Lewis Hamilton has spoken today of his desire for a fresh challenge in Formula 1 and admitted that he has felt that way “for some time now”.
The 27 year old underlined that he relishes the challenge of trying to turn a “struggling” team around, rather than “cruise” in one of the best cars in the field.
Hamilton announced his move from McLaren to Mercedes last week and faced the cameras in Suzuka today. Speaking to the BBC, he said,
“To stay would be easy, I had two similar offers on the table. To stay in a great car didn’t really suit me. I wanted to have a challenge. I want to try working with new people. I want a challenge of taking a car that’s not very successful and and the exciting journey of trying to take that to be as successful as the car I’m in now.
Asked if he wanted to emulate Michael Schumacher who went to Ferrari in 1996 when it was uncompetitive and helped to turn the team around Hamilton said,
“That’s it exactly. I don’t feel like any of the drivers are doing that nowadays. I could take the easy route and stay here and cruise on with a great team, a great car, making decent money. But that’s not what I want to do. I want to go and struggle. I want to go and help a team that is struggling, to get to the top and start winning. That’s going to be the coolest, the most satisfying feeling if we do get there.
“And if we don’t, I’ll only be 31 at the end of it (3 year contract)…so keep the door open for me (he would say to McLaren)
“I’ll always have McLaren at heart, because that’s how I’ve grown up, it’s my home.
“Next year is going to be tough, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. ”
Hamilton also said that he had spoken to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh about his reasons for leaving, but had not been able to speak yet to Ron Dennis, who mentored Hamilton since he was 13 years old.
He said he would visit him in person after the Korean Grand Prix in the factory at Woking.
UK readers can watch the video Here
Meanwhile Hamilton’s new team-mate Nico Rosberg has said that he spoke to Hamilton about Mercedes when it became clear that he might be doing a deal,
“We spoke about it a little before, when the possibility was there,” said Rosberg. “We were laughing about it!
“And we spoke about it when we were 14 years old in go-karts. ‘Imagine if, one day, we’re team-mates in F1, how cool would that be?’ Now, all of a sudden, that’s happening, which is unreal.
“I didn’t necessarily talk him into it. I tried to stay quite objective. Yes, I mentioned the positives but he asked me a few things and I gave honest answers.”