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JA on F1 Podcast #8: Hamilton’s move; life at Marussia and how the F1 cars move around the world
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Sep 2012   |  7:57 pm GMT  |  116 comments

Welcome to the October edition of the JA on F1 podcast, brought to you by UBS.

This month we’ve been quick to react to the confirmation of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes – we analyse why Hamilton jumped from a sporting and business point of view with former McLaren Mercedes driver, turned driver manager Mark Blundell and study the timeline and behind the scenes details with Daily Telegraph F1 writer Tom Cary.

Plus with the recent death of pioneering F1 doctor Professor Sid Watkins, we have a moving tribute from “Senna” film-maker, fellow surgeon and close friend of the Prof, Manish Pandey.

With six flyway races in eight weeks, we get an amazing insight into how the teams move the cars and equipment around the world,from Caterham team manager Graham Watson, while F1 business expert Zak Brown tells us about why Singapore has renewed its F1 contract for five years and why it’s so important to F1.

And we speak to Marussia F1 Team boss Graeme Lowden about the challenges of staying alive at the back of the grid and why F1 urgently needs to get its act together on cost control or risk losing some teams.


No player? Download the podcast directly.

It will be available to download on iTunes, later tonight.

Running order

0.00 Introduction
1.42 Tom Cary of the Daily Telegraph on Hamilton’s Mercedes move
6.38 Former McLaren driver Mark Blundell on Hamilton
12.00 How Social media is changing Formula One, with expert Rachel Clarke
16.45 Manish Pandey on the late Professor Sid Watkins
23.16 Graham Watson, Caterham’s Team Manager on the logistics of moving F1 around the world
27.29 Zak Brown, CEO of sponsor agency JMI on Singapore and F1
32.27 Marussia team boss Graeme Lowden
38.27 Wrap up this edition

Total duration: 38.58

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116 Comments
  1. michael grievson says:

    cant wait to listen to it. I’ve just listened the the last one yesterday

  2. Andrew says:

    James,

    What is the consensus in the paddock regarding if this is a good move. Is it just for money or does Hamilton think he can’t win multiple world championships with McLaren.
    It could go either way; best case scenario he wins the WDC this year and then helps build Mercedes into a dominant force with echoes of Schumacher’s career or worst case scenario Mercedes never produce a winner and Button wins next year with a dominant car.
    We will see

    1. Sebee says:

      Personally I wonder what the fans feel about the Schumi comeback. I enjoyed him being back, but did he do his status a disservice? Did he confirm age limits of F1?

      1. AuraF1 says:

        I think he confirmed that if you’re in an unreliable car you’ll do badly. Whereas Alonso has confirmed that a car that rarely breaks means you can likely win championships.

        I’d suggest rather than confirming age limits it confirms taking a long break while the rules are changing is too much even for a 7 time champion. Staying in F1 is more important than age. Each year changes and lack of testing means neither veterans or rookies get up to speed.

      2. Andrew M says:

        Kimi came back after a two year break (only one fewer than Schumacher) and he’s doing pretty well…

      3. AuraF1 says:

        Kimi has returned without much of the qualifying speed he once possessed and has regularly shown some rusty driving (along with his customary brilliance as well).

        I think kimi away for two years shows that even in a fast and generally reliable car you won’t get any wins or poles.

        I don’t make this argument to suggest Schumachers return has been a success. And I’m far from a Schumacher fan (he was the villain during my childhood!) but I think he’s just proves that a forty plus driver can keep up with guys in their 20s and 30s but that taking a long break (especially when the formula is changing so much) is more detrimental.

        I think this is why webber and button and kimi will hang around longer now. They know that a driver can physically handle F1 for at least 6-10 years longer than previously supposed and that if they retire too early it’s harder To come back again.

      4. Wayne says:

        Reliability aside he’s outqualified and probably equalled Rosberg’s performance this year… Interesting point.

      5. Paul says:

        I never questioned Schumachers ability but loathed him as a person in his first F1 stint, but since his comeback hes really won my respect for the way he has conducted himself, so i don’t think he has done his status a disservice at all

  3. Robert says:

    Thank you James. Quick turnaround to get the Hamilton story covered:

    What are the Odds that:

    Lewis never wins another F1 race ? (after 2012)

    Mercedes quit F1 before the Hamilton contract is completed ?

    I fancy a bet !

    1. graham says:

      I would take that bet. Lewis could win 1 race in 3 years even in a HRT, this is his chance to take control of a team like Alonso did at ferrari

      1. JR says:

        Right, but Alonso almost lives in Maranello, the question is will Lewis be capable of take control of Mercedes from Hollywood? ;)
        We shall see.

      2. Wayne says:

        This sort of comment is really annoying and shows a complete lack of understanding of both Lewis and the situation.

        Why do so many people take every opportunity to disparage the kid. EVERYONE actively involved in F1 recognises this guy as one of if the not the fastest drivers in the world if not ever.

        I just listened to several podcasts replete with genuine F1 experts and pundits hailing Lewis’ committment and dedication to winning.

        This year we are seeing Lewis Hamilton arrive at the track as every bit the driver (in the car) everyone has always said he should be – measured, calm, comitted, mature… Yet still this rubbish persists. He has not made a single mistake all year, not one.

        Who cares how much time he spends in hollywood if he performs like he has this year? What business is it of ours?

      3. db4tim says:

        Lewis does not have the mental make up to control like FA…..he wants to many other things…his thoughts and desires are diluted…FA has only one direction.

      4. Wayne says:

        db4tim, one could argue that McLaren’s interests are also diluted with their expansion into road cars. It’s different for them as they were not a car manufacturer already.

      5. tank says:

        JR, despite what Wayne said, I thought your comment was hilarious. Well played.

      6. JR says:

        @Wayne Sorry if you are offended mate, but that was intended to be a funny comment, hence the ;) on it, don’t take it so seriously.
        That said, I still believe FA has shown much more commitment and willing to play like a team than LH in recent times.

        @tank That was my intention, obviously was not understood, probably my fault. English is not my first language as you probably have already noticed.

      7. Tom says:

        I don’t see this as necessarily being a disparaging comment. Of course Lewis won’t be able to “take control” of Mercedes in the way that Fernando has “taken control” of Ferrari if he doesn’t spend the same time there. That’s just common sense. But Lewis should do what’s right for Lewis, not what’s right for Fernando. Let him focus on racing and leave the HR to someone else.

      8. Nick says:

        I couldn’t agree more!

      9. Jeremy Smith says:

        @ Wayne…Well said my friend, agree 100%…

      10. AuraF1 says:

        Seriously though Ferrari has a weird culture that WANTS one dominant personality to come in and build a team around. I don’t know if this is an Italian thing or just a Maranello quirk but it’s true they want an idol to worship – hence complete dominating all details alpha personalities like Schumacher and Alonso doing so well.

        Mercedes are a much more corporate board culture and Brawn has built the F1 team back up in that mould. Even Schumacher who regularly visited Brackley said it wasn’t the same culture as back at Ferrari.

        Lewis is not an alpha personality. He is very much a raw talent still – he’s always happy to take guidance and lets his engineers do the work. I get the impression Lewis is actually quite a reserved character. Hes unlikely to build a team around him. I suspect he lacks the outgoing warmth that allowed Button to walk in and get everyone on side. Even Lewis’ engineers say they see Jenson more than their own driver.

        Lewis may do well if Mercedes build the team around him but it will be Brawns plan not Lewis. The one thing Lewis can bring is a hunger and aggressive speed that both nico and Schumacher (at least comeback Schumacher) lack.

      11. Wayne says:

        JR, I realise your comment was made in jest – my reply was more made because of the amount of people out there that never fail to slate the kid for some reason or anohter.

      12. Wayne says:

        James, I’d be inetrested in an article on what effect this may have on the rest of this season for McLaren. Do you think it will make it harder for them to stay motivated and focused? Are they now less likely than they were before to win the wdc and wcc?

      13. James Allen says:

        Not at all.

        I think Hamilton dropping out in Singapore was a big blow. He, Button, Vettel and maybe Webber will take wins off each other for the remaining races and that will help Alonso. If Ferrari can improve the car then he might win another too.

        Will be very hard for Hamilton to win all the remaining races

  4. billybobjohn says:

    Hamilton’s move is not logical, therefore it maybe he had no choice. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-5q

    1. Thompson says:

      Hamiltons move is very logical.

      Ask Kimi – while individual race wins is all good and well its world championships that the history books recall.

      Hamiltons move makes perfect sense, Mercedes have provided Mclaren with their engines for their last 3 drivers championships, so who is to say they will not produce the chasis that will win.

      In fact now they have the driver, Mercedes may well only provide customer engines in future with only the Merc team getting factory engines.

      When you consider what happend to Williams when renault pulled out Mercedes may well be the best place for Lewis in the coming years.

      I predicted this at the start of the f1 year on this very site and if they do start to win don’t expect Mercedes to pull out of F1 any time soon.

      1. carlysronnin says:

        ditto !!!

      2. Wayne says:

        Completely agree. No-one will know for three years if it is the RIGHT move but it’s definitely logical.

        I do not expect Hamilton to win the wdc with Mercedes next year and cannot wait for all the cheap pundits to start crying fould of Lewis’ decision just to get a headline if he does not win races in 2013. However they will be missing the point. If he does not challenge for the championship in 2014 then, maybe, it was the wrong decision.

        I thought it was ridiculous and arrogant of Ron Dennis to make public the fact that Hamilton would need to take a paycut this year. He never should have told the world this. And then for Ron to stand about like a sulky child at Lewis’ victory celebration after his last win…. It’s almost as though he thinks Hamilton owes McLaren his soul for their support. Thery had their chance with both Alonso and Hamilton and wasted both of them. I honestly believe that Dennis is not beyond wanting to (wanting to does not mean he will) ensure that Hamilton does not win the WDC this year out of spite.

        I’m fed up with McLaren and the stale way they go about racing. I’m tired of Whitmarsh’s obvious preference (off the track not in terms of equipment) for Button that he simply cannot hide. I’m bored of Dennis’ rants and moods and all consuming arrogance. I’m Dissalusioned with Whitmarsh comming across as being to ‘grey’ and weak. I’m exasperated with McLaren’s constant inability to turn their history, expertise and pedigree into a great car on track and to perform consistently.

        McLaren, much more so than most of the rest, come across as a corporate entity – with none of the outward passion for racing and winning that other teams show.

        I’ll be moving my team support on with Lewis. Many others wont but many others will join me.

      3. MSB says:

        Wayne wrote: “I’m tired of Whitmarsh’s obvious preference (off the track not in terms of equipment) for Button that he simply cannot hide. ”

        The one thing that will stand out from this 2012 season for me upon recall ome day, was Whitmarsh’s *eulogy* to Jenson last race out, before the press. “A truly wonderful human being” (which I am sure he is) and much, much more. Quite incredible. Never heard him heap such praise on Lewis in that specific manner.

        Remarkable.

      4. AuraF1 says:

        If you despise ‘corporate entities’ you’re not going to love Lewis new home – Mercedes are the very model of grey steel corporate board culture.

      5. Elie says:

        Well said Wayne I could not agree more with you. I was a Maclaren fan but since Button joined that team it’s been gowing backwards with its management and last year I could see this coming . I have to admit since Kimi came back my passion for racing drifted to Lotus & personally I think Kimi & Lewis are the two best racers on the planet- I would dearly love to see these two guys in the same team one day.

      6. billybobjohn says:

        I believe the engine manufacturers for 2014 have to supply (at the moment) a maxim of 3 teams in total. There is no minimum in place yet, but economics dictate a manufacturer is simply not going to only supply their own team.

        Also Mercedes as an engine supplier have a very long history of supplying McLaren and won a number of championships together. They are unlikely to refuse supply of engines out of spite or belief that they are in competition.

        Engine manufacturers benefit from more teams running their engines as they get incremental data on the engine performance which helps them refine the engine.

        Why do Caterham have Red Bull kers? Surely RB don’t need the money? Its about incremental opportunities for data gathering.

        The situation cited re: Williams was completely different as it was when Renault pulled out completely.

        Anyway it looks as though Lewis kept Mercedes (the car manufacturer) in F1. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-5F

    2. SD says:

      that is true. I also suspect that to get rid of mclaren lewis wanted when they his 100th GP not even celebrated with a cake, but jenson last year very well celebrated.

    3. Wayne says:

      Completely agree. No-one will know for three years if it is the RIGHT move but it’s definitely logical.

      I do not expect Hamilton to win the wdc with Mercedes next year and cannot wait for all the cheap pundits to start crying fould of Lewis’ decision just to get a headline if he does not win races in 2013. However they will be missing the point. If he does not challenge for the championship in 2014 then, maybe, it was the wrong decision.

      I thought it was ridiculous and arrogant of Ron Dennis to make public the fact that Hamilton would need to take a paycut this year. He never should have told the world this. And then for Ron to stand about like a sulky child at Lewis’ victory celebration after his last win…. It’s almost as though he thinks Hamilton owes McLaren his soul for their support. Thery had their chance with both Alonso and Hamilton and wasted both of them. I honestly believe that Dennis is not beyond wanting to (wanting to does not mean he will) ensure that Hamilton does not win the WDC this year out of spite.

      I’m fed up with McLaren and the stale way they go about racing. I’m tired of Whitmarsh’s obvious preference (off the track not in terms of equipment) for Button that he simply cannot hide. I’m bored of Dennis’ rants and moods and all consuming arrogance. I’m Dissalusioned with Whitmarsh comming across as being to ‘grey’ and weak. I’m exasperated with McLaren’s constant inability to turn their history, expertise and pedigree into a great car on track and to perform consistently.

      McLaren, much more so than most of the rest, come across as a corporate entity – with none of the outward passion for racing and winning that other teams show.

      I’ll be moving my team support on with Lewis. Many others wont but many others will join me..

    4. jack_faith says:

      interesting piece. I see what you’re saying regards Ron Dennis but odd, even by Mclaren standards, to come out say next year’s car was being based more on Lewis’ style. I think it’s fair to say Ron’s bullish attitude was meant more as a negotiation tactic. But clearly that rift with Ron, I think it dates back to 2008, has never healed.

      1. jamesandersonhenson says:

        Not sure McLaren ever said that next years car was based around Lewis.

        Also Martin Whitmarsh is under pressure from Ron and the board, Ron publicly made martin responsible for retaining Lewis whilst sanctioning a 33% pay cut.

        Renault pulled out completely so that was different and it may well be that Lewis singing for AMG F1 has secured the funding (that was in serious question) of the car manufacturer for 3 years. http://wp.me/p2HWOP-5F

  5. Paul says:

    If the expectation is that Mercedes wont improve until after next season, couldn’t Hamilton have spent one more season at McLaren? Or maybe the financial concerns swung his decision.

    1. James Clayton says:

      I see these comments over and over again. Does anybody *seriously* think McLaren would have offered Lewis a one year deal?

      1. Paul says:

        I don’t know. Why not?

  6. JB HAM says:

    That was quick James.

  7. Thompson says:

    Props to Eddie Jorden…..

    My gut tells me that last gearbox failure was the straw – too many DNFS, The team has 5 wins 5 poles and are still trailing. over 50 points of the leader.

    I recall the exact samething was happening when Kimi was the man…..Mclaren,I can’t wait for the next race.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      But if Lewis was stepping into Schumachers car he’d have had far more DNFs… That silver arrow has barely made it round half the tracks without falling apart…

  8. kp says:

    Sorry to say but I knew I was right all along.

    McLaren wanted Hamilton out. End of. The sponsors had had enough. HRT and Marussia were the only options open to the dumb kid on the downfall.

    Step forward Mercedes. Two years left in F1 and then out. Schumacher said no, Brawn has already agreed to go, Rosberg will do another year. Who to fill the other car?

    Lewis.

    And guess what, he was dumb enough to say yes!

    Welcome to Brand Beckham.

    1. Colombia Concalvez says:

      Why such childish comment mate ?, Lewis was McLarens backbone, without Lewis McLaren are simply going ba kward, do you really think No Grip Button is gonna keep McL in the front of the pack ?, i know for sure he won’t where was he after China ?. Name me one WDC who was lapped by another WDC in the same car lol. And then Perez, Perez had some lucky podiums that’s all often outclassed by Kobayashi unless the tyre strategy works in his favour, to be honest i think Perez is overhyped, Perez never won a Championship in the lower Formulas and most of the time you won’t notice him just like Singapore, Hungry, Germany etc. I think Perez is only signed because of the world riched man is his sponsor

      1. yellowbelly says:

        Love the non-intentional irony here! Berating another poster as childish then calling Jenson “No Grip Button”.

    2. Andrew M says:

      Yes, in spite of repeatedly and publicly saying they wanted him to stay and making several incremental offers. Your insight truly is amazing.

    3. Elie says:

      Well your wrong KP given that Mercedes just signed the 8 year Concorde agreement. As for the “dumb kid” – he is going to pocket £20m + he had more sponsorship freedom and gets to work with the Silver Arrows- rebuilding a legendary brand.. That sounds really stupid now doesn’t it.

  9. Irish con says:

    James I would love a answer to this. Who is faster. Lewis or the super motivated razor sharp McLaren kimi of 2005 ish time. I reckon that kimi was as fast as anyone I’ve seen in my time in f1. I’m 23 now.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question. Not much in it there

      1. Roderick P says:

        James, a week or so ago Perez was asked a straight question, I think by yourself, have you had any approaches from the big teams? He answered emphatically: no.

        How does that sit with the McLaren announcement, in your view?

      2. James Allen says:

        Not by me, but yes he said that.

        My info is McLaren were confident of getting him around Monza time.

      3. JR says:

        Don’t believe anything you hear in F1 environment (of course I mean teams & drivers, no great sites like this, which brings great insight). Lying is the common rule.

  10. The dissapointing thing about this whole process is that so many folks, including Lauda, have compromised their credibility by giving untrue and misleading comments instead of merely saying ‘no comment’ instead of saying that no one from Merc had talked to him about a job there.

  11. Tim says:

    James,
    OT, apologies, but C Sylt, fwiw, reporting ecclestone to scrap 2014 engines 1.6 turbo v6′s & remain with 2.4 v8′s.
    Have you heard this? If true, Daimler would be a tad surprised.

    Tim

  12. McHarg123 says:

    Next season is going to be brilliant. Looking forward to it. Gut tells me that Merc are going to step up next year. Lewis’s influence on the team will drive them forward.

    1. Peter says:

      The problem is, of course, everyone else is going to step up too.

  13. carlysronnin says:

    Seriously James – Hammi moving to Mercedes and Marussia / long haul HGVs in the same story !!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, very diverse and interesting. It’s not a story, it’s a podcast

      1. michael grievson says:

        Can’t wait to listen it to it on Monday. I listen to them on on 2 hour journey to university

      2. James Allen says:

        Great.Tell your friends!

  14. Spyros says:

    Remember how everyone (myself included) thought that Button’s move to McLaren, alongside Hamilton was a big gamble at best, or a huge mistake, at worst? Well, it was neither. Yes, Hamilton was (and is) quicker over a lap, and usually, over a race. But even now, well past the time when he had the ‘rookie’ label, he gets unsettled enough for a good performance from Button to swing the balance in his favour. Prost Vs Senna it ain’t, but it’s not Massa Vs Alonso, either.

    The reason for writing the above is that since yesterday, I’ve had a really ‘rude’ question going around in my head:

    What if Rosberg turns out to be faster than Hamilton?

    1. F1fan4life says:

      That is the real question and I think Rosberg will step things up next year. What happens if Hamilton is slower than him? Well the British sports fans will have another reason to whine. Don’t worry they’ve had a lot of practice with failure in football, tennis, formula one… any sport worth anything basically. But it’s okay, cos they can always refer back to 2007 when a Spaniard “threw his toys out of the pram”, when ironically the majority of British fans are throwing their own toys by bashing McLaren, a great British team, for using Lewis, a great British wannabe. A car that is capable of winning a race generally every year apparently isn’t good enough for these fickle fans, who perhaps are more whiners than winners.

      1. Andrew M says:

        Yes, British sports fans were really upset when Hamilton was beaten by his team mate for the first time, now remind me, where is Jenson Button from again?

        Can’t think of any tennis success we’ve had this year, except that Olympic gold and maiden Grand Slam for Andy Murray…

        Probably not a great move to slag off British sport when we’ve had arguably the best sporting summer in a generation.

        Just out of interest, where do you come from?

      2. F1fan4life says:

        It wouldn’t be a good move to slag them off, it’s just facts. Yeah Andy Murray won finally, but guess what, he won one when Nadal was out injured, when Federer is past his prime and when Djokovic is in a slump. Maybe the question should be what has he won in comparison to his competitors from Spain, Switzerland and Serbia respectively? The answer is he’s won a fraction of what these guys have. Its called perspective. Look at the majority of British fans whining about McLaren and crying out for Hamilton’s injustice. He’s only had the second fastest car if not fastest since his debut. Alonso and Schumacher have had far slower cars and they whine less than Hamilton and fans don’t build crap theories against their teams. For the record, I’m not slagging British sport, the results speak for themselves. I’m just tired of the whining fans. England won the world cup once… perhaps if it was always held there they’d win more? But oh well, Brazil Italy and Germany didn’t need that to win more. Hamilton isn’t some poor kid wronged by being let down by a team… any driver would be lucky to have a seat at McLaren. Lets call it like it is.

      3. aaron parsons says:

        @F1fan4life

        Weird comments. And there was I thinking that this site was about F1. Perhaps you should go to PF1? I think you’d find the comments on there closer to your level.

      4. Andrew M says:

        “Yeah Andy Murray won finally, but guess what, he won one when Nadal was out injured, when Federer is past his prime and when Djokovic is in a slump.”

        Nadal was injured, sure, but Murray can hardly be blamed for that. Federer is world no. 1 and just won Wimbledon, if he’s past his best now that doesn’t say much for the achievements of Nadal or Djokovic either. And Djokovic hardly looked “in a slump” in the final.

        “He’s only had the second fastest car if not fastest since his debut.”

        He certainly didn’t in 2009 and probably not 2010 either. He may have had the second fastest car in 2011 but it was no match for Red Bull in any case.

        “Hamilton isn’t some poor kid wronged by being let down by a team… any driver would be lucky to have a seat at McLaren. Lets call it like it is.”

        Fair enough, but this isn’t an isolated incident. McLaren have let Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton now move on to other teams (either mutually or less so). Hamilton is hardly unique in not wanting to stay at McLaren for various reasons.

        And you may well be tired of “whining fans” but fair to say your posts come across as pretty whiny themselves.

        And you still haven’t said where you’re from :)

      5. Elie says:

        Hear hear Andrew… It’s all gone quiet @F1fan4life.. Hehe

      6. F1fan4life says:

        I don’t owe you any explanation on where I am from, particularly since most of your rebuffs are pointless. I explained I was assessing facts not blaming the sportsmen but you come back with some nonsense about Murray being blamed for other players? You question whether Federer is past his prime, when it is obvious fact that he is. Simply because Nadal is injured and Djokovic dip in form he has been able to win recently but read any article from knowledgeable sports writers or any tennis commentator states the obvious. Hamilton didn’t have the second fastest car in 2010? You must laugh most at your own jokes.

        I would speak further but there is no point, I already stated facts above and frankly you’ve not provided any actual facts in rebuttal. I’ll let you have the last word on comments and ‘win’ this discussion lol… but it would have been better if you had used facts to reply, rather than a lot of assumptions.

      7. Andrew M says:

        No you don’t owe me any explanation of where you’re from, but if you’re going to criticise a whole nation’s sporting fans in such a sweeping manner then you frankly don’t have any credibility if you’re not willing to state the basis on which that criticism is being made.

        Needless to say, you clearly don’t know what a fact is. “Federer is past his best” is an opinion. “Federer is ranked the number one player in the world at the moment” is a fact. “Federer is number one in the world right now despite the fact he has stronger challengers to his throne than ever” is an opinion.

        And needless to say, most commentators I have read have said that Murray’s win was nothing less than his talent deserved, like so: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/19553665

        I can’t help but notice you didn’t provide any examples of “any article from knowledgeable sports writers or any tennis commentator” to support your “facts”.

        Red Bull clearly had the fastest car in 2010, Vettel would have waltzed to the title if it wasn’t for unreliability. McLaren and Ferrari vied for second fastest car throughout 2010, with Ferrari a clear step ahead from Hockenheim onwards (McLaren only won one race in the second half of the season with either driver, the rain-effected Belgium grand prix).

        “I would speak further but there is no point” – probably the only thing you’ve said that I agree with. You clearly don’t understand the difference between facts and opinions, go away and learn them before you try and use their definitions to try (and fail) to undermine other people’s arguments.

      8. Cheesypoof says:

        Andrew M, I happen to be an avid tennis fan and since tennis was mentioned here, I have to agree with F1Fan, his opinion on Murray’s recent wins is accurate generally. The only fact you need to look at to know Federer is past his prime is his record in the last 3 years. Look at Murray’s record and you know he is clearly a class behind the top 3. This is just plainly obvious to any tennis fan. I suspect people don’t have time to bleat on about obvious conclusions in the hope of winning an argument. Isn’t it a poor point when talking about British fans to cite the BBC who cater primarily to those same fans?

        You end your comment with a tactless statement about the user trying (and failing) “to undermine other people’s arguments”. Did you bother to look at the thread? It seems the user only posted his own opinion, and in fact you were the one to reply and try to undermine? Asking where a user is from? I think you might need to go away also and look up some definitions of your own. I think you should take a break from commenting and start watching more tennis!

      9. Andrew M says:

        @ Cheesypoof (I’m supposed to take you seriously, really?)

        I never said “Murray is better than Federer, Nadal and Djokovic”, just to imply that he only won that tournament because of the failings of others is nonsense, and isn’t reflected in any commentary on the subject that I have read. Like I said before, I’m not interested in what other people say is the generally held opinion.

        And fine, if you don’t like the BBC article, try this one for size from the UP Open website, hope that is unbiased enough for you:

        http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/articles/2012-09-10/201209111347337204078.html?promo=home

        And yes, I was trying to undermine his argument (rather successfully I think) by challenging his opinions with opinions of my own, and undermining the fact that he was stating opinions as facts, a distinction he (and now you) are seemingly unaware of. Of course people are entitled to post their opinions, I never said otherwise, but if those opinions are (in my opinion) poorly expressed or with little backing (like his were about British sports and their fans) then I’m going to challenge them. Clearly as he brought nationality into the equation his nationality was relevant to the opinions he was making, and frankly the fact he declined to say where he was from speaks volumes.

        [mod]

      10. Cheesypoof says:

        @Andrew M now even a person’s username comes under fire from you? Your link proves nothing, can a tennis player be classified as part of the supposed Big 4 when the top 3 have won 6, 8, 17 times the number of Opens he has? The article even mentions this debate. [mod] To think that your response was even shortened by the moderator shows a level of immaturity that goes beyond any words you can now say. Enjoy your next argument.

    2. Michael says:

      Hamilton and Rosberg were teammates in GP2. Maybe, those results will answer your question. If Mercedes doesn’t come up with a good car it won’t matter.

      1. Spyros says:

        I thought they were teammates when karting, not on anything more serious (or recent) than that.

  15. AENG says:

    Jmaes,
    Would you say that Massa’s future in red suit quite much depends of the remaining races this year?

    1. James Allen says:

      In Singapore it looked like they would keep Massa. I think they have an option on Di Resta or possibly Hulk, but I’m fairly sure it’s Di Resta

      There are dome noises about this on Italy now things are starting to move, we’ll see

  16. Pete says:

    seriously, James

    no questions/comments about Schumacher AT ALL ?

    the greatest, certainly the most successful, F1 driver of ALL TIME, is seemingly shown the door at Mercedes (even if his contract expired)

    and there is no question/comment with regards to the background of the story, the implications or most interestingly, the future of Shoemaker ???

    REALLY ?

    as you know, many of the readers of your blog seem to think it’s a fascinating topic

    (Schumi to Sauber ? Schumi to Ferrari ? Schumi to retire altogether ? Schumi as brand-ambassador? Did Schumi overplay his cards in negotiations like Bild suggest ? Did Mercedes think he was no longer good enough, or did Brawn/Haug really just want to save their jobs ? …)

    this is like writing a story about Rooney leaving ManU or Messi Barca, without asking WHY and where they are heading

    I tend to get my F1 information from German sources and come here to get a different take on things

    the English POV is always fascinating and you are clearly doing a stellar job

    so congrats again

    but covering this story ENTIRELY from an anglo-centric Hamilton/McLaren angle,

    well

    let’s just say

    your loyal readers are yearning for the bigger picture

    and what about the rather interesting side-story of Lauda joining Mercedes , as you mentioned ?

    Lauda will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the team, BUT he is clearly employed as a supervisor for Brawn

    there are reports of Mercedes losing faith in Brawn and plans of replacing him with the head of AMG

    a massive gamble that would have been

    and a move maybe too risky for the affable Haug

    Lauda though has the gravitas to sack Brawn should results not be forthcoming next year

    and now that Mercedes have signed the Concorde agreement, does that mean the AMG take-over is off the table ?

    many questions

    but surely, the entire F1 fan community is talking about ONE topic and one topic only

    WITHER Schumacher ??

    some “light-shedding” on this topic would be nice, James

    thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      Sure we will get around to that next.

      The news is Hamilton’s moving.

      What Schumacher does next is currently speculation, so less urgent

      1. Pete says:

        “Hamilton moving” is THE news as long as Schumi finds another seat

        if the move entails Schumacher’s RETIREMENT, as you seemed to expect in your original article, surely that is FAR bigger news

        Hamilton merely moves from a team where he has not won anything for years, to a team where he is unlikely to drive for the tile next year either

        the retirement of Schumacher would be the end of the most successful F1 driver of ALL TIME

        that’s like Pele or Maradona hanging up their boots

        the good news for Schumacher fans is that the lad has options, as his spokeswoman confirmed this weekend

        in other words, if he wants to continue being an F1 driver, he WILL

        we now also learn from Ross Brawn that they went for Hamilton eventually, because Schumi refused to make up his mind whether to stay or not; “Hamilton to Mercedes” therefore, was only possible because Mike was not prepared to commit to Mercedes

        a version of events that corresponds to all the interviews with Haug and Zetsche in the past

        not knowing what Schumacher would do, they HAD to go for Hamilton , once he was on the market

        Ralf Schumacher now gave an interesting interview on TV, saying that BOTH Schumacher and Mercedes got what they wanted

        adding something like “who’s saying, Michael is going to retire now ?”, followed with a big grin

        one German source now indicates Schumi was tired of not having a competitive car and always taking the blame for this

        with only one or two more years left in F1, he simply does not have the time to wait for Brawn to deliver

        IF Schumacher ends up at Sauber, and the ball is now in his court, he might indeed get the odd win next year

        Alonso said in Singapore that Schumacher would have won THREE races in a Sauber this year

        we’ll see what happens

        but James, please inform us when your sources come up with something

        for really, to MANY of us, Schumacher’s future is the number ONE story in all of this

        little side-note

        Eddie Jordan now tells “Welt” that Mercedes should have allowed Schumacher to break the story FIRST, rather than issue a press release like they did

    2. Iwan Kemp says:

      Take a deep breath and relax. Right at the beginning of the podcast James says that the news broke just before they started recording. Surely squeezing the Hamilton portion of it into the podcast in time to go live is a great feat in it’s own right.

      No one knows yet what Schu will be doing. So maybe best to wait till that news breaks then report / deliberate / hypothesize about.

      There’s only ONE move for Schu to make and that’s retire from F1. If he’s struggled to match Rosberg, Alonso will sweep the pit floor with him. Going to Sauber will cast a dark and somber light on one of the most successful (on paper) racers of all time.

      Time to hang up the F1 helmet. Celebrate what his achieved and leave him be. It is only going to get worse from here…

  17. Gavin says:

    Hi James,

    Just wondered what your thoughts are regarding Lauda, Brawn and Hamilton as a team?

    Lauda has at times been very critical of Hamiltons various “shortfalls”; do you think he has been brought on board partly as a mentoring role to Lewis?

    I feel if Lewis could get his mindset right, with the backing of Brawn would have the potential to be right up there with the legends of F1. Please note I say potential. As a Hamilton fan, I have in the past been very frustrated by his on and off track indiscretions. I am hoping the move coupled with the team could be the making of Lewis. Hopefully!

    1. James Allen says:

      Lauda didn’t have the best of times as Jaguar team principal, nor as consultant to Ferrari in early 1990s

      He also has a high profile role on RTL TV in Germany, kind of EJ and DC combined!

      1. Nick says:

        Seems a bit off to knock a triple world champion, but I really doubt the wisdom of Nikki Lauda being involved at all.

      2. James Allen says:

        Not knocking it, just saying he’s not had a happy history in team management, asnopposednto his racing career

  18. Tim Stanfield says:

    Hi James,

    Great Podcast, I’ve always been a fan of yours!

    My question revolves around an incident I witnessed a few races back. I was surprised when Ron Dennis was being interviewed during the race and he made what I feel to be unprofessional comments about Lewis’ attitude towards his upcoming contract negotiations. There has been recent discussion surrounding Martin Whitmarsh and his failings to get Lewis to re-sign for McLaren but might this decision have come from Ron’s inflexibility to recognize his protege’s demands – and is the blame being unfairly left at Martin’s door? I recognize that Martin is the “boss” but would Ron still be the decision maker?

    Cheers,
    Tim

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Ron very clearly dislikes Lewis management. Also Ron is an admitted control freak – he even says it himself he keeps stepping up to tell Martin what to do and has to stop himself.

      Martin Whitmarsh, whatever you think of him, has a pretty thankless task. Re-sign Ron’s legacy but offer him less money, and don’t be too nice to XIX management all while his boss sits around being angry.

      At Mercedes Brawn had to wait for the Daimler board to sign off anything he wants so its a corporate culture wherever you go I suppose. The days of handshakes are long gone.

      1. Tim Stanfield says:

        Thanks James,

        I actually quite like both Martin Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis and I think they were in a tough position as they needed to have Lewis on Par with Jenson, and rightly so especially after Jenson’s performance last season.

        Thank you for this Forum, it is nice to have a voice in this Sport we love.

        Tim

  19. AENG says:

    James,
    One interesting matter, once, that was I think several years ago, Lewis was asked – which driver would you prefer to be in one team with, and the answer was: N Rosberg! looks like he guessed his future? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      They grew up together , it was always likely to happen

  20. carl craven says:

    I don’t believe this move is logical, it’s a big gamble for Lewis and really only directly benefits his management.

    If Hamilton is true to his word that he just wants to win, then he has a strange way of showing it by going to a team that has yet to show real competitive consistency despite the money the marque and the illustrious lineup of team members.

    On a gut level I think Lewis feels he’s exhausted all options for finding title winning consistency at Mclaren, maybe he was surprised at how competitive Button was and/or feels he is a threat to his comfort at Mclaren and so has seen greener grass somewhere else.

    Comparisons were made with Schumacher going to an uncompetitive Ferrari and going on to win 5 titles. I don’t see that happening. MS built his own success at Benetton, then went on to build it at Ferrari and has created his own legendary status.

    I just feel Lewis wants someone to hand him a fast car so that he can do what he believes he does best.

    Lewis started his F1 career with an already very succesful team and even back then people were saying he would go on to win many titles in a short space with comparisons to Schumacher. I think if anything Lewis has seen Vettel take away his glory by being given the best car for 2 and a half years and winning two titles. Vettel is undoubtedly starting to silence his critics with some gutsy drives this year, but there is no denying that he stepped into a title winning car without ever having proved that he was what people were hyping him up to be and I think Lewis wants that kind of action too.

    I’d be very happy to see him prove me wrong. It’s a shame he has such a partisan fanbase who believe the whole word is against him and every action is designed to conspire against his success. Being a Button fan, I am already feeling for Brawn and Rosberg fans. God forbid they should take anything away from Lewis’s glory.

    1. david nelson says:

      Amen.

      Absolutely cannot see LH being a major force at Mercedes in devloping a winning car. Think he just wants the best car developed for him then handed to him then he can win ‘LH stylee’.

      Also, Prost managed to cheese Ferrari off in 1991 in a matter of weeks. LH has managed to alienate the entire management at McLaren F1. But they protected him for years, mainly from himself. Finally they’ve had enough. They offered him the chance to stay, making this offer probably feeling certain his ego couldn’t handle the humiliation of being considered to be at parity with JB. Methinks there will be a sense of marked relief at Woking.

    2. david nelson says:

      Amen!

      LH has alienated everyone that counts at McLaren. They protected him for years, mainly from himself. Maybe RD finally saw everyone else in the management structure had had enough. RD was probably his last defence.

      James, you probably know more, but when JB’s new contract takes him from £4.5m to £6.5m and McLaren offers LH 30% less from his £9.5m that takes them to approx parity in pay. Clearly JB’s settling-in at McLaren and his race results & points parity with LH was a suprise to just about everyone…..especially LH. Alonso was equal to LH in 2007 but LH was the rookie. Kovalainen offered no opposition (perhaps just how LH likes it). LH has been equalled by a driver he was supposed to thrash on track & surpassed off it.

  21. Anop says:

    Good one James. I specially liked the part on how social media has done a tremendous job in bringing fans closer to the drivers.

    Unlike others, Fernando rocks on twitter too. Rarely he mentions anything about car and upgrades. It is always about fitness program and other funny stuff.

    Twitter has shown fans the side of Fernando that media – who write in English – never did. He indeed is a cool person but again unlike JB does not show it in paddock when he is working.

  22. Russell says:

    Maybe my question has been covered elsewhere.

    Why Perez? I don’t think he’s been that fast. His success might have more to do with strategy then with raw speed.

    Also, I wonder if Button might get lazy, if he isn’t pushed by his teammate.

    1. Andrew M says:

      It’s clearly a step down from Hamilton, but I think Perez has put himself at the front of the queue of the midfield drivers this year with his run of podiums. If you look at the other options (di Resta and Hulkenberg are the names most often mentioned as being in line for a top drive) there frankly aren’t a lot of options available that are clearly more worthwhile then Perez.

      1. Russell says:

        I agree Andrew. Yet wouldn’t Mark or Kimi (if available) have been better choices? Maybe Rosberg? And what about Kovalainen? His pace compared to Lewis wasn’t so bad, or was it? My memory needs an upgrade.

        Also, did they have to decide this quickly?

        Of course Perez’s presence might sell McLaren road cars in Latin America. Not too many customers in Finland.

      2. Andrew M says:

        As far as I know none of the options you mention were available from next year apart from Kovalainen, and although he started well at McLaren he faded badly over the two years (he finished seventh in the table when Lewis won his title in 2008).

        Mark is signed up to Red Bull and doesn’t seem interested in moving on somewhere new at this stage of his career, Rosberg is contracted to Mercedes and Kimi to Lotus (and I can’t see him putting himself back into the McLaren machine at this stage of his career having left them before).

        Perez does have the added bonus of commercial backing and opening a new market, but that doesn’t detract from his performances this year. Plus he’s young and theoretically will only get better.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      Could do, but Button may also blossom with confidence now he doesn’t have to deal with the constant questions about being the ‘slow’ driver in the team.

      And with a car built to suit his style (which matches a lot more with Perez) he might enjoy the benefits.

      Neither are much good in qualifying but you saw Spa – when the car suits him in particular, Button can pull it out of the bag.

    3. Andrew M says:

      Oh, and I don’t think Button will “gat lazy”, I think he’s far too motivated these days. And there’s no guarantee he’ll outperform Perez by a large margin anyway.

    4. david nelson says:

      JB is probably in as good as a situation as any driver in F1. He is in the best car. Changes for 2013 are modest for car & tyres so in theory there should be good continuation …….in theory.

      He is at “home” & the people who count at McLaren are well pleased. Of course, in part, this may be an response to the relative turmoil of what went before. JB should continue to make progress. Perez may be highly competitive. We don’t know yet….obviously! I’m sure JB won’t assume anything till the end of the winter tests.

  23. Justin Nykilchuk says:

    James,

    I would like to congratulate you on another great podcast, I especially appreciate the stories on Lewis’s move and the beloved Prof. Sid Watkins. Being from Canada where F1 isn’t as big as in Europe, your site is a great resource for intelligent insight into F1.

    Having personally followed Lewis for a number of years, I find it difficult not to agree with Mr. Cary’s analysis of Lewis’s move. I agree that it is quite possible Lewis may have felt the need to move on in order to grow further as a man personally and professionally. We have to keep in mind at the end of the day Lewis is just another professional, his profession happens to be a Race Driver. Just like any professional, in any field what do you do when you have accomplished everything there is to accomplish, you seek out new challenges.

    Some have called Lewis’s choice a mistake, I call it courages, he has given up working with a proven team to take a risk and join a relatively new program with Mercedes. I will not argue he may regret it someday, but that’s for him to find out in his own right.

    Just my 2 two cents.

    I just wanted to thank you for your dedication to credible and responsible journalism evident thourought your site, and look forward to following for years to come.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for your kind message. Glad you appreciate it!

  24. paxdog57pax says:

    Great podcast! I am amazed F! allows contract talks during the season. The disruption within teams must effect the rest of the season. McLaren people must have resentment towards Lewis that may manifest itself during the course of the rest of the year. What is the F1 code of ethics on this topic?

    1. michael grievson says:

      Its all publicity though

    2. AuraF1 says:

      An F1 code of ethics? That’s an oxymoron if ever there was one!

  25. Andy winship says:

    What about JBs take on this ? Unfollowing Lewis on twitter smacks of someone who has taken Lewis’s decision quite personally? Does Jenson feel that Lewis does not want to be his team mate anymore? And that’s a factor in his decision I’d love to hear Jensons honest thoughts! What do u think james?

    1. Thompson says:

      Well he’ll not have to worry about people asking him about Hamilton anymore in HIS interviews, well maybe once all this dies down anyway.

  26. JohnBt says:

    Much has been said about the Lewis Mercedes saga, it’ll be interesting to observe what vibes will be in the last six races at the Mclaren camp. Good for Alonso?

  27. bbobeckyj says:

    Hi James,
    Some feedback on the structure of the podcasts, I feel that the ‘coming up…’ inserts cheapen the production. It reminds me of bad American TV where they spend more time saying what is coming up next in the show, than they do on the actual show. I don’t understand the need for it, it’s not as if your listeners can switch channels during the adverts a with TV.
    Aside from that, great content as always – the whole site included. I always look forward to reading or hearing anything you publish.

  28. Angelina says:

    James
    A bit offtopic. Do you believe the Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 rumor?

    1. James Allen says:

      It makes no sense, but Italian friends say there’s something to it

  29. kbdavies says:

    Hello James,
    Is there any reason why my comments are not showing? I have asked this question several tumes and have never received an answer.

    1. James Allen says:

      They are showing! I think a couple went to spam but were then cleared

  30. aveli says:

    This is a clear indication of how great the brand Hamilton is. Compare the number of responses to that brand with other brands in the sport and appreciate the variance.
    He may not need to win any more races to keep that brand this great.

  31. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – whilst losing the TV commentator role must have been a big personal blow to you, I think the job you have done with both the radio work and your blog have been absolutely first class. You’ve really lifted the quality and profile of F1 journalism.

  32. Clear View says:

    I think that a McLaren will win next years drivers title, not sure if it will be Perez or JB but 99% certain that it will be a McLaren that takes it.

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