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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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946 Comments
  1. AlexD says:

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

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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).

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      6. Robert says:

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

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      7. ian says:

        Where has Jean Todt gone in history ?

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      8. Kay says:

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

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    2. Stuart Harrison says:

      Amen to that; Perez for WDC 2013!

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      1. Sebee says:

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

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      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.

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      3. Vipin says:

        I reject that!

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    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!

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      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?

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      2. AlexD says:

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

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      3. Hal says:

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

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      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?

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      5. Smeghead says:

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

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      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.

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      7. Iker Gernika says:

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

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      8. Andrew M says:

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

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      9. Kay says:

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

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      10. Panya says:

        +1

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      11. 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.

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      12. Steve says:

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

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      13. 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.

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      14. 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.

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      15. Iker Gernika says:

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

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      16. ida says:

        @CHRIS

        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”

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      17. 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.

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      18. 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?

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      19. 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.

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      20. 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.

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      21. 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.

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      22. Dave C says:

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

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    4. KGBVD says:

      What’s your rationale on that one?

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

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      1. Lindsay says:

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

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    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.

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      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.

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      2. W Johnson says:

        And your point is????

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      3. Wayne says:

        W Johnson, seriously?

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      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..

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      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.

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      6. Peter C says:

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

        Oh dear.

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      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.

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      8. JC says:

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

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      9. Monji says:

        Plus one +1

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      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.

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      11. Ebi Bozimo says:

        +1001

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      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;

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      16. Hal says:

        +1

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      17. 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.

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      18. Doug says:

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

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      19. 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.

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      20. TG says:

        +1 and then some.

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      21. Sonny says:

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

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      22. 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.

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      23. 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?

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      24. 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.

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      25. 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…….

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      26. 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.

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      27. 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.

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      28. Quattro_T says:

        @Wayne
        “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!

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      29. John says:

        +1 :)

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      30. 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…

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      31. 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.

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      32. 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.

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      33. 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?

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      34. 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.

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      35. **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.

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      36. 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.

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    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.

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      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 😀 😀

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    7. kp says:

      so agree!

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  2. Moreharm says:

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

    Well written.

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    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.

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      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.

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      2. Chris says:

        +1

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      3. James Clayton says:

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

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      4. 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.

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      5. James Allen says:

        But it was accurate…!

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      6. Anant Deboor says:

        +1

        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.

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      7. 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.

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      8. 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…

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      9. gudien says:

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

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      10. 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.

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      11. 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

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      12. 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.

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      13. 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.

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      14. 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!

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      15. 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.

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      16. 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.

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      17. 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.

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      18. 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.

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      19. 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.”

        LOL!..

        I couldn’t agree more with your posting.

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      20. 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.

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      21. James Allen says:

        Absolute nonsense.

        Very disappointing

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      22. 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.

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      23. Kay says:

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

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      24. 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.

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      25. 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.

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      26. 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.

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      27. Hal says:

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

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      28. 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.

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      29. Andrew M says:

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

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      30. 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.

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      31. 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.

        Etc

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      32. 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)

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      33. 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.

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      34. Elie says:

        Yeah agree on the headline

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      35. F1fanSince11 says:

        +1

        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.)

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      36. 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 !!!

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    2. MISTER says:

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

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    3. ian says:

      What !

      Taking the credit for Eddie Jordan !

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  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.

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    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

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    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…………..

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  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.

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    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!

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    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!!

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    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.

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      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.

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  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.

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    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.

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    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.

      Total votes:
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      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.

        Total votes:
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      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.

        Total votes:
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      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 !

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      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.

        Total votes:
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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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    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.

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      1. Kay says:

        +1, Craig. :)

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  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 !

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    1. Harry says:

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

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      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 ?

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      2. Serrated_Edge says:

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

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      3. Mazirian says:

        James actually gave him credit in the original article.

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      4. ian says:

        James Allen is claiming it is his exclusive.

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      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

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    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!

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      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 )

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      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.

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      3. Dino says:

        Caro Baghetti,

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

        Regards,

        Dino

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      4. James Clayton says:

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

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      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.

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    3. Sossoliso says:

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

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      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.

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      2. kfzmeister says:

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

        Love it!

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      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? :)

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      4. Andrew M says:

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

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      5. Kay says:

        Andy M, the least McLaren could do for Kimi 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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)

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      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 😛

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      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!

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      6. Morten says:

        James,

        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!

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      7. James Allen says:

        Cool! Have a good weekend

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    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.

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      1. CHIUNDA says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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      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!

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      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 ….

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      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?

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

        Hmm……………

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  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 ?

    Matt

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      3. Denis says:

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

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      4. Sasa says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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      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..

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    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.

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      1. Quattro_T says:

        Alonso 2007 obviously

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    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.

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    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.

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      1. Sossoliso says:

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

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      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?

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      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.

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      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…

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    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).

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    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.

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  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

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    1. Erik says:

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

      Total votes:
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      1. Sossoliso says:

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

        Total votes:
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      2. Curro says:

        Excuse me?

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      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?

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      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.

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    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.

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    3. Don Farrell says:

      +1

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    4. 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!

      Total votes:
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      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.

        Total votes:
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      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.

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      3. John Smith says:

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

        Total votes:
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      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.

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    5. 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?

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  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.

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    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.

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      1. Lindsay says:

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

        Right.

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      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.

        Total votes:
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  10. Ruse says:

    Hamilton + Brawn + Mercedes will lead to success.

    Game on.

    Total votes:
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    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.

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      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.

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      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).

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    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?

      Total votes:
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      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.

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      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????

        Total votes:
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  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.

    Total votes:
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      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…

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      2. Nathan Jones says:

        +1

        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.

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  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…

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    1. Satish says:

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

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      1. James Clayton says:

        A red car calls?

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      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.

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    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.

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      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?)

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      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.

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    3. Kay says:

      I see Ron Dennis being the biggest loser of all this 😀

      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. 😀

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  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.

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    1. Elie says:

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

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    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.

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    3. Warren Groenewald says:

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

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      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.

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    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?

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  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.

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    1. Doohan says:

      Mercedes back in the 50’s???

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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    2. DavidC says:

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

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      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.

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    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.

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    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!

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      5. Kay says:

        I like your piece.

        But then driver also makes a difference.

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

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      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.

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      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..

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      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

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      9. Kay says:

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

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  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.

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    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.

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      1. James Clayton says:

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

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      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.

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      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! 😀

        Cheers!

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  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.

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  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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      1. Kay says:

        +1

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  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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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?

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      5. Kay says:

        Sorry EriK, the reply was meant for RobF.

        Cheers! 😀

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    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 ?

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      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.

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    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…

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      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.

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      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.

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  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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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  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.

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  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.

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    1. Erik says:

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

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    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…

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      1. only1halen says:

        JA,

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

        HONDA “TURNS BACK” ON SENNA

        “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.”

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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  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.

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  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?

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    1. Kay says:

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

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      1. Kay says:

        *everyone, typo.

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  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…

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    1. Steve Pritchard says:

      In Spa?

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      1. Rr says:

        No, last weekend was Singapore.

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      2. Steven Pritchard says:

        (Note the Sarcasm in my post)

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      3. Elie says:

        Haha.

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    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!

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      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.

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      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?

        Total votes:
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      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.

        Total votes:
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      4. Kay says:

        Warren,
        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?

        Total votes:
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      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!

        Total votes:
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      6. Rr says:

        You’re joking, right?

        Total votes:
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      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.

        Total votes:
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      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!

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

        Total votes:
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      13. MookF1 says:

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

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      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.

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      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?

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      16. fullthrottle says:

        Must be KKK.

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  25. Simple says:

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

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    1. Erik says:

      +1

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    2. Julian F says:

      +1

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  26. Lee says:

    As reported by Eddie Jordan…….

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  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.

    Tim

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  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?

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    1. James Allen says:

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

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      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.

        Total votes:
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    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?

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  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….

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  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?

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    1. James Allen says:

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

      Total votes:
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      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.

        Total votes:
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      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.

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      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)

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  31. jonnyd says:

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

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    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.

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    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…

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  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

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    1. Andrew M says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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  33. Moldy says:

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

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    1. Kay says:

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

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  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

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    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!

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    2. CJD says:

      +1

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    3. 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.

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  35. RampantHaddock says:

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

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  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…..?

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    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.

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      1. Kay says:

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

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  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?

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    1. James Allen says:

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

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  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!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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…

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    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.

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  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.

    Total votes:
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    1. Elie says:

      Yeah but Mclaren might not have wanted just 1 year !

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    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…

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    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.

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    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.

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    5. Timmay says:

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

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  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…

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  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!

    Total votes:
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    1. Elie says:

      +1

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  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.

    Total votes:
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  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…

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    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.

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    2. Steve Pritchard says:

      +1

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    3. Malcolm says:

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

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    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?

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    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…

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      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

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    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.

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      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…

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  47. aby says:

    Schumacher to Ferrari anyone?

    Total votes:
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    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…

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    2. Geee says:

      +1

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    3. 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.

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      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.

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      2. Mcmanure says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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      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

        Total votes:
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      6. Kay says:

        +1 Was going to say the same.

        Total votes:
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    4. 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.

      Total votes:
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    5. Kay says:

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

      Total votes:
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  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.

    Total votes:
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  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 ?

    Total votes:
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    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.

      Total votes:
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      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. 😀

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  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.

    Total votes:
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  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.

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  52. JanDeBoer says:

    The word ‘Betrayal’ has been mentioned. Nonsense.

    List of Champions that have left McLaren for pastures new:

    Prost
    Senna
    Raikkonen
    Alonso
    Hamilton

    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.

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    1. Elie says:

      I agree

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  53. Kris says:

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

    ‘Turns his back’? Really?

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    1. James Allen says:

      Grow up!

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      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?

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      2. James Allen says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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      5. Kay says:

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

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  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.

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  55. Racecar says:

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

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  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!! 😀 Surely he can deliver something MSC + ROS couldn’t.

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  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!! 😀 Surely he can deliver something MSC + ROS couldn’t..

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  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.

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  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.

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    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.

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      1. Cliff says:

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

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      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?

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  60. V8 fan says:

    F#*!

    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!

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    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…

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  61. Lev says:

    Sergio Perez at McLaren. wow! Congrats Checo!

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  62. James says:

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

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    1. Elie says:

      Can’t wait to see Perez beat him lol

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    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.

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    3. Satish says:

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

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      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.

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      2. hero_was_senna says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    6. Andrew M says:

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

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    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…..

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  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.

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    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.

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    2. Mocho_Pikuan says:

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

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      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 !

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      2. Kay says:

        You can never measure unless the two are in the same cars 😀

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  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?

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  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.

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    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

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      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.

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      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

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    2. Panya says:

      I totally with your comment – a good one.

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    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.

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      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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      2. Quattro_T says:

        “Lewis owes mclaren NOTHING”
        Wrong.
        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.

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      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.

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      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.”

        Really?
        http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/09/italian-grand-prix-%E2%80%93-who-was-your-driver-of-the-day/#comment-621318

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      5. Elie says:

        Well put Simon

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    5. xrr says:

      F1fan4life
      +1

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    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.

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    7. Oly says:

      F1fan4life
      +1

      very, very true.

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  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.

    Total votes:
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    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..

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      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.

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  67. Tom says:

    James,

    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.

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  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!

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    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!!

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      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.

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      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

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      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.

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      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!

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    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.

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  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’.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      3. Andrew M says:

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

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    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.

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  70. proxomos says:

    Perez WDC 2013!

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  71. Sikhumbuzo Thomo says:

    One was hoping for the MSC and LH pairing.

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  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.

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    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.

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  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?

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  74. Monji says:

    This title is a bit biased?

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  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.

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  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?

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    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.

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  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.

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  78. MISTER says:

    James,

    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?

    Thanks

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    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..

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      1. Michael says:

        Shows how much money Ferrari get from elsewhere

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      2. Stephen says:

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

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      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.

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      4. Stephen Taylor says:

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

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      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.)

        Tim

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      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.

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  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)?

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  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’

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  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

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  82. Spyros says:

    Brace yourselves the musical chairs are just starting.

    Aren’t they?

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  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?

    Thanks!

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  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.

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    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.

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  85. Jules says:

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

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    1. W Johnson says:

      I am also…..after Button though!

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      1. hero_was_senna says:

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

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  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!.

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  87. Mr Squiggle says:

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

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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    1. Ben B says:

      Remind me where Brawn came from again?

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      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.

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      2. Ben B says:

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

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      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.

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      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.

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      5. Andrew M says:

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

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  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.

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  92. K2 Bruins says:

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

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  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.

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  94. Nandy says:

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

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  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…

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  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.

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    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?

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      1. ch says:

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

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      2. Erik says:

        Exactly.

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  97. B Grylls says:

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

    BG

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    1. Esplanadist says:

      + 1

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  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.

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    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.

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      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

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      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.

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      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.

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      4. Angelina says:

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

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      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

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      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.

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    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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  102. Tyler Durden666 says:

    Good Luck Lewis,

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

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    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.

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  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.

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  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?

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    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.

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  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.

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  106. Mitch says: