williams were breaking all the time (and not all times due to engine failures).

      6. Robert says:

        100% agree with you, Ferrari glory years started with Rory’s designed cars and ended when he retired.

      7. ian says:

        Where has Jean Todt gone in history ?

      8. Kay says:

        Maybe never had much in his racing history other than simply having his name written in the books lol.

    2. Stuart Harrison says:

      Amen to that; Perez for WDC 2013!

      1. Sebee says:

        And here you go. Perez – accelerated F1 program. Now what he does with it is up to him.

      2. Dave C says:

        I think signing Perez is a blunder for Mclaren just like Kovalainen, Coulthard, Montoya, Brundle, Mansell and many others before him.
        imho Kamui deserved the seat more, hes a better overtaker, maybe faster on raw pace and definitely more exciting, just the strategies let him down. Jenson I hope you show young Checko how a championship is won next year.

      3. Vipin says:

        I reject that!

    3. JL says:

      I think this shows how wrong Ron Denis was when he could have won both, WDC and WCC championships back in 2007 but messed the whole thing up by simply having his 2 drivers racing each other (remember the famous “we are basically racing Fernando). He gave up the WDC that year with Alonso by supporting a driver who only races for the money and leaves the team who helped him become the champion he is for a pay rise. I am sorry for MCL and hope they do great next year with Perez. As for Lewes lets see the car he is provided with next season.

      Lets see what the grid looks like next year. This may well mean Schu is back at Ferrari and Algersuari lands the Sauber seat leaving masa to replace Senna at williams. Lets see!

      1. DavidC says:

        Your comment makes no sense. Lewis does not owe McLaren anything. The contract has run its course plain and simple. Do you owe your company or boss anything just becaused they hired you and paid for your training?

      2. AlexD says:

        McLaren would still be Mclaren without Lewis, but without McLaren you would not even know who he Lewis Hamilton.

      3. Hal says:

        AlexD you could say that about a lot of drivers. So why is Hamilton singled out?

      4. Nat Ball says:

        AlexD, that’s funny. lewis was already a carting champ before Ron scooped him up. I suppose we’d know Jenson no matter what? We’d know Vettel right? We’d know Perez despite Telmex? But Lewis Hamilton? He’d probably be a cleaner mucking out toilets in Stevenage if it weren’t for Ron Dennis, right?

        Every other driver got into F1 on merit, but Lewis only got in because of Ron Dennis reached down to a talentless critter and lifted him out of the gutter, right?

      5. Smeghead says:

        Hal: perhaps because Lewis is the main topic of this entire thread?

      6. Wade Parmino says:

        If Schumacher is willing to go back to Ferrari for a season or two, Ferrari would be mad not to oblige. Surely they won’t keep Massa?

        Kovalainen deserves a better drive than Caterham as well. He consistently punches above his weight.

      7. Iker Gernika says:

        Better than Massa, or to be precise, one hundred times better than Massa.

      8. Andrew M says:

        Kovalainen hardly punched above his weight in a McLaren. I doubt any top team will take a risk with him.

      9. Kay says:

        Well I suppose MSC still needs Ferrari to take care of his FXX… can do his old employers a good favour :D

      10. chris says:

        Yup, really dumb idea to support the guy who stayed with McLaren for 6 years.

        As opposed to favoring the driver who cheated without Ron Denis’ knowledge, then tried to use the threat of exposing his own cheating to blackmail Ron, after which he left the team after his first season. You’re right – that would have been a much better decision.

      11. Steve says:

        +1 about time.. not to mention any other cheating he may have been complicit in!

      12. Steve Zodiac says:

        Never could understand how Alonso did all that stirring and walked away smelling of roses. He is certainly a talented driver but is also the king of sour grapes and whines like a baby when things don’t go his way.
        I have never subscribed to the Whitmarsh favours JB club but it does seem that he isn’t too fussed that Lewis is gone and no matter what anyone says he is one of the very fastest drivers out there, McClaren should have held on to him.

      13. Erik W says:

        to Steve:
        I think Whitmarsh is devastated.

        His face in last qualy when Lewis again smashed Jenson was not amusement. When Lewis passed the line with a pole he did not look happy at all.

        He has also alluded in interviews that McLaren is run by owners that control the board and that he(Martin) carries out what they say he should do. He cannot decide for himself major actions. McLaren is out to make money for the owners.

        They probably thought they could get Lewis for cheap and realised too late that they’d botched it. What might look like a saving for a few million $ a year by playing hardball (times are bad, you cannot earn the same as Jenson) ended up in tears.

        Lewis outright pace is something you cannot buy for money.

      14. Iker Gernika says:

        You are right, we all know that Alonso tested the aero, designed, developed, produced, copied the Ferrari and engineered that McLaren.

      15. ida says:


        You really believe Ron Dennis didnt know about having access to the blueprints for the 2007 Ferrari???…..Only Alonso, De La Rosa and a few engineers knew about this….”FANTASY”

      16. maple56 says:

        Schu will be back at Ferrari for a proper send-off to a fantastic career in F1 and as a tribute to the resurgence of Ferrari under his leadership. Massa will find his way to Sauber.

      17. gudien says:

        There will be no proper send-off for ‘the Cobbler’ at Ferrari as they too have had quite enough of his brand of loyalty. Remember Michael was to be an ambassador at large for Ferrari and instead turned his back on them and went to rival Mercedes.

        Now they would want him back?

      18. Nathan Jones says:

        Some people, like yourself, will say forever that he left for the money, even as we hear that the packages that were on offer were very similar. McL seem confident that they offered a very large sum to Lewis and they didn’t miss out on price. But even so, there will always be some that say he did it for a pay rise.

        As for supporting the disloyal driver, forget that Lewis did six seasons with them, he’s still a creep for leaving. Better that they should have supported the driver that, when he couldn’t get his way, showed his true colours by throwing the entire team under the FIA bus. Great guy, much nicer than Lew, right? Nice guy, despite Crash-gate – but that’s tiny in comparison to Lie-gate right? Lie-gate was far worse than deliberately crashing to influence the race, let’s roll that out instead.

      19. Robert says:

        If Hamilton flops next year with Mercedes, what will that really tell us? Not much.

        I’ve read a great article that points out how Mercedes may be positioned very well for the new regs coming into effect in 2014, and that may have been part of the driving force for Lewis to begin a new chapter (in his racing career) with Mercedes.

        And Schu at Ferrari? Yeah, because Ferrari have always opted for 2 “top” drivers! lol. If Scumi doesn’t want to retire, he’ll take Peter Sauber up on his offer. If he realises he doesn’t have the skill required to compete in Formula, he’ll retire.

      20. D@X says:

        Dude, the contract run out and in this world you have to take a risk and try something new. So are all Driver that change teams are traitors? I see this a lot in sport, an athlete has the right to change teams whether for Money or performance reasons..fair play to Lewis and its about time we saw what mercedes is capable of. Lewis and Nico raced each other in GP2 and Nico tore shreds out of Lewis and vice versa. They know each other from Karting and to see them together again is good. Button is worthy of his Mclaren seat, he has worked from the bottom up and as for Perez it will be interesting cause I honestly didn’t want him to end up in the driver retirement program at Ferrari…So now I expect even more from him.

      21. Dave C says:

        Couldnt agree with you more about Ron Dennis, basically racing Fernando was the biggest mistake he’s ever made.

    4. KGBVD says:

      What’s your rationale on that one?

      The Brackley boys have won more championships in the past decade than McLaren have.

      1. Lindsay says:

        And one of those teams looks like winning more in the near future…

    5. Wayne says:

      I’ve been really rather annoyed at all the sensationalist clap trap from some pundits about what a ‘huge risk’ Hamilton is taking and even more angry about claims he is moving purely for money. Brundle was ridiculous in saying he would be ‘mad’ for moving. Why? Where is the evidence and on what basis are we judging success?

      If Hamilton stays at McLaren he is sure to win races, but the WDC – I don’t think so. McLaren have won 1 wdc and no constructors in the past decadeand their mentality reduces their chances of their drivers winning WDCs. They have come up with some truly awful cars over the last five years – every bit as bad as the Merc. Who is to say they won’t next year? They rely on their development to drag them back into contention rather than open with a great car – especially whenever there is a savage change to the regs as there will be in 2014.

      Let’s look at this year, Lewis would be leading or very close to Alonso this year were it not for the car failures and pit-stop blunders. Lewis went away last year and came back as the driver everyone wanted and advised he should be in their infinite wisdom – calm, measured, patient and calculating (in the car) while still be blisteringly quick if not the quickest. So what happens? The team let him down hugely.

      Mercedes are offering him the might of a manaufacturer supported by possibly the best brain in the game – Brawn and a hugely strengthened team from top to toe. They will have a heads up on the engines for 2014 whereas McLaren become paying customers as of next year and their title sponsor (Vodaphone) is in doubt. Hopefully, Mercedes will also have the common bloody sense to back whichever driver opens a lead in the championship and maximise their chances of WDCs as well!

      No, rather than be all about the money I believe that Hamilton is playing the long game, looking to develop the team for a real title push in 2014 – and (as we all bloody would) maximising his earning potential in the mean time.

      For me this is the most mature and brave decision this lad has made in F1 to date – to have the confidence to accpet a msssive challenge and be man enough to live with his decisions.

      Congratulations Lewis and good luck, I’ll be wearing Mercedes Silver as of next year. We’d (Brits that is) all do well to get behind one of the most talented sports-people this country have ever produced and stop all the bull. He’s super talented and he’s British and that’s something I can be proud of.

      1. Wayne says:

        I’ll also point out that McLaren are a team who stared 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton and have now lost both – the two best drivers in F1 in my opinion.

      2. W Johnson says:

        And your point is????

      3. Wayne says:

        W Johnson, seriously?

      4. Wayne says:

        I’ll also point out that McLaren are a team who stared 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton and have now lost both – the two best drivers in F1 in my opinion..

      5. gudien says:

        Exactly. This poor management (sorry Ron but it’s true) is why Mercedes lost interest in McLaren years ago and decided to put their money behind a different Englishman.

      6. Peter C says:

        McL ‘lost’ Alonso? Do you think he left of his own accord?

        Oh dear.

      7. Wayne says:

        Peter C, keep your ‘oh dear’ thanks. Of course they lost him, why do you think they signed him for a joke? What does it matter how or why he left – fact is he did.

      8. JC says:

        That’s exactly what I’m thinking… Underachieving with a fast car since Lewis championship

      9. Monji says:

        Plus one +1

      10. Robert says:

        What McLaren had in 2007 was two immature brats who would never, ever work as teammates, despite however good they were as individual drivers. While Alonso has mellowed (easy when you are undisputed #1 at Ferrari), and Lewis has improved a bit, it is a loss of memory that makes anyone think that McLaren could have crafted a _team_ from those two as young spoilt brats. So it is hard to see that as a management failure, except perhaps the actual recruitment of them both together (a risk worth taking, perhaps).

        What is worth challenging is McLaren’s stated “let them race” policy of not having a designated #1 driver. On a philosophical level, I like it immensely…on a practical level, I do wonder how many WDCs it has cost them.

      11. Ebi Bozimo says:


      12. JustGuessing says:

        Excellent post.

        Though money may have player a significant part in his decision, Whitmarsh’s (and possibly McLaren’s) preference for Button is obvious to everyone which no amount of corporate PR can hide has really done the damage.

        I wish both drivers well in their new roles;

      13. Ed Bone says:

        Excellent points Wayne, I could not agree more, the only question in my mind is how soon Lewis will be able to integrate into the new outfit and how soon Mercedes will be able to deliver to Lewis a championship capable car.

        Why Lewis is not celebrated more comes down to some seriously negative media coverage, and the astonishing double standards applied to him compared to many other drivers on the grid. Deeply suspect in my view.

      14. gudien says:

        Hamilton certainly has jumped into the deep end by signing with a team as suspect as Mercedes Benz. Nico Rosberg won’t exactly be the pushover Jenson Button has been either.

        Lewis’ best days may well be behind him at 27 years of age.

      15. Nathan Jones says:

        Very deeply suspect, in my opinion. Not a conscious prejudice, by any means… Just a more natural affinity with other drivers.

      16. Nathan Jones says:

        Lewis is the unequivocal number one at Merc, isn’t he? It shouldn’t even be a question of getting to mid point of season to see who to support. Think Andrew Benson was saying that earlier.

      17. Doug says:

        Nope..check out the Beeb’s interview with Ross Brawn…equal status on the driver front.

      18. Paul says:

        Get real Wayne, I’ve no doubt Lewis will take performance to Mercedes but adding a few 10ths on a single lap won’t give you a world championship.
        Ross Brawn is a legend of the sport but his dominant success in the recent era – Ferrari and Brawn was built around unlimited worldwide support (cost and resources) from Rory Byrne etc and the Honda corporation. The recent evidence of his genius and influence has been much less convincing – the Brawn GP car fell behind in the development race from race 1 in 2009 and the design, engineering and performance of all his cars since have been average at best. He certainly has no Newey magic formula and the best engine in F1 surrounded by an average chassis won’t give you a world championship.

        As for Lewis any decision requiring his own intelligence and made away from his dad be it in the car or in life has been the wrong one and I’ve no doubt he’ll live up to form.

        Yes he’s British and yes he’s talented but he should have waited for Red Bull. Never mind and chin up.

      19. TG says:

        +1 and then some.

      20. Sonny says:

        I feel sorry for Perez. He talent will get wasted due to Jenson’s mind games and one-upmanship.

      21. Cliff says:

        Mind Games and one-upmanship? That comment is more of an insult to Lewis Hamilton rather than a slight on JB. I’m sure Lewis Hamilton can handle anything that’s thrown at him from JB. From the outside he appeared to have other issues, but who knows? Let’s just hope that McLaren can move forward and Lewis can re-discover his true form, because no matter what we say he’s still great to see when he’s at the top of his game.

      22. AndyC_F1 says:

        Erm sorry? Jensons mind games and one -upmanship? Aren’t you thinking of Paul McKenna?

        Could you explain further all of this evidence for the above please?

      23. Doug says:

        Mind Games?? JB? Where is your hard evidence (not just supposition) for this accusation?

        I think JB has played mind games on number weak minded LH fans who thought he’d get crushed by Lewis. But many LH fans like myself always thought JB would be a worthy rival in the team.

        I worry that McLaren without Lewis may be weaker, as I worry that Lewis without McLaren will also be less victorious.

      24. Kay says:

        To all three posters above, mind-games from Jenson like dissing Alonso as contender for 2012 from the start of this year before even the first race; saying Alonso does not deserve 2010 title due to Massa ‘gifting’ the German GP win; talk as if he manages McLaren saying HAM was wrong in the tweet-gate.. etc etc etc…….

      25. Quattro_T says:

        “Where is the evidence and on what basis are we judging success?”

        On exactly what bases are you so certain Mercedes will beat Mclaren in the long run (3-5 years)? What track record are you referring to? Basically you are SPECULATING that the mighty brain of Brawn will in some magical way turn the Mercedes team – the same team that BRAWN have bean managing for several totally fruitless years, years when team has gone nowhere – to a CHAMPIONSHIP (let alone race ) winning team!
        Mclaren? Well, apart from being among most successful team in F1 history, they have provided very competitive championship contending packages (2007, 2008, 2010 & 2012), and real life results (refer to the standings!). You cannot just erase the relatively hugh success Mclaren have had, with statements about pit-stop errors (which team is best at pit-stops today?) and such.
        Show tangable facts please regarding how Mercedes has better chanses to win titles than Mclaren, and do not build that reasoning on misstakes Mclaren has done becuase the misstakes of Mclaren does not make the Mercedes car go faster.

      26. Wayne says:

        What? I never said anythng about being certain. That’s the whole point. It’s not certain that he’d do better at McLaren either.

        I have no facts to offer you, not even James could give you facts one way or the other at this point.

        This site allows us to offer opinions.

      27. Quattro_T says:

        “This site allows us to offer opinions.”
        I very happy it does sir – very appreciated indeed!

        Maybe I express myself clumsyly and english is not my strongest language.
        My point was that, given what we known today, the “sensationalist clap trap from some pundits” makes sense. The move makes no sense if the guy truely (as he did say himself) thinks only about winning. Mclaren have long been and are today vastly more competitive than Merc and if you are rational you should stay there if what you value mostly is winning. So what is left as motive for still making the move is (1) money (2) speculation/hopes that Merc will beat Mclaren the coming 3 years or (3) something that only HAM and Merc knows, that transforms (2) from speculation to something more tangible…maybe he knows that Mclaren will not have a (Merc) competitive engine in 2014 (?) or something else…Peace!

      28. Leali says:

        Completely agree mate, I think Hami is the taking the HUGE gamble on joining Mercedes. Shumi might be old but he was main driver in developing the car but even with shShumi’s input and Ross brains there is something fundamentaly wrong with the car, each year they try to make better car btu we all have seen it didnt translate into on track perfomance. Wonder what perfomance car had in first few races when Shumi had all those DNF’s (only one of his own doing) and it will be interesting to see how Rosberg is going to feel once he looses his preferential treatment unlike last 3 seasons where they just used SHumi as a test dumy(Brawn is realy sneaky englishman). I hope I’m wrong but Hami is likely to end up like Villeneuve chasing the money without considering the effect can that have on oyur future by ignoring the recent history of Mercedes after all Mercedes hasn made any success in since come back and all they have to show is great engine but no car to match so they fooled and tarnished Shumi and they going to destroy Hami hope I’m wrong but all signs are there doubt anything will change…

      29. Dave C says:

        Don’t forget this Mercedes team in Brackley is the same BAR team Villeneuve joined to ruin his career, I remember those 2 having simlar course in their careers.

      30. Jimbob says:

        Sorry Wayne but your statement to the effect of McLaren building some awful cars in the last 5 years is well wide of the mark. Come on now, only in ’09 did they not produce a front running car that could win races throughout the season.

        Merc haven’t built a decent car at all. The Brackley squad have built two decent cars in the last 8 years… ’04 and ’09. 2004 they’d have won the WDC if the Ferrari wasn’t so utterly dominant and ’09 they had ALL of ’08 to develop.

        I’m completely unbiased about any team\driver, I just love motorsport and I am telling you that McLaren have built genuine contenders nearly every year Lewis has been there – Some team blunders yeah but look at their pit stops now! If Lewis had dominated Button as Vettel has done to Webber and Alonso has done to Massa your boy wonder would be at least a 3 time world champ by now.

        The fact is that although he’s super fast, until this season he’s been inconsistent – not in terms of speed but in terms of aggression, setup and strategy. That’s his doing.

        There is no evidence anywhere to suggest that Mercedes is a better place to be than McLaren going forward.

        I don’t necessarily think he’s done this for money but that will definitely be high on agenda for his management – How much influence they have we don’t know but you can be sure that they only care about the money and the Hamilton brand.

        People will argue that black is white till they’re blue in the face when it comes to their faves, it seems that in F1 circles taking an objective view of a season\race\incident\car\team is practically impossible.

      31. Wayne says:

        The car has never been consistently the best, not even this Year, throughout a season. It has usually started the year off the pace.

        And regardless whose fault it is they have not won the wcc once and have a single wdc in over ten years. Why not move?

      32. Jimbob says:

        Wayne, the cars haven’t been consistently the best but if you look at the full picture they have been able to win at least 60% of the races since he joined and that’s an undisputable fact. There were races last year where the McLaren definitely had the pace to win… Vettel did not run away with it like people thought.

        And why not move? Well, he needs to man up and see that if he’d driven in 2007, 2010 & 2011 like he has so far this year he’d likely be a 4 time world champ.

        Operationally McLaren have screwed up some… fine. But you’re talking about 10-20 seconds in a race for a few races. Merc lose that to McLaren every race before the first round of stops practically every time and have done since the beginning of 2010.

        Besides, McLaren have really sorted themselves out operationally so that’s no longer an issue.

        Here’s the gamble… He’s leaving a team who will almost definitely produce a challenger year in, year out to go to a team who haven’t yet produced a challenger at all bar a one off in 2009 and that was only because they spent a full year developing. Even then they were slow come the end of the season.

        For a man who says his only priority is winning races this is complete and utter stupidity.

      33. **Paul** says:

        I concur Jimbob. Over the past 5 seasons in F1 there is a strong argument that McLaren have done a better job car wise than any other team in the sport. They had a dip in 2009 yes, but it was half a season, they then got things together and had a very decent car.

        Mercedes is a huge risk for Lewis. Lets look at the history of that team…. Mercedes, previously Brawn GP, previously Honda, previously BAR. In all that time (which probably works out at about 15 years?) They’ve built one championship winning car, and for those of us who watched all those seasons, I’ll tell you for free Wayne; The Honda only won a race because of mechanical failures in front, it was never the best car. The Brawn had a huge development advantage (which didn’t last more than about 8 races because the likes of McLaren caught up) and the Merc of Rosberg winning in China was down to double DRS – another small innovation that didn’t last.

        Whilst I agree the McLaren car develops more over a season in F1 I’d like to point out that Lewis had the tools to win the WDC in 2007 (arguably the best car), 2008 (the best car that year) and 2010 (the RBR kept breaking down, but LH kept making driver errors).

        Mercedes lack consistent pace, they have trouble with rear tyre wear, they now have a driver who eats tyres and isn’t especially renowned for development skills. It doesn’t take 25 years plus watching the sport to tell you that this isn’t going to be an easy job for Lewis. Still you support your driver, and I hope he does something in a lesser car and proves he can do what Alonso, Vettel, Button, Schumacher, Senna etc have all proven in the past – good drivers still shine in rubbish cars.

      34. ian says:

        Wayne – one of the most mature and well judged comments I have read on this thread. I was thinking of shunning this charade of a thread.

        McLaren have underperformed for some considerable time and with Whitmarsh at the helm this is not going to change.

        Kudos to Hamilton for attempting to break out of this regime.
        A huge gamble – this alone shows the true standing of the man that he is prepared to put his whole career on the line. He has recognised the limitations of staying with McLaren.

        Good luck but by no means an easy ride.

    6. Dean Cassady says:

      I agree. I think Perez is going to be dominant at McLaren, and if McLaren can stay ahead in the development race, or even keep close, then Perez could take it all.
      Ultimately, if one of the two parties isn’t totally happy, then such a team-driver relationship is best changed. Clearly Lewis, for what ever reason, thinks he will advance himself, in the ways he wants to advance, better at Mercedes. And especially after the telemetry tweet, McLaren were starting to be a little bit unhappy, as well.

      1. Kay says:

        I don’t see Perez going to dominate, at least not the first season, but I do look forward to seeing that and hope he’ll make me wrong :D :D

  2. Moreharm says:

    Amidst the myriad reports on the story, I’ve been eagerly waiting for JA’s account.

    Well written.

    1. F1Fan says:

      I find the headline a bit problematic. Over the years we have seen drivers switch teams. Yet, those changes were never characterized as the driver “turning his back” on his former team.

      The headline has an unnecessary negative slant. I am sorry to see Hamilton leave McLaren, but I certainly think he is entitled to make his own decision and is in the best position to determine what is right for him, certainly in a better position than anyone else looking in on it.

      In some ways I can understand Hamilton wanting a change. Over the last few years, one got the impression that the chemistry in the team had changed.

      The move allows Hamilton to explore what he can do on a team desperately in need of a catalyst to make the next step, and for the first time in a long time, it puts McLaren in a position of having to appreciate all that Hamilton contributed to the team.

      1. Wayne says:

        I kind of agree about the headline but I think it’s a reference to the fact that he ‘grew up’ with the team and so it’s a bit more emotionally charged than normal.

      2. James Clayton says:

        I agree. Nothing wrong with the article at all, but the headline does seem a little off.

      3. Kris says:

        Fully agree. I tried to post about this and the message was either lost due to the technical problems currently being experienced or my post was censored.

        I thought the headline was a little sensationalist and over dramatic. It’s a parting of the ways. McLaren will say officially that they wanted Hamilton to stay, but we also heard from insiders that they were unhappy with him and wanted him to leave. What’s more, they made mistakes that undermined his championship bid.

        I see it is a parting of the ways, not one party turning their back on the other. The relationship, while better some weeks than others, was strained to the point where a parting made the most sense, at least for Hamilton.

      4. James Allen says:

        But it was accurate…!

      5. Anant Deboor says:


        I frankly cannot stand Hamilton, but I think it is courageous of him to cut the cord. It was a very complex relationship he was having there and he clearly wanted to simplify life and make a fresh start. I fully support his decision.

        I think the young man wants to find his own space and figure out his own life a bit. How can we say his is ‘turning his back’. A tad harsh methinks.

      6. David says:

        I agree the headline is negative. It could be reversed, McLaren turn their back on Hamilton, last driver to win them a title, by offering a pay cut or out. How does that read?

        Altogether though, both should be happy. The relationship looks to have soured and the team seemed to have more affinity with a more amenable Button than their fastest driver. Their choice. Perez will be a quicker version of Button, I feel, good for McLaren to develop a car in similar directions, bad when they need someone – basically just Hamilton or Alonso available – who can drag any kind of car higher up the grid when it’s way off the mark.

      7. Joel says:

        Absolutely agree. McLaren and Lewis are meant to be together. This break-up would be more emotional to Lewis than to McLaren. The headline is unfair…

      8. gudien says:

        Lewis Hamilton and his girl friend of several years Nicole were meant to be together as well but look what’s happened.

      9. Ebi Bozimo says:

        James has been casually negative or at best indifferent about Hamilton for long so there are no surprises in the headline. Sergio has had 2 podiums as a young driver with Sauber and jumps from them just when it seems their car appears to be on the rise but there’s no suggestion that he’s “turning his back on the team that has got him this far in F1″.

        Predictably, James will chime in that he ‘calls them like he sees them’.

        That’s how Button would luck into a win by simply going against the grain during another almost forgettable performance and we’d see rhapsodic reports about him “thinking intelligently on his feet during the race”.

        When Hamilton got pole, started DEAD LAST and still beat the ‘tyre whisperer’, there was nary a mention of the superlative quality of that performance OR the fact that he’d managed his tyres supremely.

        I’m ecstatic that Hamilton is leaving Mclaren; with Martin Whitmarsh at the helm, that team is in the tank or headed there fast. He might consider returning to Mclaren many years later when Whitmarsh is deservedly shown the door.

      10. James Allen says:

        I’ve no idea what you mean by this.

        If you don’t like the balanced way we cover stories don’t bother reading them. There are plenty of other sites out there that take sides. Read one of those instead

      11. Hal says:

        James a bit defensive I think. Everyone is biased to some degree. So what?

        I come here to read James’ opinion (or more correctly his interpretation of the facts around the story). By no means do I always agree with his view though but almost always interesting.

      12. Arya says:

        I am with James on this. It is nothing but sheer stupidity to compare the Perez-Sauber and Lewis-Mclaren situation. Had someone compared Perez-Ferrari with Mclaren-Lewis, I could understand. Peter Sauber doesn’t fund or facilitate any young driver through any official programs. Neither has Sauber brought Checko up as a racer. If anything, they just facilitate their long term engine suppliers with giving their academy drivers a chance. If it is hard for someone to take fact for Lewis/any other driver of their liking, those guys should check through sites which endorse their view.

      13. Wayne says:

        Dear God you should go read some of the rubbish on sites like PF1 (SKY related of course) – you’ll really appreciate this website then!

        While all other pundits have been saying that Hamilton would be ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’ to move or have hinted at it being primarily money related – this site has just offered open and honest reporting, sometimes backed by James’ opinion. Sometimes I think James does not share his opinion enough!

      14. gudien says:

        I personally believe James Allen does an excellent job presenting what is a complex subject; Formula One.

        I too am quite happy Lewis has finally ended the soap opera and decided to move on from my favorite team, McLaren. The ‘team’ have not deserved the continuous drumbeat of negative comments from their self proclaimed #1 driver over bad pit work in the past, texting messages, etc., etc.

      15. Erik says:

        Come on mate, you ask for a level playing field but look at the bias in your own comments. I don’t always agree with how James sees it sometimes either but he does offer a quality product that were privileged enough to contribute to.

        Sorry to burst your bubble but not everyone rates Hamilton as an overall package. Fast yes but you also need to be a grownup when you get several millions from your employer. And that’s the key word – employer – Lewis somewhere forgot that McLaren was that, which I’m sure Whitmarsh and the like did not appreciate.

      16. Aaron James says:

        Can I just state that James, as a talented and informed commentator is one of the best in the business? I think he knows a little more about journalism then you do. This website and Joe Sawards are the best out there- keep it up JA.

      17. Leali says:

        If you don’t like what you read then don’t read, but on this site you will find more info and insight in one read then at other copy paste sites that just copy text without any knowledge of f1, EVERYONE are entitled to have opinion or to be biased to something or someone they like or don’t like. Again what James write is more valuable than bunch of other writers put together.

      18. Vinola says:

        “When Hamilton got pole, started DEAD LAST and still beat the ‘tyre whisperer’, there was nary a mention of the superlative quality of that performance OR the fact that he’d managed his tyres supremely.”


        I couldn’t agree more with your posting.

      19. Vinola says:

        I like this website.

        Its my favorite f1 blog site, by a mile.

        JA writes fluidly with great insight into a myriad of complex issues in F1.

        He does so with gusto and nuance. Witness the recent article on the future of F1 drivers.

        I can also without any equivocation that he constantly promotes Jenson, often to the detriment of Lewis.

        He disagrees, and that’s OK. Just read the archived articles here- much of what I write here is about this.

        So, he may think we are all wrong, but there IS a perception amongst a fair number of fans of this website that is concordant with what I’ve written here.

        Maybe, there are inside stuff about Lewis that he’d rather not share, but his insistence on a fair and balanced write up on issues related to Lewis is just not the case.

      20. James Allen says:

        Absolute nonsense.

        Very disappointing

      21. Mazirian says:

        This is one of the least biased F1 sites that I know of. I think you are way out of line.

        Of course it’s a special situation when Hamilton leaves McLaren – he grew with them, has been with them for a long time and they backed him over Alonso. Hardly the same situation as Perez.

      22. Kay says:

        James has his own opinions, we readers have our own, we are entitled to all our opinions, no? :D

      23. Lojen says:

        Yeah I also agree. There is a suggestion of disloyalty in the headline that I don’t think is appropriate, but maybe James knows better.

        All the same, it’s a brave move by Hamilton that I hope is based on a genuine belief that Merc will deliver a race/championship winning car and not just money.

        I hope the 2013 Merc will be competitive but like many others, believe 2014 will be the critical year for the Hamilton/Merc partnership.

      24. Ebi Bozimo says:

        I have not said that JA is not an excellent writer. He is. No ifs or buts, which is why I visit the site frequently during the F1 season. However, I recall an earlier article where he said Mclaren were ‘tired of “Life with the Hamiltons” or words to that effect.

        In the eyes of all who have risen to his ‘defense’, does that seem at all fair, considering what ‘Life at the Mclaren Factory’ must have been like?

        Hamilton is FAR FROM PERFECT but in a sport measured in thousands of seconds, he’s shown immense talent, skill and a consistent ability to deliver under the spotlight.

        As long as this website is publicly available on the World Wide Web and its publisher – the multi-talented James Allen – doesn’t devise a way of preventing me from visiting it, I choose not to ‘sod off’ as he’s tacitly requested/suggested. I remain a reader of his generally fine commentaries on a sport I love and occasionally contribute my thoughts which are as valid as those of other readers.

      25. AlexD says:

        I think that Vettel and Hamilton are special cases. You would not know any of them if not for their teams.

        McLaren existed long before Hamilton and will exist after him…they invested a lot of money in him, they have been supporting him when he had a lot of personal struggles.

        He is a great driver, but really….there are many great guys out there and we do not know them simply because they did not have McLaren to trust and invest.

      26. Hal says:

        With that comment…I think you are the ‘special case’.

      27. Nathan Jones says:

        That comment’s just from another planet. No doubt you think McL trained the talent into him? Probably didn’t have a grain of talent himself? Ron Dennis took him on as a charity case?

        Teams support all drivers, just as McL supported Jenson when he went crap earlier this season.

        If there are so many other great young guys out there how come there aren’t tons of drivers, from the carefully selected ranks of new drivers, making anywhere near the impression that Lewis made. Don’t say that it’s because they weren’t given the equipment that Lewis was because neither was Schumacher, he had that awful 7up Jordan, and you could see from his first ever quali lap that he was something special.

      28. Andrew M says:

        Yes, because I don’t think anyone had heard of Renault or Ferrari before Alonso drove for them.

      29. KRB says:

        Very silly comment. Hamilton was already a karting champion before Ron signed him to McLaren’s development program. It was Ron making an educated bet on a potential future driver.

        Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso are regarded as the best three drivers on the grid b/c they are the best combinations of speed, control, technical know-how, and racecraft.

        F1 is about speed first of all, and you can’t teach that.

      30. Ed Bone says:

        James says his headline was accurate? It was actually his judgement on Hamiltons move and typically mischeivious.

        Here’s some alternatives:-

        Hamilton spreads his wings after whole career at McLaren.

        Mercedes steal Lewis from Mclaren with bigger bucks and a bolder vision for success.

        Lewis’s brave switch to the Silver Arrows paves the way for sensational driver pairings at old team and new.

        McLaren fail to contain maturing Hamilton as he takes measured gamble with Mercedes.

        Media unable to forgive Hamilton as he takes his future into his own hands.


      31. Nathan Jones says:

        How about:

        Lewis dares to runs away from Massa Dennis and overseer, Boss Whitmarsh

        (Not aimed at our host, but wider F1 media)

      32. Peter Freeman says:

        The headline is 100% accurate and 100% true. Right now McLaren are the top of the field and he signs for another team.

        Saying ‘Earthquake opens door for development’ is not the same as ‘Earthquake destroys city’ but it is another perspective.

        James has said it accurately. The truth is often uncomfortable, think about it.

      33. Elie says:

        Yeah agree on the headline

      34. F1fanSince11 says:


        I questioned it but it’s completely fair accurate and true.

        Would Hamilton have made it to where he is without Mclaren who he’s been with since the age of 12? What if at 14 Hamilton had no sponsers and his family couldn’t afford for him to race, would he have been able to get into F1?

        Definitely not.

        Hamilton is a great driver but without practice, experience and support he’d be worse at racing then anyone on the F1 grid. He is a natural talent who deserves to be in F1, he may have been able to get into F1 with another team but he didn’t. Mclaren made him a champion in F1 and now he’s turned his back on the team.

        Anyway I hope this change produces better and more interesting racing next year (and this year is top notch imo.)

      35. Elie says:

        Excuse me ! His contract expired -he was offered a pay cut initially by Mclaren- He looked elsewhere ( as any person would) was then was offered another deal with another team.!! He Turned His Back on NO-ONE!
        Mclaren turned their back on him !! -probably rightly so after tweet gate- it was always going to be “the cards”. Mclaren are so confident in Jenson Button lets how good he goes in the best car in field from now on. Shall we continue to hear his wining all through 2013 ” I have no grip ” .. ” there something wrong with the balance” .. Good luck to Sergio I hope he shows out that clown.
        So yes the headline was definitely a little tongue in cheek Mr Allen – spicing up this debate !!!

    2. MISTER says:

      Same here. Read the news on BBC but was refreshing this page every 10 min :)

    3. ian says:

      What !

      Taking the credit for Eddie Jordan !

  3. Kieran McGrady says:

    How do you think Schumacher will handle this? I doubt he likes being forced into retirement. I don’t know how realistic it is but I could imagine him replacing Massa at Ferrari, completing his final season there, with Ferrari hoping to get Vettel in 2014.

    As for Hamilton it was probably the right move, he didn’t seem happy with McLaren anymore. The pairing of Button and Perez should be an exciting one and sets McLaren up nicely for the future.

    1. Mart says:

      What eoulf Schumacher gain with a move to Ferrari?
      His team from 1996 – 2006 is long gona (brawn, costa, martinelli, todt etc)

      Also Ferrari already has an excellent World Champion behind the wheel and I doubt Schumacher would even possibly be nothing less then no. 1 on his old team. At least this is probably excpected from him and he doesn’t accept less himself.

      If Ferrari would replace Massa next uear then for me Kovalainen or maybe Alguersuari would be options but not Schumacher.

      I think the next races will be the last ones for MSC

    2. Kay says:

      Not exactly fun to be pushed into retirement, and you think MSC would find it fun to be pushed into a 3rd retirement at Ferrari at the end of 2013?!?? o_O lol…………..

  4. Luke DLP says:

    Great news for F1 ensuring Mercedes remain in the sport for a while longer. Will be a real test for Lewis though as things will be a lot more serious at Mercedes where he isn’t ‘part of the family’ and will inevitably have to answer to the board in Stuttgart if things don’t work out. What’s the deal with Perez though?
    As part of the Ferrari driver academy surely a complicated release of some sort has to be obtained to send him off to work for Ferrari’s arch-nemesis?
    Overall a good result for McLaren and a fresh start for all concerned. Can’t wait to see how Perez goes there – could be a serious contender in the coming years.

    1. Wayne says:

      Luke, I could not agreew ith you opening line more – More than anything this IS great news for F1 and F1 fans everywhere – CHANGE!

    2. Wayne says:

      Luke, I could not agreew ith you opening line more – More than anything this IS great news for F1 and F1 fans everywhere – CHANGE!!

    3. Alex says:

      I wonder how disappointed Ferrari really are to ‘lose’ Perez. If you believe the ‘conspiracy theory’ that Vettel is Ferrari bound in 2014 then perhaps it suited Ferrari to let people think Perez might be set to join the team to deflect attention from Vettel.

      1. Kay says:

        Er… I’d imagine Ferrari are over the moon?

        How is Perez going to McLaren means Ferrari is losing Perez??! Ferrari didn’t lose Perez. With Perez going to McLaren, possibly for 2-3 years, that’d only do their protege good by learning the skills and polish up his skills in driving a top-end F1 car. By the time Perez is done with McLaren, he’d be ready for Ferrari, and that’s exactly what LdM wants, a top driver (2nd to Vettel or not, that’s another matter, not suggesting Perez would be no.1 here, hell even Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 is only speculation at the moment).

        And with Perez possibly coming back to Ferrari in 2014 / 2015 or whenever, he’d come with whole load of McLaren information in how they operate, etc etc… that’d only do Ferrari good.

  5. Irish con says:

    If Ferrari or Renault end up making a brilliant engine in 2014 and is the best then Lewis is going to end up looking foolish. It’s a gamble but time will tell if its a good one or not. Rosberg is going to be the whipping boy now. Looks like its either Massa or di Resta for Ferrari now but think Ferrari will keep Massa.

    James are we going to go through this all again with Seb to Ferrari in 2014. And with webber probably near retirement reb bull could end up seriously short of a top line f1 driver In the not to distant future.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      If you think back over the years, Mercedes, or rather Ilmor, designed the best engine of 1998-1999, but since Mario Illien left that concern, Mercedes needed the 18,000RPM limit put in place to get reliable engines.

      1991 to 1997, Renault dominated.
      2000 to 2004, Ferrari dominated.
      You’d say that between 2005 and 2006 Ferrari and Renault were head to head.

    2. Andrew M says:

      “If Ferrari or Renault end up making a brilliant engine in 2014 and is the best then Lewis is going to end up looking foolish.”

      How do you work that out? There isn’t an opening at a team that uses those engines. The only way it could appear foolish is if McLaren win the title through Button or Perez.

      1. Irish con says:

        Merc have sold this to Lewis that in 2014 they will be competitive and start winning. But if a Ferrari or Renault powered team dominates it would mean that next year in the midfield with merc would of been wasted instead of at the front with mclaren.

      2. Andrew M says:

        That assumes that Mercedes will be in the midfield next year and McLaren will remain at the front. And to be honest if “at the front” means “distant fourth in the world championship despite driving arguably your best season in F1″ that’s not as big a loss as you’re making out.

      3. Elie says:

        All this assumes is that Lewis is happy at Mclaren and clearly he is NOT. It’s not just about having the best car. There’s been a lot of politics going on in Mclaren an I reckon that is a large part of why he is leaving and wanting a fresh change. Make no mistake it will not be easier at Mercedes but recently they have the best engines and they now have the best technical people in that team. Even if Ross Brawn retires ( and I believe that’s what he’s been building to). They will be in a good position. I also believe its just something very minor in the current car (prob DDRS ) that’s upsetting the balance on tyres. Once they sort this that car will be winning real quickly !

      4. Irish con says:

        Elie Lewis said at the Italian gp I just want to win. Now there is no doubt that alonso or vettel would not move to Mercedes anytime soon to win and jenson left them 3 years ago because he felt McLaren was better place to be to win. So Lewis has made a big gamble. I agree Lewis isn’t happy but I think he should of stayed at McLaren and tried to get into a redbull for 2014. I don’t see red bull being slow anytime soon. But if the merc adventure turns out to successful good luck to him. But the current car is a long way from winning no matter who is driving it.

      5. Robert says:

        JB didn’t leave Mercedes on his own accord – he was pushed out to make way for Shumi’s “comeback”. It was the best thing that could have happened for JB, but hasn’t worked well for Mercedes or Schumacher.

      6. Elie says:

        I’m sure Lewis knows its a gamble and the standard line is “we want to win” that goes for every driver and every team.
        But I’m certain that relationship was becoming increasingly untenable for both parties. Any team is better in those circumstances.i think in time people we will hear the rubbish that goes on at Mclaren ( just like any other big team) . I could “smell” this coming even last year and I was as certain as any arm chair person could be by Monza and I reckon I was the first bloke that said it would happen. I also said that if Ferrari don’t want Perez then Mclaren should grab him quick- this was back in July. A lot of people were also thinking what Fernando said in Monza- praising Lewis and saying “other drivers only win when the car is perfect” was referring to Sebastian when in fact he was referring to Jenson.
        I used to love Mclaren- head & shoulders above any team but since they took on Jenson Button and the ass kissing going on between him & Whitmarsh- I don’t care what happens. I just hope that Perez gets a fair go because if he’s not fully integrated into the team his career can take a wrong turn.
        As for Mercedes I don’t think it will take much to improve the balance when the DDRS system is removed and they work on conventional set up. I think they will be fighting for podium immefiately next year.( both drivers)Also the advantage of the engine supplier in 2014 should give them a slight advantage.

      7. Nathan Jones says:

        If there is no doubt that Alonso and Vettel would not leave McL, given the same position, why exactly did Alonso leave McL and move to a crappy Renault outfit?

        Extenuating political factors? Well, I’m sure there is a fair few of those in Lewis’s case too.

    3. Craig in Sungapore says:

      I’m quite certain that if Vettel goes to Ferrari in 2014 then Kimi will replace him at Red Bull.

      What I’d like to see now is Lewis to win the WDC and take the number 1 back to Ross Brawn that Jensen took to Macca.

      1. Kay says:

        +1, Craig. :)

  6. darth_patate says:

    WoW…Triple WOW actually

    1- Congrats to James for his piece …I think we can all chip in and offer you a nice “you read it here first !” T shirt :)

    2-wow/Ouch for schumi. Not really the second carrer he was hoping for I would bet. I really disliked his winning(= boring) years at ferrari but I kind of feel sorry for him to be kicked out like that (at least he should have made it look it ws his decision to retire…here it seems Mercedes just want to cut their losses…otherwise they would have retained him and tried to switch Nico with Mcl)

    3-wow/ouch for Ferrari. I think they will regret losing Sergio Perez as soon as next year when he will score 50% more points than Massa and why not Beat Fernando if the Mclaren car is very good. At the very least we will have a very good benchmark in Jenson Button !

    1. Harry says:

      Eddie Jordan / BBC broke this story first. Credit where credit’s due.

      1. ian says:

        I`ve been wondering why no-one else has noticed this.
        Eddie Jordan was pilloried by many “informed” people that he was talking out of his behind.

        Why does he not now receive his just plaudits ?

      2. Serrated_Edge says:

        Agree, Eddie gets a lot of stick but he was proved to be 100% correct with his exclusive

      3. Mazirian says:

        James actually gave him credit in the original article.

      4. ian says:

        James Allen is claiming it is his exclusive.

      5. James Allen says:

        No that is not accurate

        EJ broke the story that HAM was close to a deal the week before Monza. That was the exclusive – I wrote a story after Monza based on a tip off that he was indeed going there

    2. Baghetti says:

      Not so sure about the ouch for Ferrari: granted that no longer being able to simply call upon Perez is their loss, but at the same time Alonso will see (i) his strongest opponent drive in a not so strong car and (ii) a not so experienced opponent drive in what might continue to be the strongest car…

      So actually I think that Alonso is dancing right now!

      1. darth_patate says:

        I 100% agree with you if you look at it from alonso point of view :)

        (unless a drop in Lewis motivation this year helps vettel wins…i am so afraid 2012 will trun like 2010 at the current rate of performance between Fernando and Vettel )

      2. Andrew M says:

        I think Lewis will remain motivated to win as many races as possible this year, if nothing else he’ll want to leave McLaren on a high, pointing out that he did everything he could to win the title.

        Having said that, I think he’s too far back to win the title now, I think it’s a straight fight between Vettel and Alonso.

      3. Dino says:

        Caro Baghetti,

        It is exactly what I thought from the moment I knew about that move.



      4. James Clayton says:

        Why is everybody so sure Mercedes is going to be a weak car next year?

      5. Kay says:

        I wonder the same actually.

        Lotus or Renault or Benetton or whatever you wanna call them were losers before this year. Now they are potential winners / contenders for WDC everyone forgot how crap they were in 2008/09.

        Never say never in F1 lol.

    3. Sossoliso says:

      ferrari are not losing Perez. They will have him once he has finished his Education at Mclaren.

      1. Curro says:

        Not sure about that. Ferrari let Kimi slip in 2001 so he spent his best years at McLaren (no titles) and was only thanks to Ron Dennis’ incompetence that he won the title in 2007 for them.

      2. kfzmeister says:

        ” thanks to Ron Dennis’ incompetence that he won the title in 2007 for them.”

        Love it!

      3. Brace says:

        ” thanks to Ron Dennis’ incompetence that he won the title in 2007 for them.”

        Yup, sad but true.

        I wonder what all of those Kimi’s fans make of that? :)

      4. Andrew M says:

        Kind of ironic that McLaren could only deliver a title to Kimi after he left the team :D

      5. Kay says:

        Andy M, the least McLaren could do for Kimi :D :D :D :D :D LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    4. KGBVD says:

      Agreed on the 3rd pt in particular.

      Luci di must be kicking himself in the culo now.

      It almost makes me think that he never really made a play for Perez because his knows that it would have only been for one year. Because he knows that in 2014, Vettel is arriving. SHOCK!

    5. MISTER says:

      I’m not sure on the 3rd WOW.
      Ferrari must’ve has Perez under some sort of contract since he was in their academy programme.
      This means Ferrari released Perez in some form, and they know what they are doing. They have their reasons and their options.

      I would love to see Schumi back at Ferrari for 1 year or more. I would hate to see Vettel at Ferrari in 2014 or later. Ferrari don’t need Vettel as long as they have Alonso.
      Schumi or Massa at Ferrari..unless Kovalainen managed to strike a deal.

      Jaime Alguersuari will drive for Sauber, Williams or Caterham next year.

    6. Drew Gardner says:

      With reference to darth_patate comment ‘you heard it here first’ well not quite.

      All respect to James Allen but Eddie Jordan was the man on this one- he broke the news on 5th September and received so much unfair criticism for a story he got 100 percent right.

      Planet F1 did not even report the story for some time after.

      As for Lewis’s move? I wish him all the very best, he is a very exciting driver to watch even if a little flawed over the past couple of seasons.

      I only hope that the decision for his move was based around a better environment where he can win at least one more world championship and not driven by XIX management to make a killing on the deal and all the image rights.

      Whatever the rights or wrongs of the move I hope for his sake that the motivation was his and not his managements.

      Whenever I have done something just for the money it has a tendency to go wrong, when inspired by passion it all just seems to flow.

      1. James Allen says:

        Eddie broke a story that Hamilton was close to a deal with Merc and we analysed it, looking at pros and cons

        After a heads up that some kind of agreement had been made in Monza, pending Mercedes board sign off for the new Concorde agreement, we ran a story on the Tuesday after Monza saying Hamilton was going to Mercedes.

      2. xrr says:

        I think on this one James put his hand under the stone and wrote something like an early confirmation, before what he wrote it was just another rumour.

      3. ian says:

        Exactly, it was Eddie Jordan`s story.

        He went out on a limb and suffered some opprobrium.

        Where is the due credit to E.J. (not a supporter)

      4. Ashley Scott says:

        Actually, I seem to recall the conspiracy started by one of the guys posting the conspiracy theory that Lewis acted subdued and Ross Brawn looked like the cat who got all the cream at Monza… Then James got all excited and posted his theorem LOL. So credit where it is due… a JA reader/poster scooped it and JAF1 ran with it :P

      5. James Allen says:

        Not quite,

        I got a strong steer in Monza that something had been agreed between Hamilton and Mercedes. I checked it out, ran it on the Tuesday. It didn’t come from a reader!

      6. Morten says:


        just wanted to say it’s cool you’re involved in your own forum. Makes me want to go here rather than elsewhere.

        Great work!

      7. James Allen says:

        Cool! Have a good weekend

    7. Quattro_T says:

      add this one
      4-wow/ouch for HAM: Now that HAM is not “at his team” anymore, he will have to start getting used to regulary being beaten by his team mate – a driver I believe is underestimated. Of course I am sure the $$$ may compensate for that a little.

      1. CHIUNDA says:

        :D I thought McLaren was Button’s team from since Whitmarsh hired him?

      2. Elie says:

        Wow you mean the same team mate that is currently being beaten by his current 43 y/o team mate.Wow your a genius.

      3. Quattro_T says:

        Well yes, that team mate – and I believe your “observation” means nothing for next year. Few “details” for you to remember:
        - Nico was kicking the 43 y/o ass for long time (remember?) – it is only recently that things has started getting “more even” if you can say so.
        - Nico has 50 points more than SCH this years and always finished higher than his current team mate.
        - HAMs was beaten by his current team in 2011 season and looking over all three years Button and (the very over-estimated) HAM have been veery closly matched. I think HAM fans live in denial refusing to look at the standings to not see.

      4. Elie says:

        & You think it’s ok for an “under rated” great driver to be beaten or matched by a 43 y/o ex retired champ..Your a w/ker!

      5. Nathan Jones says:

        Is that the same team mate that Hamilton beat ten bells out of the last time they were driving for the same outfit? Haha. The driver that can barely outperform a guy that has lost so much touch through his age that it’s all he can do to avoid habitually rear-ending mid/back-marker cars? Brilliant.

        When Alex Wurz tweeted one driver was now now pooing himself, I think he meant Rosberg.

        If anyone’s deluded, it’s ….

      6. Quattro_T says:

        SCH has never finished the season ahead of ROS in the standing, also this year.

        People were calling BUT crazy for joining Mclaren, as they “judged” he would get blowen away. BUT has since then matched HAM and also beaten him 2011.

        Few simple facts…now how is deluded?

      7. Nathan Jones says:

        For your first point, that was why I said “barely outperformed”, as opposed to “outperformed by”. It’s called use of language.

        And as for Button vs Lewis, I think we’ve seen this year the real reality of that match-up. Had McL not corn-holed Lewis over and over again with awful pit stops, fuelling errors and unreliability, Button would be an embarrassing distance behind Lewis right now.

        Mix and match it however you want, slice and dice it as you see fit, but Lewis has comprehensively blown Button away this year but because of McLaren ineptitude it doesn’t show so bad in the scores. Now, if you wish to refute that then you truly are deluded.

      8. Quattro_T says:

        “For your first point, that was why I said “barely outperformed”, as opposed to “outperformed by”. It’s called use of language.”

        I would not call scoring almost double the amount of points over three years as “barely outperforming” – it is more like “crushing”. At the same time acknowledging SCH have had his share of bad luck in 2012.

        Agree on “barely outperformed”, however, if you are talking about HAM-BUT relation – only a few points separate them over three seasons.

      9. Kay says:

        You base your observation merely on points.

        So what if:

        1. Alonso loses more points due to team errors, car breaking down etc etc.. but when the car is fine he’s blisteringly fast and win by miles.

        2. Button consistently come in top 5 without any issue that affect his race, end up more points.

        So according to your WDC point-based theory, Button is the better drive.


  7. i asked same question before , but will McLaren still want lewis to win the world championship ?

    being nice you would say nice , but does it benefit them at all ? Assume it would benefit Merc more , as they would be getting a 2 times / current world champion ?


    1. Having a WDC in the team has no other benefits than a bit of media attention.

      Did most people care as much about Damon Hill after he moved to Arrows? No.

      Winning the WCC has many financial advantages on the other hand.

      Realistically, they need Lewis to score as many points as possible to win the championship against RBR.

      Hamilton is 52 points adrift, with only 150 available. That 21 points in the old currency with 6 races to go. Him being WDC is quite unlikely, at best.

      1. MISTER says:

        If Lewis wins WDC then he will take with him the #1 on the car next year, right? That would mean first/last pit garage.

      2. Davo says:

        I’m pretty sure the garage order is decided by the finishing position in the constructors championship rather than the drivers. It’s just that for the last few years the winner of the drivers championship (#1) drove for the winner of the constructors.

      3. Denis says:

        WDC can take #1 to wherever he goes, but the WCC gets the first pit garage.

      4. Sasa says:

        Its the constructor’s championship which determines the pit garage if i’m not wrong.

      5. Wayne says:

        “Having a WDC in the team has no other benefits than a bit of media attention” is really badly understated. Having the WDC is your team is a massive boon for the sponsors who pay the bills.

      6. They have Schumacher on board and have been playing the winners card for three years already.

        Should Hamilton win the title, and that’s a massive caveat, I doubt there are going to be a huge amount of sponsors wanting to part with their money to be associated with an excellent driver who’ll drive for the third or fourth best team on the grid.

      7. Wayne says:

        “Having a WDC in the team has no other benefits than a bit of media attention” is really badly understated. Having the WDC is your team is a massive boon for the sponsors who pay the bills..

    2. Cliff says:

      I think your spot on! Lewis wouldn’t be the first driver to miss out on new developments to a car once he had signed for a rival team.

      Ross Brawn refused to release JB from his contract until December 31st 2009, I wonder if MW will feel he should do the same.

      1. Quattro_T says:

        Alonso 2007 obviously

    3. azac21 says:

      McLaren will first aim to win the constructors title. I am sure they will not mind if they win the drivers title in the process.

    4. VanDhloms says:

      With Lewis not scoring any points last week I think they’ll abandon this year’s development and focus on next year now. LH is 52 points back and he’s leaving, there’s not much motivation for the team to keep fighting. Sad though because it’s going to be an anticlimax ending to this year’s championship. Alonso may as well start celebrating now, championship is his. Vettel will have to win all remaining races now and hope Alonso does not finish in some of them, mathematically possible, realistically impossible.

      1. Sossoliso says:

        They need the money (which comes with being World Champions) going forward.

      2. Robb says:

        I disagree. The driver isn’t the only competitive member of the team, every member wants to be a winner, even when their driver lineup will be different next year. Winning a WDC is, I think, prestigious not only for the driver, but for the whole team. What better way to welcome a new driver, than into the championship winning garage?

      3. Quattro_T says:

        I think on the contrary that Alonso would be very bothered if that would be the case. If RB domination (over Ferrari) continues, Alonso would like to see Hamilton competing with Vettel and taking race wins and points from him. That can actually be Alonsos biggest chanse to win the title this year, if Ferrari are unable to provide him with a competitive package.

      4. Baktru says:

        I agree with this. The best thing that can happen for Alonso’s chances at the WDC now, is for Vettel and Hamilton to keep fighting for wins against each other as well.

        Hamilton as champion is a longshot now but a DNF for Alonso would throw everything upside down again…

    5. Andrew M says:

      For all McLaren’s slightly odd decision making, I can’t see them deliberately hampering their best chance to secure a world title. It’s clearly in their better interests for Lewis to win the title with them than not. If it was between Jenson and Lewis there might arguably be bias, but they were fair right down to the wire between Hamilton and Alonso back in the day (suicidally so with the benefit of hindsight).

    6. Quattro_T says:

      Maybe the question can be refrased:
      Will Mclaren allow HAM to participate in car development activities or not. Will they allow him to understand, test and evaluate, and use on car the latest and greatest development parts in the remaining races – parts that very well could be used even in next year project?
      Will they let him have the best engineers/mechanics on his side of the garage?

      I am sure HAM will be able to provide the help needed to get good points for WCC, without the latest and greatest stuff on the car. Alternatively they will put it there but not explain it for him.
      As with Alonso 2007, Mclaren will not like a driver leaving the team to take the title and say bye bye.

  8. olivier says:

    What can I say? I thought Button moving to McLaren was a bad idea as well … it’s great but also heartbreaking news:

    Schumacher has unfinished business in F1. I’d love to see him one+ more year at Ferrari. Schumi & Alonso would be a thrilling driver line up. We’ll finally find out who will be the all time greatest. It’s not bad to lose out from an Alonso or Michael …

    Here’s hoping:

    Ferrari: Schumacher x Alonso
    Mercedes: Hamilton x Rosberg
    McLaren: Perez x Button
    Sauber: Jaimie Alg. x Kobayashi

    1. Erik says:

      Good call. Jamie Alg would be a nice save for Sauber now that they have lost the cash from Perez.

      1. Sossoliso says:

        Algesuari had his chance and was TERRIBLE at TR. Adrian Sutil should get the Sauber Nod.

      2. Curro says:

        Excuse me?

      3. Galapago555 says:

        He almost double scored his team mate, making a total of 26 points. Together, both STR-Ferrari drivers this season have scored 14 points so far.

        Not so TERRIBLE year, is it?

      4. captainj84 says:

        He might not have set the track on fire first time round. You have to remember though a year of testing pirelli’s doing 700 odd km a day is going to make him a very valuable asset, not only for his insight and understanding, but also this will have made him a far superior driver all round than he previously was. He has hinted on twitter that he has a race seat this season. I initially thought Force India because I had DIR down as filling HAM’s seat. Sauber may have lost one tyre master but I feel they are about to find a new one in the form of ALG. Good luck to him, he seems like a nice guy with a lot of potential.

    2. NickyStuu says:

      Agreed – good call re Alguersuari. He tweeted last week “Soon you’ll all know where I will be driving next year. Thank you all again.”

      Sauber have done really well this year on a contra-strategy on tyres. And Jaime has been doing the 2013 Pirelli tyre tests this year. It makes perfect sense for Sauber to bring in a driver who’s already well ahead of the curve on the 2013 tyres.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      How can MSC vs Alonso prove who is the all time greatest? Crazy.
      MSC isn’t the greatest of all time anyway, he is just statistically the greatest. Big difference!

      1. Bismarck says:

        Yeah he is the greatest. In the end statistics is all that matters and the rest is just opinion. Usually the best in every sport have the best overall statistics and I don’t think it is any different here.

      2. Kay says:

        So according to you, MSC is better than Senna, Alonso, Prost, etc?

        If it wasn’t for Senna’s accident, MSC would be nothing, and certainly would not have won his first two titles.

        Just a quick reminder, Alonso did beat MSC while the latter was at his peak.

        Hell even Kimi wouldn’t beaten MSC if not for McLaren so good with their car break down consistency.

        Merely basing your conclusion on numbers seem very shallow to me.

      3. John Smith says:

        Senna was a wild driver, trust me schumacher is the best love or hate him. 91 WINS, 63 POLES

      4. David H says:

        I watched almost all of Senna’s races. Fast, undoubtedly,mature, never, complete driver, think not.
        Schumi achieved more as both a driver and a developer.
        And despite all the “unsporting” comments made at Schumi, Senna was worse, with far less consideration for his competitors than any other driver I have seen.
        IMO Prost was better than Senna in the overall story.

    4. Six-wheeler says:

      Where would you place R. Kubica?? It would be hard to believe that not one team is following his recovery step by step, if not Lotus themselves. Any news on him James?

  9. F1addicted says:

    Why will they have a 2014 advantage? Can’t anyon such as McLaren just buy their engines? Or are the new regs directly = each team has it’s own engine only?

    But yes, this is a real coup and they have bought guaranteed car speed AND investment back from increased sponsorship etc.

    1. Dave says:

      Because they can already start designing the car around the new engine, where as customers will have to wait until they get there supply. the engine manufacturer teams will have extra design time.

      1. Lindsay says:

        Engine customers don’t even get the measurements until the engines turn up in crates?


      2. Jeff says:

        Isn’t it also true that the engines can be improved during the season from 2014?

        If so, would the customer cars get engine developments as quickly as the factory teams? The Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull (Renault’s primary team) outfits may have an in-built advantage over the rest.

  10. Ruse says:

    Hamilton + Brawn + Mercedes will lead to success.

    Game on.

    1. Martin says:

      None of those elements by themselves guarantees top shelf aerodynamics. Brawn hasn’t done aero since about 1991 with the Jaguar sports car. The rest of the leading design team, if being cynical, are cast offs from other teams where they were sacked.

      Brawn is able to create a management environment where good ideas florish. But on Einstein’s scale of 10% inspiration 90% perspiration, with the tight regs, the 90% is more like 99.5% and that comes from good people. The new teams are struggling to make the jump for what I believe is a similar reason.

      At Ferrari Rory Byrne led a design team with more resources than the rest. The 2009 Brawn was a highly resourced Honda effort, and the large rule change allowed Brawn’s management style to be the catalyst for a great car. The 2014 might be an opportunity.

      I think the best engine is a wait and see exercise too. Mercedes had perfect timing when it took some Cosworth engineers in 2006 and made what has become the current engine. I wouldn’t assume too much about the future from past performance.

      1. CHIUNDA says:

        Whilst reading your comment i had Whitmarsh at the back of my mind, and your comment somehow manages to make Brawn who has won championships with three different teams look worse than Martin Whitmarsh.

      2. Quade says:

        Just being perdantic. The “inspiration – perspiration” statement wasn’t made by Einstein, but by Thomas Alva Edison, the wizard of Menlo Park; greatest inventor of his time.
        I bet Thomas Alva Edison would have been in F1 in some way or the other if he were alive today (he invented wherever big bucks were to be made).

    2. JF says:

      Shades of mid-90′s Ferrari. Can Brawn rediscover the old magic. Seemed to be able at honda/brawn. Can he make it a hat trick?

      1. Warren Groenewald says:

        Brawn has been successful, no doubt, but his success has largely been through unsung heros of Byrne and Zander.

        Byrne designed the Benettons that Schumi drove and then the Ferrari’s. Before he retired his cars had over 100 GP wins.

        Zander was chief designer for the 2004 BAR and 2007 BMW Sauber before rejoining Brackley to create the 2009 BrawnGP. He no longer works in F1, having left during the 2009 season.

        Mercedes are clearly lacking a stand out designer and I feel Hamilton’s career really is mimicking Villeneuve’s.

      2. Nathan Jones says:

        Even if he does do a ‘Villeneuve’ at Mercedes, what’s the major issue? Four questions?

        1) how old is Alonso now?
        2) is he still getting better?
        3) how old will Hamilton be after his three year term at Mercedes?
        4) does Hamilton’s three year contract have a performance get-out clause one year before the full term, like most contracts do?

        It could turn out great, or it could just be a hiccup. if people were willing to take Kimi back after two years totally OUT of the sport, and schumi after a three year break and in his 40s, you think no one’s going to want Lewis? Lots of [ mod] will say it’ll be the end but be rational about it.

        For crying out loud, people are still watching for the great return of Kubica, and no one will want Lewis????

  11. TheLollipopMan says:

    JA, surely there must have been some kind of financial penalty for McL to sign Perez? He’s Ferrari property. Is it safe to assume McL were happy to pay a release fee, as Perez’s salary will come from his own sponsors? Not to mention he’ll be on micro money, compared to what Hamilton was on. McL will save a fortune, surely.

    1. Chris says:

      Not so, he was a member of the FYDDP (Ferrari Young Driver Development Program), this does not mean that he is contracted to them as an F1 driver. The FYDDP was setup to prepare young drivers for F1, (through off season training and races in lower formulas) the point being to allow Ferrari to develop their own talents instead of paying top whack to sign established drivers. However as Monty can’t see past the end of his nose it would appear to have not done them much good in this case.

    2. D1M0NST3R says:

      Yup, also Perez is the little toy for Slim domit, son of Carlos Slim, the guy with moar money in his pockets.

    3. Daniel MA says:

      Haha indeed, McLaren went from having to pay 10mill to keep Hamilton or, receive huge sponsorship from Telmex, when you look at it like that makes you wonder if it was McLaren who turned down Hamilton.

      1. Andrew M says:

        It was widely reported Hamilton had an offer on the table from McLaren and he turned it down. If you think replacing Hamilton with Perez is some kind of master-stroke then I don’t know what to say…

      2. Nathan Jones says:


        It wasn’t just one offer. It was an initial offer, followed by multiple improvements as negotiations went on. Not really what a team does when they’re trying to edge out a driver.

        Did it look like Whitmarsh didn’t want him when he came on every weekend on BBC/Sky and said they absolutely want Lewis? Or was he trying to not hurt Lewis’s feelings? Just ask DC if Whitmarsh cares about hurting drivers’ feelings.

  12. James Lewis says:

    Great move by Lewis… he’s needs to be his own man… and his relationship with McLaren was obviously seriously strained.

    Great move by McLaren picking up Perez – a fantastic talent.

    The loser in all of this would appear to be Paul Di Resta. Surely he was the natural heir to Lewis’s seat. Yes he’s put in some assured performances this year- his Singapore drive was great. But his restrained driving style doesn’t set the heart racing… none of the spectacular/stellar drives of Perez…

    Thats F1 I’m afraid – put in 2 or 3 spectacular drives and you get the big seat…. the conservative, steady mature approach doesn’t cut it… lets see some fireworks Di Resta…

    Well done Lewis…

    1. Satish says:

      Yes, di Resta loses out on seats at McLaren AND Mercedes.

      1. James Clayton says:

        A red car calls?

      2. Jeff says:

        Just what I was thinking. If he can take a short term contract at Ferrari and prove that he can pace Alonso, then he may be able to pick up a #1 driver role somewhere else later (or at Ferrari if Alonso’s situation changes).

        It makes a lot more sense than Vettel moving from a #1 role at Red Bull to become Alonso’s support driver. That rumour makes very little sense to me.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      To be honest Perez has been flattered to some extent by avoiding much qualifying and relying on the super-easy on it’s tyres Sauber to plough through the field later in the day. It’s been a fantastic approach, but it’s likely to have been geared towards the Sauber itself and the recent Pirelli tyre construction.

      It’ll be interesting to see if Perez has the skills in a totally different car design. If he does and he is just naturally great at preserving tyres, it will be a great fit alongside smooth driving Button – then McLaren will be developing a car solely in one direction.

      Di Resta really is the new Coulthard – I can see him being a race winner, but not really a title contender.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Providing McLaren build another competitive car next year, then it’ll be interesting to see how he does. I’ve recently been re watching the 1996-1998 seasons and things similar to those being said about Perez now were said about Fischecella and Wurtz back in the day. As we all know, neither of those lived up to expectations (though, to be fair, I don’t recall Wurz ever having a car up to the job?)

      2. Quade says:

        Wurtz drove a Jordan, I was always one of his fans in the day and was sad to see him leave empty handed. F1′s history is packed with nearly men, lets hope the likes of Perez and Grosjean come good.

    3. Kay says:

      I see Ron Dennis being the biggest loser of all this :D

      Signed a 13 yr old HAM, invested in him.

      Ten years or so later, HAM leaves.

      Lost his investment in a person whom he thought would be loyal to him. Maybe Ron thought he’d find another Hakkinen in Lewis.. that didn’t turn out to be the case. :D

  13. Darren says:

    I can’t help thinking Hamilton should have signed for a year with McLaren with get out clauses if possible. Sad to see him go to Mercedes but he has looked like he needs a change of scenery for some time.

    Perez is the best replacement available at the moment, but McLaren must now produce the best car by some margin for next season if they have a hope of either championship.

    1. Elie says:

      That’s not saying much for button ( or Perez ) for that matter

    2. Andrew M says:

      I doubt McLaren would have entertained the possibility of a one year deal just so Lewis could jump ship in 12 month’s time.

    3. Warren Groenewald says:

      They’ve produced the best car this year – and aren’t looking likely to win either title.

      1. Nathan Jones says:

        Very good point. With Hamilton being replaced by Perez, are they any more likely to take either championship next year. Highly doubtful.

    4. Kay says:

      Maybe coz a contract, i.e. a document that BOTH parties agree to, isn’t on Hamilton’s terms?

      You can say: Ham, why not sign a one year?

      Er.. McLaren isn’t offering one year?

  14. Tyrrell – BAR – Honda – BrawnGP – Mercedes vs McLaren… Which of these two teams has been a winner more often?

    Also, aside from Renault, which manufacturer has won a championship bar Ferrari who were a team prior to bein a car company? Toyota and BMW have been major failures.

    Good luck to Lewis Hamilton. If he has passion for winning, I feel he’s going to need lots of luck.

    1. Doohan says:

      Mercedes back in the 50′s???

      1. That’s 4 wins in 1954 and 5 in 1955.

        But that’s missing the point.

        Why go from a regular winning team to another that does so sporadically, if not for the money? It can’t be for the winning, whatever Lewis might say.

        Besides, in its current shape, the Brackley team has nothing to do with the Mercedes of old, much like the current Lotus F1 Team doesn’t have anything in common with the Team Lotus of Colin Chapman except for it’s colour scheme.

      2. KRB says:

        Why did Vettel leave Toro Rosso for Red Bull then? RBR hadn’t won a race before 2009, and Toro Rosso ended 2008 higher in the WCC than RBR. We know how that worked out.

        McLaren and Ferrari are safer bets, but it doesn’t preclude others from producing good/great cars.

      3. KRB says:

        What you also fail to mention is that 1954 had only 9 races, and 1955 had only 7 races.

        44.4% and 71.4% winning percentages? Yeah, I’ll take it, thanks.

    2. DavidC says:

      Ross Brawn vs McLaren, which of these 2 have won more championships?

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        It really depends what time frame you are looking at.
        Since the birth of Mclaren they have won 12 WDC in 1974,76,84,85,86,88,89,90,91,98,99 and 2008
        8 WCC were won in 1974,84,85,88,89,90,91 and 1998

        Brawn has been involved in 8 WDC, 94,95, 2000,1,2,3,4,5 and 2009
        8 WCC in 95,99,00,01,02,03,04 and 2009.

    3. Andy says:

      I agree. I struggle to see Hamilton having the same success at Mercedes. The renewed Schumacher/Brawn partnership hasn’t achieved much in 3 years, based on what they achieved at Ferrari, I expected better.
      2014 will be interesting though. With the Kers output doubling, I expect the Mercedes power unit to be strong. It seems to have the best Kers package, Red Bull may be disadvantaged by theirs.

    4. Robb says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard some people comparing this to Jaques moving to BAR, but it also kind of reminds me of another move. Lets see if I can remember.
      A world champion in his prime moving to a team that hadn’t had much success recently, but was a large team, with lots of money, that builds it’s own engines…hmm, who could that be?…
      …Oh, I got It! Schumacher to Ferrari!

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Schumacher was/ is a workaholic who knew how to push the team.
        He also had infinite budgets, unlimited testing and Todt, Brawn and Byrne working with him.
        Ferrari also has been part of motorsport dating back to the inception of the F1 championship, but further back through Enzo back to the 20′s.
        Ferrari’s DNA is motorsport.

        Mercedes have links back to the 20′s through history, but they stopped motorsport back in 1955. `
        Ultimately, their main line of business is road cars, not F1.
        Anyway, without Byrne, how good would Schumacher or Brawn have looked over these last 20 years?

        Everyone praises the genius of Newey, yet Byrne’s cars took him on and beat him.
        For all the assembled talent Mercedes has design wise, they have lost ground his year, not moved forward.

      2. zombie says:

        Considering no one ever won a WDC in Byrne’s car except Schumacher, it is safe to say the driver made a huge deal of difference. Except for 95,2001,02 and 04, Byrne’s cars weren’t exactly the outright fastest ones on the grid.

        No driver, no matter how talented can win alone on his talent or work ethics. If you give the best cardiologist a hammer and nail to work with, he cannot save his patients ! Similarly, an F1 driver needs the best engineers, strategists, equipment and budget behind him to win titles. Ask Senna, he hopped teams whenever he thought the team was slipping a little, or Valentino Rossi and Ducati. Atleast Schumacher stayed loyal to Ferrari for 11 years despite having plum offers from Williams, Mclaren,BMW, Jaguar and Toyota.

      3. Andrew M says:

        How good would Byrne look without Schumacher?

        Newey has designed cars that have propelled lots of different drivers to the title, not just one.

        And although Mercedes have slipped back a bit now, you have to remember the state they were in before Ross Brawn joined them, plus the fact they had to sack half their technical team in 2009. And they did win a race this year, they have decent potential.

      4. Elie says:

        Hero I bet Mercedes issue this year is the DDRS system affecting the balance ( it’s given them speed) & scrubbing tyres . They will be stronger next year.

      5. Kay says:

        I like your piece.

        But then driver also makes a difference.

        Kovo didn’t exactly wow the world in a McLaren.

      6. How long did this take to gel? MSC joins Ferrari for the 96 season, were competitive by the 98 season.

        That’s three years, the same amount as Lewis’s contract.

        So, assuming that history repeats itself AND that Lewis is patient enough to sign another contract, then there is a chance that he might win a championship.

        Statistically though, it doesn’t look promising. Only a brave man would bet on Lewis becoming WDC over the next three years.

      7. hero_was_senna says:

        There’s a few other things which are very significant.

        MSC going to Ferrari in 1996 was a big challenge but we are talking about an underachieving legend that needed bringing up to date. LdM offered Todt and Schumacher freedom to turn the team around. Brawn and Byrne were signed for 1997, then the work begun.

        In 1996, joining Ferrari, MSC was the only WDC on the grid. Senna had died, Prost, Mansell and Piquet retired. Williams were the only true Championship rivals.
        In 1997, newey left for Mclaren and Williams were still the only rivals. 98 & 99 Mclaren were the only team capable of fighting Ferrari but from 2000 onwards there was no competition, the likes of Kimi and Alonso were only starting out, not the experienced champions of today.

        What’s different this time round for MSC and now Lewis is the competition base.
        I don’t just mean drivers, as in 6 WDC on the grid, but I’m referring to the teams themselves.
        We still have Ferrari and Mclaren there, but also another phenomenal team currently is Red Bull.
        Lotus ( aka Renault ) also, has recent championship winning experience
        The quality of engineering expertise has improved so much in 10-15 years.

        I think MSC has struggled due to age, no testing anymore, no sprint format races and tyres he doesn’t particularly enjoy.
        But I’m not expecting Hamilton to turn Mercedes around like MSC did with Ferrari, the game has changed.

        Next year, Ferrari, Mclaren, Red Bull, Lotus will be championship challengers.
        Coughlan with an additional year with Williams will provide a better car.

        Is Mercedes with all theirs chiefs going to change their design ethos of the last 3 seasons? Still struggle with tyres?
        Whether Rosberg and Schumacher aren’t on the same pace as Lewis is irrelevant. I’d guess that Alonso isn’t either but his work ethic is in a different league.

        Be fascinating to watch..

      8. James Allen says:

        Big difference with 1996 is that in those days there wasn’t another driver on MSC’s level, Damon was at Williams and did a brilliant job with a very good car, the following year Villeneuve won, but MSC was head and shoulders better than both of them

        Today HAM doesn’t have that luxury – ALO and VET are right up there at highest level and BUT showed last year he can string a season together and can be unbeatable as at Spa.

        So HAM will have to be patient with building Mercedes to championship level

      9. Kay says:

        James, I’m sure HAM admire Alonso’s work at Ferrari and will take a leaf out of his books :D

  15. Mirza Zia says:

    they got in perez in place of lewis, which isn’t a bad deal….he may not be as complete of a racer as lewis, but considering perez is from the ferrari stable of young drivers, has shown good level of maturity @ his age, and is mighty quick i’d say not bad, not bad at all. all he needs is some time to settle in. hope he gets that.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      At least McLaren can pay for their engines now with the salary savings…

      I think Perez will develop quite well with Button alongside. I get the impression Button would like to ‘mentor’ a rookie – whereas the equal status against Lewis given by the team always put a strain on that.

      1. James Clayton says:

        I think Button will probably have it handed to him by Perez.

      2. Nathan Jones says:

        I think there’s a good chance Perez could hit the ground running and kick Jenson out of his own party. Would be hilarious to see where the easy-going charm goes to if/when he gets his head handed to him by the newcomer.

        And if it comes down to who’s the better ‘tyre whisperer’, well, Jenson’s early season shenanigans effectively lost him that title to Perez by a million miles.

      3. Kay says:

        “I think there’s a good chance Perez could hit the ground running and kick Jenson out of his own party. Would be hilarious to see where the easy-going charm goes to if/when he gets his head handed to him by the newcomer”

        Looking forward to that! :D


  16. PeterC81 says:

    This could be a great move for Lewis, he looked to have outgrown Mclaren. With a team built around him an on form happy Hamilton is unbeatable.

    Ferrari letting Perez go to Mclaren strikes me as they do have Vettel in 2014.

    Got to say whilst both good drivers Perez & Button doesn’t look to be much outright pace there.

  17. W Johnson says:

    Lewis is one of the best drivers in the world right now and as a British driver I wish him the best of luck at Mercedes but McLaren as a British team comes first and so I hope McLaren exclude Lewis from all secrets and development knowledge to protect their secrets from leaking to Mercedes.

    1. JF says:

      I would assume that despite the PR from Mclaren, that they have seen the writing on the wall for some time and will not have discussed 2013 very much with Hamilton.

    2. Jeff says:

      Despite the anthems being played, Mercedes are a British team, as are Caterham, Williams, Lotus, Red Bull, McLaren, Marussia and Force India. Only Ferrari, Sauber, Toro Rosso and HRT have bases outside the U.K.

      I’m having trouble seeing how McLaren are any more British than the other 7 U.K. based teams.

  18. RobF says:

    Wow. The big loser in all of this to my mind is Ferrari, who should’ve snatched up Perez to replace Massa. Don’t know what De Montezemolo was thinking when he said Perez was too green.

    1. Erik says:

      He was thinking ‘Crap! McLaren has stolen my protoge! I best slag Perez in public to save face!’ And by that I mean Montezemolo would have heard of this move weeks ago and manuvered in the media to make Ferrari look ok in this.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Yeah, that’s what LdM did.

        Is that the same as when he announced in May 2005 (?), that as Marlboro were taking over complete sponsorship of the car, there was no space for Vodafone. Who then signed a deal with Mclaren.
        Yet Ron told us later that year, that they had poached Vodafone from Ferrari?

        In many ways, there’s echos of Kimi with this. He raced for Sauber in 2001 and signed with Mclaren from 2002, yet the media was reporting that Ferrari had first call on his services because of Sauber connection.

      2. xrr says:

        If one considers PM paying Ferrari much more than any other sponsors there are in F1 although they had not a single sign of their famous brand, that I put words of LdM over poor Ron.

      3. JF says:

        Not 100% that Perez was ever a protege in the near future. If he is part of long term plans than this goes in Ferrari’s favour as Mclaren will provide Perez with a good education to pick up after Alonso leaves.

      4. Kay says:

        Maybe Ferrari earns rather than lose something out of this?

        Taking Perez back to Ferrari several years later, along with info on McLaren operation would prove very valuable.

        You don’t suppose a company like Ferrari and a man like LdM is very short-sighted, do you?

      5. Kay says:

        Sorry EriK, the reply was meant for RobF.

        Cheers! :D

    2. darth_patate says:

      especially if you remmber how green was Massa when he came from Sauber. didn’t he have a reputation of “crash kid” back then ?

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Massa had raced with Sauber in 2002, 2004 and 2005 when he arrived at Ferrari.
        More importantly, he had driven as a test driver for Ferrari throughout 2003.

    3. Baghetti says:

      I think De Montezemolo was actually quite smart by saying that: in a way he ‘released’ Perez which might have tempered McLaren in their offer to Hamilton as all of a sudden McLaren saw a good alternative for Hamilton in the person of Perez. Ferrari and De Montezemolo will be quite happy to see Hamilton step out of the strongest car and to see a promising but not very experienced driver step into that car…

      1. Esplanadist says:

        What if Luca is actually right in his opinion that Perez just ain’t ready…Whitmarsh, or should I say more probably Dennis,is taking a risk. Calculated risk, maybe, but a risk all the same.

      2. Andrew M says:

        I think Perez is the best driver they could have in the second seat, they weren’t exactly spoilt for choice.

  19. Peter says:

    Its not that suprising that Hamilton joins Mercedes after all, however I am more suprised that McLaren signed Perez. McLaren will have two good drivers, but they should have signed Kimi for the next two years to win championship and beat Hamilton and Mercedes. Clearly some telecom money played a big role in this whole story.

    1. ben S says:

      My instincts tell me Kimi would never have re-signed for Mclaren. He’s hardly know for his enthusiasm for the corporate responsibilities, with McLaren arguably the toughest in that respect.

      1. j says:

        Exactly. McLaren signs their drivers up for sponsorships with stuffy hotel chains and make them dress up in race suits to be filmed in embarrassing corporate commercials. If they wanted to sign up for a sponsorship with Angry Birds or Monster energy drink they’d be blocked by their contract. If a driver podiums or wins a race or wins a championship McLaren doesn’t let the driver keep the trophy?! You can see why drivers sign the contract to get into a quick car but a lot of them seem to leave just as quickly. Jenson is the exception but perhaps he enjoys rubbing elbows with 60 year old executives at suit and tie corporate luncheons.

      2. Cliff says:

        You should remember that it’s those “60 year old executives at Suit and tie corporate luncheons” that fund your favourite team and help to fund F1 in general.

        On your point on trophies, take a trip to williams F1, McLaren are not the only ones to hold on to their trophies. At the end of the day drivers are employees and the employers wishes takes precedent.

  20. SonnieBee says:

    At last, confirmation! We see it in writing here and on the Mercedes F1 site.

    Let’s not forget that Mercedes part-owned the company that nurtured HAM’s talent. So I don’t regard this as a betrayal.

    James will you create a Mercedes team page? You know me; I love to send you photos.

  21. Ben G says:

    Well done for the prediction James. That post was a brilliantly lucid piece of foresight. And it was brave of you to put your neck on the line with the biggest F1 story of the year.

    So congratulations to Sergio, commiserations to Martin, and, well, who knows what to Lewis.

    We must admire Lewis’ bravery in making the switch, but at the same time we fans are entitled to question to his judgement. None of us knows whether it is the right or wrong thing to do. We must all wish him well. And yet it seems unavoidable to detect the shadow of immaturity in all this; the telemetry tweet, the bolshiness after scoring poles and wins, the infatuation with celebrity, and numerous other examples.

    Where, then, did it all go wrong between Lewis and McLaren? The team has done so much for him, that it’s hard not to see their support something bordering on an act of charity. He has been under their aegis since the age of 14, given a debut in a winning car, even a championship winning car in his second year, and paid millions of pounds.

    Would Lewis, with the immaturity that we have come to see too often, have achieved any of this had he gone into F1 the ‘normal’ route? Would he have coped with, say, a Minardi debut (like Fernando) and then maneuvered his way up into a winning team with charm, guile, pace, and composure? Almost certainly not.

    For that reason, this move seems to me like the sad break up of what was, and should still be, one of the great partnerships in British motorsport history.

    1. Erik says:

      Yeah James, I’ll second that. Brave prediction and much appreciated. Keep them coming!

    2. slumpy says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Maybe it’s a bit romantic to imagine a young world champion Brit in a British car staying there his whole career, but personally I don’t see anything wrong with loyalty, an almost unheard-of word in sport nowadays…just gimme the money and take my photo, and my shallowness will see me through…

      1. only1halen says:


        Loyalty cost Ayrton Senna a minimum of two more World Drivers Championships. Please read Julian Jakobi’s comments below.


        “We were in Spa at the Belgian Grand Prix and Ayrton had two contracts on Sunday morning in his motorhome, ready to sign: one with McLaren to stay for the ’92 season and one to go to Williams to replace Mansell,” Jakobi details. “And he was determined and knew he should have gone to Williams, but he had a phone call overnight from the President of Honda persuading him to stay and basically twisting his arm not to leave and he succumbed to that, and he stayed which in my opinion was the only mistake he ever made. Because he would have been a Williams driver in ’92, he would have won the championship in ’92, but he picked the wrong horse.”

        “The contract, the financial terms were exactly the same, A or B; and he said, ‘I should have gone to Williams. My mistake.’ And he was persuaded by Honda to stay, and then Honda pulled out at the end of ’92. And of course he was left, he couldn’t get into Williams in ’93 because Prost was there. So, he was stuck with McLaren and thought about taking a year off, and then decided to come back and drive on a race-by-race basis, and then ended up with Williams in ’94.”

        “But if you think about it had he gone there in ’92, he would have gone there and won more championships.”

    3. VanDhloms says:

      It’s nothing personal it’s just a business decision. I personally think if Ron was still a team principle with would have been different, in fact Lewis would have won more races than he is now. I don’t think Martin has been able to fully harness what team possess in terms of performance and that would frustrate any top driver.

      1. carl craven says:

        Under Ron didn’t Mclaren get into a lot of trouble lose a lot of points and prize money and almost lose their major sponsors? Isn’t that why Ron was retired out of the sport?

        I don’t get this Whitmarsh negativity. He doesn’t do EVERYTHING, he’s part of a team, he doesn’t change tyres, he doesn’t drive cars, but I have seen him cover for Lewis plenty when Lewis has made a mess.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        You refer to the scandal of Spygate in 2007.
        Some employees of Mclaren had access to secret Ferrari documents and the FIA came down hard on them.
        From what I remember, Mosley allowed Mclaren to stay in the championship on condition he resigned from the F1 team. They were fined $100,000,000 for the crime and Mercedes and alot of sponsors questioned whether they could remain part of an organisation found guilty of cheating.
        It was suggested but denied, that Mercedes bought Brawn so as to move away from being part of the Mclaren group officially.

      3. VanDhloms says:

        I’m not negative to Whitmarsh, what I’m pointing out is that he is not yet in the league of Ron in term s of being able to draw the maximum out of the team’s advantage. I believe championship win is a function of great driver, good car and great team principle. If the team principle cannot best use the team to present the driver with conditions to win, it will frustrate the driver. I agree the team principle does not change tyres and so on… but he leads the team not a mere team member and he’s ultimately responsible for the performance as a leader, the final decision of the team members and their capabilities is his. Corrective measures after a bad pit stop or wrong strategy is his responsibility. By no means I’m saying he’s a bad principle, rather he does not yet possess the natural instinct you find with Ron Dennis, Ross Brawn and even Chris Horner to some extent. So for someone like Lewis who can win horse races while riding a donkey it’s a bitter pill to swallow if he lose races because of bad decisions and team complacency. I’m sure with time Whitmarsh will get there, but for now he’s good enough for the second tier of drivers.

  22. Bluefroggle says:

    Good luck to Lewis.

    Bit of a coup for Ross after McLaren nicked Jenson from him after he won the WDC.

    So *if* Lewis wins the WDC this year then they will get the #1 back.

  23. Jonathan says:

    Its great that Mercedes are committed to f1 for the future, especially as they took over from Brawn who had to rescue Honda!

    Lewis must be hoping that he can do with Brawn what he did with Michael in the dominant Ferrari years, though I think this is unlikely due to the strength of the other rival teams/drivers being greater now than it was then. We now also have 5 world champions (maybe 6 if Schumi gets drive elsewhere) in 5 different teams next year.

    How do you think Perez will do at McLaren James?Do you think he can fulfill his potential or do you think it will be too much of a step for him like it was for Kovalienen?

    1. Kay says:

      James, seems like everything thinks either you have a crystal ball or you possess some magic powers to tell the future! :D

      1. Kay says:

        *everyone, typo.

  24. Rr says:

    Seemed inevitable after last weekend – an aging Schumacher now a danger to himself and those around him, while Hamilton wipes the floor with his team mate, only to be let down by his machinery…

    1. Steve Pritchard says:

      In Spa?

      1. Rr says:

        No, last weekend was Singapore.

      2. Steven Pritchard says:

        (Note the Sarcasm in my post)

    2. MookF1 says:

      Ridiculous on both levels as Schumacher has had a good season but also been let down by his machinery as well and if you think Hamilton has wiped the floor with Button you obviously only watch F1 on a saturday!

      1. Rr says:

        Schumacher has had a good season?! By who’s standards? Did you hear his engineer on the radio after he crashed?? Utter disbelief. Mercedes have run out of patience, and rightly so.
        I wasn’t Button-bashing, he’s a decent driver, who possibly deserves his 1 title, but Hamilton is in a different class and should be winning more titles. Mclaren haven’t given him the tools.
        In their ultimate search for titles, the Mercedes-Schumacher pairing is being let down by Schumacher and the Mclaren-Hamilton pairing is being let down by Mclaren. Last weekend was illustrative of those points.

      2. Warren Groenewald says:

        Hamilton hasn’t has the tools? He’s sat in a race winning car his entire career. What more can they do?

      3. Andrew M says:

        “Hamilton hasn’t has the tools? He’s sat in a race winning car his entire career. What more can they do?”

        Give him a car that can consistently challenge for the title, and when they do don’t cripple his championship challenge with operational and reliability errors.

      4. Kay says:

        2009 – McLaren were caught out by Brawn with their Double Diffuser, which they had to play catchup

        2010 – not exactly top of the class, had serious competition as well

        2011 – we all know very well how RBR went.

        These Macca cars were top?

      5. Rr says:

        Schumacher has had a good season?! By who’s standards? He’s got less than half as many points as his team mate!

      6. Rr says:

        You’re joking, right?

      7. Rr says:

        Good season??? Schumacher is not a world class driver anymore – hence less than half as many points as his fairly average team mate. Mercedes have lost patience.

      8. MookF1 says:

        Did lewis hamiltons PR machine forget to change pseudonym when responding to my comment or should I post 4 responses as well??

        Relatively speaking Schumacher has had a good season compared to last and in my opinion been on par or outperformed rosberg for the majority of it but has been severely hampered by reliability. Hamilton has yet to prove hes a different class but clearly has the potential to be and to say he hasn’t been given the tools he has been given a race winning car for the majority of his F1 career what more tools can he be given. He hasn’t won more WDC because he and his team just haven’t been good enough and i doubt thats going to get any better at mercedes!

      9. zombie says:

        I think responding 6 times to your own initial message is giving away your prejudices! So take it easy, and just enjoy the ear-ring clad, “i dont have my girlfriend or dad anymore” 1 time champ, who has a history of being given everything on the platter right from his youth for once having to fight in what i think will be a sub-par car.

      10. Andrew M says:

        “I think responding 6 times to your own initial message is giving away your prejudices! So take it easy, and just enjoy the ear-ring clad, “i dont have my girlfriend or dad anymore” 1 time champ, who has a history of being given everything on the platter right from his youth for once having to fight in what i think will be a sub-par car.”

        Yeah, no bias or prejudice there.

      11. MookF1 says:

        I honestly think either Hamiltons pr company is hiring some commentators on various sites or that some of his fans are so partisan that its not even worth debating with them! How has Hamilton not had the tools at McLaren?? Schumacher has had a better season than last and out qualified his team mate a statistic often used in Hamiltons favour against Button but has been let down in much the same way as your initial point about Hamilton?!!! My point is this you cant go off one weekend otherwise Button is better than Hamilton after spa (am sure you wouldn’t agree) which is not true if you look back since both have competed against each other in the same car it has to be said that they have been evenly matched except for qualifying. The only other explanation other than Hamilton is not as good as his hype or Button is underestimated for this is that the team favoured Button over Hamilton and honestly their is no logic in putting forward an argument like that it just wouldn’t make sense.

      12. Andrew M says:

        I’ve watched Sundays too and seen Hamilton maintain a comfortable points lead over Jenson despite McLaren costing him two nailed on wins and multiple other places through botched pitstops.

      13. MookF1 says:

        What happened last season then? Were you watching sundays then?

      14. Andrew M says:

        What happened in 2010 and this year i.e. the majority of the time they’ve raced together? Narrowing things down to a period like that and ignoring the rest of the times they’ve raced is just silly. It’s like saying Massa is faster than Alonso based on the first three races of 2010.

      15. Andrew M says:

        “I honestly think either Hamiltons pr company is hiring some commentators on various sites or that some of his fans are so partisan that its not even worth debating with them!”

        Think it’s fair to say we could say the same thing about Hamiltons detractors, are you being paid by Martin Whitmarsh or Fernando?

      16. fullthrottle says:

        Must be KKK.

  25. Simple says:

    Very good. Bit over Lewis being a sook. Time to move on. Here’s hoping Sergio can do the business!

  26. Lee says:

    As reported by Eddie Jordan…….

  27. Tim says:

    As you said James,”It could be Mercedes’ turn to do some winning in F1.” And with ecclestone and the FIA eliminating the TWG etc and giving more power to themselves and the largest of the F1 Teams, I see 2014 etc as the Silver Arrows era. Even if Merc never wins a race, this is huge for Daimler. They now have a USGP or 2 (next door to NYC). A driver who is increasingly becoming more well known to a key demographic of US consumers, with a Pussycat doll for a girlfriend. Tell the novice American F1 fans it takes a few yrs to build a team. 5yrs down the road, even without a Championship (win on Sunday, sell on Monday?, not needed in this day and age)you’ve sold, how many Mercedes?
    Merchandising, synergys (hate that word) with TV shows (Pussycat/Fuller/Music Industry. I’ll stop now. They’ve made their investment back a thousandfold. Too many revenue streams & all I care about is the sound of an engine and the smell of grease. Miss the 60′s.


  28. Antony Biondi says:

    Hi James,

    Off the back of this, is there any talk in the F1 community that Schumacher could move to Ferrari with Massa replacing Perez?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s been mentioned. Maybe. But in Singapore the word was that Massa would get 1 more year…

      1. Pete_from Nepal says:

        I honestly cannot see Alonso and Schumacher being teammates, and Alonso would definitely veto that!

        Sad to see the German go, but he really has no other choice other than Ferrari. Sauber may be, but he would have to stay another 2 years at least for him to feel it was worth it, I believe.

    2. Kay says:

      You missed what Massa said some time ago that if he loses his Ferrari seat, he would rather retire and not drive for other teams?

  29. Sylvester says:

    Have been a fan of Lewis right from his first Free practice with Mclaren F1 team, not so happy reading that he is going away from his ALMA MATER.
    We might get to know the reasons behind his departure after a few seasons or in his autobiography ( may be justified/ greed for money ) but still i am a bigger fan of MACCA than LH so Go MACCA go….

  30. Darren says:

    Just as a side thought, we know Perez has substantial financial backing from Mexico – how do you think that deal will work with McLaren James? Will he get a paid a salary and the sponsorship money is separate and will go to McLaren? Did the sponsorship sweeten the deal at all or is it just an added bonus to the best choice there was?

    1. James Allen says:

      McLaren will have contracted with Telmex, which brings Perez. That’s how it works at Sauber

      1. DavidC says:

        Wouldn’t Telmex conflict with Vodafone sponsorship? Unless McLaren is looking at this as a business decision if, as rumour has it, Vodafone decides to scale back on its F1 involvement.

      2. Kay says:

        I dunno about Vodafone in the US/Canada, but I recall one or two years ago in a Canadian race, the McLaren cars had Verizon on the rear wings, while the sidepods still had Vodafone. Had no problems there.

      3. ferggsa says:

        Is it really? since McLaren have Vodafone that would conflict Telmex, Telcel, Claro backing
        To keep Telmex backing Sauber would have to promote Esteban Gutierrez from reserve driver ( he just finished 3rd in GP2)

  31. jonnyd says:

    if Hamilton was in the Merc this year – what could he have achieved that Michael and Nico haven’t?

    1. Martin says:

      A win at Monaco if he didn’t mess up qualifying the way Nico did. Apart from that a few fifth places.

    2. VanDhloms says:

      A lot actually… same as what McLaren achieved after 2006, same as what Red Bull achieved after Coulthard retired and probably same as what Ferrari is achieving this year. As for Red Bull, they were worse than Merc but Vettel transformed them, IMO Ferrari is worse than Merc but Alonso is delivering. Ask me why I say so… Fillipe is the true reflection of the Ferraris performance. How many times has Fillipe qualified and finished higher than 1 of the Mercs not counting Schumachers 6 DNF? In fact Fillipe is less than 10 points ahead of Schumacher with all those DNFs while Fillipe has finished all races. Rosberg has demonstrated that the car is capable of challenging for wins every race, with 26 points behind Button who’s driving the fastes car at the moment. Point is, Merc has a good package and now they have a driver for next year. Believe me other teams know that very well…

  32. Hahnsolo says:

    Mercedes delivering? That’s a great joke. I am quite disappointed in seeing Schumi leave like this. He certainly had some “bad” moments over the past 3 years but I am putting his lack of success down to the team and the car being miserable (so far).What a shame

    1. Andrew M says:

      That doesn’t really stack up when he’s been outperformed by Rosberg.

      1. Hahnsolo says:

        The only time he was outperformed by Ros was in 2010. In 2011 and 2012 he was equal if not better than Rosberg. In both years he had far more DNF’s which really make it unfair to compare the two.

      2. Andrew M says:

        Not sure how you can argue he was equal in 2011, he got outqualified and outscored by him.

        He’s matched up to Rosberg a lot better in qualifying this year. Granted, he’s had more DNFs than Rosberg, but at least three of those have been his fault by running into the back of other cars.

        And Rosberg has won a race and secured a lot more podiums across the three years.

  33. Moldy says:

    Great update, James, who is your hot tip for the sauber seat?

    1. Kay says:

      Dunno about Sauber, but Ferrari’s 2nd seat is Rob Smedley bound.

  34. Pete says:

    bad news

    and frankly, it makes no sense whatsoever

    Schumi was essentially driving at the same level as Rosberg

    he often outqualified him and recently even outdrove him in races

    take away all those DNFs (due to mechanical faults) and Schumi was still there or there-abouts

    Hamilton would NOT have been (much) better in THIS Mercedes

    and he is not half the BRAND Schumacher is world-wide

    some people in England get excited about Hamilton for patriotic reasons, as well as the often English F1 press, but that’s it

    it’s frankly astonishing that Ross Brawn does not get more criticised in the press

    HE is responsible for building a winning car, or at least hiring the people who can do it

    he has had years to pull it off

    in vain

    yet apparently, he is beyond reproach since he once built “winning cars”

    at Benneton/Ferrari he was part of a super-TEAM (Schumi at his peak, Todt, Byrne)

    once on his own, he failed to build “winning cars” with the exception of the very controversial double-diffusor-car

    German media have recently reported that Mercedes were so unhappy about “lack of progress” that they planned to sack Brawn to replace him with the current head of AMG

    English media outlets simply did not pick up on this story

    Mercedes should have kept Schumi for one more year and then tried to go for Hülkenberg or maybe even Vettel

    they could now even lose Schumacher as brand ambassador

    it’s also possible that the champ now goes to Sauber whose team boss has already said he would take him in a “heart-beat”

    wouldn’t that be ironic: Schumacher getting more points in a Sauber than Hamilton in a Mercedes, for a fraction of the salary

    1. Spyros says:

      “wouldn’t that be ironic: Schumacher getting more points in a Sauber than Hamilton in a Mercedes, for a fraction of the salary”

      Now that would be funny, wouldn’t it??

      After Schumi retired from Ferrari, he learned that Peter Sauber had a BIG hand in getting him in F1… it will be intriguing to see if this makes him think of Sauber seriously, if the team wants him.

      And he would be going back to Ferrari power, so all’s well!

    2. Andrew M says:

      Saying “Brawn isn’t successful apart from his successes” is kinda silly. And Mercedes won a race this year, it’s not like they’ve been in the midfield without any show of promise.

  35. RampantHaddock says:

    Not that it’s necessarily the wrong decision, but it’s a risky decision- made for the wrong reasons?

  36. Josef says:

    Always admired rather than liked Lewis and even as a McLaren fan I’m kinda relieved to be rid of the constant drama and petulance. His speed and driving style are both awesome to behold, his character, however, rather more questionable. Good for the sport, good for Jenson, not so good for McLaren I suspect…..?

    1. Dino says:

      Dear Josef, as you said, these moves are no good for McLaren, nor for Lewis.

      With the arguably fastest Fernando rival in a sub par car, and the strongest Ferrari rival with two good but no great drivers, who is really winning is Ferrari. As long as Red Bull post EDB have no domintant car in the forthcoming seasons, I can see a bright red future for the sport.

      1. Kay says:

        That would not only be good for Dino but also Enzo and he’d be over the moon :D

  37. Serrated_Edge says:

    James, regarding engines for 2014, are McLaren locked into Mercedes engines?

    Sure i read once Ron Dennis wanted McLaren to be a British Ferrari building the engine as well as the car- could that happen in 2014?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes McLaren will be using the new generation Merc engine in 2014/15

  38. Chapor says:

    Well predicted there James… Now… To my question which still remains unanswered, were will Jaime end up? I know you know. Is it Sauber now that Perez left there? That would be great!

  39. Phil Hutt says:

    Hmmm, time will ultimately tell if this is a good move. Certainly for Perez, he gets the chances that perhaps Sauber couldn’t give him.

  40. LD says:

    To be fair Eddie Jordan broke this story and everyone laughed it off. This site remained very sceptical and presumed Lewis would stay at McLaren. Credit where credit’s due, Eddie isn’t the fool people take him for.

    Exciting times for F1 again.

  41. Phil says:

    A massive gamble and some of things Ive read regarding Hamiltons chances echo what was being said when the team first appeared with Schumacher at the forefront.

    Look how that turned out…

    1. KRB says:

      Where have you read this stuff? Everything I’ve seen has been people saying that it’s a bad move for him, all the way to you-never-know-what-can-happen. I haven’t seen anyone suggest that he’ll romp the field next year. If you did see anything like that, would you pay attention to it anyways?

      My view is that McLaren were the safer bet, but who knows? McLaren have screwed up royally in the past, and this season too, but at the moment it seems they are in a good mode, and finally have figured out that pit stop prowess can actually decide results. But every year can be so different in F1; things for the most part are definitely not linear in F1.

  42. CJM says:

    I don’t think Lewis has played this one very well. Surely the best strategy would be to commit to McLaren for 1 more year.

    That would have given him a much better chance of winning the title in 2013, but just as importantly a better choice of seats for 2014, with McLaren and Mercedes seats remaining options (Merc wouldn’t ditch Schumi for anyone except Lewis I think) and Red Bull in all likelihood also becoming available.

    There’s a good chance that with new engine rules in 2014 that Merc could be a good seat, but waiting a year would allow him be see that they were making progress in other areas. Let’s face it the Brawn title win in 2009 was quite flukey and their achievements since have been very disappointing.

    I’ve heard it reported that Fuller’s XIX are getting 50% of external endorsements, so have a vested interest in a move to Merc. I fear Lewis has chosen unwisely in his management – his actions are those of a wannabe global celebrity, rather than someone with a desire to be seen as an F1 all-time great. (Something I believe he clearly has the talent for). Disappointing.

    1. Elie says:

      Yeah but Mclaren might not have wanted just 1 year !

    2. Racefans says:

      Well said CJM, totally agree. XIX would have looked at all other options before giving Mercedes the slightest bit of consideration. Hamilton is a victim of circumstances for 2013 options and he should’ve done a 1 year extension with McLaren.

      I can’t help but feel that Mercedes would’ve given Schumacher the opportunity to at least announce his retirement and that because he hasn’t, something is on the cards. I think Ferrari may be calling…

    3. Sossoliso says:

      McLaren would never have allowed him to commit for only 1 year..i.e use them as a stop/stap while angling for seat at Redbull post 2013. The only other game in town was Mercedes. His goose was cooked at McLaren.

    4. Malcolm says:

      I’m also dissapointed like you CJM, and agree with most of your comments, but I believe that Mclaren would have never given Lewis a one year contract.

    5. Timmay says:

      Yeah ok, a 1 year contract may have happened if he paid them for the privilege.

  43. Finch says:

    Any truth to the rumour that Schumacher’s management has been talking to Sauber?

    And, according to Autosport, Peter Sauber said he would offer Schumacher a drive if a seat became free…

  44. Joao says:

    I’m a long time McLaren fan (since Ayrton Senna) and i’m a huge Hamilton fan (he’s the kind of driver we all want to see racing), and watching to this separation is a bit hard. Afterall it was my favourite driver in my favourite team… In the other hand i justo can’t wait to the start of 2013 season. Will Hamilton win in a Mercedes? I hope so… Will Perez beat Jenson (i bet he will!). It’s a huge amount of fresh air in F1!
    PS: Let’s hope we’ll see the Nº1 in a silver arrow in 2013!

  45. Neshaen says:

    A new era in formula 1 is about to begin!
    Cant wait for the 2013 season! Well done on the prediction James!
    James – Perez @ McLaren: your thoughts on this?
    Keep up the good work.

  46. **Paul** says:

    Great news. Now we get to see what Lewis is really made of. Next season will be telling. Can he out perform Rosberg? My guess is just about, but not by much. Will the team gel around Lewis given Nico has worked with them for a good few seasons? How will Lewis perform in a car which is unlikely to be the best on the grid?

    If Lewis can perform at Mercedes I’ll have far more respect for him, than if he sneeks this years world title in a car which has proven to be more consistently fast than any other this year.

    Over to you Lewis…

    1. Erik says:

      Mercedes will have to develop a car that is not so hard on it’s tyres first. Otherwise they will have a driver who is aggressive on the tyres in a car that does the same.

    2. Steve Pritchard says:


    3. Malcolm says:

      Being seen what Lewis is made of, also applies to Jenson.

    4. W Johnson says:

      “if Lewis sneaks this years world title”

      Does it matter how you win it?

      The same could be said for Alonso and other top drivers….why Should Lewis have to win any differently?

    5. Joel says:

      If Lewis wins next year, wait for his basher’s to come out and say that it was “Schumacher” that built the car and Lewis is taking the prize…

      1. Mayank says:

        Indeed joel. I am not a hamilton basher but if we see history , it took schumacher 3 seasons to build a dominating ferrari. Its now the 3rd year of schumacher in his second stint in f1 and i do feel mercedes are going to be more competetive in 2013 than they were in last three years. So hamilton will definately benefit from the hard work and effort of schumacher.

        P.S.- I do like hamilton

    6. KRB says:

      It was fast in Australia, China, and then again starting from Germany. But since Germany Lewis has only finished twice! (both wins) Doesn’t matter how fast your car is if it doesn’t make it to the finish line.

      1. Andrew M says:

        Well, McLaren can hardly be blamed for the retirements in Germany and Belgium.

        All the pitstops and operational errors earlier in the season however…

  47. aby says:

    Schumacher to Ferrari anyone?

    1. Erik says:

      Ha ha, yes! Although I’m sure Alonso would not be happy. I don’t think he likes Michael much. I remember when Michael came back, in Melbourne he was hanging in the Ferrari padock area not the Mercedes padock area. Alonso saw him and didn’t like that very much let me tell you…

    2. Irish con says:

      Ferrari sacked Michael 6 years ago. He hasn’t got any better since then. So no chance he will go back to Ferrari.

      1. Eddie Brock says:

        He retired…getting sacked and retiring are 2 very different things…why not…MSC back in ferrari, something perfect whenever it was accomplished will always stay perfect. Just put him in a scarlet red car and you’ll see what i mean.

      2. Mcmanure says:

        He was not sacked mick he retired get your facts straight.

      3. Irish con says:

        Guys considering Ferrari had massa and kimi both signed in 2005 it’d pretty clear Michael was being ushered out of Ferrari for 2007. If Michael was finished with f1 why did he come back? Ferrari wanted him out after seeing alonso was the better driver in 2006.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        Well Eddie and Mc both seem to have missed the point.
        LDM told MSC early in 2006, we have signed Raikkonen for next season.
        All through the year, different journalists reported that Marlboro was willing to pay the $60,000,000 for the driver salaries, to have this super team together.

        Michael chose retirement, but if you believe that Ferrari didn’t push him towards that, you’re naive.

      5. F12012 says:

        Yeah, Ferrari did push Schumacher towards the exit door in 2006, do you remember Schumachers last race for Ferrari after the flat tyre, the speed he had was unreal and he easily could’ve continued racing for a number of years

      6. Kay says:

        +1 Was going to say the same.

    3. Aey says:

      Micheal to Ferrari? . . . I don’t think so.

      Micheal don’t want to be 2nd driver for sure and pairing with Alonso, he will be nowhere near Alonso at peak.

    4. Kay says:

      I’m sure he can still drive his FXX anytime he wants to. :D

  48. Andy says:

    There’s no doubt Hamilton gains financially but whether he will have equal or better car performance remains to be seen.
    The BAR/Honda/Brawn/Mercedes has only had one good season, 2009 when Ross Brawn had foreseen a loophole in the regs and exploited it fully.
    You can’t blame Hamilton for chasing the bucks, although whether you earn 15 or 20 million a year, it’s a little immaterial when it comes to those sums of money.
    With Mercedes current form it looks an odd decision, but although the regulation changes in 2014 may open up the field, Renault lag behind on Kers, so Red Bull etc will surely be disadvantaged.
    I can’t see Hamilton achieving next year what Alonso has done this year in the Ferrari. I don’t think the Ferrari was actually a bad car this year, more that the team couldn’t unlock it’s potential.
    Time will tell if Hamilton has made a very shrewd performance decision or not.

  49. on the money predictions from James and Eddie !

    Can’t see Jenson being told to help Lewis to championship, unless constructors tile is ‘do-able’ McClaren won’t be too keen to see Lewis go to Merc with No 1 on car ! wonder if Lewis will have to leave his phone at the door !

    Schumacher to Sauber ?

    1. c-m says:

      Constructors only really care about the constructors’ championship. Thats where all the money comes from. The drivers’ championship is a mere side show.

      1. Kay says:

        lol i see the WDC as more of a dangling carrot in front of the driver’s face to make them drive the hell out of themselves for the sake of WCC. :D

  50. Koby Fan says:

    Wonder if Checo moving to McLaren paves the way for Vodafone to pull up stumps from F1 and McLarens’ will be Slim branded?

    The ex-Ferrari connection of Schumi and/or Massa to Sauber in 2013?

    If podiums or wins from the 2nd tier drivers are going to be the ticket to the top teams, then Pastor has a shot at Massa’s seat. Grosjean is a fixture at Renault, so whoever in the next bunch of Di Resta, Hulk, Koby and Bruno can get a podium is next in line.

    Koby needs a podium somewhere in the next few races to relieve the pressure. Looks more likely that Sauber will have a new lineup next year and new livery. I never thought Sauber would be good fit for Koby, a Williams have a true racing spirit and that would be a good pairing.

  51. Cookie says:

    I think its good news for F1 and good news for Lewis. The team can be built around him – I understand its a risk but similar to the one Michael Schumacher took when he joined Ferrari.

  52. JanDeBoer says:

    The word ‘Betrayal’ has been mentioned. Nonsense.

    List of Champions that have left McLaren for pastures new:


    About time too! McLaren are getting stale. Last constructors 1998, last WDC – Hamilton 2008. VERY poor return for one of the ‘big’ 3 teams. So, what exactly is Lewis missing by moving? NOTHING! If he was going to Sauber, I would understand the apprehension. But this is MERCEDES/BRAWN/G WILLIS & Co. He needs a new challenge…this is it! Everyone will see a very different Lewis under Ross Brawn…hopefully a race winning machine, like MS. All the best to him and Nico.

  53. Kris says:

    Headline a little sensationalist and dramatic isn’t it, James?

    ‘Turns his back’? Really?

      1. Rich B says:

        From what I’ve read, you’ve had a lot of comments like this for your headline James, they are a bit OTT.
        Out of interest, do you read all comments?

      2. James Allen says:

        I have moderators, but I certainly read the majority of comments

      3. James Clayton says:

        James, what gives? it’s not like you to react like that to feedback. On this occasion I happen to agree with Kris that the headline doesn’t fit with the article.

      4. madmax says:

        It is believed both teams had realistic and quite close offers on the table. Hamilton refused the one from a team he was with for 14 years and went to the other.

        Is that not turning your back on one to sign with the other?? I don’t get the criticism.

      5. Kay says:

        Whoa! Quite surprise to read this kind of reply from you :D lol…

  54. franed says:

    Has anyone told Michael? Only yesterday Ross was saying that MSC’s future was difficult to decide upon. I would guess that XIX got fed up with waiting and gave a nudge.

  55. Racecar says:

    Dear Ferrari, please drop Massa and sign Schuey!… One last hurrah, surely!

  56. Kay says:

    Now, the thought of seeing Hamilton wearing a Petronas suit is going to feel awkward for the first few races.

    Good luck to him though!! :D Surely he can deliver something MSC + ROS couldn’t.

  57. Kay says:

    Now, the thought of seeing Hamilton wearing a Petronas suit is going to feel awkward for the first few races.

    Good luck to him though!! :D Surely he can deliver something MSC + ROS couldn’t..

  58. SimonB says:

    Can’t pretend that I’m not dissapointed to see Hamilton leave McLaren, but good luck to him. I hope that he can lead the Silver Arrows to being a leading team.

    Good to see Perez getting significant drive.

  59. Old Timer says:

    This can only be good news for F1. Hamilton will be criticised for this by people who believe that he has moved for the money and has been manipulated by his management team but that’s a very unkind view. He has been unhappy at McLaren for some time now and I think he must have wanted to leave the team but not known how to do it and that is probably why the new management seemed an attractive idea – as a way to greater independence. After all, he is still very close to McLaren after all those years and it’s never easy to move on, especially if the other side doesn’t want to, hence a little help from the experts. I see this as Hamilton growing up properly and striding out confidently into the world. It’s the sort of change that everyone needs from time to time to keep moving forward in life. The Hamilton of three years from now will be much better as a F1 driver and as a person after this no matter how many victories he ends up with. Good luck to him and to McLaren as well.

    1. matthew says:

      i think lewis left because of MW.they dont get on,martin has never really liked lewis(or the EXPERIMENT as he once called him)
      you can clearly see MW is alot fonder of jenson.
      trouble is,in a tight season,jenson will never win a championship.jenson will need a very dominant car.shame lewis has had so much bad luck this season,coz he’d easily be leading the championship right now.
      lewis was in a poor car in 2009 and did a good job.i expect him to do a good job next season,even in a car thats not good enough to win the championship.

      1. Cliff says:

        “martin has never really liked lewis”… Fourteen years is a long time to put up with someone you don’t like!

      2. Kay says:

        It’s not about the length of time that Matthew (or myself) that sees the uneasy relationship between MW and HAM.

        Ham is Ron Dennis’s boy, not MW’s. Button was signed by MW, so to MW, Button is HIS own baby. Ham is someone else’s. It’s no surprise that MW likes Button more than Ham.

        I recall reading an article some time ago with Ron saying that if he had a choice, he would never sign Button. Doesn’t that tell you something?

  60. V8 fan says:


    I’m a huge Mclaren fan & a huge Hamilton fan. Though my loyalties lie with Mclaren.

    I hope Sergio can deliver, because I really do not see Sergio & Jenson as a WCC winning team. In fact, I see both Sauber drivers underperforming in a car that is truly superior to the competitors.

    As for Mercedes AMG, they will win races next year. However, Rosberg may have won one race, but he is definately not a ‘winner’.

    So here we have 3 of the 4 major teams that do not have a driver pairing to win the WCC in 2013. Looks like RBR will be WCC champions 4 years in a row.

    Plus, with Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 rumours quite rife, I see both Hamilton & Mclaren as loses in this deal. However, when a driver chooses to become ‘a famous racing driver’ over ‘a great racing driver’ no good can come of it.

    Yes, Ross Brawn delivered many WDC’s to Shumacher, but Shumacher had that hunger for success already! Hamilton might have a hunger for success, but his hunger for fame over-rides his hunger for wins!

    1. VanDhloms says:

      Times have changed, sports personnel are self brand these days and that’s purely to secure ones future well beyond his racing days. Today’s teams are run like a Wall Street corporate firms and there’s nothing wrong with a forward thinking driver commercialising his talent and image. Legacy alone will not take care of tangible needs, only money will…

  61. Lev says:

    Sergio Perez at McLaren. wow! Congrats Checo!

  62. James says:

    Imagine the scenario of Button becoming two time world champ next year if Maclaren continue their current technical dominance :-).

    1. Elie says:

      Can’t wait to see Perez beat him lol

    2. Brendan says:

      Unlikely to happen whilst Alonso and Vettel are in the sport. Jenson may have a good car underneath him right now, but rumour has it that it was input from Lewis that pulled him out of his mid-season slump. Jenson, IMO, is not as complete a driver as many would have you believe.

    3. Satish says:

      Button would need to up his game though and deliver the goods even when the car isn’t to his liking.

      1. Fellowes says:

        Do not underestimate Jenson. Sure he needs perfect setup, but when he gets it he is unbeatable. The only thing beating him is how often he can get that setup, and with him being the veteran at McLaren, I’m sure they will do all they can to provide it help him.
        Jenson has won races with 3 teams, that’s no fluke, and he is one of the smartest drivers out there.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        He hasn’t really has he?
        Honda 2006 had morphed into Brawn by 2009
        So technically 2 teams

      3. matthew says:

        any driver in a car with a perfect setup should be able to win.theres not much skill in that.
        its the drivers who can still deliver in a not so perfect car that have the real skills,ie alonso and lewis.and dont be fooled by last season,jenson can beat a off form lewis.he has no chance against a on form lewis,even with the masses of bad luck lewis has had this season.

      4. KRB says:

        Jenson has had an awful year, let’s admit it. Or at least an awful middle section of the season. Awful bordering on horrific.

        Jenson needs the car perfect, and that rarely ever happens. I think for Jenson to win the WDC again, the McLaren would have to be head-and-shoulders better than any other car (just as the Brawn was). If not, it won’t happen.

    4. Nathan Jones says:

      Tee hee. It’d be funny to see Perez hit the ground running and kick Jenson out of his own party.

      For Jenson to produce the goods to warrant a second drivers championship you would need him to:

      (A) get over his oversteer/understeer/oversteer issues, and find his feet quicker on any given race weekend

      (B) start consistently qualifying well rather than only occassionally qualifying well

      I don’t see either of those issues as being easy for him to overcome as he is intrinsically a finicky driver.

    5. James says:

      My point is that it’s a feasible scenario though. Hamilton is moving on a promise of future performance. He could end up with one of Alonson, Vettel, Button collecting another world championship whilst he stagnates waiting for the equipment to mount his own challenge at finally getting the multi-titles he craves.

    6. Andrew M says:

      I’m a Jenson and McLaren fan but I just can’t see it I’m afraid.

    7. Kay says:

      Alonso said something like: Hamilton is the only driver that can win in a bad car.

      So yea, “Imagine the scenario of Button becoming two time world champ next year if Maclaren continue their current technical dominance” probably applies. He’ll need a dominant car, otherwise.. pff…..

  63. Richard says:

    I vote for Schumacher replacing Massa at Ferrari.

    Winning in Ferrari, leaving, not winning in a Merc, return to Ferrari and win again.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      His success with Ferrari was so high, that I hoped he would never win with Mercedes. Selfish maye, but if he steps back into a Ferrari again, I hope he wins a race or two and retires.

    2. Mocho_Pikuan says:

      Winning again with Ferrari? U mean Schumy beating Fernando? Man…

      1. Elie says:

        Oh heaven forbid.. Please!! Lewis, Kimi I reckon even Perez can beat Fernando in the same Ferrari. He almost beat him in the Sauber !

      2. Kay says:

        You can never measure unless the two are in the same cars :D

  64. Scott says:

    I’m not so sure of this narrative that Mercedes have been putting the team/infrastructure in place with Hamilton the final piece of the jigsaw to deliver inevitable world championship success, drawing comparisons to Schumacher at Ferrari and Alonso at Renault. Hamilton has the ability, there’s no doubt about that, but is he enough of the team player?

  65. F1fan4life says:

    Well ones true colours always show. McLaren made their first mistake in stupidly angering Alonso. Alonso had come in as a childhood fan of McLaren into his dream team. They didn’t need to give him number one status, just the status a 2 time champion deserved. They didn’t and instead thought Hamilton to be the future. Had they stuck with Alonso he would have won them at least 2 titles by now. Instead they aided a spoiled brat named Hamilton and now their brat has spat in their face. My guess is his tantrums never sat well, and when he saw how well a professional driver like Button gelled with the team he was never going to be happy. If he can ditch his own father….

    I feel this was a serious flaw in McLaren strategy. They basically p**sed Alonso off, then didn’t please their golden boy… so who is left? Appalling. Frankly stunned they didn’t get Kimi but I suppose they felt they needed a driver that doesn’t complain. I’m also amazed they didn’t consider Schumacher. I’ve never been a fan of his but he has been on par with Rosberg and giving him one year would make McLaren new fans. It’s a pity that Schumacher suffers for Hamilton… in terms of driver ability I feel Schumacher is ironically far better than Hamilton has ever been.

    1. Elie says:

      & you don’t think Fernando was a spoiled brat ???? Omg he was the most temperamental bloke in the paddock. He’s just matured the last two years. & look at Lewis this year-people change

      1. Quattro_T says:

        A pretty fast, consistent, mature and professional spoiled brat then. I would not call beating MS in a Ferrari and KR in a Mclaren, back to back, consistent with what a “spoiled brat” would be capable of achieving. I bet you did not see the 05-06 seasons.

      2. Elie says:

        Got nothing to do with being a spoiled brat ! Great driver though Fernando is . Kimi would be a triple world champion had it not been for Mclaren unreliable.(2003:5) & sadly yes 2005 would have been one of then. Yes I watched that and most races since the early 80″s

    2. Panya says:

      I totally with your comment – a good one.

    3. cliff says:

      Something tells me you obviously haven’t been watching F1 very long,….Hamilton may not be the best but one Fernando Alonso rates him highly indeed spoilt brat or not. Didnt here him saying same about Button. Enough said.

      1. Kay says:

        Agree with you.

        If Ham’s old nemesis rates him so highly, then that can be nothing but truth.

        Never seen Button win in a sub-par car before.

    4. simon says:

      What an absolute load of rubbish, you forget that Lewis dilivered a championship after Alonso threw his toys out and left Mclaren, with rumurs of him practically blackmailing RD over the Nigel Stepney affair,who was the team player there. I’m a life long Mclaren fan, and i realise that this is a two way thing,Lewis owes mclaren NOTHING. He has done as much for them as they have done for him, i would argue perhaps they have not done enough for him, people forget the truly awful cars that have followed from 2008,but never once has he publicly criticised Mclaren, when few could blame him if he did, especially this year.
      If Mclaren need a driver that doesn’t complain then they should get rid of Jenson, he never stops moaning.
      The way your talking about Mclaren “getting Kimi” is also odd, do you not realise that Kimi may well have a decent contract already with Renault, or may not want to go any where, you seem to think Mclaren can just click there fingers and srivers will come running, it does not work like that.
      Mclaren will be fine,they will survive and still attract good drivers long after Button and Perez have gone, And Lewis will be do just fine as well,give him a little time to settle in and we will see his natural skill and speed again.

      1. F1fan4life says:

        What a laughable comment…Lewis did as much for McLaren as they did for him? McLaren paved the way for him. He is just the 3rd best driver in F1 currently. He’s spoken out against his team multiple times. Here is basic sense, if you bring in a double world champion and place a rookie by his side you clearly are planning on fighting for the title and having your rookie learn from the champion. You don’t sign a contract and then alienate your champion in one year. It’s just a failure to execute. That you regurgitate rumours of what Alonso may have done in terms of espionage rather than follow the simple fact that he was found innocent of any wrongdoing shows your true worth as a fan. Get yourself a vomit bag and save it for your own amusement. I’m just stating facts here. McLaren had a plan in 2007, it failed miserably. McLaren thought they’d back Hamilton over Alonso for their long term future. This has now failed. He brought them one title, after a year in which I’m sure Alonso brought more technical feedback than the rookie Hamilton. Since then he has done nothing. You say Lewis was given lousy cars but in fact Hamilton has Hafez better cars than Alonso every single year since 2007… since that year who has complained more? As for Kimi of course McLaren could try for him, Ferrari ditched him and kept him on retainer. If they wanted him bad enough given their financial clout compared to Lotus they could have. Whether he wanted to go is a different matter entirely.

      2. Quattro_T says:

        “Lewis owes mclaren NOTHING”
        I think you will have to search long and hard (and still fail) to find a team that will give you, a rookie, precedence before the, at the time, youngest double world champion in history. A world champion that beat the likes of Schumacher and Raikkonen driving Ferraris and Mclarens in non-dominant packages.
        You will probably give up the search even sooner if you try to find a team that will prefer to keep the rookie and let the DOUBLE champion go after only one season.
        The biggest looser today is without doubt Mclaren. HAM will get his cash from Merc – Mclaren made a huuuge investment (speculation is better word actually) in 2007 and have paid dearly for it.

      3. simon says:

        I would like to point out that the “rookie” had been nurtured by that team since 13 years of age, just maybe they kinda new what they were getting with him. Alonso is a fantastic driver, but he really did try to screw Mclaren with his alleged threats of going to the FIA with his e-mails from Dela Rosa, once he realised he was not going to get his own way, away he went.He alone made that decision. Mclaren has NEVER favoured one driver over another as history has shown.It has been said that Alonso simply could not adapt to a team that would let their drivers race each other and not give him his number one status.
        You can speculate about how Alonso would have done all you like, But these are the facts,
        The rookie missed a championship by one point in his rookie year, the year after he was world champion, but according to you this is some kind of failure.

      4. Quattro_T says:

        “I would like to point out that the “rookie” had been nurtured by that team since 13 years of age, just maybe they kinda new what they were getting with him.”

        They were guessing and ultimately choose to go with the guesses and ignore the facts. They could not have known as HAM did not have any track record in F1 in comparason to ALO. Basically all drivers that end in F1 have been kings in lower formulas – that guaranties nothing and RD know that.

        Yes, missing DWC in 2007 was a HUGE failure. Getting lucky at last race in 2008 and winning by one point against Massa was not what I would call a success. HAM finishing 5th in 2009, 4th in 2010, 5th in 2011 and being 4th this year is far from success given relative strength of the packages. That is what I refer to when I say Mclaren has paid dearly for very little. What MW is and has been doing is to clean the mess that RD left after him after 2007.

        ALO did probably try to get back on RD for totally ignoring him and his talant and you cannot blame him for that.

        “Mclaren has NEVER favoured one driver over another as history has shown.”


      5. Elie says:

        Well put Simon

    5. xrr says:


    6. Andrew M says:

      I love how leaving the team after six years (longer than Alonso has stayed at any team) is being a spoiled brat, whereas trying to blackmail your boss and landing your team with a $100m fine is the hallmark of a model professional as substantial team player.

    7. Oly says:


      very, very true.

  66. P Alliot says:

    It’s interesting that Michael Schumacher has cast himself as victim in this affair – as ‘just another driver’ – pushed out, if you like. He’s a savvy guy, and could have stolen everyone’s thunder by announcing “I’ve built this team up, achieved what I set out to achieve” etc. He could have pre-empted everyone, and come out with accolades and statesmanlike image: he has known what was going on for weeks/months.
    Instead, he’s chosen a different setting for the end of his driving career at Mercedes.

    1. zombie says:

      Interesting thoughts..

      There’s a picture of him walking away from his car in Singapore. Face sculpted with creases and wrinkles, slumped back, greying hair and lost deep in thoughts. He seems so much more human now than a bionic winning machine he was until 2006. I still wonder why he visited the Mercedes tests for young drivers earlier in the month ? Guess workoholism is one cell that refuses to leave Michael even with advancing age..

      1. P Alliot says:

        I don’t know about the ‘workohlism’ – one of the reasons MSC gave for joining Mercedes was that it was more do-able for him without all the testing, he has a young family etc. I thought the young driver thing looked a bit as if he’d set it up as a photo-op.
        You’re certainly correct about ‘the walk’ – it was very studied. Schumacher has been publicly accused (rightly or wrongly) by so many of being ruthless, cheating, using every fair or unfair advantage … it’s almost as if he is scripting the last ‘act’ to portray himself as ultimately … human.

  67. Tom says:


    I’d be interested to see a straw poll of other drivers in terms of what they would do given Hamilton’s options. It would be my guess that most if not all would pick McLaren.

    The grass may not be greener, but it’s got more bling I guess. If that’s what motivates him.

  68. Marcelo Leal says:

    Even more respect for Lewis! I think people will be surprised next year, when he take out one second from mercedes car’s lap…
    Lewis did lose the first wc back in 2008 because was competing alone against two drivers at ferrari. If ferrari was fair with the sport, massa would win the Brazilian gp, and Hamilton would be champion.
    Lewis almost lose the 2009 wc because the same thing, but could beat both ferrari drivers…
    The best driver in f1 will prove that next year!

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      I appreciate you may not be English, but I have read your post 5 times and still can not understand a word!!

      1. KRB says:

        He mixed up the years … 2008 should be 2007, and 2009 should be 2008. He’s saying that Massa should’ve won the Brazilian GP in 2007, which would’ve denied Kimi the title, and been incredibly dumb for him to do if he wanted to keep driving for Ferrari.

        As for the one lap bit, I guess he’s saying LH will be fast. A grasping assumption, I know.

      2. Marcelo Leal says:

        Thanks KRB, I did try to fix the years and ended up doing another confusion. And about the “one lap” thing, it’s not a grasp, as I say that based on facts (we just need to look at the numbers from the f1.com site). Hamilton was 1s, half-a-second, etc better than Jason Button this year. If he could have this performance on Mercedes this year, Mercedes would be pretty good. Another point, is that we are talking about Mclaren as if Mclaren was Lewis Hamilton. And the fact is that Button on the other hand, do not follow Hamilton. This year in some ocasions Button was outpaced by the Mercedes drivers. So, when we say Mclaren has a great car this year, we are saying that Hamilton gives that impression to us. I did in my site a quick research on the qualifying stats for this year, and I think is pretty valid and fair comparison: http://www.eall.com.br/blog/?p=2907

      3. KRB says:

        I was agreeing with you, just implying that it’s not a bold prediction to say that Hamilton will be fast. We know he will be. He’s consistently quicker than Jenson.

      4. Marcelo Leal says:

        Sorry, actually I meant 2007 and 2009 instead of 2008 and 2009. Ferrari did the switch of their drivers’ positions on both WDC, as in 2007 Massa gave the victory at Brazilian GP to Kimi, and so Kimi won the WDC. In the next year they did basically the same, but Hamilton could win the WDC anyway!

    2. Andrew M says:

      I know Ferrari have come in for some stick for their team orders in the past, but I think it would have been lunacy for them to keep Massa in front of Raikkonen and deny themselves a world title.

  69. Steve says:

    Congratulations Lewis and to you too James..I really endorse the move especially as no more having to look over his shoulder as its not difficult enough to battle Alonso,Vettel and co you have to battle your ‘team’.

    1. Michael says:

      Good point. I think Hamilton leaving had a lot to do with his relationship with Martin Whitmarsh. You can tell their relationship was “icy”. I’m really glad he’s leaving. Hopefully, Mercedes can deliver him a good car.

      1. Erik says:

        Reminds me of the relationship Alonso had with Ron Dennis. Now that was icy. One has to wonder what would have gone down at McLaren had they backed Alonso over Hamilton a few years back. But they backed Hamilton. Look where that ended up.

      2. erik, i could not agree more. it seems to me people of a short memory in regards to the pit drama at hungry that year back in 08′ and the general bad vibes in the mclearn camp. seemed everyone was down on alonso, after that and that it was he (alonso that was the problem) now that looks a little doggy. maybe there was some truth to what he said about the team not supporting him and that is why it all ended so badly. alonso has always maintained his complaint had nothing to do with lewis or his astonishing ability right from the start. it was never because alonso wanted #1 status and was told no. instead it was simply a case of no support on his side of the garage. instead alonso missed out on the drivers championship and lewis for that matter, and mclearn got fined 100mil due to alsonso spilling the beans to the fia, to get back at ron dennis for what he felt was a betrial.

      3. Andrew M says:

        The didn’t “back Hamilton”, they continued their policy of treating both drivers equally. That’s hardly the same.

    2. Phil R says:

      If you’re the best driver in the world (which on raw talent/pace…I think he is) he shouldn’t need to be looking back. He can’t claim he deserves outright number 1 status when 12 months ago his team mate beat him fair and square.

  70. proxomos says:

    Perez WDC 2013!

  71. Sikhumbuzo Thomo says:

    One was hoping for the MSC and LH pairing.

  72. Waseem says:

    This is good news for Hamilton, I think he has the capabilities to emulate what Michael did for Ferrari.

    Bad news for Mclaren as they no longer have one of the elite drivers in F1, Perez is still an unknown quantity, he has been beaten by Kobyashi and it appears his good results so far have been more down to strategy and the ability to manage tyre wear.

    I wonder if the fact Perez brings money played a part in Mclaren’s decision seeing as they will soon have to start paying for engines and gearboxes.

    1. Erik says:

      Don’t underestimate Kobayashi. A driver with absolutely no money, driving in a team that desperately needs funding says a lot for his talent. On his day Kobayashi is very good. Perez has done well to beat him and this has not been missed by the McLaren team.

  73. Andrew S says:

    Reminiscent of Schumacher to Ferrari – look what happened there.

    It sets a new challenge for LH to move to another team and win races with another team – there is no doubt he has the talent but does he have the patience to maybe wait a year or two before he has a car that is ready to win races on a regular basis and add to his tally of 1 WDC.

    James – could McLaren move him out of the car now given he is going to a competitor and/or could this impact on how much access he will now have to McLaren future developments etc?

  74. Monji says:

    This title is a bit biased?

  75. hero_was_senna says:

    Great news.
    My hatred of Mclaren always made watching Lewis a nightmare, at last I can celebrate any success he achieves.
    I hope Mercedes will be able to give him the equipment to mesmerize us again.

    Just one dark thought springs to mind though.

    Niki Lauda has been involved in team management before, with Ferrari before Todt joined the team, and with Jaguar. Neither position brought any success to the respective organisations.

  76. Toby Mathews says:

    Although on the cards for some time, the move still comes as a bit of a surprise. Doubly so with Perez going to McLaren and not Ferrari.

    Does this effectively suggest Massa’s place is secure for at least another year?

    1. Andrew M says:

      It’s a little speculative, but there seems to be a feeling that Ferrari have Vettel signed up for 2014, in which case Massa for one more year and letting Perez go for now makes a lot of sense.

  77. MiG2009 says:

    wow, I’m shocked and a bit excited. It was time Lewis moved on, despite all the hoopla in my mind McLaren are chronic-underachievers they fail to maximize talent and engineering advantages. They wasted Raikkonen’s talents, Alonso’s talents and Hamilton’s talents. This season they could’ve easily took out at least one championship title but enough ammo to shoot themselves n their drivers in the foot.

  78. MISTER says:


    How does this Academy programe works?
    If Perez is a Ferrari academy driver, would Perez need to get Ferrari’s aproval to go to McLaren?


    1. James Allen says:

      Perez said at the weekend that he was a free agent. Amazing really that Ferrari let all that Telmex money go..

      1. Michael says:

        Shows how much money Ferrari get from elsewhere

      2. Stephen says:

        Not really, it shows that they have vodaphone money and that mclaren soon won’t have

      3. hero_was_senna says:

        I’m staggered by your comment James.
        Ferrari needing Telmex money?
        I thought with Santander and Marlboro, they had no available space for a big sponsor.

      4. Stephen Taylor says:

        they obvioously think the money that Santander and their revenues from merchandise are enough.

      5. Tim says:

        “Hindsight is better than foresight by a damned sight.” With that in mind, James, and noticing how you “not quite” ended your sentence (with ..), I look back at L. Dimont’s comment on Perez not being ready for Ferrari and think that he was helping Slim to lay the groundwork for the Macca move. Who knows what quid pro quos have been agreed upon. It’s quite clear that Daimler was unhappy with the ROI from trying to win a WC and there is more than one way to skin a cat (sell cars). So all on the same day, or close to it (with the extension to 30 sep, geez, I shoulda seen that coming’),
        1. F1 calendar announced
        2. Changes to WTG (more power to Daimler)
        3. Daimler signs Concorde ( commits to 8? Yrs)
        4. Hamilton to Merc
        And btw, this sure enhances the valuation of F1 and the Singer IPO. BIG Picture, as you correctly have stated (and I think have tried to hint at to your readers, now and then.)


      6. Craig in Singapore says:

        Sad if the money leaves Sauber. Look what they’ve done this year with it. I’d hate to see them start slipping back again.

  79. Dale says:

    Although a McLaren fan for so many years I have to conclude that Lewis had to jump ship as McLaren when all said and done just don’t seem able to provide the championship winning formula.
    In Lewis they have the and have had for several years F1′s current fastest driver and had he been given equal equipment to others he’d have secured several championships for them.
    I see the future for McLaren being not as strong as it has been until they get a full works engine deal (are you listening Honda or maybe VW)?

  80. KojOTAC says:

    Best move for Lewis at this stage of his career.Happy for Perez, glad he got the seat ahead of Di Resta as he has not only done more as a driver but has more of a personality than the young Scot. As for Lewis, hope it all works out at Mercedes will be rooting for him. If it goes pear shaped, the contract is only 3 yrs long so by then he will have more options open for teams than he did this time round. In 3ys time who knows what the driver situation will be at RBR, Ferrari or even Mclaren. Any of these will happly have Lewis if Merc doesn’t work out just as Alonso from Mclaren to Ferrari via Renault. Would be intresting to see how Button will cope with Perez as they are both supposed to be good on their tyres….have a feeling Perez will make him look ‘a bit ordinary’

  81. Mehluli Ndebele says:

    Wow, i never could imagine lewis in anything but Mclaren overalls, but i guess new challenges are always a good thing in life…I definately hope the Silver arrow can start showing up on the podium, winners spot more often
    Mclaren have lost the fastest driver on the grid, but Sergio is a really good driver

  82. Spyros says:

    Brace yourselves the musical chairs are just starting.

    Aren’t they?

  83. Cedgy says:

    Great news James as predicted by your article earlier this month! Although it seems to be a blow to McLaren I think it’s a bold step from Hamilton that shows maturity. To move out from his nurturing environment to another team like Mercedes isnt a small risk to take. But after spending more than half his life time with McLaren who can blame him for wanting a new challenge?

    Just a question James: There’s rumors going around that Alguersuari has signed a deal with Sauber, can you confirm this?


  84. James Smith-Brown says:

    I am very worried for McLaren. Could this be the next step towards them becoming the new Williams?

    They should have done something more drastic in my opinion. Sack Button and replace him with Perez (alongside Hamilton)? In the long term, Perez’s sponsors may have covered their costs/termination fees.

    1. peruvian says:

      I complete agree with you, so much money is spent in formula one, that I could not let go of the best driver (Hamilton) ok, some may say Alondo is the best, but he is not available…
      It is provably the fifth time I said this, but Martin Withmarsh is running a team with feelings and not with brains. just an example, he hires Perez ??? what for? is he any better?. is Pere ready for a top team?, no, he is not, Perez is not a top driver, on sunday, he does a sunday drive… come on Perez, need to force the issue here, have some guts and pass somebody, risk a little, crash while attempting a past is not so much out of order, look at Massa’s pass on Senna, for that he was driver of the day, (that and more) Perez needs to risk it a little, maybe a penalty for forcing a pass, I don’t know, we need to see a driver that takes a risk, one that has some balls, and you my friend (Perez) do not have it.
      perez was hire for his money… yes I am slapping you across the face, and pulling your ears to the floor, now go and drive like a man, go see some videos of Gilles Villenue and why not, some more videos of shcumaher.. although i wish you the best of luck.

  85. Jules says:

    I’m rooting for Perez to win the title next year.

    1. W Johnson says:

      I am also…..after Button though!

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Lewis leaves and Mclaren win the championship after best part of 20 years underachieving, hahahahahaahahaha

  86. Lachlan Mackinnon says:

    I have to say I’m really looking forward to seeing how Rosberg stacks up against Hamilton. We know Hamilton is fast but can he develop his maturity, race craft and leadership qualities that I believe Alonso possesses. Perhaps this new challenge will be part of that development for both drivers. I look forward to seeing how it plays out!.

  87. Mr Squiggle says:

    Phillipe breaths a sigh of relief, one less turn on the screw

  88. dodi says:

    It is some kind of a revenge I would say. At the end of 2009 mercedes was robbed by mclaren. Now mercedes rob the mclaren back. Pay off. Well, it is good for f1 and good for both Perez and Hamilton. Good opportunity for Perez to show the world that he could macth Vettel’s achievement. Hope Hamilton to develop well together with mercedes team in years to come. Can’t wait to see the 2013 season on ward.

  89. Jonno says:

    So McLaren to be “Team Tire-wear” next season then?

    In all seriousness, though I’m disappointed, as Hamilton is my driver and McLaren my team, I can sort of see the sense. Whilst there’s a minimal chance Hamilton will win the title next year, with 2014 being a new formula, and Ross Brawn having his track record, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were very strong then, especially with McLaren having potential problems with engine supply. I’m also hoping Lewis has some performance related get-out clauses in case they keep on building the dogs they have for the last three years!

    I also think McLaren haven’t done too badly with the aquisition of Perez, and I’m very surprised Ferrari let him through their fingers (unless they’re pretty sure they’ll get Vettel in 2014). Of all the options to McLaren, the only one who could have been available and that could come close to Hamilton’s current ability is Kimi, but presumably that wasn’t an option. Of everyone else on the grid, Perez is possibly the most impressive young driver, and with Button there already, he could be groomed up nicely to take over as team leader in 3-4 years when Button retires. It probably helps that he’ll bring plenty of cash – just enough to compensate for having to start paying for engines maybe? … of course that all assumes Perez’s tire-management trick isn’t something that just happens to have perfectly matched up to the Sauber, and can’t be replicated in another car.

    That said, unless McLaren build the out an out quickest car, I can’t see Button and Perez transcending it to a drivers title like Alonso looks to be doing this year.

    Anyway – next question – who (if anyone) is going to Ferrari, and how long for?

    Oh – and finally … I guess we’ll finally find out how good Nico Rosberg really is!

  90. Scott says:

    And there goes his career. I just can’t see Merc becoming a top performing team any time soon. The Brawn went from championship winning car to also ran Merc in one year, and hasn’t improved much since. They show early season pace and then it drops away.

    Having said all that, no one knows what will happen in 2014 when the new engine regs come in I guess. I do fear next year will be more of the same though. The question is, if that does happen, how will Hamilton’s temperament handle that?

    Best of luck to them both though.

    1. Ben B says:

      Remind me where Brawn came from again?

      1. Scott says:

        Where they came from is irrelevant. They won in ’09 with a dominant car (although it did tail a little due to lack of development), and since then apart from one win and a handfull of podiums they’ve often been nowhere. The car eats its tyres and usually is not as good in race trim where they can’t use their DDRS (which is banned next year).

        It’s a bold move from him and I might end up looking like a buffoon, which is not an irregular thing, but how long will Hamilton’s patience hold if he is fighting midfielders next year? History says not long. He’s a very fast driver but nobody can go quicker than their machinery allows.

      2. Ben B says:

        My point was that no one could have predicted Brawn’s success from Honda’s performance in 2008.

      3. Scott says:

        Nobody could predict ’09 as it a was a clean slate for everyone due to the major change in regs. Red Bull were in a similar if not slightly better position as Honda. My point about Mercedes is that the regs have been relatively stable for a few years and have shown little, especially with successful in season development. When 2014 rolls around things could get turned on their head again. I think Hamilton may have to wait till then for hope of real success.

      4. KRB says:

        The field is tightly bunched at the moment. I don’t see that changing next year. So the driver grows in importance. Imagine how HAM,ALO,VET would get on in the Sauber or Williams this year?

        We saw how dominant Mercedes were when they had the car dialled in that weekend in China. If they can master the tires, and get the Coanda exhaust working, I think they’ll be up there. The removal of the DDRS from next year’s call will actually benefit them.

      5. Andrew M says:

        His patience held quite well when he was fighting midfielder in 2009.

  91. Bring Back Murray says:

    Talk about cutting of your nose to spite your face.

    Terrible decision, despite all his difficulties at McClaren. Turned himself from one of the big players into an also ran in one foul swoop.

    Should have toughed it out at McClaren for another season or two until a Redbull (or even Ferrari) seat became available.

  92. K2 Bruins says:

    Oddly enough… I’m disappointed in Lewis. I hope Perez will fit in.

  93. Rory says:

    Absolutely shocked with this news had really thought it was all just part of the negotiating tactics from Hammys management. Don’t no where this leaves Schumacher. Mercedes really have let him down. Will Lewis have the same unwavering patience with the under performing team. Hate the thoughts of Schumacher missing from the grid next season but in truth is there any realistic decent race seat available for him. Thanks for the hard work you
    have done at Mercedes, it’s such a shame they couldn’t provide you with an even half decent machine. If you do decide to retire you will be sadly missed around the globe.

  94. Nandy says:

    Oh my. What about Di Resta then? Wasn’t he the star of the future?

  95. Glynn Harrold says:

    I really don’t know what to think about this.

    One one hand, going by the current form of Merc, I can’t see Lewis winning anything soon. It’s a step backwards from a team performance perspective. McLaren have a proven record of winning (though with too many errors). If Lewis really was interested in just winning, then I think Merc is the wrong team.

    On the other hand, I’m quite excited by the prospect of seeing what Lewis can do in a midfield car, and whether he has the leadership to build a team around himself. Then there’s the questions over the changes in 2014. I think this has got to be looked at as a long term partnership. I just hope that Merc can build a good car which allows him to challenge in a couple of years time.

    I bet RBR and Ferrari are quite pleased though. It means on less contender in next years WDC…

  96. Jarvis Simpson says:

    Lets be clear, McLaren apparently offered him less money to start, and his commercial commitments have been excessive. If they wanted to keep him they went about it the wrong way. Looks like they told him to leave by offering him less money. Any employer knows when you do that the good ones leave first.Whoever is in charge of the negotiations at McLaren should now be considering their own future.

    1. Erik says:

      Perhaps McLaren didn’t want to keep him?.. Maybe it was a nice way for them to say to Lewis thanks, but no thanks?

      1. ch says:

        Yeah, lost amongst all the hoopla is the possibility that this is just how McLaren wanted it to play out…

      2. Erik says:


  97. B Grylls says:

    Too bad McLaren couldn’t/didn’t sign Kimi…


    1. Esplanadist says:

      + 1

  98. Matt W says:

    Bad move for Lewis, great move for Perez and Mclaren. In Perez, Mclaren have another young talented star that they have pulled away from Ferrari. Perez should be walking into a team with championship aspirations.

    Hamilton move into the forever “next season” team. Worryingly it seems Merc are breaking with tradition and already writing off 2013 before the car has left the factory! Still, Hamilton handled the frustration of 2009 very well so he should be suited to that experience. I’d like to see the project at Mercedes bare fruit but have seen no evidence of the team moving forward aside from the anonymous 2009 season.

    As for Schumacher, why does he have to be judged on race wins? He seems to just enjoy being out there on the track and if he is having fun then that’s all that matters. If he signs for Sauber no doubt the press will deem it as a comedown. Personally I see it as a guy enjoying his sporting twilight years whilst he can.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      He’s basically signed for a second rate team on the premise “they may or may not improve in 2014″.

      Owing far too much to chance.

      He’s 27 – he needs to be in an established top 3 team right now, not in two or three years time.

      1. James Allen says:

        Did Vettel sign for a second rate team in 2008? (RBR were 7th in Constructors that year) He was 2 x WDC within three years

        Did Schumacher sign up for a second rate team in 1996? (Ferrari – 3rd in Constructors that year) He won 5 x WDC with them

        Honestly, take a wider view

      2. Rafa says:

        Vettel was in tr. for all the brilliance of his first win, did he have many more options as an unknown quantity? Agree with schu though.

      3. Erik says:

        You cant deny that Lewis and Ross as well are wishing Merc was in a better state though James.. Could very well be 3 years before Merc are up to speed, IF they are. And if not where will that leave Hamilton? 30 years old, with fresher rockstars on the grid, and the stigma of leaving a good team 3 years ago for money attached to him.

        It’s a risk. He needed a Red Bull or Ferrari seat. Or perhaps a better attitude. Maybe McLaren would have kept him then.

      4. Angelina says:

        Macca wanted to sign Vettel but Redbull blocked that move. Vettel had offers but he had a contract with Redbull.

      5. Elie says:

        Exactly James. Even this year that Merc had shown ballistic speed at times. Just balance needs improving. It won’t take much for it to dominate next year. People are also forgetting that 1/2 sec Sometimes separates top 10

      6. Jeff says:

        Sure, it’s a risk. If he was averse to taking risks, he wouldn’t be tear-arseing around a track in an F1 car. for a living.

        I’ve also read that Mercedes’s DDRS, while helping them in qualifying, may be partly to blame for their balance problems this year, so being forced to abandon it next year may actually put them in a stronger position.

        Good luck to Lewis next year. I suspect he’ll significantly out qualify Nico, and suspect that Jenson and Sergio will be very close, but I may be wrong. 2013 looks like a very interesting year.

    2. Andrew M says:

      I think McLaren have signed the best possible replacement in Perez, but under no circumstances can this be deemed a “great move” for them.

  99. franco del as es un ignorante says:

    allen, you mention in the article that now mercedes has a driver to go for the world championship. What about rosberg then, you always said he was championship material, even though all the signs, pointed to the contrary.
    And now sergio to mclaren, yes, the driver you said was NOT championship material. Now against what they think at mclaren. You are not a talent finder, that’s for sure.

  100. Tim Few says:

    Silly boy :(

    Unless this is the McLaren ship sinking i can’t see how this move will be good for his chances of more championships, it really does seem more about money than anything else, which to me is very short sighted.

    On the plus side, Perez seems like the best replacement we could hope for, lets just hope he is a good as he has looked this year when he slides into a winning car.

  101. Trespasser says:

    In 2002 McLaren also lost a race winner + 2 time world champion and hired a brilliant rookie.
    The current change certainly has the same feel.
    Time will tell if this move is good.
    As a McLaren fan I welcome Perez, he really is above of the current crop. I wish Lewis all the best with Mercedes.

  102. Tyler Durden666 says:

    Good Luck Lewis,

    Mclaren should of signed Maldonado, I think this guy could become great!

    1. chrisnz says:

      Maldonado and Perez are definitely the two of the new crop that I would be signing up if I was a top team owner with a vacancy/near future vacancy. It’s good Mclaren have got 1 of them anyway. Pastor has got some majestic speed, there’s no substitute for that, it’s the biggest card a driver can bring to the table and anyone that thinks he’s just going to be a crash kid for all his career is a bit foolish.

  103. Mike says:

    Win win for Mercedes and Hamilton. Brawn is building a new team, which Hamilton will hope will be as dominant as Ferrari were with Schumacher. There is some risk involved as this team hasn’t been as succesful as it could have been in its various guises. Saying that they have had more recent championship wins than Mclaren have had.

    It is a massive loss for Mclaren. As demonstrated in Singapore Hamilton is capable of getting the maximum out of the car. It will be interesting to see how Perez fairs but it looks like a damage limitation move with a great deal of risk attached to it.

  104. Dan Kelly says:

    If things don’t go to plan for Hamilton at Mercedes and McLaren (Perez) wins the title numerous times over the next few years, do you think we could see a U-turn in 3 years and Hamilton rejoin McLaren to replace Button?

    1. James Clayton says:

      I can see Hamilton eventually going back to McLaren to finish out his career. But not necessarily in the tail-between-legs picture you paint.

  105. Racefans says:

    Regardless of whether Hamilton achieves success at Mercedes, which I fear he will not, the handling of this deal has been absolutely horrendous. XIX Entertainment actually get paid to do the management job they have done for Hamilton.

    Hamilton was saying in Monza that all he wanted to do was win races, and he had a race winning team wanting to keep him. Who told him to say that? Now that he signs for Mercedes, he finally starts to change tact which he should’ve done a long time ago.

    What emerges is that the move is clearly just for money and the nature of the negotiations have only destroyed Hamilton’s image which he can now use to get multiple personal sponsors.

    I am Australian and good luck to him but I’ve lost a great deal of respect for Hamilton as a driver that simply wants to win. If he wanted to move for the challenge why play McLaren off against Mercedes?

    If Mercedes don’t provide a consistently competitive car as they really haven’t since returning to the sport, it’ll be a great shame to see a driver of the quality of Hamilton in the mid-field, knowing that he chose to be there out of sheer greed.

  106. Mitch says:

    I think Eddie Jordan nailed this story ages ago, back when this site was saying they expected the Mercedes link was gamesmanship and ultimately Lewis would stay with McLaren.

    Shame Eddie’s painted as the fool. He’s wiser than he’s made out to be.

    1. Tank says:

      He has definitely had the inside line on both major schumacher moves (coming back, and now being kicked out).

  107. Chris says:

    I think its an informed bigger picture decision from Lewis’s point of view to go to a works team given the raft of changes in 2014. There will be people here saying he’s crazy to leave for a team that has only won 1 GP in recent times, but look at the calibre of team manager he is going to. Brawn has a fantastic CV and seems to build front running cars when there is are raft of changes. Being at a works team for a season where the engine is changing and McLaren will then have to buy their engines (and therefore forced to spend less on other areas) is probably a wise decision as well.
    Who knows what will happen and who will be at the front next year or in the years to come, it is certainly a bold move and good luck to everyone involved.

  108. JC says:

    And it is finally unfolding … The question is who is taking Perez seat at Sauber… (quite a good car). Shumi ?

  109. rach says:

    Hi James

    Any idea how long the contract Lewis has signed is for?

  110. Michael C says:

    who knows? Schumi back to Ferrari….

  111. P Alliot says:

    Mercedes have Hamilton, but McLaren just bolted on a massive sponsor: Carlos Slim, Perez’ backer.
    Telmex, América Móvil and Grupo Carso to McLaren …

  112. John says:

    Bye bye Real Madrid, Hello LA Galaxy

  113. JohnBt says:

    News of the week. Lewis wants his right to endorse with as many high end brands as he can, not so much just the fees as a racing driver. Smart move, strongly steered by Fuller.

    As for next year’s car…………….

    1. James Clayton says:

      You already know how teams are going to be performing respectively to each other next year?

      I suggest with that insight you get yourself to a bookies as soon as possible. You have a talent there, boy. You could probably make even more money than Hamilton will be able to – sponsorship deals pale in comparison to betting slips and the ability to see into the future.

  114. Wayne S says:

    Well knock me down with a stick of celery… Eddie Jordan got the story right!

  115. Phil says:

    Good luck to all involved. This shake up is a great shot in the arm with respect to the drivers market. I hope it will mean that some of the younger talent will start to fill the seats in the top teams, like Massa going to make way, the Sauber seat being filled by someone who deserves it, a Williams seat also I hope will be available (assuming Senna gets the chop).

  116. Chris Kerr says:

    James. You were right all along (AGAIN). I bow to you!
    I had expected as much to be honest after all the press but didn’t want to believe it.

    I just cannot understand his mentally. Why move to a team that won one championship in 2008 which was down to the Double Diffuser which lets face it was something they lucked out on. Other teams then developed their own and started out developing and winning races. I doubt Lewis will achieve another championship with Mercedes AMG Petronas. Would I be right in thinking that TV coverage at Merc will need to be increased by the likes of the BBC and Sky as at the moment, Merc GP get around 2%! They also need to up their marketing as we hardly see them interviewed.

    James, do you think it’s more about the money and the celeb lifestyle he craves with his rapper mates or do you think it’s the taste of a new challenge along with Brawn?

  117. Logon4me says:

    did he turn his back or was he push?
    meening, were mclaren looking for funds to help
    with cost of new engine ect: for 2013.
    and look who do they get, that comes with a big
    could it be the lower offer their made to him was just the end play along with all the other f* ups he has endure this year from them?
    things may not of started out/pland that way, but now the finance side sure look good for them (mclaren)

  118. KieranT says:

    At the moment it seems like a bad move for Hamilton, but only time will tell. Good luck to him, he says he wants to win so lets see if it happens.

    On the other hand well done to Perez! I thought Di Resta was sure to go to Mclaren but Perez has done well this year, it will be interesting to see how he goes against Button

  119. RobertS says:

    I feel Hamilton has made a mistake in moving, I hope I’m wrong! I feel as many have said before that this is purely Martin Whitmarsh’s fault fir allowing Lewis to feel that he has to move and as many have said it appears that Martin favours Button!

    1. Lee says:

      I agree, hard to see why he or the team would favor Button, because Button always slags of the team if things aren’t going his way in a very public way..and Button always feels the need to divulge confidential team performance information on twitter for every other team to see. Of course I’m being sarcastic….hope it’s coming across as thick as I would have liked.

      1. KRB says:

        Seem to recall Button questioning the team publically for his pitstops in Hungary.

  120. Donna says:

    Mac 1 Merc 0. Getting their official announcement (as opposed to the leak) out first was a “nice” touch.

    Seriously: behind the wheel of an F1 car, I’m a fan of Lewis’s. Out of it… well, men who continue to act like spoiled brats into their 20s are irritating. As a McLaren fan I was getting tired of his egocentric antics.

    Good luck to Sergio; it’ll be good to see what he can do in a competitive car. As for Lewis – if Ross Brawn and co haven’t pulled a rabbit out of the hat for next year, at least he’ll have the opportunity to show how good he is at “getting the best out of the car”!

    1. Michael says:

      Why are u complaining? Lewis leaving should make u very happy. No more egocentric antics.

      1. Lindsay says:

        Isn’t this move all about his ego? The freedom to keep his bling and “develop his brand”.

        Funny that he should move from a team that doesn’t let him have his trophies, to one where that’s not likely to be much of a problem.

      2. Donna says:

        I wasn’t aware I was complaining. I’m saying Lewis’s behaviour is irritating, but he’s a supremely talented driver.

        Perhaps you didn’t notice my calling myself a fan of Lewis’s driving? It’s sad to see one of my favourite racing talents leaving my favourite racing team.

  121. mike says:

    All hail Eddie Jordan – I was sceptical – but now I must concede that he was right afterall.

  122. Alex says:

    I hope he doesn’t join Sauber! That would definitely damage his reputation. No disrespect to Saube and Peter Sauber himself!

  123. Robert says:

    Schuey couldn’t develop the car. What makes Lewis think he can ?

    Perez. Will be very interesting to watch. Ferrari are fools. They should have taken him as number 2 driver. Oh well at least they can bring back Schuey !

  124. Ed says:

    Roll on 2014. I fear next year will be another 2009 for Hamilton.

  125. Panya says:

    I remember reading an article somewhere that Lewis plan to end his racing career at Mclaren. What happened to that??

    1. Sebsie says:

      Well, technically he still can…

    2. Michael says:

      Martin Whitmarsh happened…..

    3. Bradley says:

      Perhaps he’ll go back after a few years in the midfield?

    4. Edouard Valentino says:

      I remember reading after Lewis won the title in ’08 he would like to chalk up 3 championships with McLaren for which he would be repayed with a gift of a McLaren mp4-12c. I think he’ll be lucky to win another champonship in the future since he seems to be motivated by “brand image” etc.

  126. Galapago555 says:

    Is Jaime Alguersuari going to Sauber to take Sergio’s seat? He’s been repeating this year that he’ll be back in 2013 and Sauber could be a great place for him, don’t you think so?

  127. Dmitry says:


    Stupid, stupid, stupid decision. I understand it but this doesn’t make the decision.. well, less stupid.
    I don’t believe Mercedes will be able to provide Lewis with the car capable of winning next year, and what of 2014… well, it will be a clean sheet for everyone, so it will be a huge gamble for Lewis – and there’s nothing granted it won’t fail.

    What of McLaren – stupidest situation ever – to lose arguable the best driver in F1… well, I can only laugh through tears. But they have noone to blame except for themselves – their performance throughout all these years was not top notch… and well, no Constructor titles and only 2 Driver titles from 1998 pretty sum it up.
    And what – Perez? McLaren, are you kidding?

    Very sad day, very sad.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Why not 2013? They almost managed it this year. They made a bad call on the double DRS as it caused the car to chew up the tyres… but who could have predicted how badly the tyres would perform this year? It had everybody puzzled for the first half of the season.

      So unfortunately Merc’s potentially championship-winning device hampered them. And they have a chassis designed around it so they’re locked into it for this year.

      They nearly pulled it off this year, though the stats don’t show it. Who’s to say they can’t go one step better next year?

      1. Dmitry says:

        Either we are watching different F1 championships or they did not “nearly pull it of this year”. By a mile and a half.
        And to make it worse – they will have to come up with a new car design not based around DDRS.

      2. James Clayton says:

        Sure they nearly pulled it off. If the tyres had been able to cope with the DDRS system they may well have been far ahead after the first few races.

        I repeat, *nobody* predicted what would happen with the Pijellys once the blown diffusers were gone. That’s why we had such a topsy-turvy first half of the season.

        Yes, they need to design a new car not based around double DRS, and I imagine they’re well into working on it.

      3. Dmitry says:

        I gueesed it right. We are following different championships.

        In my version they pulled nothing, and could have pulled nothing. Their DDRS gives boost only when DRS is opened, thus minimizing its effect in race.

        And their tyre performance issues have almost nothing to do with DDRS either.

        So even if they could have made Pirellis work on their cars, they would have never been higher than 4th-3rd in Consturctor’s championship.

  128. Merlinghnd says:

    We will know at the end of this 3 year deal whether it was the right move or not.

    2013 will be a getting to know you year and settling (hopefully??) in and then we will see what 2014 will produce with the new regs.

    I am sure McLaren are not happy, this will give them a real spur to develop and beat Mercedes.

    However if Mercedes do not see results under the new regulations, I question their long term commitment to F1, at least McLaren will always be in F1.

    Cannot wait for the 2014/2015 season where Lewis cannot go back to McLaren, not wanted at Ferrari but wants to go to Red Bull speculation to start.

  129. Dmitry says:


    Stupid, stupid, stupid decision. I understand it, but it doesn’t change the fact that the decision is, well, stupid.
    Mercedes won’t give Lewis the car capable of winning in 2013, and what of 2014 – it will be a clean sheet for everyone, and there’s no guarantee the plan won’t fail.

    As of McLaren – well, let me congratulate them on the stupidest situation ever (well, for the last 18 years for sure) – to lose arguably the best driver in F1 and get the one who can’t drive (sorry, I can’t see Perez maturing and turning into champion material)… well, I can only laugh through tears.

    Very sad day, very sad.

  130. Nikola says:

    Stupid title!!! “Hamilton turns back…How many times did McLaren let down Hamilton. Sure he had his bad moments but no one expects that he should retire in McLaren exclusively! What Mclaren give to Hamilton so does Hamilton give back to them. After all he is the only one who won world championship with them for how long?? Since Mika!!! Just remember that.

  131. Seán Craddock says:

    So glad the news has finally been announced! Was getting tired of everybody talking about it. Yes it’s a big move and big news, but it was getting really silly

  132. Vinola says:

    Its a good day for Lewis, a good day for Mercedes, a good day for McLaren and F1

    Lewis now has the opportunity for a fresh start in a well sourced team with impeccable technical pedigree. He will be treated as the #1. driver; he needs that and he deserves it.

    Mercedes clearly now has a top notch driver to steer their championship ambitions. I’m sure signing Lewis had some influence on the boards commitment to f1 long a long term basis.

    McLaren has for too long relied on Lewis to cover for their often underperforming cars especially off the block. Now they know the challenge they face and I’m confident they will up their game

    F1 is now assured of the presence of Mercedes-a sporting marque on par with Ferrari – for the medium term. McLaren will no doubt up their performance. An exciting future champion (Perez) now has a great opportunity to shine.

    This is great news for all F1 fans, not just the dye in the wool Lewis’s fan like me.

  133. Edouard Valentino says:

    I think this could be good for McLaren as Perez, like Raikkonen after one year at Sauber joins a team with direction and a top world champion in Button. I think it is sad that one of the reasons behind Hamilton’s move is to maximise image rights. As a hardcore & hooked F1 petrol head I find all of this flashy “brand exposure” to be tawdry, meritiricious and some what vacuous.

    1. AndyK says:

      I’ve always thought Hamilton as a character is completely empty and vacuous. He has no real charisma to speak of.. Just look at his twitter feed.. It’s always very awkward watching him try and come up with answers to questions… Having said all that there’s no doubt he’s mighty fast and will be a difficult talent to replace. But I’m really pleased Perez has this oppurtunity. Lets see what he makes of it

      1. Edouard Valentino says:

        I agree absolutely! Lewis is a raw talent in that regard, no doubt about it. I certainly hope Perez matures into being a fine racer.

  134. James Encore says:

    Lewis has won twenty races from 103 starts with McLaren. That’s a very good strike rate.
    He’s the only driver to have won races in every won of the last 6 seasons.
    He’s had 24 poles, the same as Niki Lauda got from 177 races. But Lauda’s 24 races wins got him 3 championships. Only Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell have won more races than Lewis without winning a second championship.

    McLaren’s problem is that every season they have a produced a car capable of winning SOME races [Since 1997 they have won a race every season Except 2006], but it has not been good enough over the whole season to win either championship. They’ve won 30 of the last 100 races, but haven’t won the constuctors’ championship since 1998 (in that time they’ve won the drivers’ twice – Mika’s second and Lewis’s)

    Norbert Haug was a big supporter of Lewis, so was Ron Dennis. Ron’s taken a back seat and Norbert is at Mercedes. And of course Ross is there who has won more than anyone else (same number of Drivers’ as Adrian Newey, and more constructors). Of course if Lewis and Nico lead the lives of a couple of underacheiving playboys there will be some very stern questions being asked of Haug and Brawn. With the exception of the year Brawn’s name was over the door the Brackley outfit have been serial under-performers. So you do have to ask if Lewis is going there to win races or as part of XIX entertainment to build his celebrity and maximize his career earnings OR if Mercedes are really going to throw everything at winning the championship and have convinced him on racing grounds. For his sake I hope for the latter, but I fear the former.
    I’d love to be a fly on the wall next time he talks to his dad; which expletive will precede the word ‘Idiot’ in the conversation

    1. James Clayton says:

      While I agree with Lewis’ decision to move, I disagree with the following comment:

      “McLaren’s problem is that every season they have a produced a car capable of winning SOME races [Since 1997 they have won a race every season Except 2006], but it has not been good enough over the whole season to win either championship”

      2007 they SHOULD have won the championship. 2008 the DID win it. And 2010 they should have really have won it. Had Lewis been as patient then as he is now, he would have won it.

  135. Val says:

    To me it’s more of a surprise that Perez(Ferrari Academy driver?????) ended up in Hamilton’s seat than Hamilton going to Mercedes. I was hoping for Raikkonen to head back to McLaren but I guess having a young driver and then nurturing him into WDC material makes sense(of course have to ensure he doesn’t leave you!!). Have a feeling Perez will join Ferrari sooner than expected one day.

    - Val

  136. Vinola says:


    Still have issues posting; it doesnt acknowledge the posting and wont accept a second posting.


  137. Beltra says:

    Any insight on Ferrari’s feelings about Perez going to McLaren after years with the red academy?

    1. James Allen says:

      I’ll follow up with that

  138. Tom in adelaide says:

    As a neutral fan this is somewhat disappointing. I guess we’ll see how it plays out. Lewis racing near the front always seems to add excitement to races. Hopefully Mercedes can step up.

  139. Elie says:

    Ha! This is exactly what I was expecting. Especially during the Monza weekend & truly the best decision for all parties. That Mercedes had shown potential so many times this year and I believe their DDRS whilst giving straight line speed has had a negative impact on the cars handling balance. Once Mercedes work on a more conventional aero balance they will be competitive.

    As for Sergio and Mclaren- I hope politics doesn’t rob us of F1′s next star. I would not be surprised if he is challenging Button from the get go.

  140. Giuseppe F1 says:

    James, do you think this likely means McLaren as rumpured may be losing their Vodafone backing as presumably Perez will be bringing conflicting TelMex sponsorship with him to the team?

    1. D1M0NST3R says:

      VODAFONE and America Movil work toguether to cover 53 countries… i dunno how this wouldnt work out for them, i feel that could make them even stronger, just take in mind that Carlos Slim its a real master mind in business…

  141. Sunny says:

    Ageism is clearly an issue here, since rosbergs win early in the season, I think Schumacher has out qualified and out scored rosberg this season, barring schumachers early retirements, we would be focusing on rosbergs performances rather than schumachers. Shame really.
    Maybe massa moving to sauber, with schumy back with Ferrari for one year to then be replaced by vettle!

  142. Guy says:

    James, do we know if he has definately been given number 1 status (if so, does rosberg accept this?)

  143. JSHT says:

    I wonder how awkward it’s going to be in the mclaren garage for te rest of the season. Eekkkk

  144. Barry says:

    It’s all about the money
    It’s all about the dum dum didudumdum

  145. Mudit says:

    For me the questions are:
    1. Does Lewis have the temperament that Michael had to work hard to develop the car? (Will his celeb lifestyle/agents give him the opportunity?)
    2. Can Ross Brawn develop a championship challenging car? (No, before people quote the Jenson WDC, Ross did not develop the Brawn GP car, it was Honda he inherited it from, the cars development takes part mostly the prior season!)
    3. If Nico is faster, will he be allowed to finish ahead of Lewis? If so how long before toys are flying about the paddock?

    1. James Clayton says:

      “Ross did not develop the Brawn GP car, it was Honda he inherited it from”

      And who was leading Honda at the time they developed that car…?

  146. Ryan M says:

    James, what odds would you offer on a return to Ferrari for Michael Schumacher?

  147. F1-Insider says:

    Hamilton had to do it as Macca just haven’t performed and given him the car his talent deserves.
    I predict Massa to Sauba and Schumacher to Ferrari for 2013

    1. Lee says:

      Have to disagree, Hammy has been in a top team and on the whole had a top car ever since he started in F1, a luxury most other drivers could only dream about at the start of their career. Problem has been that he hasn’t lived up to the talent he undoubtedly has. Too many mistakes. Too many tantrums and to be fair if I ran the team he would have been sacked for his Twitter antics. Just my opinion though.

      1. Hal says:

        I think you need to accept he earned his top drive. Mclaren didn’t sign him as some sort oc charity case. Check his history in earlier GPs.
        This season he has not made a single mistake of any note. 2 DNFs more than his team mate and still leading him on points.

  148. Rich says:

    Perez to win the title next year. He’s the biggest winner out of all of this.

    1. Erik says:

      Yep, I’m going with the Perez good story too, over the Hamilton sad story.

  149. Diesel says:

    Any indication whether this is a Number 1 status contract or will Nico have parity? I presume the latter otherwise Nico surely could have negotiated a release and gone to McLaren?!

  150. dzolve says:

    I wouldn’t say he was “turning his back” on them at all. McClaren made it clear how much they valued him by offering him a new contract for less money!

    Besides, his loyalty lay with Ron Dennis first and foremost.

    I think in the end though it is a good thing for both parties and for F1 and the fans.

    1. Brendan says:

      My thoughts too when seeing the thread title. It seems to me that McLaren have given Lewis the cold shoulder. Martin Whitmarsh has made it very clear that he has a closer relationship with Button and admittedly, Lewis’ actions of late have done little to reconcile that. That said, any team manager worth his salt would throw the best of his resources behind his best driver and Whitmarsh appears to have done the opposite.

      Commendable as McLaren’s ‘equal status’ policy it, it does nothing more than hinder drivers of Lewis’ calibre and even less for their constructors ambitions.

      I’m hopeful that Lewis has taken a look at what Alonso did when he cut his ties with McLaren. Aside from the Renault season, he has spent the last 2 years building a team around him that nurtures his talent and understands the needs of the world’s best, and thus ploughs it’s resources into maximising his skills.

      1. bob says:


        “…Commendable as McLaren’s ‘equal status’ policy it, it does nothing more than hinder drivers of Lewis’ calibre and even less for their constructors ambitions….”

        Righteous fanboys like you are so funny it hurts!

        Do you not think that this policy also hinders Button?

        Oh no, don’t think about that do you?

        Simple fact of the matter is this – Hamilton is not as good as the Hamilton fans think he is and Button is WAY better than the Hamilton fans think he is!

        This policy hinders both drivers in that either would excel more if the other was told to play second fiddle. Yet Hamilton fans think Lewis is the only one who deserves this right.

        Please explain why? Keeping in mind that he was supposed to SMASH Button when he joined McLaren – something that has NEVER happened. In fact, after over 2.5 seasons together Hamilton has scored a grand total of 6 more points than Button.


        Truly a legend! A legend in his own mind!

        And don’t give me the [mod] about Hamilton suffering more breakdowns than Button, because this is WRONG!

        Button has had more mechanical and non fault DNF’s than Hamilton.

        In fact, Hamilton has had more reliability than any driver in the history of F1.


      2. James Allen says:

        You are right on the limit there of not passing mod.

        Save us the time and please be more disciplined – Mod

      3. KRB says:

        In their three seasons at McLaren, Button has had 5 mechanical DNF’s (2010-Mon; 2011-GBr,Ger; 2012-Bhn,Ita).

        Hamilton has had 5 mechanical DNF’s (2010-Esp,Hun; 2011-Bra; 2012-Ger,Sin).

      4. Martin P says:

        You might have been on the limit, but other than that it’s a cracking post (and probably the only reason you got past the mod!).

      5. James Clayton says:

        “Hamilton is not as good as the Hamilton fans think he is and Button is WAY better than the Hamilton fans think he is!”

        Also. Button is not as good as Button fans think he is. And Hamilton is WAY better than Button fans think he is.

        Funny that.

      6. Robert says:

        @James Clayton: as a Button fan, I know exactly how good he is – and isn’t. He is not in Alonso’s, Hamilton’s or possibly even Vettel’s single lap pace category, not by a long shot, in most cases.

        Fortunately, the races are not run on Saturdays. And when all is said and done, maturity, patience, and strategy have gotten him virtually the same number of points for the team as Lewis has over three years. He’s done all this while being affable and avoiding controversy (see “Sutil, Adrian” and “Hamiliton, Lewis” for counter examples).

        The team pays for points, not attitude. Hamilton fans wonder why Whitmarsh seemed to back JB? Because he got his head down and got on with it, rarely complained in public, and was rather successful for a “#1.5″ driver in the points haul. All employers love that, in racing and else’s where.

  151. LP says:

    I can assure you that Schumacher’s departure is far more than a ‘relative footnote’, certainly as far as the German public are concerned. Merc GP are being lambasted all over social media outlets for their lack of respect towards a man who is a national hero, and a glance at major news outlets reveals that the emphasis is squarely on Schumacher leaving.

    1. c-m says:

      I saw this too. Especially reading some of the comments on the Mercedes GP Facebook page.

  152. Bones says:

    Well…..who’d have thought that would happen….
    Now we’ll really see how good Lewis is. Whether he chose to join for money or championships doesnt matter so long as he doesnt lose his focus in the car.
    The other positive is the merry-go-round of driver moves can now begin!

  153. Albert Park says:

    Well done to Lewis, a fresh start is what he needs,
    McLaren have let him down too many times this year..

    1. Robert says:

      And Mercedes hasn’t let Schumi down about as many???

      All of this “the team didn’t support Hamilton” stuff is mind-boggling when you consider the number of Mercedes faults and failures of the past few years. It isn’t going to magically improve just because Lewis arrives. At least McLaren can rightly claim that after some dismal pitwork they jumped to the top of the league in that department (possibly because some of that new pit equipment that originally failed started to work).

      1. Albert Park says:

        Hey Robert, Im not talking about Mercedes, Im talking about what is best for Lewis.
        After 20 odd years with McLaren, a new team and new goals is probably exactly what he needs.
        Im sure Ross will iron out the kinks in the Mercedes team, he does know how to win championships after all..

  154. Lawrence says:

    Inevitable. Sad to see MS leave the team without a win. His form this year was his best since coming back but few will focus on that. James, what do you think MS will do now? Sauber? Williams??

  155. zombie says:

    Absolutely gutted to see a great champion like Schumacher being treated this way ! I’d like to see how many of these drivers in their 20s will be able to achieve what he’s been able to do in his near mid-40s. I wish Schumacher the very best, and thanks for some of the most incredible drives i’ve ever seen in the last 21 years.

    I sincerely hope he’ll decline any offers of management role from Mercedes after this. Mercedes deserves Nicki Lauda, for we all know how well he “turned around” the Jaguar F1 team!

  156. Sam says:

    Hi James,
    Wonderful news there’s nothing like a high profile driver swap to change up the F1 grid for 2013. I sit here now wondering & I would like your expert opinion please. Do you think Mercedes Benz is setting up its team in such a way that they could dominate the sport like Ferrari did under the same guidence from Ross Brawn. Surely with the backing of Mercedes & the brains of Ross Brawn plus the 2014 regulations, Hamilton has seen this as a chance to become one of the greatest drivers of all time.

  157. Ahmed says:

    It’s a shame that Schumi could not get to drive a top 3 car during his 3 years back from retirement. Brawn has let Scumi down, i am sure that part of his comeback would’ve hinged on Brawn selling the concept to Schumi that Mercedes would be a Championship contender within 3 years.
    Is this the same promise to Hamilton now?

    Hamilton will struggle at Mercedes more than he has ever in his whole career. Maclaren (bar early 2009) have always had a championship contender who was always fighting for wins/podiums. Mercedes have been outside the top 3 (closer to 5th or 6th in 2012), and I don’t believe that they will close the gap, and then Hamilton will be left struggling for 5th and 6th place finishes, whilst Vettel and Alonso will be fighting for championships in the years ahead. This will be the start of a very wrong turn in Hamilton’s career.

    1. Bill says:

      The next Jaques Villneuve.
      He’s even to the same team!
      Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  158. Siddle says:


    Thank you for the insight into this situation.

    I am really pleased that this has come about. It seems as if Mercedes GP really want Lewis which is more than can be said of McLaren particularly Martin Whitmarsh whose comments have got increasingly strange.

    Norbert Haug has been a long time supporter of Lewis and was particularly strong last year when Lewis was having a difficult season as has Ross Brawn. Frank Williams has stated the of the current crop of drivers the one he would most like to drive for him is Lewis ‘because he has just got it’. McLaren having recognised and developed that talent over many years have wasted it the last few years.

    It was ironic that one of the ‘Tooned’ clips was about locking a driver in a lift to stop him winning. It sometimes seemed that Lewis was trapped by an over eager attempt to support Jenson.

    I do not think this is all about money. Rather about trying to put everything together a team which are serious about winning world championships which McLaren in recent years seem singularly adept at loosing. Both Alonso and Vettel are brilliant drivers and it will take a brilliant team to beat them.

    I hope and believe that Lewis will make the move work, something I have been hoping for since the Malaysian GP in 2011 when I began to realise that there was something fundamentally wrong in McLaren.

    Good cars but amazingly poor stategy. Events since then have only reinforced that opinion.

    Good luck Lewis I really hope it works.


    1. dazzling dazzle says:

      i also have always felt LH was under appreciated at McLaren especially by Whitmarsh, moving to Merc is a master stroke, next year he will learn the ropes of how that team operates and in 2014 with the changes he will be a strong contender for the WDC and that may spark another successful era such as the Brawn + Schumi era at Ferrari

    2. KRB says:

      I find it hard to believe that the team would favour Jenson over Lewis, even though I could understand Whitmarsh wanting Button to do well, as he signed him. But I do see the gushing from MW when Jenson wins, and can compare it to how he reacts when Lewis wins.

      Whitmarsh came out with something like “[Jenson] is just an amazing human being!” this past week, apparently after Button had told MW he’d do what’s best for the team, but to not ask or order him to do it, etc. (which seems to me to allow Jenson far too much power to muck things up).

      I really have to wonder why McLaren felt obliged to do their press conference first, before Hamilton’s, given that the line was that “there was no Plan B” in the leadup to Hamilton’s decision. A tiny and spiteful response, methinks. Wonder how this is going to affect the next six races?

      1. Kidza says:

        After Webber extended his Red Bull contract for another year, McLaren badly underestimated Lewis’ willingness and ability to move to another team. They arrogantly thought they were the only game in town and negotiated in bad faith.

        How else can one explain the team asking Hamilton to take a pay cut? Ron Dennis said as much after Canada, talking about how the economy has changed since 2007 blah blah blah. What does that say to a driver in terms of how much they appreciate him?

        They may have turned around later and offered a better package but only because Mercedes had come knocking on the door, not because they valued him that much. Lewis was under appreciated at McLaren and I can’t think of any other driver who has been screwed over and over by his team in terms of pit stops and poor strategy calls in the last 5 years.

        This is a good move for Lewis even if he wins nothing with Mercedes. McLaren wanted to hold him to ransom because they felt he had no options. In the face of that, as a matter of principle any of us here with any amount of self respect would leave, so good on Lewis

        Mercedes may not be a better team than McLaren at the moment, but they want Lewis more and that’s got to mean something. McLaren are not the only team capable of building a championship winning car. In fact, they have only had one in more than 10 years, and that was after all their efforts to loose that championship failed at the last corner in Brazil 2008. Even with the best car, they still can’t be trusted to win.

        No amount of PR can hide the fact that in the last 7 years, McLaren have had and lost 3 of what many would consider the best 4 drivers on the grid ATM for one reason or another. Only one of them (Lewis) won the championship with them. There has got to be a problem if you have a record like that!

      2. Martin P says:

        It’s been obvious to anyone with half a brain for a couple of years that he’d have to take a pay cut. It’s not disrespect, it’s not spite, it’s not undervaluing him and it’s not underestimating his ability to go elsewhere; it’s a global recession.

        Last time around he got the timing spot on and secure a deal in cash rich times. McLaren is not in that position. Mercedes are a global brand and are able to invest heavily in marketing and brand development. McLaren aren’t. In the past Santander may well have added extra money to the pot to secure a brand ambassador, but they’re moving on too so that option doesn’t exist.

        In short – you can’t spend what you don’t have.

  159. Westy says:

    Hi James, as much as I was expecting this, I’m still surprised. Do you know what the reaction is in Italy to the news that Perez is going to McLaren? I’m wondering if the Tifosi are feeling Ferrari have let a talented driver slip through their fingers, and with few options left, will have to have another year of Massa failing to deliver in the second Ferrari?

  160. Mike Lea says:

    If Schumacher wants to continue in F1, how about a move to Williams? They have a good car this yr, arguably better than the Mercedes, know how to win and would surely benefit from a driver of his vast experience.

  161. Shaq says:

    Wow! confirmed at last! Good luck Lewis, hope you’ll rise to the challenge and succeed with Mercedes!
    Good luck

  162. Sebee says:




    1. Sebee says:

      Schumi pushed but. Now what? A test driver? I know, Schumi was not the future. But surely this can’t go down well in Germany?

      1. Chapor says:

        Schumi was not pushed out. Brawn was waiting for an answer from Schumi after the summer break. He failed to give them an answer and Brawn started to look around for a new driver.

      2. Sebee says:

        You think Gemran fans believe that?

        If you believe that, I have some swmap land in Florida to sell you.

        The truth is that Schumi is a team player and probably said he would not stand in the way of a new driver and was their Plan B. Which in essence German fans will take as being pushed out.

      3. Erik says:

        Mate, your ‘schumi’ is old and tends to run into people. THATS why he was pushed out. Haha.

      4. Chapor says:

        I AM German… Just saying… He didn’t give them an answer after the August summer break, he was aware that they are looking around, and given his recent form, I am sure he isn’t sure whether he wants to still continue. What gets me is the blind faith that Schumi fans still have, “Just wait, any day now he will win his first GP and then the WDC…” really…? Now that he is out of a race seat next year, the conspiracy theorists come crawling out of the woodworks…

  163. J Caz says:

    Wow…i thought Mercedes were bluffing. Being a Mercedes fan i can honestly say i am excited by the change. It will be interesting to see what LH can do with sub par race craft, lets see if he can bring the best out of the car just to Alonso’s epic effort with the Ferrari this year. 2013 will be exciting, Lewis needs a change of scenery and i’m happy that it is with Mercedes.

  164. sergio says:

    You know besides to have more freedom and more money at Mercedes. He had enough of McLaren and all the shenanigans of his father “Ron Dennis”. He was the king there even got Alonso to leave the team, after Jenson landed there and all his personal and mechanical difficulties, on the last years.
    He said to himself is time to move on.

  165. Nigel says:

    I think it looks a decent deal for all parties.

    McLaren are taking a bit of a risk with Perez – but on the other hand, he does represent an in to some potentially very lucrative Mexican sponsorship deals, and he might just turn out to be as good as the hype. Presumably he’ll be driving for a lot less than Hamilton, so that helps the finances, too.

    I had serious doubts about Hamilton staying at McLaren ever since it emerged that they wanted to give him a salary cut after what is arguably his best year as a driver. In the context of their readiness to sign the contract with Button last year on an increased salary, the message was pretty stark.

    Hamilton is now joining a team which unequivocally want him, and although he is also taking a risk in moving to an unproved team, there are signs that Mercedes now has the technical capability to compete at the front. It might even be able to do so next year, as the regulations are fairly stable, it is catching up on the exhaust/tyre management, and its DDRS experience may give it a head start in developing its copy of the Lotus system (which doesn’t seem to be banned).

    I just hope this doesn’t impact on McLaren’s race performances for the rest of this season.

    1. Robert says:

      Jenson’s salary “increase” the year after he joined was only to get him in the same neighbourhood as Lewis, after a successful first year. He made well below Lewis when he joined.

  166. Adam says:

    Wow !!!! never thought it would happen!!

  167. Don Farrell says:

    Fantastic news… I think Ross Brawn will be a good calming ‘father’ figure for Lewis.

    Maybe Schumacher will now replace a ‘lost in wilderness Massa’… for old times sake??? :D

  168. Bo Amato says:

    I think there are two area’s to talk about here.

    1. Now think the McLaren team push for button to succeed this year, I don’t think they put all their eggs in the Hamilton basket for the remainder of the season. I also think that due to this Vettel will now beat Alonso to the championship. This decision released now tips the championship is Red Bulls favor. Drivers need to be at 10/10th to succeed. Hamilton will back off until next year. Hopefully I am wrong!

    2. Schumacher – A huge mistake by both teams to do the right thing. Schumacher should have gone to McLaren and been pushed out the door by AMG Merc so part of the deal was to provide free engines to McLaren

    It would have been the best way to part ways with the Schuey!

  169. Andrea Sasseti says:

    I think this is a good thing. I’m not so sure if this will improve Hamilton’s championship prospects (almost certainly not for next year), but both parties can really use a break with the past.

    The relationship has looked rocky for a time now (operational errors, twitter-gate and even back to lie-gate) and I always got the sense team and driver were too much a family instead of equal proffesionals.

    I also wonder if Lewis was influenced to an extent by observing Fernando Alonso. He has really gotten an imense amount of respect at his new team as a saviour and in F1 as a whole for what he does with inferior machinery. Maybe Lewis wants an opporunity to get that sort of respect and credit for building a team (instead of being constantly reminded of his good fortune at McLaren?). That would be a similar motivation to Jensen’s by the way. Let’s also not forget Alonso has been saying that leaving McLaren was the best decision of his life and that despite impressive performances, the team has won only one championship in over a decade.

    Either way, interesting times are ahead!

  170. KRB says:

    I guess only time will tell if it’s a good move or not. I think it’s clear that Hamilton is the #1 at Mercedes, which will probably rub Rosberg the wrong way. But Brawn works that way, or has for the most part of his career. Brawn has a certain heft in the sport, it does seem that he always gets the benefit of 50/50 calls (the Sir Alex of F1, basically).

    I hope they change the colour of their cars though! Go with the chrome.

    There will always be the sense next year, especially in qualifying, of “where could Lewis have got that McLaren?”.

    How long into the new season will we get the Hamilton vs. Button comparison from Brawn?

  171. simon says:

    I would suggest Mclaren was the ones turning their back on Lewis when their team principle, and the boss you have been working with for neigh-on a decade and a half!!, starts bubbling and gushing like a baby girl when ‘team-mate’ Button (main competitor), takes his first win, and all for the world to witness. Mclaren deserve all you get, and that is to lose on of the best 2 drivers we have seen for many many years. Go Lewis..Good luck mate!!!

    1. Erik says:

      Well youre clearly a fan, but not everyone shares your enthusiam of Lewis I’m affraid. McLaren don’t, I don’t. The guy may be fast but oh boy, that baggage…

      I think in time we may find out that this was a mutual agreement between both parties as the relationship had clearly soured and it was best for them to just part ways.

      Come on Lewis, use this opportunity to grow in character. No more boyish sulks. You have a seven time world champions shoes to fill!

  172. Fareed says:

    How will it workout with Vodafone sponsorship of McLaren and Perez backing from TelMex. Are they not corporate competitors?

  173. Justin in WA says:

    Wow! Even though this may have been the worse kept secret in F1, it is still a shock.
    However, good for the sport to mix things up, and provide Perez with a race winning car.
    Hamilton’s departure also allows Mclaren to have a real #1 and #2 driver pairing, giving a better balance to the team.

  174. NTQ says:

    I look forward to seeing details of Lewis’ contract on Twitter.

    Will the Mercedes team be ready for high-maintenance Lewis, the mood swings, and the bling-wearing entourage that will accompany him?

    1. Hal says:

      You are so witty…keep it up, or better yet just stop.

      1. NTQ says:

        A Lewis fan perhaps, doesn’t like a little joke about twitter outbursts. The point is, Lewis brings baggage with him. Great driver on his day, but after the glory of his first couple if seasons he’s been shown up as immature and unmanageable. Tweets, hanging out with Nicole and her LA set, Ali G comments, etc – you only need to look at people like Sergio and Jenson to see committed, level-headed focus.

  175. JR says:

    This is a brave move for Hamilton, I thinks he’s doing the right thing, I guess his position in McLaren was unsustainable at this point and he needs a fresh challenge in a new environment. I just hope he does not do it for the money and Mercedes can give him a car to fight for the WC on the coming years, it would be great for the sport.

    As for Pérez, I’m glad for him to but I have my doubts given the recent history of Spanish speaking drivers in McLaren. I just hope he gets a better treatment than Montoya and Alonso had. Alonso came there as double WC and was treated with no respect from the very first corner in Australia. Perez has not even won a race yet…

  176. lee says:

    wow!! am speechless! i was really hoping he would stay..none the less this move mght prove his critics wrong…and this could be hamilton being a man of his own finally. so i guess no win win for schumi…wow…

  177. Michal says:

    I am not English and neither I wish to set a bad tone for the discussion, but I seriously cannot stop laughing after seeing the news firstly on the Guardian and than here. Having lived and worked in your great country for a number of years and being an F1 fan, I do often engage into conversations about it with my English colleagues. Every time the topic of Hamilton would come up, I was amazed by the blind love and following people in this country had for him despite the obvious signs of him being the unappreciative, stuck up and arrogant little twonk he is!!! On the other hand he is a professional and his agent managed to negotiate a better deal for him fair enough…that is also your beloved ‘Hammy’ giving you the middle finger…Hopefully BBC and Sky commentators will come back down on earth too…

    1. James Clayton says:

      The thing is, most Hamilton [mod] are just as bad as, if not worse than his fans. Hardcore fan[mod] and detractorism exists for every driver and team in F1, and in all other wakes of life.

      I’m glad F1 is the only sport I follow because I find it had to take all the blatant unbalanced opinions I hear from fans and dislikers of all drivers. People who have their beloved Alonso, Hammilton, Schumacher, Vettel or whoever. I dread to think how difficult life would become if I had to face the same thing with football, rugby, cricket, snooker or whatever else.

      This year I generally go out to watch the races at a bar, and it’s about as rare to find a balanced racing fan in a bar as it is to find an intelligent comment on PlanetF1.

      Prior to this year I watched the race at home, either by myself or with people who genuinely enjoyed watching the racing. Not people starry-eyed for a driver nor people who had an irrational, venomous hatred for any given driver.

      I don’t watch the BBC coverage this year but I did last year. Just as I failed to see any anti-Hamilton bias to the BBC reporting last year (as plenty of his fans were claiming), I do not see any unreasonably pro bias to Sky’s coverage this year. These kinds of ‘subtleties’ are generally only found by people who are on a mission to find them.

      Generally followers of sport can’t just be happy to be following it. They need to get into debates, and feel that they and their views are somehow superior to those around them.

      1. James Allen says:

        Please note the two words that have been moderated out in your first sentence.

        They are banned on this site. Save us the time and please don’t use them again – thanks

  178. Sean says:

    Great shake up for next season. How about Schumacher to Ferrari for 1 season whilst Vettel waits in the background for 2014 at Ferrari. The merry go round has begun. Good call James.

  179. Mohamed Chaudhry says:

    This is good for F1.
    For Lewis to move to an uncompetitive team is good as it will show how when others have failed, he can get every performance out of such a car. Schumacher should move into a management role with Brawn.
    Perez is an exciting young driver from the same pedigree as Hamilton. I believe he will out perform Button quite easily, just as Hamilton is doing now.
    I also believe Rosberg will up his game as he has been mediocre at best. Ive been a mclaren fan for the past 20 years or so, but I can now also support with the same fervour the silver arrows because Mercedes have made a great statement of intent with such a great signing. It will also be interesting to note how professional Mclaren will be in providing Hamilton with the tools for him to be world champion this year. Its going to be an interesting last 6 races.

  180. Peter says:

    I know it’s easy to appear wise after the fact, but… I thought it was a bit strange that LH didn’t have a yellow helmet at the last GP. Now we know — Rosberg already has a yellow one at Merc, and this is all part of the departure from LH’s old image. I doubt he will use the Singapore-inspred one long term, but I also doubt we will see the yellow one again.

    I’m glad to see he has moved. The LH/McLaren partnership had grown stale. Look at the new lease to life it gave to DC and Red Bull.

  181. Dren says:

    I understand snagging Hamilton when the team could, but ughhhh I hate to see Schumacher go. He was having his best year back. I wish he would have been able to retain his pole at Monaco. I do hope he continues.

  182. Will says:

    I think it was EJ that predicted this, not JA.

    1. darth_patate says:

      James, your view on this ?
      My opinion is we can’t really compare. JA is to me a journalist and EJ is more an insider and I would not be surpised that his “revelation” was more of an organized leak than Eddie doing “journlaistic investigation”.

  183. Erik says:

    James, I have 3 questions:

    1. How will Nico Rosberg feel about this move?
    2. Schumacher seems to be leaving the team altogether judging by the press statements?
    3. Perez must be taking his sponsorship with him, where does this leave Sauber?

  184. Bill says:

    Hopefully Schumi gets a drive elsewhere

  185. RapidRick says:

    MS to Ferrari for a short swansong until Vettel become available? Thoughts please James.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Totally unrealistic. Even if Ferarri were up for it, do you honestly see Schumacher going to another team where he already knows they are planning to replace him within a year?

  186. Richard says:

    This reads like an obituary!

  187. Grant says:

    Good luck Lewis, I hope the move is everything you hope it to be

  188. Mike84 says:

    As a Ferrari fan, I’m finally no longer afraid of Hamilton because of this. Next year’s looking good, all we have to worry about is Vettel.

  189. Kevin says:

    OMG! It’s a big win for the fans. A factory backed team like Mercedes garenteed for 8 years; with a top flight driver and solid technical team. . They will be the underdogs next year. I can’t see them making that big a jump in performance. But look what happened to Redbull when they got Newey and then Vettel. I hope I’m wrong.
    It’s the smart unemotional decision and I hope they are sucessfull.
    McLaren need to do some soul searching. I realise they are a comercial team but they should have been more cognoscent of the opportunity cost a driver like Lewis would have to pay to drive for them. Keeping trophies and not allowing personal sponserhip while demanding a pay cut is just lacking in respect. They should have compromised much sooner.
    Sergio is quite a find though, if he can be consistently and fast….

  190. GM Grand says:

    It was predicted by James, but even earlier by Eddie Jordan – right? I was one of the many doubters. Glad it turned out to be true. This will make next season even more interesting!

    1. Matt says:

      I agree. This is a great site, but it was predicted by Eddie Jordan first via the BBC. Fact.

  191. John Smith says:

    This is a disgrace in my honest opinion, wow getting rid of schummi for this guy loooooooooool his won 1 wc he does know nothing about developing a car and gets emotional when he is not winning, why oh why Mercedes. Replacing Schumacher with Hamilton is so disgusting, and i really feel for Schumacher as Mercedes have clearly used his name and marketing ability to bring in sponsors for the first 3 years wow.

    If Hamilton somehow believes his going to win world championships with Mercedes in three years than good luck.

  192. bryan says:

    Excellent news, so come on Jenson open it up for the rest of the season and beat lewis again.
    Run baby run McLaren for the championship.

    1. Michael says:

      I have bad news for u. Sergio perez will whip jenson Button next year. I have no doubt about that. He is younger and faster.

      1. quest says:

        Hamilton couldn’t and Perez will?

      2. Hal says:

        Err…I think you will find Hamilton beat Button in 2010 and has out performed him this season. Hamilton is a league above Jenson (driving wise). A league with only two other drivers (current form); Alonso & Vettel.

  193. Erik says:

    So I guess that explains Montezemolo’s comments about Perez in the last few weeks. He would have known about the McLaren move and was clearly a bit cut by it all. Right James?

  194. Simon Elliott says:

    Well, I think it will do him good. Didn’t see the Perez move coming though.

  195. Michael says:

    I’m really happy for LH. He deserves a team boss like Ross Brawn that will support him. Not a guy like Martin Whitmarsh who u can tell didn’t care much for him. Being happy is more important than winning and being miserable.

  196. DK says:

    EJ was right after all. Looks like quite a number of people will have their hat as their next meal.

    I am not sure if McLaren really mean what they say about supporting Lewis for the title fight in the last 6 races but he will certain push the car’s limit allows him to.

    The man has said it himself, this is a business minded decision… not racing alone. I wish him well.

  197. Erik says:


    1. How will Nico Rosberg feel about this move?
    2. Schumacher seems to be leaving the team altogether judging by the press statements?
    3. Perez must be taking his sponsorship with him, where does this leave Sauber?

    1. James Allen says:

      1. Positive, they get on well. But Hamilton was always faster in karts and junior categories
      2. Not sure, he has an ambassador role for life if he wants it.
      3. Leaves Sauber looking for drivers with money! I can see them taking one well funded driver and maybe one young driver with real ability. Pressure on Kobayashi

      1. zombie says:

        Schumi to Sauber for one final year ! Lets not forget, when his career almost ended in its infancy, it was Sauber Mercedes that offerered him a DTM drive, the rest as they say is history. Mercedes should be ashamed the way they handled the situation. This is no way to treat someone with 91 GP wins,7 titles,3 runner-ups,69 poles and 21 years of contribution to F1 .

      2. Rich B says:

        how has he been treated badly? mercedes needed a top driver and Schumi isn’t one.

      3. quest says:

        I find it amusing that Rosberg tried to avoid teaming up with Hamilton and after wasting a few years in midfield williams and merc cars hamilton found him anyway.

        Lauda joining Merc probably means that Schu isnt staying. Hope that means he is not retiring.

        Alguesuari is almost certainly one of the Sauber drivers. Who do you think will be there other.

        Also I’m a bit surprised that Mclaren were in such a hurry to sign Perez. Not that he is not a good choice but they cud have taken their time. Was hoping it would be Kimi

      4. CanadaGP says:

        It would be tragic if Sauber, a team that has punched way above it’s weight this year ends up the loser in this deal. In both technical design and pit strategy Sauber has delivered more per dollar than any team in F1, now it looks like they might lose Telmex sponsorship altogether.

        I think it’s still possible that we might see the Telmex brand in two teams next year. Sauber could promote Esteban Guitierrez, another Slim protege, from GP3 although he might not really be ready yet for the money. And have Algersuari or Kobayashi for the talent. I hope for one that Koba manages to find a way to stay in F1. The best Japanese driver in F1 history after a parade of mediocre Japanese drivers might just lose his seat.

  198. Jey says:

    Whoa whoa whoa,Hold onto your horses James.

    If a F1 rank outsider reads this article,he will get the impression that Lewis is on the verge of almost winning his second WDC with Mercedes.

    Only time will tell if Lewis\Mercedes made the right decision for themselves.On one side we have a team which has been putting rivals to shame by going backwards from the season beginning to end and on other end we have a driver who has such a big ego and not known to be a complete team player.So interesting times ahead

    Now,where does all this leave Nico at?If Lewis has been signed in as the driver they want to win Championships(as quoted in this website),then he is auto relegated to No2.Now that promises us with even more interesting time

    So lets all wait until the fat lady sings

  199. Donald Lyall says:

    Sidenote; McLaren didn’t even consider Di Resta? Shame if that’s the case.

    1. Jeff says:

      I think they may have considered him, but Paul doesn’t bring the same portfolio of sponsors as Sergio. Perhaps he’ll find a seat at the red team.

  200. BillC says:

    Excellent news for both IMHO – I think Ross will be a good influence on Lewis, and hopefully McLaren can not concentrate on creating a car that suits Jenson’s style rather than the compromise they have had to do to date. James does Sergio like understeary or oversteary cars ?

  201. Panayiotis says:

    James why do you say that “Hamilton Turns His Back on McLaren”? You mean he had a moral duty to stay faithful forever and ever at the same team?

    He is a grown up, a proven world champion, and one of the fastest drivers in the world. If not now, at his prime, when would he exploit this? And after all Hamilton was really McLaren’s to loose. Had they treated him in a different way, more suitable for him, my feeling is that he would have stayed there.

    And it is a huge gamble from his side in my opinion. Yes Mercedes is a strong brand, yes they took over the Brawn team as world champions, but since then they have had three years of underachievement.

    So it is a huge decision from his side, a decision of a world champion, and it’s hats off from me.

  202. Gustavo says:

    Totally expected in my opinion. Now, it’d be interesting to know what Sergio brings along with him in terms of money and/or sponsorships. This probably means a BIG positive financial outcome for McLaren. They are sure to pay Checo a lot less money than they would have paid Lewis and will probably get a healthy inflow of cash as a result of Sergio joining the team, so net net there are probably several million dollars involved in this.

    My bet (wish?): McLaren will use that money to develop their own engine for 2014 just like they did for the MP4 12C. That would be just fantastic to see.

  203. knoxploration says:

    The interesting news in all this for me is the new light it casts on Hamilton’s Twitter antics. Posting his team’s sensitive telemetry data for all to see now has a very unprofessional–even downright distasteful–aspect to it.

    1. Andrew M says:

      It was pretty unprofessional no matter what way you look at it!

  204. Timmay says:

    Hope he fails & regrets it > for the drama not cos I don’t like him.

    1. Hal says:

      I hope he succeeds and is happy. Not because I like him, just for the drama…

  205. Søren Kühle says:

    Wow!! What a way to start silly season.
    Here’s some silly predictions:
    I predict, that if Schumi does’nt retire, he will do 2013 at Ferrari alongside Alonso as Massa’s replacement, and then retire in 2014 paving the way for Vettel..
    Massa get his old Sauber seat back.
    Petrov will be replaced by Algesuari.
    Senna out in favor of Bottas.

  206. Vic says:

    I’m happy for Lewis, sometimes change can work out for the better. But I’m gutted we didn’t get to see what Schumacher could do in a competitive car. I was hoping next year would have been the one for Schuey.


  207. V8 fan says:

    I’m a huge Mclaren fan & a huge Hamilton fan. Though my loyalties lie with Mclaren.

    I hope Sergio can deliver, because I really do not see Sergio & Jenson as a WCC winning team. In fact, I see both Sauber drivers underperforming in a car that is truly superior to the competitors.

    As for Mercedes AMG, they will win races next year. However, Rosberg may have won one race, but he is definately not a ‘winner’.

    So here we have 3 of the 4 major teams that do not have a driver pairing to win the WCC in 2013. Looks like RBR will be WCC champions 4 years in a row.

    Plus, with Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 rumours quite rife, I see both Hamilton & Mclaren as loses in this deal. However, when a driver chooses to become ‘a famous racing driver’ over ‘a great racing driver’ no good can come of it.

    Yes, Ross Brawn delivered many WDC’s to Shumacher, but Shumacher had that hunger for success already! Hamilton might have a hunger for success, but his hunger for fame over-rides his hunger for wins!

  208. Cliff says:

    The correct decision! This whole episode was becomong like a soap opera. Nevertheless I’d have preferred for LH to stay at McLaren,but his actions in Belgium pretty much decided his future. MW repeatedly said that McLaren wanted a driver who was commited to the team, and for Lewis has not been commited. His reasons for leaving will be put down to racing, but you can’t help feeling that money played a big part. How much more does a man who is worth millions really need?

    For McLaren, they are now have a new talent in Sergio Perez, let’s see if they can make another WDC.

    Best of Luck to Lewis (not too much) and Sergio (time to show your talent), and let’s hope McLaren were right to let him go, on balance I believe they were!

  209. Luke says:

    Risky move by Hamilton. So much pressure on Perez already, lets hope he can handle it. Realistically you could hope for either driver to challenge for the WDC in 2014. I think with Vettel and Alonso where they are and how consistent they are this years and next years title are theirs.

    Then comes 2014, Mercedes dominance under new rules? Maybe Lewis Hamilton knows….

  210. Lewis says:

    Do we think McLaren should have gone witha a more experienced driver and waited a year or two for a clear young driver top gun to emerge, or was this the right move?

    My personal view is that the only old guard capable enough was Kimi and if not Perez then who?

    So like the earlier story here, with no talent machine in place choices were limited.

  211. Thebe says:


    I read somewhere that it was because of Schumi’s indecisiveness that Merc ended up signing Lewis , the articles clearly states that Merc offered him a contract but then he (Michael)would indicate whether he had decided to call quits or not.

    How true is this ? Have heard anything?

    Another thing , do you see him racing for Ferrari or Sauber next year.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, this is long term planning. MSC would not have gone on for long anyway.

  212. Matt says:

    The massive loser in this is McLaren, no matter how much of a gloss they try to put on this. The big beasts in the jungle are Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. The best drivers, in my opinion. I’ve seen the decline in McLaren since Ron Dennis stepped down and I think it’s questionable whether Lewis would’ve left if Ron Dennis was still in charge. I also think the signing of Jenson Button, whilst looking good on paper, has upset things and is a factor. The most successful, championship winning drivers tend to be those who are either undisputed no 1′s or tacit no 1′s. This could never be the case with Button in the same team.around. I also think that Hamilton has allowed himself to be politically outmanoeuvered by Button within the team, quite often through his own stupidity and childish behaviour at times. Whitmarsh has also been lamentable in his leadership and is no Ron Dennis. I wouldn’t be surprised if the McLaren board don’t move him on.

    Perez may appear to be quick, but is he really? The statistics don’t back this up, even if he’s a stronger finisher than Kobayashi. On raw qualifying speed, Kobayashi has been faster than Perez. The stats also show that Hamilton has been the best qualifier of all the drivers. The failure of Hamilton to convert this performance into strong finishes has largely been down to reliability this year.

    This could well be a very astute move for Hamilton. I don’t believe that this is just about the money. Mercedes is a massive brand and the regs change radically in 2014. I also suspect he’ll be guaranteed undisputed no 1 status and if you want to win driver’s titles, this is what you need.

    1. I 100% agree about Kobayashi. In fact, I think his qualifying pace has hurt him this season. Every time he gets into Q3 he is forced to run a strategy that doesn’t play to the Sauber’s strengths. Every time Perez qualifies P11 or worse he can maximize the Sauber’s kindness to it’s tires and climb through the field late in the race.

      This isn’t to say that Perez is deserving on his rewards, clearly McLaren see something in him. He comes from Sauber and if memory serves, Peter Sauber is a fairly remarkable judge of driver talent.

      1. Matt says:

        That’s an excellent point on the Q3 aspect with Perez. I hadn’t considered that, but it makes perfect sense. Of course next year, he won’t have that luxury! I suspect that Button will be very happy, as he’ll see himself as Team Leader now and will be confident of beating him.

        All F1 drivers are good and quick. I don’t doubt Perez has talent, but I’m puzzled why more obvious choices like Di Resta and Hulkenburg, who’ve won several championships at the junior level and have more F1 experience, have been passed over? I can’t help thinking that Perez has been retained for his commercial potential in the Americas.

    2. Mike from Colombia says:

      Superb post

  213. John Wilson says:

    Win on Sunday. Sell on Monday
    To bad F1 is getting closer to the NASCAR show and less of a sport. The new engine regulations will come into play in 2014 and F1 will change dramatically from what we see today. With the new Concorde agreement signed by Mercedes,Mercedes will be the number one engine supplier and win the most races over the course of the next eight years.
    It’s all preconceived. With all the teams, FOTA, FOM and all the investments from shareholders nothing is by chance. The regulations and the Mickey Mouse grid penalties handed out this year are proving that.
    I still predict they’ll let Shumey win one more before the end of the season as a thank you and then the great one will end his second chapter.

  214. Ayrton says:

    As a long time McLaren fan (starting in the Senna era) I was glad to see Lewis come in to the team a few years back. But over the years it is clear that Lewis has become his own man and has developed a personality that seems to clash with McLaren’s culture and DNA. In that sense I think in the long term this decision will be good for both him and McLaren. Question will be if given Button’s now implicit number one status within McLaren will result in a car that better matches his style and make him a strong champion contender next year.

  215. Elie says:

    James do I get credit for being the first one to suggest this would happen. I’m sure I said this even before summer break on an unrelated post.

  216. Geee says:

    James would Schumacher back at Ferrari for one last year be a big enough commercial pull for them to consider- if it was possible. I think you can say he’s driven better than Massa when his machinery has allowed it!

  217. Taimur Niaz says:

    Finally the swansong comes to an end. I know it doesn’t look like a move that makes much sense given McLaren’s pedigree and Mercedes’ recent struggles. However they do have a solid structure in place which SHOULD show some actual benefit now.

    In all the reports I have read recently, I’d just like to say that the media has been really quick to forget the different technical failures Schumacher has had this season. He has lost at least 3 podium finishes. If he had those, he’d easily be ahead of Rosberg in the standings. I feel Rosberg is over rated and Hamilton will outpace him comfortably.

    Lastly, on Perez’s move to McLaren, I think he’ll do really well and I’m glad he has the chance. However I do feel McLaren will lack a driver with outright pace. As a Ferrari fan it upset me a great deal why they haven’t replaced Massa yet. People keep on saying his recent results have been better but there is the small matter of 2010 and 2011 as well! The fact that Checo is joining McLaren means Ferrari have some sort of agreement with Vettel. Then again I do not believe for a second the pairing of Alonso and Vettel would work at Ferrari.

    Interesting times indeed!

  218. M.Wishart says:

    Wow this story has been going around for some time now, but to find out that it is real going to happen, just makes you stop for a moment and take stock. HAM to leave McLaren, never thought it would happen.

    So McLaren is now “JENSON’S TEAM” who thought you would be saying that just a few short years ago…. I know Jenson has his moments when the car is right, but to lose Lewis does take McLaren step backwards. Here’s to them now pushing everything towards Jenson and give him the car he needs and crushes all before him.

    As for Lewis, what happens now? Has he had his golden keys taken off him and all door closed at McLaren’s MTC.

    The sad thing about Lewis is that he is truly world class, but he is still a spoilt little kid, I have great respect as a racing driver, but as a person he still has a lot to learn, so maybe this will be his chance finally grow up.

    GO JENSON……..

    1. Rach says:

      Perez will beat him enough to ensure that Mclaren won’t win anything.

  219. Franco says:

    Hi James, dont agree with the title of this article as he has honoured his contract, been with them for so many years and has made in my opinion the right decision. I’m sure he feels 2014 is going to be critical for him being with a works team instead of a customer team.

    Let’s hope now LDM gives Schumi a drive in a Ferrari so he can sign off his career in the right way

  220. Kris says:

    I’m not sure how Lewis has turned his back on McLaren any more than McLaren have failed Lewis over the course of this season. Anyhow, I’m not sure blame needs to be proportioned to either side.

    The relationship just appears to have become too strained. Yes, it looks fine when Hamilton wins, but too much has happened for the relationship to fully return to what it once was. When they don’t do well, it’s invariably because of a poor operational or strategic decision. Yes, putting a car that is fast under the driver is important but it must be incredibly frustrating for Hamilton to see what – given his performance and the capability of the car – should have been first place in the championship turn into being an also-ran in the title chase.

    He must be looking at Alonso and seeing Mercedes being his best chance of replicating that type of winning formula. It’s a brave decision. Everybody seems to be talking about Merc being a force in 2014. But what about 2013. If the team doesn’t perform, there will be an awful lot of pressure and questioning of this decision.

    1. James Allen says:

      Didn’t you question this when I wrote about it after Monza?

  221. Rich B says:

    as a mclaren fan it’s a disaster, i don’t think perez is worthy, yes he’s quick but his inconsistent and his cv isn’t great. as kamui qualified 2nd in spa I reckon the car is flattering perez too. Pdr or the hulk would be better

  222. bomond says:

    So when will the first cartoon with Sergio appear?

  223. NB73 says:

    It’s all very well saying “Eddie Jordan got it right”, but my understanding from various sources (one of whom is a friend in close professional contact with members of the McLaren team) is that he was fed the story by Bernie, who wants Mercedes at the front in the coming years, and has been instrumental in behind-the-scenes machinations.

    It’s all one big soap opera, with chief script-writer Ecclestone pulling the strings.

    Sorry EJ fans, but we all know he hasn’t got the track record to come up with a story like this on his own. :-)

    Here endeth today’s conspiracy theory.

  224. JC says:

    Lewis has unquestionable speed, but he is such a prima donna and mentally fragile. I think he was destabilising at McLaren and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing for them that he’s gone.

  225. Duke says:

    Lewis you are going to need more than lady luck with that shower.

  226. Kris says:

    Any word from inside the Rosberg camp? Wasn’t there speculation 2.5 years ago that Rosberg was McLaren’s first choice – ahead of Kimi and Jenson – but was advised against a move because of Lewis’ standing within the team.
    We’re led to believe they are friends from karting but how do you think Rosberg feels about this?
    There must be a lot of pressure on him. If he gets outgunned in Hamilton’s first season after three years bedding in and establishing himself, that would surely write him off as a potential number one in a top team, right?

    1. James Clayton says:

      I’m wondering if there’s any chance Rosberg might end up in Ferrari to pave a path for Schumacher to stay? Or is Schumacher definitely out?

  227. Nil says:

    Good call James!

  228. Ez Pez says:

    guess i have to eat my hat…

    1. James Allen says:

      Dash of chilli sauce to give it a kick?

  229. Andy says:

    I HATE to say it but Schumi’s time is up. Started way early (and I mean years ago) that he goofed up, last time in Singapore. Little mistakes developed into bigger ones and I couldn’t help to think more and more “it is time to go”.

    I still am a big fan and I wish that he has at least one more classic Schumi race!

    Hey Mercedes, no pressure!??!! :)

    In Germany everybody is talking about Schumi now with live feeds and all that, huge impact!

  230. Kit says:

    He gets to keep his trophies, driving for Merc, I suppose?

    1. Tank says:

      If he gets any…

  231. Peter Freeman says:

    Personally I am astounded. Ross Brawn, Michael Schumacher and Merc money etc, etc, have all been present, but the fact is they have gone backwards and have shown no sign this or any other year of finding real solutions to their lack of pace, tyre wear problems etc. The simple truth is that Merc are not even remotely showing promise of being a truly winning team.

    This decision is not a ‘racing’ career decision by someone who along with his management team, wants to win F1 races and championships.

  232. Randy_Torres says:

    Well I’ll be sapped in caca! The deals that so many pundits (I guess with the main exception of you James)swore would never happen, i.e. Hamilton jumping ship to an “inferior team” and Telmex backed Ferrari academy driver Perez joining Vodafone sponsored arch-enemy McLaren, HAPPENED. Shocker! And Niki Lauda you sly dog you! Now the absolute cherry on the top of this ice cream sundae bomb: Schumie leaves Mercedes and takes Massa’s seat at Ferrari.

  233. Richard says:

    Yes I think it was clear by Lewis’s demeanour that he was going to Mercedes which I think in the long run will prove the right one, but I suspect it will be 2014 before they are a true front running team given the significant time advantage they have with the new engine design and installation. I hope they can do well in 2013 given the new line up. Actually I do think that Ross Brawn is right about Lewis and Nico being the most dynamic team on the grid. Given the car they both can deliver for sure. Sergio Perez is a developing talent and I think Jenson will have his hands full. If the 2013 McLaren is good I expect him to do well from the outset. McLaren have through ineptness squandered Lewis’s talent to the point where he has finally lost faith in favour of the risk of another team. – Not that it’s easy to design a reliable front running car, if it was they would all be doing it, however they simply have given too much away for Lewis who could easily have been a three times world champion by now.

  234. Bill says:

    Interesting how a couple seasons ago hamilton was all luvy duvy with mclaren saying he wants to end his career with them.
    And now he did a Villneuve

    1. Matt says:

      How do you justify that comment? So the suggestion is that Hamilton is being disloyal? It’s just exactly the same as the misleading title of this article, which was deliberately meant to be provocative. He isn’t ‘walking out’ on anybody. Hamilton is honouring his contract with McLaren. The contract ceases at the end of the season and he’s decided to sign a new contract elsewhere. Very much like James being with ITV one minute and the next with the BBC? Or was James being disloyal?!

      I seem to remember Button jettisoning Williams, without who he wouldn’t have got his big break, when more money was on offer at BAR. I don’t remember anybody slagging of Button the last couple of years for that or his little spat with Brawn, after which he decided to jump ship to McLaren. Yes, Hamilton may have acted like a spoilt brat at times and perhaps even a prima dona too, but this so-called loyalty is a two way street. As far as I’m concerned, he hasn’t broken any contracts and has paid his dues to McLaren. McLaren would’ve got rid of him sharpish, regardless of the length of time he’d been with them if he hadn’t delivered on the track. Nobody talks about loyalty when a team dumps a driver. Hamilton was also a world champion before McLaren even took him onto their books. Nobody gets into F1 without sponsorship or under a driving programme. Vettel needed it, despite being beaten by Paul Di Resta in F3 because he could secure the sponsorship, Di Resta couldn’t, at the time. I don’t see many people slating Vettel either, despite securing a drive with a championship winning car after his first year.

      1. Marcus Blackwell says:

        Willams had to pay Button not to drive for them i think in the region of 3million

      2. Ebi Bozimo says:

        “Very much like James being with ITV one minute and the next with the BBC? Or was James being disloyal?!” Hmmmm… Interesting comparison there!

      3. James Allen says:

        Yes, also the small difference that there were three years between leaving ITV and joining BBC Radio 5 Live!!

  235. Nick says:

    Dont know why so many people are negative about the move.

    Comparing the move to that of Damon Hill and Villeneuve is wide of the mark, neither of those teams were of the calibre of Mercedes.

    Mercedes are putting together a team of people now, that reminds me of the early days of Schumacher and Ferrari.

    I’m quite excited about it, as well as seeing Perez in the Mclaren.

    Im hoping for and expecting big things from the partnership.

  236. slumpy says:

    I struggle to see what Merc can do to make their car fast enough for Lewis to achieve what he could with the same engine at McClaren. If they are promising him a faster car, why can they not deliver it now?

    Lewis is chasing the money, money, money, the celebrity lifestyle and the plastic adoration of an X-Factor audience…

    1. Nick says:

      Thats only what you want to believe/hope.

      Exactly the same could have been said for Schumacher’s move to Ferrari, why leave a team that had just given him his second championship, for a team that hadn’t won for 17 years?

      Mercedes are building a team for the future and Lewis is part of that plan.

      I guess there will be a lot of disappointed people like yourself, if the partnership proves successful.

  237. Fellowes says:

    It reminds me of where Red Bull were…Mercedes have had a few years of disappointing results but on the verge of success, whilst running a veteran driver to build upon (Red Bull did it with Coulthard). Then they bring in the hot property driver to replace the veteran, along with a big name or twon within the management team. One year to transition, then the dominance begins.
    Expect 2013 to relatively quite before we go into the Mercedes ear from 2014.

    Personally I’m more excited about the prospect of Perez at McLaren. It shows though that Ferrari must have a superior plan for 2014, because it seems crazy to let the hottest young star leave their grasp.

    1. Warren Groenewald says:

      Red Bull success = Newey.

      Not sure why everyone thinks the Merc engine will be class of the field in 2014 either

  238. Rich C says:

    Time to leave the nest and fly.
    Smart move and G/L to him!

    I think Perez will surprise everyone. He strikes me as the kind of young driver you want – a blindingly fast one that has to be restrained just a tiny bit.

  239. Damian says:

    First time commenting here. Longtime lurker. Genuinely surprised you used the words “turns his back on McLaren” James, as it doesn’t make him seem like a very nice guy, but I couldn’t agree more. This is a sad chapter in the rather fairy-tale-like Hamilton story. Approaching Ron Dennis as a mere boy and having McLaren support him all the way through becoming an F1 champion and then this?

    I for one think he will regret this move. McLaren is one of the few career teams on the grid. They might not always be winning but they’re always almost right there. Can’t say the same for Mercedes/Brawn/BAR Honda/whatever it was before.

    Keep up the great articles!

  240. Holly says:

    Something is wrong with McLaren when they have lost the two best drivers of the last decade.

    1. Martin P says:

      There’s one common factor – Lewis. At the end of his career it’ll be interesting to look back and review if the problems were the team or the man/boy.

  241. I don’t know if I agree with the title of this article. Hamilton (I am not a fan) hasn’t turned his back on anyone. He simply signed for another team. Alonso didn’t turn his back on Renault, Schumacher didn’t turn his back on Benneton, Senna didn’t turn his back on McLaren.

    Hamilton stands to earn more through his partnership with Mercedes. Having the rights to his own image is huge for a star of his caliber. On will imagine that he will also get to keep the trophies he earns.

    I think this will open a new chapter up for all the parties involved. I am super excited to see Sergio Perez in a McLaren, he is an exciting new driver and I think this will be a good opportunity for him. Sergio will be paired with the coolest head in the sport and he should be able to learn a great deal from Button.

    What happens at Sauber now? I hope they keep Kobayashi. I think he is really good as well. He has out qualified Perez this season and I think his race results have been compromised on a few occasions by his mandated tire strategy due to his improved qualifying performance. I think Kobayashi could turn into a really solid racer if given another season or two to fully develop.

    Maybe Alguersuari will go to Sauber?

    1. James Clayton says:

      “What happens at Sauber now? I hope they keep Kobayashi.”

      “Maybe Alguersuari will go to Sauber?”

      At an underfunded team like Sauber, there’s unfortunately no room for both Alguersuari and Kobayashi. It would be a real shame to loose Kobi so unless he springs and Irvine and somehow ends up at Ferrari (I don’t see him fitting their corporate image though, somehow) I fear Kobi’s career could suddenly end.

  242. Glenn says:

    I reckon it’s great news. We finally get to see how Lewis will perform in a ‘B’ team. He’s never had to work in a less competitive team before and this is an ideal proving ground. Just like Vettel did with Toro Rosso, except in reverse. Nico may not be a WDC but he is formidable. They should push each other to greater heights and the fans will benefit.
    Congratulations to Perez for landing a brilliant drive. This guy has driven his nuts off and will now reap the benefit.
    Good news for Massa too I suppose. 2 more good drivers are now off the market and his odds are improved. I suppose Schumi could replace him but it just doesn’t feel right to me.
    I can’t wait to see how good Lewis really is.

  243. DavidC says:

    As I have said before, this is a great move for Lewis Hamilton. Two technical men have dominated F1 in the last 20 years – Adrian Newey and Ross Brawn. To win championships you need to be on either team, not McLaren. The sad fact is that McLaren, for the past 20 years, have had either the fastest or the second fastest driver in their line-up, and have had Adrian Newey for 8 years, and the best they can do is 1 constructors championship. It is not an impressive record despite what the pundits are saying. I think Lewis will do fine under a more mature, equal relationship with Ross Brawn. I’ve always felt that McLaren, rightly or wrongly, have treated Lewis Hamilton more like a father treats a child…he must be relieved to be free of McLaren’s mental prison

    1. AuraF1 says:

      That must have been one of those really cushy prisons ;)

      1. DavidC says:

        Every driver that leaves McLaren of late seems happy to have done so though…Coulthard, Montoya, Raikonnen, Alonso, now Hamilton. Is there something in the McLaren stew that makes top drivers so unhappy?

  244. Mcgarl says:

    Got to say a fantastic move from Ron Dennis, getting one of the best young drivers around at the moment at a fraction of the cost of keeping Hammy and shed loads of cash brought on board from Perez and his backers. Master stroke me thinks…Mclaren are a near certainty for the Championship next year with two very consistent drivers who will almost certainly score big points at most races…go on Mclaren..

  245. Galapago555 says:

    I’ve read a post by “franco del as es un ignorante”. I assume you would like to know this nick is insulting a Spanish journo (Manuel Franco) who writes for a Sports paper (AS).

    1. James Clayton says:


      1. Galapago555 says:

        Comment #99 made by “franco del as es un ignorante”. Maybe google translate doesn’t work here.

        “AS” is a famous Spanish sports newspaper, and (Manuel) Franco writes for them about F1.

        “Es un ignorante” means, well I guess you don’t need me to translate this, “is an ignorant”.

        So maybe this is the first time that not a comment but a ‘nick’ should have been mod here?

      2. James Clayton says:

        OK I see. Would have helped if your post had been a direct reply to his!

  246. Sossoliso says:

    James on the subject of Perez, Will he now be barred from visiting Maranello while a mcLaren driver. Or will he be allowed to go to there for Ferrari debriefs?

  247. Mustapha says:

    Gutted for Schumacher. Just won’t be the same without him and as for Mercedes, they have produced one of the poorest F1 cars I’ve seen in a while. Never know a team to go consistently backwards. If only schumi was in a Mclaren or Redbull….

  248. Matt Baker says:

    How can this be a bad move? Driving for one of only 2 constructors building their own engines and driving for the man who was instrumental in making Schumacher the most successful driver ever?
    Im a big Macca fan but they haven’t ‘really’ won a constructors title since 98/99 and only have one drivers.
    Time to go.

  249. Val from montreal says:

    Congratulations James Allen !! It was always your ” modus operandi ” that Hamilon takes Schumacher’ seat at Mercedes , that much is obvious …. I remember reading back earlier in may your ” Schumacher at crossroads ” post , and in that post you suggested mercedes would be better off with Lewis ….Schumacher then came back zbd secured his 69th pole position in Monaco , hence silencing his critics !!! When MSC’s comeback was announced in december 09 , eddie jordan and co ( the bbc gang ) , dud not give Schumacher a chance , because Mercedes had no chance beating the red bulls , mclarens and ferraris if this world ….. [mod]

    Go Michael !!! Go to Ferrari and prove them wrong …,

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s called reading the game. I don’t mind where Hamilton drives.

      My job is to tell fans what’s going on in F1 and in this matter, I was right.

      If you don’t like it other F1 websites are available.

  250. Sarvar says:

    It appears Mr. Jordan’s insider to be more reliable than Mr. Brundle’s one.

  251. Chris G says:

    I think it’s fantastic
    Stirs the pot nicely in preparation for next season…..and Schumacher was brilliant, no question, but I think some of his fans may be holding on a bit too tightly.

    Time waits for no man.

  252. Alex says:


    Do you think Di Resta ever figured in McLaren or Merc’s thinking? I’d always felt that Paul figured as next in line for a Merc or McLaren drive. I’m put in mind of when Kimi was signed by McLaren. At the time the expectation was that Nick Hiedfeld was seemingly been groomed for great things with Mercedes. Has Paul missed his big chance?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, they considered that option, but for Merc Hamilton was #1 target and for McLaren, the idea of two Brits (also both managed by the same manager) wasn’t as appealing, it seems. Also Perez’ financial backing is significant and likely to grow with exposure on a top team like McLaren

      1. Matt says:

        I definitely think that commercial considerations were the main driver for McLaren, as I’d argue that Hulkenberg and Di Resta have been champions in other formulas and have more experience than Perez. Hulkenberg may have been a smarter move, considering the Mercedes factor? Kobayashi has out qualified Perez more often than not, so talented as Perez is, I’m not convinced he has the raw speed.

      2. A.C.O. says:

        I think many people has the idea that Kamui has “out qualified Perez more often than not”. This season the score qualifying is 7 for Kamui – 6 for Perez. And remember that Perez lost his chance to Qualify in Monaco due a mechanical failure, but has outperformend Kamui in P1 and P3 in that GP.
        Anyway just look at where Kamui is and where is Perez in the championship standings, that will bring you an idea on how this two compare.

    2. Erik says:

      Ccould Paul take the Ferrari seat? He seems to have the right characteristics for a great No 2.. Not that I condone no.2 drivers but just saying it as I see it..

      1. Quade says:

        Sarcasm at its best! Can a No 2 really be great?

      2. Erik says:

        Haha! I’m good at sarcasm but I didn’t even mean it that time.

        But you see my point. Quiet, gets on with the job. Rubens-like in his Ferrari days.

        I hate the notion of no.2s by the way – it’s why I disliked the Schumacher era so much. But it might make sense for DiResta to go there. His career has stalled a bit. He moves into a seat next to Alonso he will learn a lot and raise his stock.

      3. Quade says:

        I still can’t get over “great number two!” Made me shake with laughter!
        Yes, Paul is workmanlike and doesn’t have that extra fire in the belly that makes a great driver.
        I’d really love to seem him in a better team though, but it seems having the same manager as Jensen shut him out of McLaren (seems they wanted to avoid an attack by the clones).

  253. AuraF1 says:

    Lewis looked across at Alonso and Vettel, who he clearly sees as his only ‘real’ rivals for long term F1 greatness – he sees they had default or even contractual number one status. He looks across at his own team and sees they kicked out an average 2nd driver like Kovi, brought in the current WDC and refused to give either number one status.

    Regardless of where you stand in the ‘how good is Button really’ debate (personally I think he’s a lot better than he’s given credit for and is actually a better driver now than his earlier years) – you can imagine Lewis connecting this lack of number one status with his failure to win multiple titles. It’s a simplistic explanation but I can imagine it resonating with lewis. He’s thinking – ‘okay I can drive faster than Alonso and Vettel when conditions are right – how come they both seem to have beaten me? It has to be the dedicated backing of the team’.

    It was quite telling that Mercedes haven’t confirmed Lewis’ paycheque, but they have confirmed he’s been given contractual number one status. I suspect this may have been the sticking point for him. McLaren clearly refused to tell Jenson to support Lewis for this years WDC charge and Lewis will have gotten that guarantee from Ross Brawn that in 2014 at least Rosberg is there to support him, not equal status.

    1. great posting, wonder how Perez and Jenson will get on ?

    2. KRB says:

      Well, a story out now is that Rosberg has been assured of equal status. But whereas Whitmarsh didn’t want to ask JB to help Lewis, Brawn would do in an instant.

      If Lewis can bring anyone over from McLaren with him, he should bring Hiroshi Imai.

    3. Matt says:

      I thought that too, but I’ve seen an interview with Ross Brawn where he categorically states that they will have equal status and that Hamilton never asked for no 1 status.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Yeah since I commented I’ve seen the reports of equal treatment. I’m surprised the story was changed so fast. Perhaps Rosbergs management freaked out and demanded a statement?

        I honestly believe that Hamilton demanded that in the same situation he’s in now rosberg would be tasked with supporting his charge early on. McLaren pointedly kept mentioning Jenson whenever asked about their title chances – even after jenson himself apparently had a chat with Martin whitmarsh to say he was ready to support Lewis if required.

        Lewis wants what Alonso and Vettel have. Their teammates used to gather data for them. I don’t think that means rosberg will be held back – just that if there’s any new developments for one car or a teammate needs switching position to build a championship bid – Lewis will always get the benefit first. I’d probably see it more like vettel with webber than Alonso and ‘whoever’. Rosberg like webber will be allowed to chase wins but he will be reined in if needed.

      2. James Clayton says:

        I’d imagine the agreement is no no1 status at the beginning of the season, but the decision to ask Rosberg for support in a title charge would come a lot earlier in the season than McLaren would ask Button to.

  254. Grant says:

    Lewis is no dummy, I reckon the move is a smart one. He will get the most out of the car, not the best all around driver but the most exciting. Fernando and Vettel? No way – that will not work. I’m tipping one of the Force India boys will end up there; most likely the Hulk.
    As an Aussie I would love to see Ricciardo driving with Fernando but this is obviously a ridiculous expectation.
    Lewis will kill Nico. not even close.
    I can see Red Bull continuing to come back to the pack, if Vettel does go the big boss may reconsider his commitment to F1. No Webber and Vettel in 2014 – watch the points dry up. Neither of the Torro Rosso boys are ready to step up.
    Perez? Don’t know, at times is very quick on race day. Will certainly qualify quicker in a Mac.
    Go Fernando – my non sexual man crush.

  255. Nismo + f1 says:

    It is going to be a big test to see how he can use his talent to build this team. I believe Lewis and Ross will build a winning team by 2014 with new rules and regs on f1 cars. Ferrari dream team were strong from 1997 as regular rivals until 1999 winning team title then from 2000 to 2004 total domination. Lets just hope this can happen aas the ingredients are there with driver can deliver the results. Lewis is thinking of long game

    Mclaren have blown a winning team from the middle of this season. Botched Pitstops not knowing which direction to develop the mp4 27probably was the indication.

  256. JF says:

    Mclaren may also pick up some nice new sponsers.

  257. dstaisey says:

    Disappointed in Mclaren. They should have taken Kimi in 2010, get it with Hamilton. It would be completely different situation now. And what they have done now is terrible. Trying to remember when Mclaren have had such a bad driving paring?

    1. Peter says:

      Kimi is an ultimate Mclaren driver in my opinion, too, but in this situation there is a lot to do with telecom giants…

  258. Anton says:

    Bet Alonso’s extremely pleased with this decision. One less challenger for WDC over the next two seasons at least!

    Anyone reckon Alonso will hit 4-5 WDC with this decision?

    1. James Clayton says:

      One less challenger if Ferrari remains as uncompetitive is a BAD thing.

    2. Sossoliso says:

      Can’t be. If hamilton is not able to take points off vettel.. Alonso’s consistency will amount to didly squat. His position is only maintainable because Hamilton and Vettel are able to take points off each other. Alonso Will be hoping Perez does a better Job than Button at McLaren to take points away from RB boys.

  259. oniwa17 says:

    hi james.

    after big news like this one there will be more romours, some that make sense and other wont make any sense. jaime is now a pirelli test driver and came into F1 by te hands of red bull. putting his name in the battle for the sauber empty seat list is it a romour that makes sense? i do like him as a driver and i think he deserves a seat, just dont the see what “magnetic forces” could draw him closer to that seat….

  260. ferggsa says:

    James, late comment from the other side of the Atlantic (Mexico)
    As posted several times before me, can you find out about Vodafone/Telmex sponsor situation in McLaren?
    Even if they operate in different regions they are direct competitors, so maybe Telmex let Perez go?
    I dont see Telmex backing McLaren, more money and less control, and assume they would rather keep backing Sauber as main sponsor
    This would mean Esteban Gutierrez might be promoted from reserve to racing in Sauber
    Wathcing them go up the ranks I think Esteban might be a bit faster and have more finesse than Checo, but lacks a bit of hunger. He did beat team mate Calado in GP2 this year ending 3rd
    On another note, having Checo in a McLaren, Austin GP tickets for 2013 will be sold out (in Mexico) the day they are available. Make more grandstands, more parking and change the signs to Spanish
    As always you have the best F1 site by far, thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      Waiting to see what happens with Vodafone. There was some doubt about whether they will renew, but it is clear that they have strategic alliances with Telmex, for roaming and coverage in countries where one is strong and the other not present.

  261. Mathias Anderson says:

    Long term investment apparently. My money was on a 1 year deal with McLaren ahead of a move to Red Bull.

  262. Nachi says:

    Commentary team nightmare… both Mercedes drivers will have yellow helmets!

    1. Anop says:

      Good point. :-)

  263. Umar Ali Hayat says:


    I dont know if people noticed it or not, but i think it was a clear sign in Singapore that he would join Mercedes, given that he was supporting a grey Helmet rather than his usual yellow one. it may be a coincidence but if so then this deal was done before Singapore even.

  264. F1racer says:

    I feel Mercedes has totally let down Schumacher.

    The reason Schumacher didn’t want to continue at least with Mercedes is that the team was never behind him in terms of support, consider the family environment he had in Ferrari. He sensed it.

    Nico Rosberg is a reliable driver to deliver on points and thats about it. Mercedes knows that, and hence went for super fast driver like Hamilton. Good luck to Hamilton on his new venture.

    Hope Schumacher can drive Ferrari next year (not sure Alonso being the alpha male would approve it) and get a win which would satisfy the legend into retirement.

    1. Rang says:

      Suppose MSC gets to drive ferrari, do you think its Alonso who decides or has the final say?

      1. F1racer says:

        Yes, Alonso is very much the team leader at the moment and the reason massa stayed this year in ferrari had to do with alonso supporting him as his 2nd driver.

  265. Nick says:

    He could always go back in the future.

  266. Andrew says:

    Hamilton’s move to Mercedes is more about his new self marketing campaign.

    Hollywood is Hamilton’s goal, not the WDC.

  267. Koka says:

    Don’t think Schumi will ever replace Massa. One of the reasons he left in 2006 was to save Massa from departure elsewhere, cause he was and remains his friend. Considering this, it would be more than strange to force Massa out now.

    1. zombie says:

      Koka, thanks for reminding that. It was widely reported in 2006 that Schumacher decided to retire ( or was pushed into retirement by Ferrari ) as Kimi was signed. It would mean Massa had to go or Schumi, as Schumi had nothing left to prove, he decided to hang his helmet, which kinda made sense as Brawn was going away, so was Rory.

  268. Irish con says:

    I wonder will Hamilton ever drive for Ferrari now. With alonso there long term and vettel lined up next looks like Lewis will never wear the Ferrari red. Would like to see him vthere one day. I have been thinking about this since it was confirmed and I think it could be abit like Valentino Rossi and Ducati.

  269. Graham Passmore says:

    One benefit I hope I see from Hamilton’s move is taht next season, the BBC commentators, and the fans who regularly post this website, will stop regarding McLaren as the English national Olympic team. They are not!!
    Since the debut of the Button-Hamilton partnership, I have found all this McLaren rah rah business somewhat distasteful, and bloody unfair to all of the loyal British citizens (I am one, living in Canada)working hard every day at Enstone, Milton Keyes & Didcot.

  270. Brad says:

    Beautifully crafted report James Allen.

    Wishing Hamilton best of luck for him and his new team.

  271. John Smith says:

    History only remembers true Champions

    History only remembers true champions behind the wheel of a F1 car.

    On that list we have Fangio, Sterling Moss (even though he never won the championship) Senna, and Michael Shumacher.

    Get the old thinking cap on and then the likes of Prost, Piquet, Lauda, Mikka Hakinnen and possibly James Hunt spring to mind.

    The likes of Lewis Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso even though they have all held the Championship will not be vivid in our memories in say thirty years time, they are today’s drivers and one will have to consult reference books to remember who they were and how many championships they won.

    As for the possible retirement of Michael Schumacher, most of us are wrighting him off as past his best and SHOULD HE BE DRIVING ATALL.

    Nobody really has blamed the Mercedes cars that he and Rosberg were given in the first place.

    Granted some of the manouvers Michael has made are questionable but let’s remember McClaren use exactly the same Mercedes engine and their cars are streets ahead of the Mercedes cars for the simple reason that their aerodynamics and set up are spot on whilst Mercedes are still looking for that magic formula .

    Who would argue that if Michael Schumacher was in the driving seat of either McClaren or Ferrari then he would probably be a 2012 title contender.

    We always criticise the driver never the car and if you are in the driving seat of the best car on the grid you usually win the race.

    Kimi Raikonen has proved it with Lotus having provided him with one hell of a car on his return, and nobody is going to say Raikonen is a better driver than Schumacher.

    When you consult reference books in the distant future Michael Schumacher’s reputation has already been cemented as the most successful driver the sport has ever known.

    Is he the greatest, well that is debateable because Fangio who incidentally was still winning Championships at the same age that Schumacher currently is and he did it in far more challenging circumstances.

    There will be very giants in the history of F1

    FANGIO,SENNA and Schumacher and possibly Prost and who is to say who is the greatest, they all are.

  272. Rang says:

    James, Hamilton is a good driver for any team, so Mercedes getting him is a big catch. What do you think was the reason of MSC leaving? Dont’ you think there is something more to it. Maybe he was dissatisfied with them, the car was not upto the mark, his car having constant mechanical failures. Maybe there was a cold war and MSC has already planned something or waiting for some plan to get executed ?

    Also, wouldnt’ Mercedes have loved to keep Hamilton and Schumi…That would have given them the best driver, the star who still had it in him. Why do you think they let MSC go, neither did they confirm that he retires and takes up some role within the team ? Surely you must have analysed these points?

    Or is there something more to come in this story? Probably MSC joining Ferrari? I am sure you must have the inside news and whats cooking up inside. Do share :-)

  273. John Smith says:

    Do comments ever get published on this site for crying out loud.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes they do, but not when they contain the kind of content yours does.

      You add nothing to the debate and lower the tone. There are plenty of other sites where you can spout that kind of stuff

      Don’t do that again or the comments won’t appear – Mod

      1. madmax says:

        Some things don’t add up. We know Schumacher had the chance to sign in the summer but kept stalling which started the Hamilton talks.

        With no managerial role announced at Mercedes and pretty much a goodbye speech from them it looks like Schumacher actually does want to continue.

        Is what happened a vote of no confidence in the team from Schumacher on having a chance to fight for the championship anytime soon with them??

        The vision Hamilton has been sold by Ross seems very like the one Schumacher was sold to make the comeback.

        Something is not right with the make up of this team and I don’t think getting Hamilton is going to solve that and might even make things worse when the results don’t happen.

      2. madmax says:

        That above comment wasn’t meant for there! On the subject of comments not appearing I have had this happen when no bad language or whatever is in them.

  274. Lee Staples says:

    Congrats to Lewis and Mercedes. It’s obvious they both wanted this, but before we now crown Mercedes champs, let’s see what they can actually do about it. In modern F1, winning is about aerodynamics not new engine regulations. And apart from the the 2009 campaign when they were known as Brawn GP, Ross Brawn has been woefully lacking in aerodynamics ever since. And while Lewis is a great driver, we all saw last year what happens when he feels he has to push hard to make up for a deficient car. The carbon fiber starts flying! I’m much more excited about Perez going to McLaren. Now are really going to see what the kid’s got.

  275. John Simpson says:

    Everyone was very quick to criticize Eddie Jordan on the Hamilton Mercedes saga, this goes to show he still has good insider knowledge.

    Better then most commentators who claim they do.

  276. Richard D says:

    I very much expect Hamilton to regret jumping ship from McLaren after the years of support they have given him. Can’t see him enjoying seeing his former teammate and his replacement regularlt beating him! We’ve all seen how he has come a cropper when mixing it with midfield runners and driving the Merc will surely see this happen regularly, unless Ross Brawn can weave his magic again and design a championship winning car like he did in 2009.

    Whilst I can see the talent that Perez has to offer, I would have like to se another British driver teamed up with Button, and that would have had to be Di Resta.

  277. zarniwoop says:

    It’s amazing how many people/websites are claiming to have/had an exclusive/been the first to break the story on this (including this website: ” predicted by JA on F1 earlier this month”). The only person who can claim this is Eddie Jordan, everyone else is just reporting and expanding on what he said.

  278. Dougel says:

    Peope keep banging on about the Hamilton Brawn dream team, but hasn’t Ross Brawn stated he won’t be in F1 for much longer. A quote from Brawn at the start of this season “I only have two more ambitions left in Formula 1, to get Nico his first victory and Michael his 91st.” Does that sound like a man with a lot more campaigns in him?

    1. Dougel says:

      that should be 92nd for Michael!

    2. James Clayton says:

      He did say that but then I recall that he said something contradictory recently about having no plans to retire any time soon and wanting to work long into the new regulations.

      Maybe that’s just PR talk. Maybe there’s something about the Hamilton deal that’s excited him enough to consider staying longer. Maybe he now feels he wants another championship beneath him before retiring. Who knows?

  279. Aey says:

    We can’t say it would be good move or bad move for Lewis, but for sure the very good move of Perez.

    Hope Perez can show his true performance in the vacant seat at McLaren, he is as lucky as Lewis when Kimi seat is blank at 2007. Any driver would like too have the seat at McLaren, big opportunity for his career. I would say Perez is the luckiest driver on the grid for next year, even better than go to be no2 at Ferrari.

    Next year, if Perez is not clearly faster than JB, then whatever McLaren Qualifying pace is, there will always be 0.3-0.5 more in the car. It would be sad for the Designer and engineer team at McLaren that they can’t show the true pace of their car.

    McLaren was at ease last year not to sign Lewis ealier as they think wouldn’t go elsewhere, they might forget that Lewis is managed by XIX who think about the money first.

    If Ron is there, Lewis might not leave, look like Ron is the only one that Lewis is respect.

    Quite a great news for Alonso, his WDC hope is looking much brighter.

    This is the good news for Media, especially Sky and BBC, there is something to talk about for next few race.

    1. Jeff says:

      Whether it increases or decreases Sergio’s stock in F1 remains to be seen. If he arrives at McLaren and gets consistently beaten by Jenson, it could spell the end of his career. If he out qualifies Jenson (considered a slow qualifier because of the direct comparison to Lewis) by similar margins to Lewis, then he may start to be seen as one of the elite of F1. I have my doubts that he can do it.

  280. Doni Pradita says:

    “…turns back on Mclaren”???

    More like gently dropped by Mclaren.

    Hamilton is turning his back on Mclaren like Damon hill ‘turned his back’ on Williams.

    Yeah, right.

    1. Luke says:

      Are you serious? Would a team who ‘gently’ drop a driver increase their pay offer and tell their driver it is a mistake to leave the team?

    2. James Clayton says:

      There was no offer from Williams to Hill to drive in 1997.

      Shame really. After rewatching 1996 it did seem he’d finally come together as a driver. I’d have loved to see him and Villeneuve fight it out in the Williams in 1997. Even with Villeneuve having a full season under his belt by that time, I still think Damon would have been a double world champion.

    3. Doni Pradita says:

      2010 WCC, Mercedes 4th 214pts
      2011 WCC, Mercedes 4th 165pts
      2012 WCC, Mercedes 5th, possibly 6th by yr end.

      This is not an upwards move for Hamilton. Not even a sideways move. No matter how well it’s been scripted in the media, Hammy is being dropped. Plain and simple.

      1. Timmay says:


        And Mclarens weakest lineup since 1995 in my onion > a then unproven Mika Hakkinen & Mark Blundell.

  281. Andrew says:

    Hi James really like it if you could answer this how do you think Jenson Button will be feeling in all this? Moves to Mclaren which was Hamilton’s playground and home against many people’s advice and few gave him a chance. Now 3 years on it is Lewis who is leaving and Jenson sitting pretty at the team. Clearly Mclaren and Lewis have had many issues not including Jenson which has lead to this point tho as your recent article pointed out Jenson’s speed and racecraft has been hard for Lewis to stomach at times. Shades of when Prost left Mclaren after 6 years and Senna build the team around him in a way.

  282. Peter says:

    James, do you think Lewis could learn a lot from how Schumacher handles his private and professional life?

  283. Terry says:

    I think it would be a nice way for Michael to retire after 1 to 2 years at Sauber with a well designed car, easy on the tires so less pit stops for Michael that is Ferrari powered. That could win races and score points consistently.

    On Peter Sauber’s team who is one of the most respected men and independent teams of formula one.

    Michael will be back in a Ferrari powered car with out causing waves with Fernando in the Ferrari team. I really don’t think Michael would want to be a number two driver at the end of career.

    Plus if Ferrari wants a spokesman, I think Ferrari will take back Michael with open arms for commercial adverts in it’s consumer car division.

    It’s a win win situation for both Sauber and Ferrari.

  284. Volker says:

    Schumacher could very well be the next McLaren driver ….also, replacing Webber would be an option. It’s the only two teams that could guarantee him a chance on top finishes to end his career successful ….

    1. Smeghead says:

      I believe Webber’s already contracted to Red Bull for the 2013 season:


      1. James Clayton says:

        And McLaren already have two drivers contracted for 2013

      2. LiamC says:

        The trouble is, F1 contracts are worth about as much as the paper I use in the “little room” each morning. If DM/RBR could have Schumacher for a year or two, I think Mark might be without a seat; richer, but no drive.

        Schumacher to RBR, Mark to Scuderia?

  285. Steve Zodiac says:

    Well lets see, are there any manufacturer teams that any good? With the exception of Ferrari(when they let Ross Brawn run it like an independant for a while, oh and Renaultor was that when they were Benneton?), they have all always been rubbish.Honda, rubbish. BMW, rubbish. Mercedes, rubbish. Ford/Jag, rubbish.Toyota, rubbish. Yet when they regained there independance they thrived ie Sauber,Brawn,RBR Renault/Lotus etc. Since Merc bought out Brawn it too has turned to rubbish. There is always too much management at works teams this why Ferrari are on the slide. So maybe this is a bad move by Lewis.

    1. Steve Zodiac says:

      Sorry for all the errors !

  286. F12012 says:

    Well Mclaren has lost the fastest driver in F1 today, however it looked like his relationship with the team had been strained for a while, Ron Dennis probably wouldn’t have been to happy with the tweet in Spa and made his feelings known. It’s sad that Hamilton has decided to leave as I always liked the Jenson/Lewis partnership, but even Jenson wasn’t happy with the tweet.

    Mclaren have signed a great replacement in Sergio Perez as he seems to have that something special, remember him going after Alonso for the lead in the rain and his performance in monza, I think Ferrari have missed out big time, however, is Ferrari expecting vettel to sign in 2014, looks likely if they’ve let Perez go

    Mercedes have only won one race in three years, but they do seem to be improving each year, but the only worry with Mercedes is their development, they always seem to be on the Backfoot with the upgrades, but with a fast driver and Ross brawns strategy knowledge, who knows what will happen

  287. Richardd says:

    Late 2008, Lewis said he wanted to drive for McLaren for the rest of his career in his excitement at winning the WDC. How times change, hope he knows what he’s doing and not being blitzed by XIX.

  288. Paul says:

    From Silver spoon to Silver Arrow – Bye bye Lewis let us know how it feels to go a season without winning a single race. I’m sure your use of rear tyres will suit the flawed design philosophy of the Mercedes cars. Mclaren can now focus on designing a car that works for 2 drivers easier on tyres. Paul Diresta can go to Ferrari and show another one of the “Big 3″ that he’s a force to be reckoned with. As for all this Mercedes will be great in 2014 talk, I can remember articles on this site bigging up how Mercedes were ideally placed to rule the new F1 with Resource restrictions etc following their transformation from Brawn into a smaller tighter outfit. I think this was even voiced as a reason why Button should stay with them. Well 3 years down 1 win, poor development, poor performance, poor reliability & poor tyre degradation. If you honestly believe that the 2014 car will be anything more than the best engine in F1 surrounded by a mediocre chassis you have less intelligence than Lewis. Oh well as long as Simon Fuller makes some more money – he’d have Lewis in a HRT if it meant he got 50% of the cash. David Beckham is a massive global brand, I can’t remember the last time he won anything worth noting though……

  289. John Smith says:

    I hope Schumi stays in F1 next year but the way Mercedes handled this, it’s awful and disrespectful to Michael. I expected better from them but then again, it fits their brand image. So they relied upon Michael’s image and name (sponsorship money etc), he helped build the team and after 3 years they simply used him and dumped him in favour of Hamilton. I will be angry if Merc suddenly challenge for both titles next season because Michael deserved a front-running car. If you actually look at what he’s done this season, he would be well up there in terms of points scored and could have won a couple of races by now. But you could say there’s sabotage in the team hence all the retirements on his side of the garage. The same could be said for McLaren… Funny how both Michael and Lewis have had unusual retirements.

    To be honest, after last weekend’s Singapore GP, I had a feeling Merc had given Michael the boot out the door. The deal with Lewis was done a while back. If they were keeping Michael. would they not have backed him up by stating something like: ”we think there was an issue with the car and will be investigating” but they just kept quiet and made Michael look bad. Today we get the news of Lewis joining Merc and no news on Michael. Mercedes’ handling of this has come across as very bad. Their Facebook page says it all really – a lot of angry fans venting their frustration. Only a couple days ago did Ross Yawn, sorry Brawn say that things were yet to be decided and that there was way too much speculation. ”I think we will have something to say in the next few weeks or months. Then all will become clear.” Yeah, what’s clear is how badly Mercedes handled this. One thing I can say is, I’m happy I don’t have to put up with Michael driving for this awful team anymore but if they start winning next season, it will be a massive insult. I hope they fail miserably after disappointing their fans for the past 3 seasons. I have a feeling that Nico will also have to play second fiddle to Lewis, which was one of his main factors in signing – he wanted #1 status in a team. Time will tell, but I wish Nico well. As for Lewis, I have nothing against him and wish him well also. No doubt he’ll have to put up with Ross Yawn’s countless lies and failed promises.

    P.S. do we think Romain will stay at Lotus? Would be amazing to have Kimi and Michael at Lotus, but that’s wishful thinking! Come on LdM, make the call and sign your favourite son – Schumi for 1 final dream swan song!!

    1. chris says:

      Could not have put it better. I thought the total silence on Michael’s Singapore crash spoke volumes – despite the brake problems he had suffered throughout practice. Still do not believe it was 100% driver error and nill % car, but it certainly suited Mercedes to keep quiet. Endless failed promises of improving the car, terrible reliability, mediocre upgrades. Dumping Schumacher will not suddenly change a fundamentally average midfield team. I really hope Schumacher gets a one year drive with Sauber, a car that seems to work with the joke tyres and is capable of podium finishes.

      1. Jeff says:

        I believe Michael himself admitted later that he just screwed up in Singapore

  290. Patrick Byrne says:

    Something has been broken a long time now between McLaren/LH and I think it’s best for both parties to move on. However I think McLaren are now massively weak on the driver front in comparison with the other top teams.

    Despite heavy backing, Perez’s pre-F1 stats are a long way behind Hulk or Di Resta who have won or been runners-up in multiple categories. Also he’s been out-qualified by Kobayashi 8-6 this year and the Japanese has a reputation of being more of a racer than quali specialist.

    As for Button, he is sublime when the car is perfect but a wrong set-up or balance and he is no-where.

    Hamilton isn’t the sharpest tool in the box but I think Brawn and co have the ability to get the best from him and utilise his undoubted speed.

  291. Spencer Shand says:

    All this talk of where Schumacher is going to go is silly! He ended a legendary career in leaving Ferrari and should have never come back. I think he is lucky to have gotten away with 3 years of average seasons and wont harm his legacy much if at all. He wouldn’t do any better than Massa has done this year if he took Massa’s seat. Perez is a great protege for JB and will probably surpass him before the 3 years are up and the ball is LH’s court to see if he can develop a car in addition to driving the wheels off of it. All the Schumacher talk disregards the last 2 1/2 seasons for a reason!

  292. Smeghead says:

    I’ll give Lewis this: it’s a bold move, which is very much in keeping with his style.

    The biggest problem I foresee is that if he’s not in immediate contention for the title next year, he’s going to be derided heavily for having made the move purely for the money. If he doesn’t start winning races from the get-go, he also risks stagnation in career terms.

    I wish him luck, and I can’t wait to see him grabbing the Merc by its throat and wringing some performance out of it. If yet another team is capable of winning, F1 is definitely better for for it.

  293. John Z says:

    I’m guessing that Schumacher is done as a driver after 2012. I’m hoping that Di Montezemolo welcomes Schumacher back to Ferrari with open arms and with great fanfare. It never was the same seeing him at Mercedes. Ferrari are forever Schumacher’s team, I hope to see him on the pit wall and in the garage.

  294. AndrewJ says:

    I think this is a good move for Hamilton. I’m more of an Alonso fan myself, but I feel that Hamilton needs to step out from holding on to McLaren’s apron strings. Hamilton *is* a great driver, he just needs a bit of emotional maturity. Moving to another team should help with that.
    Plus I think McLaren were disrespecting him by offering him less money that he was getting with his current contract. Yes, budgets are tight, and there is a global recession, but the top drivers (and Lewis is on the top 3) deserve to command as much money as they can get. I truly hope the relationship with Merc goes well – and I think it will. I think Ross is the kind of personality who can help Lewis become champion again.
    Also VERY good to see Perez get a seat in a top team.
    And yeah, it would be nice to see MSC more to Sauber.
    Its all good :-)

  295. cito says:

    Hamilton is doing the right thing. The Mercedes deal was up in he air since Spa. Mclaren disregarded Lewis’ opinion and gave him Hungary wing. That is – they over-voted him.Then in Singapore Lewis’s insisted that he could win even if he started sixth. They ensured him the gearbox would not fail. So we can see that the relationship in Mclaren between the team and Hamilton is upside down and Hamilton cannot call his own shots there. In the meantime as they knew he was on the verge of signing for Merc, Mclaren upped their offer to Hamilton because they know what he brings to the team. But it was too little too late. All this goes to show that Mclaren is not a wealthy team any more. And now what do they do- they bring in Perez, who, besides being “quick” ( its a risk), brings in tons of money from Mexican oil. So they didn’t sign Raikkonen. And now look at the Mclaren lineup- Button and Perez. That’s gotta be the worse Mclaren lineup in years. Go Hamilton.

    1. A.C.O. says:

      Seems you are confused, Perez is backed by Telmex, a TELCO company, not “mexican oil”.

      1. Robert says:

        A lot of people get Telmex and Pemex confused.

  296. Marcelo Leal says:

    I did a simple comparison using the qualifying times from this year races (assuming Lewis Hamilton would have the same superiority over any other team mate), and the result is here:
    I did look at just 5 races, and the result would be 5 Pole Positions for Lewis. And is based on official numbers from f1 site. Lewis could put +1s on Button…. that difference can make any car competitive.

    1. Steve Pritchard says:

      Eh? Explain 1 second?

  297. Siva says:

    I’ am enjoying the whole reshuffling news as I tend to look for how a new driver performs at another team after moving and I guess there would me more shuffling at other teams as well.

  298. JB HAM says:

    I hope my comment gets published this time!

    Hey James congrats on the prediction. At first I didn’t like the headline but after letting things settle I realise it’s accurate. I am a huge Hamilton fan and at this point I think it was Hamilton who wanted to leave. Mclaren offered more money; enough to make him the highest paid driver in F1, and he still left. It just goes to show that the glitz and galmour of Mclaren is not really what it seems, and the love there is just as distant and cold as the Woking facility. Whitmarsh and crew just did no know, or simply could not appreciate what they have in Hamilton because Hamilton grew up their as a teenager into a man. It’s just like how parents never really appreciate their children until they leave the house. Hamilton has not gotten the respect that he desreves at Mclaren, the WDC he brought them in 2008 and so he must go some where where he is respected as a man and not coddled like a boy.

  299. Roger W says:

    IMHO McLaren are the BIG winners here. Whilst it was a nice fantasy that MSC+Brawn+Mercedes would re-live the golden MSC+Brawn+Ferrari era that really was never going to be. Things have moved on, and I liken it to an old rock band reforming for that “farewell” tour. The audience is older, the band are older and the music is not played as well, its just not the same. I personally see no hard evidence that Mercedes could equal and overtake the current “top 3″ in terms of sheer performance. Brawn keeps on about creating the “buidling blocks” to a fantastic team, but its just not happening as fast as I guess he wishes, meantwhile the other teams are able to out-develop the Mercedes team. I would imagine that McLaren are quietly breathing a sigh of relief that LH and his considerble non racing baggage have left the building. They should park him on garden leave immediately, and put another driver in for the rest of the season.

  300. Tornillo Amarillo says:


    Hamilton 1, McLaren 0

    Mercedes 1, Schumacher -1

    Perez 1, Di Resta 0 (he missed all good seats)

    XIX Entertainment 1, Anthony Hamilton 0

    Button 0, Button 0

    Ron Denis 0, Witmarsh -1

    Eddie Jordan 1, pundit of the year :))

  301. Marcus Blackwell says:

    Nice article James i think the intresting point is where is this going to leave Redbull in 2014 with only Kimi of the big name drivers available.

    1. nusratholla says:

      Kimi at Redbull would be best for Redbull. Kimi has worked with Adrian Newey before and they have worked well.

      Having said that, the following would depend:

      1. The Kind of Car Lotus would provide Kimi next year.

      2. Vetel’s move to Ferrari in 2014.

      3. How the Torro Rosso Drivers fare next year.

      4. How Webber performance.

      Having said that I still feel Kimi is more a Mclaren driver than anything else… The 2013 Mclaren line up is I’m afraid extremely poor.

  302. Greg Axiotis says:

    As a true Mclaren fan I am happy to see Lewis leave. His spoilt behavoir over the last couple of months were unprofessional and lame. Even though Mclaren have worked extremly hard over the summer break to bring the fastest car to the grid and give Lewis the win in Monza his post race emotions showed us his decision was already made. This is a team sport not an individual feat and for that Lewis won’t succeed and as we know in all sporting codes not 1 player is bigger than the team itself. Mclaren although have have ticked the box again and signed the best young talent on the grid. Hope he leaves Lewis in his wake come Melbourne. As always I be there to watch.

    1. Anthony says:

      You don’t have any evidence to support your allegations about his decision – contract negotiations are time consuming, complex, and nothing is certain until ink is on paper.

      I also haven’t seen any evidence of Lewis behaving in a spoiled manner, hot headed to be sure, but that’s what makes him a great driver. He’s certainly done nothing a dozen other F1 drivers haven’t done in the past!

      You also can’t ignore the number of times he’s had a race ruined by unforced team errors or been landed in hot water by poor team management.

      I’m looking forward to seeing Lewis in a Mercedes as much as I’m looking forward to Perez in a McLaren – it’s going to be a great season next year, especially if Ferrari can find a solid replacement for Massa.

  303. Dufus says:

    Care factor absolutelly zero.
    He really needed to move to a child care centre.

  304. Craig D says:

    Well at the least a variation to the grid up front will lead to an exciting year next year. Be interesting seeing how Perez performs. Could be a dark horse for the title!

    While there’s clearly money benefits for Hamilton moving to Mercedes, I don’t believe he’s looking at pounds signs. I think he really does just wants to win and have a car that performs and I think he feels he needed a change from McLaren to reinvigorate himself. I think the bottom line is that he believes being at Mercedes offers him the best chance of success long term and it’s easy to see how Ross Brawn would have sold it to him.

    It’ll be weird not seeing him in a McLaren but fair play to him.

    I read one report on the BBC that stated Lewis had been given number 1 status at Mercedes. I fail to see how that’s the case and how Rosberg would have a contract that allows him to be subservient to him.

  305. chrisnz says:


    Is there anything to read into McLaren confirming the news first rather than Lewis?

    There’s a subtle difference between “We’ve hired driver X because driver Y isn’t driving for us next year and beyond”, and driver Y saying ” I’m leaving McLaren for a new team”, and then McLaren saying they have signed driver X to replace driver Y.

    Is there some bad blood there do you think?

    1. Sharjeel says:

      nice thinking chrisnz, i don’t think its bad blood its just McLaren saying we signed perez beacuse we couldnt get agreement with lewis….considering how bad Mclaren wanted to keep him…jus read Martin’s statements

  306. Leali says:

    Hi James, one question that bugs me is nowhere have I read about Shumi retiring, not in the Mercedes own release not in Shumi’s release and no one is saying he is leaving so do you have any idea what’s next for him retirement or couold he fill Sauber seat since mr Sauber said himself after Monza that he would take him no questions asked, so would be nice if your are able to shed some light…

    1. James Allen says:

      I think he’s looking around. Time will tell

  307. Sdsparacio says:


    Do you think Hamilton made the right move? I think with new rules Newey will build another great car and Mercedes will pull out of F1 early! The car business is not good and will the same happen to Lewis what happened to Jenson and the manufacture pull out!!!

  308. Kushal says:

    any chance of schumi in ferrari???? :/

  309. xman says:

    It’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis Hamilton. He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions’ club,” Whitmarsh said in McLaren’s statments

    This McLaren statement gives an insite to the thinking of the McLaren bosses.

    1. Dont forget who you made your records – McLaren

    2. You are a McLaren champion first before anything else.

    1. Anthony says:

      I don’t think that’s a totally fair assessment. What else could they have said without looking foolish or unsporting?

  310. vinod says:

    James I just read in some forum the new engine regs might get scrapped can you give us any insight on this news and the timing of the news just after Hamilton jumped the boat

    1. James Allen says:

      Bernie has been talking about it

  311. vinod says:

    I wanted to know from your insight what do you think it will be engines will be scrapped or not just like you gave us a insight on hamilton’s move to merc. Likewise if its going to get scrapepd will it affect hamilton in merc the pros and cons.

  312. Bru72 says:

    McLaren have really landed on their feet getting hold of Perez. A fantastic talent, and young.

  313. Sean says:

    Some thoughts, tangentially related to the move.

    Would it be XIX who leaked the story to Eddie Jordan originally? They would have known about the possible move, so had opportunity, and it raised an enormous media storm, which is exactly what they would want for their property, so had motive.

    Then, Alonso has been saying Hamilton is the “fastest driver on the grid” (not the “best”, note), and I wonder why. Not that it’s necessarily untrue, but still I wonder. It seems to me Alonso is very capable of deliberately weakening his competitors as a prelude to race day. Over-hype Hamilton and encourage an excessively over-confident risky style, focus Vettel on Hamilton as the youthful poster boy, and not on Alonso. I reckon Alonso is good at a lot more than just driving a car, and it would not surprise me if he/Ferrari had a strategy team dedicated to analysing every other driver in the pack, with a view to attacking them in every way possible. I would, and they have been thinking about these things much longer than I have.

    1. James Allen says:

      I thought they had a hand in it now I’m not so sure

      1. Sean says:

        You’re thinking perhaps McLaren wanted out, but not to be perceived as the one doing the dirty? There’s a lot of time and brand association invested in Hamilton, and for all his flaws he’s quick.

        Who would you say has gained most from this, James? That might make an interesting article.

      2. Scott says:

        I am thinking that Vodafone has gained the most out of this

    2. David Goss says:

      Certainly you wouldn’t put mind games past Alonso, he is very smart, but I think there is genuine mutual respect between him and Hamilton.

  314. DanielS says:

    I don’t think this deal is as sweet as it seems for any of the parties involved (except Hamilton himself), and in fact the whole thing leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

    For Mercedes: they’re getting a driver who is very quick on his day, but who has shown repeatedly over the past couple of years that he is immature, selfish and moody. This is not the material of team leaders. The two big rivals (Alonso and Vettel) are as good as drivers as Hamilton is, but far better team players and can galvanise a team around them. Mercedes have paid a lot of money for a mercurial and petulant talent, a brilliant talent, but one that has never yet shown that he has what it takes to build a team in the long term (and in fact has exhibited a lot of tendencies that suggest that he doesn’t have what it takes to ever do so).

    Mercedes: Have shot themselves in the foot in their home market by ousting a German sporting legend. For a Schumacher fan this feels like 2006 all over again; Schumacher (with a couple of exceptions) has been getting the job done in 2012 as he did in 2006. It was the team that cost him (the abundance of retirements and qualifying mechanical issues in 2012; see Japan 2006). And then suddenly it’s the driver who won’t be around in the future.

    Hamilton himself: he’s moving to a team that have been moving backwards since a lucky championship in 2009 when they spotted a gap in the regulations that nobody else saw. He will probably be less successful than at McLaren. The irony is that if he spent his time at McLaren getting his head down instead of complaining so much, he might have got what he wanted out of that team. At least he’s getting more money now though.

    Schumacher: what little respect I had for Hamilton evaporated with the way he treated a true great of his sport. It’s saddening to see someone who has always been a model professional (at least in terms of his commitment to his teams) being ousted by a callow Hamilton. I hope MSC gets his final year (even if it is only as a seat filler at Sauber / Ferrari).

    1. James Allen says:

      Hamilton has done nothing to Schumacher.

      This is the real world, not some romantic notion. F1 is cut throat on and off the track. Schumacher played the game better than anyone in his time and he will understand that Mercedes went for Hamilton and he accepted. That’s the end of it.

      1. DanielS says:

        Respectfully James I disagree. I have found the arrogance with which Hamilton has played his hand during this entire saga, letting the drivers’ market pivot on his whim, to be distasteful. I understand that he’s a talented driver and it’s completely understandable that he would want to weigh up his options; but from the outside it appears to me that he’s been conducting himself throughout this process with a level of petulance that I find off-putting, but also disrespectful towards his fellow professionals.

        I think sometimes in life you should look at a situation as a case of “not what you do but how you do it”. Moving jobs is every day stuff and we’ve all been in a “me or them” situation at some point; particularly in career situations. My personal view – and it is just that – is that Hamilton has not acted with decorum and respect. Of course he wants to make the right decision for Lewis Hamilton but there comes a point where I can say that if I were him I would take a step back and see that my actions affect others – this late in the season decision following months of speculation has effectively shafted another driver, one who happens to be a legend of the sport I might add, and it’s not something I think any professional deserves. Nor is it something I think a true professional would do to another.

      2. James Allen says:

        It’s no different from what any top driver would do, when the market hangs on their move.

        This is F1

      3. David Goss says:

        Webber apparently considered a move to Ferrari for 2013, which would have meant ousting Massa in the same way as Hamilton has ousted Schumacher here. Webber seems as decent a guy as they come, so that should tell you there is no disrespect in what Hamilton has done.

      4. zombie says:

        I don’t blame Hamilton nor Brawn, but one has to wonder why couldn’t they handle it better ? MS could have just announced that he was ending his F1 career at the end of this year, Mercedes could then have announced they are signing Hamilton as replacement, and it would seem like a graceful exit for an elderly statesman like driver after his illustrious 21 yrs in F1. But this looks like MS was pushed out, and if he ends up signing for some other team, then the whole statement by Brawn that “we were waiting for MS to make up his mind” argument would fall flat.

      5. clyde says:

        If he has hurt anyone by this move it has to be Ron Denis

      6. Val from montreal says:

        Of course its cut throat – and yes he played the “game” very well , but he was also the driver that worked the hardest and gave many of his millions to various charities and funds all over the world throughout his carreer … It was very well documented that Schumacher has always few true friends in F1 …. Jean Todt was one of them … Not Nick Fry , not Andrew Shovlin , not Brackley …. The fact that after canadian gp this year , Brawn had to appoint an extra mechanic on Schumacher’s side of the garage proves that either 1) mercedes cannot furnish 2 reliable cars at the same week- end or 2) Schumacher was the victim of some sabotage ….. 24 mechanical failures compared to only 3 for Rosberg is far from being only a ” coincidence ” …. Schumacher did the right thing – leave Brackley and Im sure hes been looking elsewhere ..

  315. nusratholla says:

    I think with the resources Mercedes is gathering and have allocated so far, it holds a promise of success for Lewis. With exclusivity of new engines and constant induction of technical personnel and now acquisition of Lewis and all overseen by Ross Brawn, Mercedes is looking like a team most likely to shamelessly dominate F1.

    Shuey, Lewis and Kimi are the fastest pair of hands and power-brands this decade has witnessed, however, Shuey is hampered by the age factor and Kimi is happy where he is, so for Mercedes Lewis is very lucrative choice.

    Mclaren never wants its driver to be greater brands then them. Ayrton & Prost were exceptions. Lewis is a Star, he wants to be the center of attention and a brand, something like Schuey and Ferrari. So, not only Lewis will get what he wants but will now be able to create an independent identity he so thoroughly deserves, for till date he was always considered the spoon-fed baby of Mclaren.

    According to me, Mclaren losing Lewis is worse than they think right now it to be.

    There 2013 driver line-up is rather ordinary. One is whining Englishman while the other is a speculation. Yes, Mclaren builds good cars, no one can take them away from them, but you need a driver of Lewis’ caliber to bring home wins when other teams bring up their game.

    So a Loss to Mclaren is the best gains to Mercedes.

  316. Craig D says:

    Another point is this will certainly now be the acid test for Rosberg. People thought being up against Schumacher would show his true worth, but Michael hasn’t been the same as he was. Nico up against Lewis will clearly show now whether Nico is Championship fighting material. Perhaps not quite make or break for him but he suffers being categorised as another Coulthard type.

    1. Jeff says:

      Maybe Michael is the same as he was, but without the benefit of unlimited testing time and special tyres built just for him, he now is showing his true relative pace?

      Next year will be the acid test for Nico. If he can’t match Lewis, he’s in trouble.

      1. zombie says:

        And maybe Goodyear built him those “special tyres” too ? And Bridgestone stabbed Mclaren when they were partners in 99 and 00 ? And maybe the FIA allowed only Michael to test and chained the other drivers ? And perhaps Michael had a special place at Ferrari and Benetton because he was Flavio’s distant cousin and LDM’s long lost brother ? Or maybe Ferrari just enjoyed writing him $30 million $/yr paycheques ? Maybe..just maybe..

  317. Sharjeel says:

    Hi james, i must say your piece about this story few days back was spot on !, now do another piece about remains of ‘silly season’….what your views on Kovi, Massa, senna and Schumi the great……

  318. Simon Donald says:

    Personally I am surprised by the number of comments having a go at James’ title to this article. Hamilton was groomed and brought into F1 by McLaren, where he has spent his whole career, won all his races and his championship at – of course he is turning his back on that! How else would you describe it. It’s not a negative thing to say that. It’s just a mere statement of fact!

    I think this is a winner for both Mercedes and McLaren.

    Merc get arguably the fastest driver in F1, a man who wants to create his own path now after being under McLaren’s wing for the majority of his racing career. Whether Merc can deliver him the car he needs to win the world championship is debatable, but that is a whole story on its own.

    McLaren get the most naturally talented driver to debut in F1 since Sebastian Vettel. What’s more, now both of their drivers have similar driving styles so they can develop the car much more in one direction. How often do you see both Button AND Hamilton totally happy with the car at a race weekend? For all the Jenson Button haters out there, no one can deny that when he has a car exactly to his liking like in Australia or Belgium this year, he is very difficult to beat for anyone. Also Perez will be a steal in comparison to Hammy and will likely bring sponsorship, leaving much more money for R and D. I can see that driver pairing being very strong with the right car!!

    The big losers as I see it are Ferrari and di Resta.

    Ferrari loose the product of their driver training program to their biggest rivals.

    I can’t see Vettel going to Ferrari with Alonso there especially with all the love he gets from Horner, Newey, Marko et al at Red Bull, provided they keep giving him strong cars. He doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who would be lured by the mystique of Ferrari like Alonso or Schumacher. Also I can’t see Alonso letting a driver as strong as Vettel be him team-mate. So who will they have as Alonso team-mate long term? Massa has clearly run his course. Kovalainen is probably their best option, but would Alonso and Kovy be as strong as the Red Bull, McLaren, Merc or even Lotus driver pairings? I’m not sure.

    As for di Resta, my heart goes out for him. He must have been expecting a Merc drive or McLaren drive when one became available. Now both have passed him over. Unless he was to go to Ferrari, I can’t see any of the likely top teams having room at the Inn for the next 3 years.

    Excellent articles James! Keep up the good work.

  319. Anthony says:

    McLaren are a great F1 team and my personal favourite, but you can’t blame Lewis for wanting to leave. While the team have supported him through tough times, they have also let him down on many occasions with unforced technical errors going back as far as the Alonso mess right through to this season’s pit-stops.

    My sense is he wants a break from the last few years of personal difficulties and a new challenge outside of his comfort zone.

    Lets face it, who wouldn’t want to work with Ross Brawn and a fully committed works Mercedes team.

    Go Lewis!

  320. Bluefroggle says:

    Is this now truly done and dusted? Can it all be reversed?

    Is Lewis now absolutely stuck with Mercedes? i.e. can he at anytime before the next season starts turn round and say, “Sorry Martin, you were right, moving to Mercedes is a mistake, I would like to stay with McLaren”.

    Would McLaren and Lewis’ management team then do everything they could to cancel all the contracts with Mercedes and stay with McLaren? I doubt he would get offered the most recent offer again ~ £16 million. Obviously it would also mean cancelling Sergio’s new contract too.

    Or has that ship now sailed and he is now totally and firmly stuck with Mercedes?

    I mean don’t get me wrong, it could be that everything goes well at Mercedes and Lewis wins a couple of championships with them. But I am curious to know how cemented in stone this new contract is? I guess he has get-out clauses, but can they be applied now?

  321. Matthew Yau says:

    I think those saying that Hamilton has made a mistake have decided their opinion too prematurely. Mercedes have some solid plans for 2014, are building a strong team of designers and in Ross Brawn have one of the best team principals in modern F1.

    1. James Allen says:

      We will know in three years if he has made mistake. In that time he should challenge for the title

  322. Anthony says:

    James, if the engine regs changes don’t go through, do you think Mercedes are still on the right development track to be driving championship winning team?

    1. James Allen says:

      They were hoping to get chassis RRA through, which would help. Red Bull being very tough on that.

  323. I’d like to see Shuey go to Sauber for a year, the car’s definitely improving and Schuey could accelerate that improvement with his experience. And Schumacher started his career driving sports cars run by Peter Sauber so it would be a nice way to end things. And the commute to the factory will be shorter! The only problem will be Sauber’s budget next year without all that Mexican money, but maybe their earnings from the Constructors championship rankings this year will offset that? Especially if they manage to snatch 5th place or sneak past Merc for 4th?

    1. aveli says:

      i think schumacher would force them to spend the lathers chunk of their budget on their repair bills. how many times has he crashed that mercedes compared with rosberg? ciulthard also retired late and redbull can tell us about their repair bill according to coulthard.

  324. Mike from Colombia says:

    Hi James,

    What now for Di Resta given that he has been sidelined from McLaren and Mercedes plans for the meantime?

    Separately, it seems that McLaren is lacking in the man management skills area. Do you think that Sam Michael will start to come to the fore and start to co-manage part of the team?

    McLaren does not seem to have a great record in management and Ron seems to be the type of character that holds grudges. Look at roster of drivers who have been happy to leave the team ….. Montoya, Raikkonen, Alonso, Hamilton….terrible losses. Now McLaren is left with the least exciting driver pairing since Brundle-Blundell.

    1. James Allen says:

      Interesting questions.

      I think he has a chance of a Ferrari for a year, maybe more if Vettel doesn’t got in 2014.

      McLaren has had problems holding onto drivers like Raikkonen, Alonso etc in the past

  325. clyde says:

    Im waiting for Rosberg to whip his ass :-)

  326. clyde says:

    waiting to see how he fares aganist rosberg

  327. Anthony Smith says:

    God, imagine what a reincarnated F1-loving Sigmund Freud could do with all this hyperventilation going on with we F1 fans! Can we survive this?

    It’s hard to see where all of this is heading for Lewis. His initial quest for stardom was cruelly dashed with the hard reality of Red Bull’s TINTIN (Vettel) almost fatally shattering the dream, and recovery seems really uncertain.

  328. Nismo + F1 says:

    Its does feel great that Sergio Perez will be with a front running team. He is a fast learner, and will do well instantly hopefully. I felt from last year to this year he has got the will power to succeed. In Malaysia he was driving the wheels of that car, one I haven’t seen since the late Ayrton Senna and with Hamilton in 2008 British GP.

    Lewis will once again prove to the world he is number one, by developing and creating this so called winning team. A big risk, but I am glad he has decided to take this decision. Now lets hope he uses both his mentality and talent to bring his new team forward.

    James if you remember Damon Hill, with his Williams contract in 1996 for the following year was not renewed. Hill could have chosen Benneton, Mclaren instead he chose Arrows. Reason to use his skills to make the team a winning team and with Tom Wakinshaw’s Jaguar racing legacy and Benneton. He nearly won the Hungry GP…….
    Lets hope that both Brawn and Hamilton can create this dream.
    Mercedes are going to run that legacy in which Ferrari did in the late 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Mercedes is providing the tools required for Brawn to rustle up something that is going to be huge.

    James, do we know if Mercedes has improved their wind tunnel program or will they be using the whole AMG performance arm like in the DTM?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not quite

      Hill could have gone to McLaren but they offered a small retainer plus bonuses. He went for a big cheque from Arrows, underwritten by Pedro Diniz’ sponsor funds

  329. Adelaide says:

    Big big big big news.

    Great for F1.

  330. Tom says:

    There was a sports commentator a long time ago who said ‘a true champion never leaves the sport at the top of his (or her)game. They have to be kicked out.’ Is this what’s happening to Schumacher? I hope the old war horse still has a surprise or two left for us.

  331. Iain:R8 says:

    Lewis to Mercedes. Yawn! All this super-team with Ross Brawn stuff is questionable. It may be a cliché, but there is no I in team. At Ferrari it was Todt, Brawn, Byrne, and 400 others, together with lots of collaboration and a highly creative atmosphere. Just as it should be in any high-tech endeavour. I recently spoke to some Italian business acquaintances, who have a factory very near the Ferrari racing dept. They mentioned the family feeling, and the in depth passion for racing and success. They felt it was hard to describe unless you were really part of it. I found it interesting that Ron Dennis had the aim of creating an inspiring workplace with the McLaren technology centre. Couple that with Jenson Button trying to create a group feeling on his side of the garage, and you can see where McLaren have been heading. Would love to visit them.

    Much more interesting is the part Niki Lauda will play at Mercedes. Known for being rather ‘direct’, I wonder who will be the first victim. James, do you have any news on exactly what his duties will be in the organisation.

  332. Iain:R8 says:

    Lewis to Mercedes. Yawn! All this super-team with Ross Brawn stuff is questionable. It may be a cliché, but there is no I in team. At Ferrari it was Todt, Brawn, Byrne, and 400 others, together with lots of collaboration and a highly creative atmosphere. Just as it should be in any high-tech endeavour. I recently spoke to some Italian business acquaintances, who have a factory very near the Ferrari racing dept. They mentioned the family feeling, and the in depth passion for racing and success. They felt it was hard to describe or really understand, unless you were really part of it. I found it interesting that Ron Dennis had the aim of creating an inspiring workplace with the McLaren technology centre. Couple that with Jenson Button trying to create a group feeling on his side of the garage, and you can see where McLaren have been heading. Would love to visit them.

    Much more interesting is the part Niki Lauda will play at Mercedes. Known for being rather ‘direct’, I wonder who will be the first victim. James, do you have any news on exactly what his duties will be in the organisation.

    1. Iain:R8 says:

      Two posts and not the finished version I used for submit. There is a section missing, and no MOD indication. What eat my words?

      Missing bit follows “Just as it should be in any high-tech endeavour.”- Those who are accusing McLaren of being incapable of giving Lewis a championship winning car and lacking in creativity etc. have to be joking. The McLaren Group have always been on a similar path to that of Ferrari.

  333. Anop says:

    Not sure why so many people say its a bad move. Lewis thinks its the right one and I see no reason to question the thinking one of the best drivers in the world.

    Of course Lewis might not win from the 1st race but didn’t Fernando put on an amazing show in 2010 in his 1st year so it’s possible and Lewis is also capable of doing that.

    McLaren like in 2007 again lost big time. Anyway F1 will be exciting till the likes of Fernando, Lewis and Kimi are driving. It doesn’t matter where.

  334. DavidC says:

    I read about Damon Hill’s opinion on the matter in a separate publication, very insightful. Every great driver has had some falling out with McLaren except for Hakkinen. I am referring to Lauda, Prost, Senna, Raikonnen, & Alonso. Damon makes a great point in that F1 fans follow the driver, and not the team – and I am one of those – unless you are Ferrari. Although I am a McLaren fan because of Senna & Prost, I will follow Hamilton’s pursuits wherever he goes because he is a great driver. I still find it hard to believe that McLaren keeps all drivers trophies – you (as a driver) work hard and risk your life in the pursuit of glory only for the team to keep the trophy. I hate to say this, but its almost like you are in servitude to the team – it is the team that matters most and drivers are just mere tools of the McLaren machinery. If what Damon says is true, its no wonder Lewis was so eager to leave. James, are you aware of any other team in F1, or professional sports for that matter, where the team keeps the trophy of the driver or player?

    1. James Allen says:

      No, but remember the drivers can geta replica from the organisers very easily and they do that

  335. Craig in Manila says:

    Seems like there are a lot of winners from this deal :
    Perez : Gets himself into a topteam
    Button : Now gets No.1 driver status
    McLaren : Can now concentrate on Button plus more income from Telmex
    Mercedes : Gets one of the sports’ biggest names for their ads
    Rosberg : No change, still has a dud car and a great teammate
    Lewis : Gets the extra money
    Schumi : Can now be groomed to takeover from Ross

    Only loser would appear to be Sauber who lose a talented driver and a sponsor.

    James : Is Perez leaving mid-contract? If so, will Sauber be compensated ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not sure how McLaren wins here

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Less aggravation. Can now concentrate on one driver and car-set-up instead of sharing the points between two. More income. I acknowledge that they are losing one of the top three/four drivers on the grid… time will tell if they should’ve tried harder to retain him.

        Re my question : Is Perez leaving mid-contract ? Will McL have to cough-up to get him ?

      2. James Allen says:

        No, as I understand it PER was free to go

        Sauber’s contract was with Slim and Telnex, not PER personally

    2. Harrison Vrbanjac says:

      Since 2006 McLaren lost Räikkönen, Alonso and Hamilton. It’s fair to say that these three drivers are three of four best in Formula one and the fourth driver is not interested to drive for McLaren?! McLaren should ask them self’s why the best drivers are leaving them?

      It might be so that the best thing with McLaren is they drivers, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Häkkinen, Räikkönen, Alonso, Hamilton is impressive list, or should I say “use to be”?

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Agreed with that. Significant staff turnover is usually a good indication that something is very, very wrong…

  336. avrli says:

    jordan broke the schumacher return with mercedes story too and was 100% then too. montoya understands the politics at mclaren very well and suggested that hamilton left mclaren for any other team if he wanted to enjoy his success in f1. i hope hamilton enjoys his success at mercedes. it’s a shame schumaker couldn’t repeat what he’s accused of doing at ferrari, building a team around himself.

  337. avrli says:

    I think hamilton made most of his decisions from the day he entered motor racing with support from his dad so i have every confidence that his mercedes move is another excellent decision by him, just like his excellent decisions of when to start braking, how hard to brake and when to turn his steering wheel as well as when and how to use any of his other controls he has in the cock pit. as se would put it, he is in the driving seat bound for greatness. like it or not, the truth always wins the day.