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Hamilton wants to emulate Schumacher, turning around a “struggling” team
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Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Oct 2012   |  4:21 pm GMT  |  172 comments

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.”

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172 Comments
  1. Gul says:

    Cant wait to see Lewis in Mercedes next year…..how exciting! Bring on 2013!!!

    1. Wayne says:

      Agreed, Hopefully Merc is at least competitive and we get to see some battling drives from Lewis! In my opinion the sport is the overall winner in all this.

      1. david nelson says:

        Agreed (x2).

        p.s.During drivers press conference Perez seemed more buoyant & confident than Hamilton about their respective futures. LH looking inattentive, looking down (maybe txt/tweeting…during press conference????. My view, not official.

      2. Aaron says:

        That’s not really surprising. Perez has secured a seat in what is reckoned to be the fastest car on the grid at the moment. I know things may be different by the time we line up in Australia next March, but it is surely the dream opportunity for a driver.

      3. Leali says:

        You allready had a chance to see him battle in a strugling team and as far as I remember he was finishing outside of top 12 so him emulating Shumi I dont think so, plus this team heas been assembled by Brown and shumi also a lot of input from Shumi even iin next year car so you will have to wait for 2014 to fully see if he can turn strugling team into wining team.

  2. Richard says:

    The thing is while Mclaren have been reasonably successful, they haven’t been able to get all their ducks in row quite like Red Bull have done in the last two years particularly in 2011. So the choice facing Lewis was more of the same frustration or try a new team that may be on the ascendency. Winning a championship is very much a team effort and while it is easy to say he wants to emulate Schumacher, it’s actually the engineers and designers that make the biggest contribution in providing a winning car. Red Bull’s Adrian Newey is a classic example of that that gave Sebastion Vettel the tool to get the job done. Equally the race engineers, strategists, and pit crews all have to be switched on at the highest level to get the job done. If there was an architect of Schumacher’s success I’d have to give that accolade to Ross Brawn. Since Schumacher’s time at the top things have changed significantly so it will interesting to see if Ross still has enough energy to pull it off again with Lewis Hamilton. – I do hope so!

    1. doni pradita says:

      “So the choice facing Lewis was more of the same frustration or try a new team that may be on the ascendency.”

      lol
      During these negotiations mclaren has been the quickest car on the grid. mercedes on the other hand has been going backwards quicker than any car on the grid. And during the past 3 years mercedes has gotten worse and worse with every successive year. If you’re a racer you exist for race wins. Not product endorsements. Go figure. Hamilton was pushed every bit as much as he jumped. Maybe more.

      And how do you conclude mercedes are on the ascendency? That’;s hilarious.

      1. Richard says:

        Well It’s easy to be cynical, but let’s judge them on what they do in the next few years now they have the techical team properly in place. They did of course have a race win this year and things change in F1 very quickly, and while Mercedes will not be happy with the current level of performance, I believe they have the ambition and wherewithal to succeed.

      2. Chris Mellish says:

        And yet for four years in a row McLaren have failed to give Hamilton a realistic shot at the championship. This year they’ve had the best car but have robbed him of that chance to win the championship through a string of operational failures and mistakes, whereas Hamilton has been pretty much flawless. Other than maybe giving Maldonado more room in Valencia, and possibly going the wrong way on setup in Spa, he hasn’t made any glaring mistakes this year. Pace wise he has also made Button look a little bit foolish.

        And yet with that performance and the best car he only has a very outside shot at the title.

      3. Warren Groenewald says:

        Ross Brawn has been at the team since 2008. They’ve managed to win a championship since then, but after that haven’t looked anything near a genuine top team – more like upper midfielders.

        If Hamilton is unable to rally a team like McLaren around him and push them into a championship winning outfit, which is essentially what lead drivers should do – inspire the team – I can’t see him doing anything different at Mercedes.

        Drivers like Alonso, Vettel and Schumacher before them do much more behind the scenes and their efforts on track do much to inspire the engineers and encourage them to work harder.

      4. efi says:

        why didn’t alonso rally a team like mclaren around him?

  3. Dmitry says:

    Well, I am happy Lewis chose the way he thinks he will enjoy the most.

    I don’t know how happy he will be if he\team struggles next year and more important in 2014, but I am relieved he still loves McLaren and leaves at least on words the possibility of return (which I think will be great).

    Regardless, a new year will bring new challenges to many… personally I’ve never been a fan of a non-McLaren driver in my conscious F1-following life… next year I will be.

    1. Wayne says:

      James, is there any indication in all this that McLAren would not be open to Lewis rejoining the team in the future. I know nice things are said in public but was wondering if you have any insight into how his relationship with the team will really be left?

      1. James Allen says:

        I can imagine that

      2. Mike from Colombia says:

        James, which one – that they would be open or not be open?

        Ron Dennis seems to be the type of character who might hold s grudge. I read that he has not even talked to Hamilton, despite Lewis’s attempts to reach him.

      3. SD says:

        I think mclaren did not want lewis, because they shared his trusty mechanic guys, his 100th GP celebrated not start (no cake, nothing) and because they want the sponsors (Vodafone may stop) or conquer the Latin American market with Perez.

        Maybe get back mercedes No. 1, which she had then been lost by the departure of Jenson at McLaren 2010.

      4. Tim says:

        “Warm and Fuzzy” is not the description that springs immediately to mind, based upon the public record. But I could be wrong, having never met him.

        Tim

      5. Methusalem says:

        When Button retires, Hamilton shall be the one who replaces him. Of course, if Lewis doesn’t win races and championships with Mercedes.

      6. Robert Gunning says:

        I would have thought McLaren would have him back in the future. Three years is a long time for the wounds to heal. I do not think McLaren would bare grudges unless there was a seriously acrimonious split (for example Alonso). For example, after Alain Prost won the 1993 World Championship with Williams, he went back to McLaren in 1994 as a technical advisor and tested the new car fitted with ill-fated Peugeot engines. He also conducted a test for McLaren in 1996. So, this proves that McLaren would/will re-hire previous drivers.

  4. James Encore says:

    “It would be easy to stay”

    It’s a basic truth that people don’t move on if they are motivated by what they are doing.

    Lewis has been at McLaren for 6 seasons 104 races. McLaren have won 32, Red Bull 31, Ferrari 27. Brawn 8. Ferrari have won 2 constructors championships, Red Bull 2, Brawn 1 and one is tbd but it doesn’t look like McLaren are going to win that. They have only won ONE in the last 20 years. When Mercedes made the decision to buy Brawn, McLaren hadn’t won the contstuctors with their engines for 10 years, and Brawn did it at the first attempt.

    Lewis has won 20 Grand prix and had 48 Podiums from 104 starts. Only Fangio, Prost, Senna, Schumacher and Ascari spilled champange more frequently (as a Podiums:starts ratio), he’s doing better than Alonso and Vettel on this count (though Vettel has his nose in front on Wins). Both of them have two championships to their names; 3 time winners Jack Brabham, Niki Lauda, and Nelson Piquet won much smaller proportions of their races.

    My point ? McLaren have had a lot of success and a lot with Lewis. But if he wants to win championships what’s to persuade him that McLaren can actually put enough together over a season to get a title ? What is Martin Whitmarsh going to do differently in 2013 or 2014 to what has happened every year this century bar one ? (And remember how close Massa got to winning the 2008 championship ?)

    I don’t know how Ross and Norbert pitched the challenge to Lewis, but if no-one said “3 more years in Woking and you’ll beat Nigel Mansell’s 31 GPs with only 1 championship” I’d be astonished.

    1. James Allen says:

      I understand the fresh challenge thing.

    2. Wayne says:

      Good points well made.

      “McLaren have had a lot of success ” The thing is this is debateable. It depends on how you measure success. Their constructors and WDC record over the last twop decades is utterly abysmal. They hamstring themselves every season. Even when they have had the bext car they generally do not win the championships.

      1. James Encore says:

        That’s exactly the point. I gave the stats for the last 5 seasons, but the problem goes back far beyond that. If you look at 20 Seasons from 92 to 2011 Ferrari won 113 GP and 8 Constructors / 6 drivers championships. Mclaren won 81 GP and 1 constructors /3 Drivers. Williams 62 GP and 5 constuctors /4 drivers, Bennetton / Renault 42 races 3 constructors / 4 drivers Stewart/Jaguar/Red-Bull 28 Races 2 Driver and 2 Constructors, and Brawn 8 Races, 1 drives and 1 constructors.

        If Mclaren were a football team they’d qualify for Europe year in year out, their trophy cabinet would be bare. They win races every season, only 9 drivers have ever won races in 6 successive seasons (Moss, Stewart, Clark, Piquet, Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Coulthard and Hamilton) And 4 of the last 5 have acheived that driving for Mclaren.

        It’s a vast and consistent haul of race wins. But without the the championships that should go with it.

        James – as Curro says below, “Fresh Challenge” is a way of dressing up the feeling of needing to move on. People who are getting what they want from the relationship they are in don’t feel the need for a Fresh Challenge.

      2. KRB says:

        Hamilton has won at least one race in each full season of open-wheel car racing since he jumped up from karts in 2002.

        # of wins, starting from 2002 (C=Champion):

        3-10C-1-15C-5C-4-5C-2-3-3-3*

    3. Curro says:

      Lots of people sign contracts based on a) money and b) the weariness of relationships in their current environment. Then find the right words for motivation, to painting a nicer picture of details in which the change is for the worst. It’s just like a normal person moving from one company to another, basically.

      On top of that, McLaren have underachieved during Lewis’ stay.

  5. F12012 says:

    He does seem delighted with his decision, havn’t seen him so happy in a interview for a long time, hopefully he can turn mercedes around

  6. Steve says:

    Mercedes is already on course to success. I personally don’t think Hamilton has the capability to turn around a team like the way Schumacher did. He could probably drives as well as Michael, but he is far behind on the technical and management sides.

    1. James Allen says:

      He is the final piece in the jigsaw. A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes building up the group in Brackley

      1. gudien says:

        So what you’re saying is when Merc wins it won’t be Lewis turning the team around? Is Hamilton attempting to take credit for something which is going to occur anyway? Perhaps Lewis Hamilton is taking the easy course of action.

      2. James Allen says:

        Not at all, but the starting level is higher! Ferrari didn’t have a gearbox department when Brawn arrived in 1997.

      3. Steve says:

        Of course it is not Lewis turn the team around. It is the TEAM turn themself around!

      4. Steve says:

        Hamiliton does sound like taking credit of the hard work Mercedes did the last three years. I believe Mercedes is more than half way there now, before Hamiliton arrive.

      5. Kimi4WDC says:

        With regards to “Gearbox department”, I still remember that Ferrari going down the pit-lane in Canada 1996 with parts falling out of it :)

      6. Diesel says:

        James, do I take it then that you don’t see Mercedes as a team Hamilton has to “turn around” if he’s the final piece?

        And, in your view and with your knowledge, do you regard him as the sort of driver who would have the skill set, to use a JYS term, to transform a team and lead from the front?

        Frankly, my impression is that his only contribution is to drive a racing car very quickly once his backside is in the seat but anyone who has any grasp of Grand Prix history knows that you need more strengths than just being the quickest/most talented driver to be a champion, never mind a multiple champion.

        Only my view, I;d be happy to be corrected.

      7. James Allen says:

        Time will tell.

        He’s very fast and will be the lightening rod for the team. I agree you need more than just speed and it’s not clear whether he has the full locker of attributes, but if they produce a decent car in the next three seasons he’ll challenge with it

      8. Aey says:

        Fast driver don’t tell the engineer how to make the fast car . . . but Fast driver help the engineer to make sure that is the car really work the way the engineer want.

        If you don’t have very fast and accurate driver . . . when you see the result, u r not sure what is wrong, the car or driver.

        If Ferrari don’t have Alonso, both driver is as fast as Massa, how the engineer can how how fast the car really been. The same for McLaren, if 2 driver is as fast as JB, you will get the complain of No Grip, is that help the engineer? . . No. In the recent race, if there is no Lewis in team, McLaren will look just as fast as another car, not faster, but in Lewis hand the car look dominate.

        Next Year, If Perez in not clearly faster than JB, then how fast ever McLaren can be, mean there would actually be 0.2 – 0.4 left in the car by average.

        Driver that develop the car doesn’t need to be very good on tecnical side, Vettel or Alonso I don’t think they are so good for technical, the just drive as fast as the car can be. Not up and down like Massa or Webber or JB, which could be fast only for sometime, that make some headache for the engineer cause they don’t know what wrong with their design.

        The fast driver is last Jigsaw mean the engineer can make sure know how fast their car really are. Especially without the testing, they don’t have much time for testing, only friday practice, the fast and accurate driver will really help the engineer know the car capability.

        Easy question for someone who think the driver is not develop the car, look at JB, No grip in front and next outing no grip on the back, do you think that help any development. . . just midleading the engineer.

      9. db4tim says:

        James you say final piece…so Nico was not the part of the “final” piece…only Hamy….sounds like a clear number 1 ..I am not putting words in your mouth just my thoughts :)

    2. Wayne says:

      I wonder about this as well, Steve, many others probably do too. There is no doubting (outside of the crazies) that he is one of the best drivers ever. Yet I’ve always wondered about his ability to contribute in the garage.

      Now we get to see. I for one hope he does it!

      1. grat says:

        Consider that this season, McLaren seemed to be following Jenson Button’s lead, and it led them down the wrong path, according to Jenson. Eventually Button’s crew stopped, copied Hamilton’s setup, and then started making progress again.

        Granted, that’s down to the engineers as much as the driver, but obviously Jenson’s feedback wasn’t helping as much as Lewis’s feedback.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        This has been explained by mclarens engineers as a design flaw cul-de-sac that they got into. As it caused an imbalance between front and rear degradation. As jenson likes a very balanced car his weaknesses were exaggerrated – whilst Hamilton likes a somewhat ‘sliding rear’ anyway – his set up played to his style.

        Button may be slower than Hamilton by several tenths per lap of most circuits but his mid season slump was more to do with the mclarens low nose design getting them confused.

    3. Richard says:

      As I said earlier while Schumacher must have had a very useful input into Ferrari it’s the engineers and designers that really do the technical stuff. Schumacher has Ross Brawn and his team to thank for his success in providing the car sufficient to the task not unlike Adrian Newey at Red Bull.

      1. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Part of the successful formula was the ability to conduct a lot of testing. You need a driver than can give feedback to assist the engineers in the direction of the development. In James’ book he highlights this contribution at a time where drivers were less committed to the professionalim you take for granted now. But ultimately it is a team sport.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Schumacher also existed in the era of driving hundreds of laps per month at Maranello. His feedback was excellent but it’s easier to give feedback when you have the rules that allow you to develop a car.

        With no testing drivers are essentially only able to give basic feedback after a part is built, not during development.

  7. Charlie says:

    Firstly, I think Alonso is currently doing a great job of turning around a struggling team, so Lewis is speaking out of turn to suggest that no other drivers are currently doing that kind of job.

    Secondly, Lewis is not the sort of person who can build a team around himself; he’s fast but he’s not as thoughtful as Schumacher or Alonso. He also lacks the interpersonal skills and mature attitude required; he’s just not a likeable individual. Look at what’s happened at McLaren since the easy-going Button joined the team. McLaren is now Button’s team and he made this happen apparently effortlessly.

    Sorry Hamilton fans, but I don’t see the Mercedes/Hamilton pairing being quite the dream ticket that both parties are selling it as.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, but Ferrari won the title in 2007 and challenged for it in 2008, so when he went there he was hardly turning around a struggling team.

      Yes Merc has won a race in April this year, but they haven’t finished top 3 in the championship

      1. ~A says:

        And Brawn (Merc) won it in 2009. We know the reasons for why it happened. The same way we know about 2007 as well.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        But Mercedes is a renaming of Brawn, who have had more recent championship success than Ferrari.

      3. Two words: double diffuser.

        Once Red Bull had one, Brawn’s mediocre chassis that year couldn’t stay ahead. It’s only when it had far more downforce than anyone else did it win effortlessly.

      4. Richard says:

        No the only similarity are the premises and the team principal. The Mercedes team will emerge far more heavyweight than ever Brawn was. Ross and his team knew they had a winning car using the double diffuser as Honda pulled out.

      5. Charlie says:

        Mercedes essentially won the WCC in 2009 though James! Ferrari were 4th. 2010 and 2011 they were 3rd – exactly where they were when Schumacher decided to join them – and he’s credited with turning around a struggling team.

        I just don’t buy Hamilton’s “I want to turn around a struggling team” statement. I don’t think he has the capability and, given his petulance when McLaren have under performed, he doesn’t have the correct attitude either.

      6. Old Timer says:

        The influence of the DD is exaggerated… Didn’t Toyota and Williams also have one from the start and get nowhere near winning? The Red Bull was second best after the Brawn and it didn’t have one until much later. The truth is that the Brawn was a good chassis and it had the DD as well so it was unbeatable for a while. Even when everyone had one it was still a winner but not quite as fast as the Bulls. The basic quality of the Brawn chassis should be acknowledged.

      7. Steve says:

        Exactly, Hamilton just doesn’t look like a leader to me.

    2. Nick says:

      @Charlie

      Agree 100% mate!

      Being a fast driver does not make you a team leader – AT ALL!

      If Hamilton had any ounce of being a team leader, do we honestly think that the Hamilton/McLaren relationship would be so strained? Especially since they had been together for so long.

      Bloody hell, when Schumacher left Ferrari, the whole team was in flooded in tears.

      When Hamilton finally leaves McLaren at the end of the year, the only thing McLaren will be flooded in will be champagne!

      But as I’ve said elsewhere, Merc are due to come good anyways, but I can just see what’s going to happen…

      Hamilton fans the world over will rejoice in telling us that Hamilton is the Mercedes savior and that he turned everything around.

      Bloody hell, I’m already cringing at the thought of it all!

      1. matthew says:

        what about when alonso left mclaren?there was no love loss there.isnt he a good team leader?
        i think ppl are already looking for ways to knock lewis.if merc are succesful next year,it had nothing to do with lewis.if they are not,lewis is overatted.
        oh lewis cant be a team leader,he doesnt know the technical side.
        well how they hell do you know what he can be, and what he knows?i bet he knows far more than you think.and this season he has been driving brilliantly,putting that mclaren in positions jensons couldnt.especially in quali.
        and jenson was struggling up until he saw all of lewis’s data.

      2. TG says:

        Agree. Never a truer word said.

      3. Diesel says:

        For me, Charlie is absolutely right. This is why I asked about the ‘complete driver skill set’ in one of the earlier posts. You can only judge by evidence and I’d suggest the evidence is that Lewis doesn’t have the personality and interpersonal skills to lead a team.

        Think Dave Ryan, justifying lying by saying he was following instructions (wasn’t that offered as a defence in Nuremberg 1947 and it didn’t get accepted then), the interview where he said he was at the limit and the team needed to raise their game, countless moans on the radio during a Grand Prix – the list goes on.

        In contrast, I don’t think anyone can argue that the Ferrari is at best the 3rd best car in the field and I, for one, am nervous about Alonso’s lead in the Championship but you hear nothing but positivity from him. Can you imagine working at Maranello and constantly hearing the public positivity and encouragement coming from that true team leader.

  8. Mojo66 says:

    One aspect of driving for Mercedes-Benz that hasn’t been mentioned so far is their incredible Motorsport heritage. They have a longer history in motorsports than Ferrari, they dominated Grand Prix Racing in the 30s with innovations like wind tunnels, concerted pit stops and were often finishing grand Prix 15 minutes ahead of the conpetition. It is because of WWII and the 1955 Le Mans desaster that those facts are hardly known by todays fans. If I’d be Hamilton, one appealing aspect of the switch to Mercedes-Benz would be the possibility of being the first Formula 1 champion for Mercedes-Benz since Fangio in 1954.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      That long history against Ferrari is because Ferrari didn’t build cars under it’s own name until 1947.

      Prior to that Enzo Ferrari raced in the 1920′s for Alfa Romeo and took over as the team manager until WW11.

      One other aspect you may not realise, Auto Union and Mercedes were funded by the Nazi government as use of propaganda.
      All other teams were funded by themselves.

      1. Mojo says:

        In regard to GP racing, I’m talking about the works teams of MB and Ferrari. Both MB and Ferrari did do racing prior to that, but not as works outfits.

        Regarding the Nazi funding, yes both Auto-Union (today Audi) and MB were funded with Nazi money to show off the ‘supremacy of the german race’ or something like that. But AFAIK most of the money went into the T80 Rekordwagen in an attempt to break the british/US land speed records of the time, and not into the actual racing teams.

  9. nusratholla says:

    Hamilton will take Mercedes to new heights… Mark my words

    1. Nick says:

      Pppppffffftttttthahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

      Good one!

      1. thejudge13 says:

        Lewis 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”

        Mmmm. Lewis’ resposne to the leading questiion doesn’t persuade me much……

        …….about anything.

      2. thejudge13 says:

        I’m sure I get some kind of typing disease when leaving comments here. – I do know response is spelt this way and question has only 1 i.

        Soryy all.

    2. Steve says:

      Mercedes will reach new height for sure, but even more certain is that is not because of Hamilton!!

  10. ~A says:

    Well, why did his team (his management and himself) talk with RedBull and then Ferrari? Are the struggling too?

    Its clear what’s important to Lewis when he picked Simon Fuller.

    1. azac21 says:

      So I think too. 80% it was for the money. 20% for the fresh challenge and bad blood with McLaren.

    2. Tripletg says:

      I think you guys are missing the point.Hamilton is not talking about a challenge like going to drive for HRT would be a challenge but for someone who has only ever driven for one team, he will have to adjust and deal with new engineers, new procedures and basically a totally new environment and culture at Mercedes and yes drivers can contribute to the progression of a car, they stir the engineers in the direction that they feel the car should go so they can get the best out of it.

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Ha good point. That doesn’t fit the story too well does it? ‘yes I was ready for the challenge of being in the red bull which was kicking my backside every weekend at the time…’

    4. James Clayton says:

      He didn’t sign with Red Bull

      1. ~A says:

        You don’t approach team that you don’t want to join, do you?

  11. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Has XIX Entertainment been hired by Hamilton for getting just a struggling team…?

    No, I think commercial freedom for Hamilton was key in the move from McLaren to Mercedes. In this way, he cannot lose.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      I think you read too much into it. They are there to lay the best offers on a table for Lewis.

      As Lewis said himself, in the end he was there all day thinking leave or not, before he made a phone call.

  12. ~A says:

    Morever, Mercedes isn’t a ‘struggling’ team. It is an ‘upcoming’ team! It can only go up from here. They also have the ‘engine’ game in their favour in 2014.

    Lewis can obviously say what he wants. But it isn’t believable or coming from his heart. Watching the video, it looks as if even he isn’t convinced about the story he is saying!

  13. Kushal says:

    @lewis hamilton : IN YOUR DREAMS !!!!!!

    u can never b as matured as schumacher is/was mentally,u were good at mclaren…thats d best u can do!!!!

    1. Wayne says:

      Wow….Just…Wow

      1. Steve says:

        Wow, Wow and Wow

    2. KOJotac says:

      I love this site for its informed articles, thanks James, its the premiere F1 hub on the web by a mile. I particularly like the well thought out comments and interactions by other readers as there is a unique maturity when opinion/differences are raised which you don’t find on other sites, where you feel its ‘back-and-forth’ between pre-teen kids talking about Spiderman is better than Batman….my Dad can beat your Dad etc

      I despair however, when I read such an post, such as this by KUSHAL, bereft of any fact, insight or an attempt to expand/justify your opinions. The vast majority of post on this site are usually well thought out and intellectual views on the current state of F1. Such post add absolutely nothing substantive to the an otherwise interesting discussion. I hope less of this type of posting will be a feature of this excellent online resource for F1 fans that actually have something to discuss with each other.

      1. James Allen says:

        Sorry, the odd one slips through. Thanks for the message

      2. Rich C says:

        And yet, life at 140 ch per msg with no time for thinking or for caps or punctuation, nor spelling of course, is the basis for that ‘social media’ crap put out by a certain demographic that ‘they’ keep saying F1 needs to appeal to.

        Ofc it cud b jus sum ‘tard on his mommie’s blackberry

        Uhoh… its catching.

      3. db4tim says:

        I think they can vaccinate you for it !

      4. Horno says:

        My thoughts exactly! Well said.. +1

    3. Andrew M says:

      Hamilton certainly isn’t the same as Schumacher. For a start, he didn’t have to ram anyone off the road to win his first world title.

      1. Malcolm says:

        nor get someone to crash

      2. Diesel says:

        Who won a championship because someone else crashed on this person’s behalf?

  14. Gunner says:

    Good luck to him, he obviously seems highly motivated by the challenge and to see someone trying to do things ‘the hard way’ is commendable. It also puts into question the opinion that he is immature and difficult to work with. Time will tell, I suppose.

    People suggest that he hasn’t the technical nous to help develop the car, but who’s car specs did Button revert to during his mid-season wobble? F1 is not about the driver, or the team, it’s about the whole package and Hamilton should get more credit for what he can potentially bring to Mercedes in terms of development direction and feedback. McLaren’s relative success during Hamilton’s tenure does suggest that he didn’t just turn up and drive the wheels of it, he must have had a major contribution to the teams direction.

    That said, the whole Mercedes project has a whiff of Toyota’s F1 exploits where chucking shed loads of money at the team didn’t pay any dividends. I hope I’m wrong.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      People build cars. If the people at Mercedes are right, they will win championships, love it or hate it. By the same logic, if McLaren have hardly won anything the last two decades its because the people were wrong. People are the magic factor.

  15. Irish con says:

    I get the hole thing about a new challenge at merc and all but in my mind there’s no doubt that he wanted a red bull drive. So the hole thing about building a team doesn’t really wash with me. Why else would he have went to see Horner at Canada last year.

  16. RA109 says:

    It’s a good attitude to have. I think Ross Brawn was thinking the same thing when he went from Ferrari to Honda. It’s much more of a challenge, therefore much more satisfying when the results come.

  17. Ben G says:

    “To stay in a great car didn’t really suit me.”

    If Lewis does his post-race grumpy act just once in the next three years, that line will come back to haunt him.

    1. Gene says:

      Its a fair point… some of these quotes just sound strange to me, and are out of character for what Hamilton has said and done in the past. Things are so tight nowadays, if he wants a challenge, he can find it at any outfit, including McLaren!

      I certainly don’t think that leaving McLaren was necessarily a bad move, but it’s clear to me that the quotes here aren’t the real reasons he left.

    2. JR says:

      True, I found that line way too optimistic, we shall see.

  18. Hal says:

    I believe Hamilton could indeed help turn Mercedes fortunes but his task is much harder than MS at Ferrari. In those days that had (almost) unlimited testing, tyres designed to suit car/driver. So while the challenge is similar Hamiton is not given the same opportunity as drivers of old to turn a team round.

    For those reasons I have my doubts as to how much of a difference Hamilton (or any driver) can make in this day and age. Of course I would love to see him do it.

    1. Quade says:

      Lewis is recognised as a wiz in the simulator which is what matters most in development these days.
      I also recall Paddy Lowe comparing Jensen and Lewis driving styles and feedback quality. Unfortunately, I do not have the link. He basically said that Jensen is one of those drivers that needs a lot of driver aids, while Lewis is more natural. Concerning their feedback, he said that Jensen needed a lot of laps to get a feel, whereas Lewis could pretty much radio back info within a lap or two.
      There is also the vid of Lewis and Jensen building a car from scratch, it doesn’t take much watching to see that Lewis has far better technical head than Jensen (who only fits panels and can’t fit a wheel). You can watch it here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zf40OzfwOo

      1. Morten says:

        I thought they both started in karting and had to take their karts apart and put them together again, over and over :-)

      2. Quade says:

        A cart is not an F1 car.

  19. RobertEB says:

    Lets wait and see how this goes . Remember when Kimi went to Ferrari they decided they should keep Shue as an advisor to teach him how to do it, then wondered why he lost some motivation.. Now they will keep him at Merc so he can HELP Lewis ????? On a LEVEL playing field Kimi and Lewis are as good ..

  20. Rodger says:

    Hmmm…to be honest I’m not sure Hamilton is capable of turning Mercedes’ fortunes around.

    I mean he had the whole McLaren team built around him when he was the ‘exciting, new thing’ but, in 3 short years, pretty much lost it all to Button. I’m surprised not more has been made of Button’s influence in Hamilton leaving McLaren. He came into a new team when everyone said he was crazy and would get blitzed by Hamilton and now, a few years later, he has the whole garage behind him and his new teammate is a very fast, but very junior, guy.

    Anyway, back to Hamilton. We all know how he behaves when things don’t go his way. With 2 no-nonsense characters in Brawn and Lauda at Mercedes this could end in tears. For at leats one season, Hamilton will have to bite his tongue and not blame the team. Will he be able to do it? If not I can see the relationship turning sour very quickly.

    The greatest drivers have always had the ability to turn teams into something stronger, something that backs them over the other guy. It’s what seperates the fast drivers from the great drivers.

    Hamilton hasn’t done it yet. He’s taking a risk going to Mercedes for which I laud him. It’s going to be fascinating to see if he can mould them into ‘his’ team now, as well as make them world beaters.

    1. JF says:

      Hamilton is fast but I don’t see him as a team builder in the mold of Alonso and Schumacher or even Button and Vettel. Those four guys are also pretty decent strategists as far as drivers go, which is also something I don’t see in Hamilton. I may well be wrong however, will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

    2. grat says:

      If Button’s so flippin’ great, why did he come in 14th, 18th, and two 16th places? Why did he get lapped by Hamilton in Canada?

      I’m not sure Jenson’s as good as Lewis is at developing cars. I’ll go so far as to say McLaren’s biggest problem next year is a lack of a good development driver.

      1. iceman says:

        I think you over-estimate the role of the driver in developing the car.

        The difference between Hamilton and Button during the middle of this season was that Hamilton is good at driving whatever he is given. Not that he is a better engineer.

      2. KRB says:

        I think a lot of F1 fans over-estimate the role of a driver in developing a car. There is a role, but nothing compared to that of a senior engineer or technical director. The best thing a driver can do is drive a car as fast as its natural limit, which gives a better read to the engineers to then push on the development. Lewis is arguably the quickest driver on the grid (Vettel a close second).

      3. Rodger says:

        We can debate the quality of Button’s driving for another day – it’s not the point I was trying to make.
        The point is this: Button came into a team which was very much Hamilton’s and, in the course of just under 3 years, has turned it around and made it ‘his’ team. It’s one of the main (and, oddly, unrecognised) reasons that Hamilton has felt like he isn’t loved any more, which is so important to him. Now, does Hamilton have the ability to focus the team around him, and keep it there, at Mercedes, while making them into championship contenders? We’ll soon find out!

    3. paul says:

      Ross won’t be there to see it, he’ll be off this year methinks

      1. KRB says:

        Out after this year? I could see him and Lauda butting heads next year, and one leaving. I can’t see MB getting rid of Brawn at the end of this season.

      2. paul says:

        i didn’t mean MB will get rid, he’ll be offski

  21. DavidC says:

    It’s interesting how the ego influences how we all make decisions. In Lewis’s case we are talking about a driver with an enormous ego. It takes more than being a quick driver to turn around a flagging team. It takes leadership, strong will, intelligence and the ability to attract and bring good people to your team – in other words you need to take an active part in playing the role of a builder. Schumy, Prost & Senna had these qualities in abundance, I’m not sure if Lewis has them – even though he seems to think so. We shall see…if he carries the whining & moaning to Mercedes I think he could end up being remembered as a Jacques Villeneuve rather than a Senna.

    1. Rich C says:

      If its ego to think you can beat the best drivers in the known universe and become champion then I guess they all have it.
      SO it’s irrelevant.

      1. DavidC says:

        I would argue that a smart racer also needs to know his limitations. The question is: Does Lewis Hamilton believe that he is great and compares himself to a Senna or Schumy and therefore is going to Mercedes because he thinks he has some of their great qualities or does Lewis Hamilton really want to challenge himself by building new skills (that of a leader/builder rather than follower as at McLaren) and new relationships (Brawn & Mercedes) to win championships so that he can be remembered as a great? If its the former, then I would argue that he is delusional. Even the greats knew their limits – Alonso has admitted that he is not the fastest driver, but the most consistent, Prost has admitted in the past that he was not as fast as Senna, but was better at setting up a car. You see my point? I am still trying to figure Lewis Hamilton out – is he a man whose ego is so enormous that he thinks that he can really make the difference at Mercedes or is he really looking for a challenge? We shall see…what do you think James?

      2. Malcolm says:

        If I could drive as fast as Lewis I would think I was a pretty good driver!!!

    2. JF says:

      Agree on the JVill comparison (posted something similar earlier this year). Most people just seemed to get sick of hearing Villeneuve an he just kink of faded away. This will be an interesting test for Hamilton, I hope he does better.

  22. John Gill says:

    “I wanted a new challenge and I’ve wanted it for quite some time, to be honest.”

    I wonder what changed at McClaren [on both sides] for that mindset to develop?

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      Martin Whitmarsh became Team Principal – that is what changed

    2. David says:

      In 2009 and 2010 the McLaren was poor, Vettel got his first title and by 2011, when there was some chance of Hamilton winning the championship, he had already become a bit desperate and certainly distracted, leading to a poor season from him. This in turn allowed Button to become a point of stability for the team, allowing him to milk his in team popularity at times. Hamilton has turned round his performance this season, but the sheer number of team errors have left him trailing. I think his immaturity has let him down at key points. In particular, releasing the data on twitter was a huge no-no in terms of his relations with the team and Button. Really, if he hadn’t decided before, staying at McLaren after the ill-feeling he must have generated would have been difficult surely. Just hope he matures at Mercedes to match his undoubted talent.

  23. Ross says:

    ” 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.”

    1. The point about decent money just makes him sound a complete [mod]. Reminds me of Ashely Cole crashing his car in outrage at only been offered 65k a week.

    2. I do not recall Lewis Hamilton reacting to well to being in a struggling car. I seem to recall him throwing the toys out the pram every year when the McLaren was not fast out of the box. Or how about tweeting sensitive info when he was much slower than his team mate?

    I find his reasons stated for moving to Mercedes about as believable as his reason for moving to Switzerland not being about not paying tax.

    Perhaps now he is earning more than ‘decent money’ he might think about moving back to the UK?

    1. matthew says:

      in 2009 he didnt complain,in 07 and 08 he didnt complain.he and jenson complained a little in 2010.and last year he lost his mind when he couldnt catch vettel.
      lewis is very competitive,so he wont be happy if the car isnt good next year,but it doesnt mean he wont be determined to make it good.
      many drivers throw their toys out the pram,alonso and vettel being good examples.but it only seems to annoy ppl when lewis does it.

      1. Ross says:

        He had a world championship challenger in his hands in 2007/9

        2009 – http://www.metro.co.uk/sport/extra/580761-mclaren-admit-lewis-hamiltons-new-car-is-too-slow

    2. Andy says:

      I agree. He doesn’t come across as particularly convincing in his reasons for moving.
      In what he has said so far, it’s as if he has signed a contract first and is then trying to think of reasons why he has done it.

  24. Kris says:

    This actually all seems bang on. Honestly seems to be a case of driver searching for a new challenge and I think he should be admired for it. I’m sure money and branding opportunities play some part but I think the desire to start something new and special is genuine.

    What I haven’t liked in all of this – including in the article on this site ‘Hamilton turns back on McLaren’ – is the way many people are conveniently forgetting that Mercedes has been involved in Hamilton’s development from the early days as well.

    I’m really looking forward to next season. It will be strange for sure and if, as expected, the Merc is not yet title-worthy, it’ll be an incredible test of character… possibly the biggest of his career. Handle it well and it’ll put him in great shape for 2014. Handle it badly and whine on the radio at every race and it might well be the Woking boys who have the last laugh.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      Yep, there is the bit of conveniently forgetting that Lewis won the 2007 in a Mercedes and that the Germany team have been paying some of his wages. I don’t know why but i get the feeling that McLaren actually fired Lewis but there is alot that both sides are playing to make it look like Lewis left by choice. Don’t ask me for sources or evidence … it is just a feeling.

      Anybody who has followed McLaren since Whitmarsh took over will probably have noticed that there was bad blood right from the begining between Martin and Lewis – it was just a matter of time that one of them would occasion the other to leave and since Martin is boss, it is no surprise that Lewis is the one out.

      For me it is a case of a good driver parting ways with a bad manager – so no tears there. Is Lewis going to do a Shumacher at Mercedes – i think Brawn just wants to make a good car and have a good driver to take it to championship wins. Whether that should be credited to Lewis building a team around him matters more to the journos and the fans than to the executives at Mercedes.

      Nobody will be giving Lewis points for building a team around him but there is plenty of cash and points when he wins races and championships – and that ultimately is what matters.

      Is Lewis delusional for expecting to win at Mercedes? Well, he is a Championship winning driver, in a team with a Ross Brawn that has won titles in 3 different teams working with engineers that have won championships with Ferrari among other teams. You can say Lewis is in good company – as Nico said, Mercedes have potential. It is easier to see the team winning titles than not because at the end of the day people make cars and people drive them to win races and if the team has people that have done that before, they should be able to repeat it.

  25. CarlH says:

    How to Endear Yourself to Your New Co-workers – The Hamilton Way (patent pending).

    Step 1) Describe your new team as “struggling” and “not very successful”

    Step 2) Insinuate that, despite the array of technical knowledge within the team, it will be your arrival that is the catalyst for a turnaround

    Step 3) Make it clear that if they don’t get their act together within 3 years you will pack your bags and return to your previous team

  26. Kelly says:

    Many here seem convinced, but I must say I’ve never heard of a racing driver leave a fast car in a top team and head south to an ailing team with a slow car so he can turn them around !!!
    Lewis will out-schumacher Schumacher! And Schumacher himself will make way for Lewis to do that…. Absurd.

    Sorry, but I don’t buy this “I didn’t want a fast car” line.
    What it says is “He’s after more money” or “Relations with the team are broken beyond repair”
    Anything else is baloney. The only thing a serious racing driver wants is A FAST CAR.

  27. Garry Edward says:

    All this talk of a driver building a team around him is overstated. If that is the case why hasn’t Schumacher’s input turned the Merc into a championship winning car.?
    You leave that to the engineers and designers, then you get the fastest driver that you can find and stick him in it. Hamilton can add that extra 3-4 tenths that takes your car that much further up the grid.

  28. Thompson says:

    Priceless, reading some of you guys, not so long ago Hamilton had a golden spoon handed to him, never earned the right to drive in a top team, needed to go to the middle/back of the grid team to gain his stripes…and now… do we have a roll eyes?

    This venture will go one of two ways, after this Hamilton will be considered one of the best ever or like Valintino Rossi at Ducati..who I hear you say…. Rossi…Valant… forget it.

    Ether way it’ll be an interesting 2013….already no one cares anymore who wins 2012. F1 needed this.

    1. Dave C says:

      No one cares who wins this year’s title? Well I do and I hope Seb and Alonso sticks it to Mclaren come end of the season, Hamilton still has a chance but 1 more bad result and he could be heading for the barren spell in F1, days of Jenson at Honda, Mansell at Mclaren, Hill at Arrows, or even Alonso back at Renault after 2007 reminds you how a bad car can almost wreck a career. Good luck Hamilton, hope Ross and co will develop a world beater or you will be ruined.

      1. Andrew M says:

        He’ll hardly be ruined, he might have a few lean years but he’ll still have plenty of racing left in him at the end of his Mercedes contract. Button and Alonso both moved forward to success after their lean spells, Mansell and Hill were both a lot further on in their careers than Hamilton is now.

  29. devilsadvocate says:

    Maybe this already got mentioned, but I think it will be hard for Lewis to emulate Schumacher because fundamentally they seem to be different driver. They both have the “I’m faster than you” attitude but Lewis seems more like Casey Stoner at Ducati often thrashing around a less than desirable setup/car design etc and thus hiding some of the underlying flaws that might make it undriveable whereas Schumacher like Rossi surgically picked the car apart and contributed to a ground up overhaul to get to a better design. This obviously worked better in the no budget days and I think is a big reason he failed to truly succeed in the timeframe he was inthe sport, there wasn’t enough time or money for him to thoroughly develop the Merc like he used to do at Ferrari. I think Lewis will be in for a surprise.

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      Not to mention sport is very different. Now days drivers have hard time giving(having time to test) feedback on ever coming upgrades, let alone develop something.

      It’s good to have a driver with natural feeling these days, that can just tell if part works or not, rather than confuse engineers – they will base their opinion of data collected anyway. Don’t forget drivers are not the smartest lot compare to guys behind the scene.

      So yeah, “developing the car” today is incomparable to what we saw in earlier years.

    2. Ken says:

      “Schumacher like Rossi surgically picked the car apart and contributed to a ground up overhaul to get to a better design”

      So you’re saying Schumacher joined Ferrari and took over from the engineers?

      Schumacher drove the car and gave good feedback which the engineers worked from. Hamilton can do the same. All that is left to be seen is whether the engineers at Mercedes are up to the challenge like the ones at Ferrari were when Michael joined.

      It’s that simple.

  30. Rufus Matthews says:

    I wish Lewis Hamilton every success in his efforts. However,he can’t turn the the Mercedes team around on his own.

    Michael Schumacher didn’t do this either at Ferrari. In 1996 he outperformed the car by winnng 3 races. However it was in 1997 that the recovery really began with the first chassis to be designed by Rory Byrne. Formula One today is all about design and aeorodynamics and the point is that unless Mercedes hire a winning designer to join their winning driver they won’t win.

    Without the a good design for 2014 they still won’t win simply on the strength of their engine. Many forget that in Ferrari’s years of dominance the most powerful engine was the BMW engine in the Williams. Without the right chassis they still couldn’t beat the Ferrari. Going back further to the turbo days you had cars from different teams with the same engines lapping each other.

    The fact is that Mercedes must get a much improved aerodynamic package to win.For Hamiltons sake I hope that they do.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      Maybe what we haven’t been told is that Newey is moving to Mercedes at season end :D

  31. Jonno says:

    One question remains unanswered for me. Was something going on with Sauber in the last week?

  32. Craig says:

    “I want to go and struggle.”

    Well, you’ve joined the right team.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      It is called setting achievable objectives :D

  33. Chris R says:

    I had to laugh when I read “I want to work with new people and improve a struggling car”. He sounded pretty moody on the radio everytime he wasnt leading. At Mclaren he seemed to lose his temper quickly when things didnt go right.

    Having said that, I can totally see how the new challenge is appealing. He has been with Mclaren since he was a child, and at 27 he’s running out of time. If you consider a 3 year contract, it is a sizable percentage of an f1 driver’s career.

    I hope he does well, he is lightning fast and great to watch.

  34. Raikko says:

    Mercedes/brawn/honda/bar have rarely produced a first rate car. Apart from the 2004 car which benefited from other teams under performing and the double-diffuser 2009 car most of their challengers have been erratic. I understand that recently they have been on a recruitment spree of high profile engineers but I can’t see Mercedes equaling Mclaren or Red Bull in aerodynamics any time soon.

    I think Hamilton has made a mistake in leaving McLaren since there is no room in F1 for compromise. He complained for several years about not having a car to challenge Red Bull, but and as soon as it looks like McLaren are getting their act together, he leaves!

    In an ideal world McLaren want Raikkonen back (yes biased…) since he delivers on the track with none of the controversy and negative attention that Hamilton attracts. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Kimi won the WDC in 2007 despite being 17 points behind with 2 races to go – thats 42.5 points in 2012 money. So I find it crazy how people are saying its Alonso’s to lose with 6 races to go!

    1. Kimi4WDC says:

      I would imagine Alonso chuckles every time he thinks how on earth I got here. And he is mature enough to understand that his 1st place is nothing if any of contenders suddenly enjoys his luck this season.

      I do think that Alonso is going to get ripped apart by Vettel and Hamilton this year, but I hope for Kimi!! :)

  35. chris says:

    I see he says he wants to “struggle” . You’ve got to say then that he may well have picked the right team. Odd that he has had a complete personality change as all the indications are that he hates any kind of struggling, and on the occasions when he’s struggled with a bad car or been beaten by Jenson he has never been able to hide his feeling that it should not be happening to him.
    I honestly think that Schumi saw no light at the end of the tunnel with the Merc.
    I expect Lewis to remain positive if things don’t go right for a few races with Merc, but will he have the patience to cope if the Merc proves to be as unreliable as Schumi’s has this year.

    1. CHIUNDA says:

      He doesn’t have much of a choice now does he?

  36. cito says:

    C’mon. Its obvious that this whole thing that Lewis is saying is typical F1 today. He is saying nice stuff. Its a story. Is he supposed to tell how they treated him in Mclaren? How many times they messed up. The problem is that they treated him like a boy. In Belgium he wants Button’s wing he gets “sit down boy”, in Singapore he tells them he can win from 6th and they risk everything. He was their “child” and they always perceived him as a child. Did he get a chance to “lead” the team or does this team lead itself. How can Button lead the team if everybody knows he is 3 tenths slower than Hamilton. Mclaren have lost so much. And they got it wrong. In this sport the whole team should work for one person. And perhaps listen to that person. This move is great for Hamilton even if Mercedes doesn’t shine.

  37. DavidC says:

    “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”

    ———————————-

    So why complain, for the last 3 years, about how McLaren did not have a competitive package? Where was Lewis Hamilton in leading McLaren, pushing them to hire the right technical staff & the right strategists & partners. And now that he has a competitive package he wants to leave? I don’t buy it!

    Remember in 1993 when McLaren were using B specs Ford engines and Senna went with Ron Dennis to persuade Ford to provide them with the same engines that Bennetton were getting? I don’t see Lewis Hamilton demonstrating that sort of will and leadership. If he hasn’t done that at McLaren, I don’t believe he will do that at Mercedes…you don’t turn from a follower into a leader overnight.

    I’m still trying to figure out Lewis Hamilton…he is a mystery within an enigma. I think he is simply a confused, spoiled young man who wants to escape an unhappy situation at McLaren.

  38. VanDhloms says:

    Interesting reasoning from Hamilton… but I find it hard to believe that it’s the genuine reason for him leaving. What was the back and forth all about then with McLaren if he wanted this kind of a challenge. IMO if you’re leaving for such reason you’d spell it out clear from the beginning that this is what you want and there won’t be a reason to engage on money debates and trophy ownership with McLaren. I think this is just diplomacy talk… Nonetheless it’s good for the sport and it’s character defining moment for him if he pulls it off.

  39. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – what is the implication for Rosberg? He has struggled to outperform Schumacher (who some say is past his prime). Now he has a team mate who is at the peak of his performance. My prediction is an Alonso/Massa type points disparity.

  40. Colin Warnock says:

    I’ve got to give Lewis respect here. He could have very easily stayed and had a really good car. But he has been brave,and went to a team that probably wont give him a car that is capable of giving him a 2nd title. He is going for the challenge of TRYING to bring Mercedes to the top. Why is everyone shooting him down for that? I really hope it works out for him.

  41. Stone the crows says:

    I think there’s some truth in Hamilton saving a stuggling team, If Mercedes had not signed him but were looking at a fourth season with Rossberg and Schumacher, I think it would spell the end of the team. I’m no Hamilton fan, but I do hope that this new chapter in his career will be good for him. Then again, Martin Whitmarsh’s weekly driver drama could now be Ross Brawn’s. One thing is for certain, no more excuses for Mercedes.

  42. Will Wu says:

    M.Schumacher join the struggling Ferrari as a world champion. Lewis is joining Mercedes struggling to win another title.

    I just can’t rationalized the reasons and the mentalities of behind these two move being of same sort. I am not saying Lewis can’t do it but I admit there is a doubt that’s what he has in mind.

    Lewis may win a title in the next few seasons, but does that make the team “turned-around”? I would expect a few more before he can make such claim.

    Just my view………..

    1. Will Wu says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I like Lewis’ move to Mercedes. I think he should leave Mercedes out of his comfort zone to grow into the better driver he will be whether he will win another title or not. He’s got my respect.

      I just finding all these talks after the official announcement unnecessary. I suspect Lewis is going through the so-call “cognitive dissonance”. Also, He feels/knows he is being branded as a traitor in some way and wanting to proactively come out and justify his decision. It just sound to me he is comforting himself…………(too much of such talks).

  43. Kay says:

    Good luck to Hamilton.

    With the contract being only 3 years, and a lack of top talent like himself other than Alonso and Vettel, surely if he wants to return to McLaren in 3 years time they’d readily open their doors for him. Though at the moment Hammy is giving up a lot, including the McLaren F1 which Ron promised him. Maybe he fancies the SLS more? :D

  44. Josh says:

    Is Lewis going to be the #1 in Mercedes and Rosberg #2? I know they’ve been teammates before in karting but this is a whole different world in Formula 1.

    1. KRB says:

      I wonder how they’ll divvy up the numbers? Give Lewis the #9 b/c of previous season’s points, or the #10 as the new boy?

      Hell, if Sauber catch them, it could be between #11 and #12. He’s had a lot of ’2′s on his cars before in F1 (#2 in ’07,’10; #22 in ’08).

  45. James Clayton says:

    Well I agree that these comments seem a little bit plastic, I do see some reasoning behind his logic.

    When he came in to F1, just like Alonso before him, and just like Vettel since, he clearly had one eye on beating Schumacher’s records. With that possibility now looking extremelt far-fetched he does need to sit back and reinvent his goals and decide on what his legacy is to be. The whole ‘building a team around himself’ is as good a one as any.

    However, like many, I don’t think this can be likened to the Ferrari story. Ferrari had been around for ages and had a long history of winning, followed by a very lean streak. This incarnation of Mercedes has one championship to its name and but a couple of flashes of promise since.

    Additionally, Schumacher brought along a load of key personnel from Benneton (not least of which, Ross Brawn). In this situation, unless James knows differently, all the positions are filled at Mercedes prior to Hamilton’s arrival. As James said, the final piece in the jigsaw.

    Then again I do find it amusing that it generally appears to be the same people criticizing Hamilton for the move, saying it was all about the money and that he had no chances of a championship with them, who are now saying that Merc are already an up and coming team and Hamilton will deserve no credit for their achievements. Looks like some people just want to look for the negatives everywhere.

    1. Joe B says:

      Yep, I agree. I’ve just read through all the comments, and it’s clear some folk won’t cut Hamilton any slack about anything.

      At all.

      Ever.

      Still, their loss. Despite the unrelatable fashion choices and occasional running of the mouth (does Vettel get as much stick in Germany, btw?), Hamilton remains one of the quickest and most exciting drivers to watch, and when he retires, which happens far too frequently in my book, the race loses something.

      1. Kay says:

        I didn’t give him slack! In fact I’m hoping he’ll prove the world wrong! :D

        Lets cheer for him!

  46. clyde says:

    Hmmm so now hes forgotten Senna and wants to emulate Schumacher ….Btw hes also forgotten all that Ron denis and Mclaren have done for him without which he probably never would have made it into F1.
    I remember before the 2007 season began Coulthard and JYstewart saying he was to inexperienced to be given the full time drive alongside Alonso but Ron stood firm and not only gave him the seat but also blew his championship chances by favouring him over Alonso (who can ever forget “we were fighting alonso not kimi”)All this eventually led to Ron having to resign …. smacks of low principles and selfishness.

    foot note: hes also forgotten all his father sacrificed for him

    1. Andrew M says:

      I agree that McLaren blew their chances of the 2007 title, but it wasn’t through “favouring him [Hamilton] over Alonso” – indeed, it was their insistence on not favouring one driver over another to an almost psychotic degree that led to them losing it.

      Ron Dennis resigned over the Spygate scandal under pressure from Max Mosley, it was nothing to do with the outcome of the 2007 season.

      Obviously, Hamilton owes McLaren a lot, but he doesn’t owe them everything. It was of mutual benefit to both parties, and now it’s run its course. It happens in Formula 1. I don’t see many people saying Perez has betrayed Sauber or Ferrari after his move to McLaren.

      As for the father comment, I don’t think anything really needs to be said, other than hopefully people will see it for the empty, uninformed Hamilton-bashing that it is.

      1. clyde says:

        1)Does not favouring one driver over another to an almost psychotic degree translate as “we were fighting alonso not kimi”)
        2)Ron denis resigned after liegate not spygate
        3)Perez wasnt given a ferrari drive nor was he nutured from the age of 13 so the two cases are not comparable
        4)Simply stating a fact should not be naively inteprated as hamilton bashing as you so quaintly put it
        Hamilton is one of the fastest drivers out there but everyone is entitled to their opinion :-)

      2. Andrew M says:

        1. No, if anything they should have been favouring Hamilton over Alonso at that point.
        2. Fair enough, but I still think it’s a stretch to blame Hamilton for Ron resigning.
        3. They’re not identical but I do think they’re comparable, drivers move on all the time, I don’t think Hamilton.
        4. Saying “hes also forgotten all his father sacrificed for him” isn’t a fact, it’s an opinion, and they way you presented it a particularly baseless one.

        And needless to say, I never said you werent’ entitled to an opinion. You were stating yours and I was stating mine :D

      3. KRB says:

        1) No, Andrew is saying they should’ve favoured Hamilton at that point, but didn’t
        2) Ron Dennis did not resign b/c of liegate (2009). He resigned at the end of the 2008 season, and only b/c he thought McLaren wouldn’t get a fair shake from Mosley so long as he was in charge at McLaren
        3) Dennis signed Hamilton up at 13 b/c he saw big promise in him, and wanted to snatch him up before others
        4) It’s not a fact, you are offering an opinion even though you know nothing about their (the Hamiltons) situation. I would never think to say I know everything about a family’s dynamic or back-history, only from what I saw as a distinct outsider

        Your comments have a decided undertone of Hamilton-bashing. Just my opinion. :-D

  47. Spyros says:

    Well, Schumi went to a struggling Ferrari in 1996, but from then until he actually got his first WDC with them, he was constantly outqualifying his teammates with boring regularity… hence his ability to claim No1 status, and continue building the Schumacher brand.

    I’m curious to see if Hamilton can thrash Rosberg quite so convincingly…

    1. Ryan Eckford says:

      If Hamilton can thrash Rosberg, well the career of Rosberg’s is over.

      1. Spyros says:

        Yes… and what if Rosberg outqualifies Hamilton next year?

  48. Kay says:

    I see the same dissing of the 2010 Button case in Hamilton.

    When Button joined McLaren, everyone said Button will fail, he will be eaten alive by Hamilton, etc etc… that proved the world wrong, which I admit includes me.

    So this time round, I’m not prepared to dis Hamilton off. The points about Hamilton not mature enough, he is no team leader. I suppose the teams, Brawn, etc know better?

    Didn’t Alonso also matured quite a lot since his first two titles? Yes, he’s always been fast, able to drag out ounces of time from the car more than what the computer tells the engineers, but to me Alonso never seemed like the team leader and builder until he joined Ferrari.

    Hamilton joining Mercedes with the will to build a team around him, wishing to be another Schumacher and pull a team up the ladder to become winners again, whether lie or not, at least that’s a sign of him wanting to win, wanting to do something for himself and the team, and I say he’s got big balls in order to leave his comfort zone and walk down into unknown. I bet you he knows damn well there’s a chance he might become another Villeneuve, he must’ve weighed up the pros and cons in this decision, but he’s still doing it. So what’s wrong in it? If he never left, the same people may well have said he’s mother’s boy and can never leave his home.

    So never say never! Best of luck to him!

    1. Old Timer says:

      This is an important point – some people are doubting Hamilton based on his worst moments as if that was the sum total of his character. The truth is that people grow up and develop over time and have more to offer. It happened to Alonso and this feels like Hamilton’s moment. He wants to change and show that there is more to him and achieve more than he has so far and this is how he has decided to do it. Let’s see what he can find within himself.

  49. Nismo + F1 says:

    If we look at Mercedes GP, they have won one race so far this season with potential to do well. However we know that the DDRS, has caused problems with the tyres, not able to obtain the sweet spot.(The car becomes better when the fuel has evened out). Ross will have the tools in the right place and now with a top flight driver, the only way is up.
    Now I will say that when the team was called Brawn (2009), during the Honda days from 2007 to 2008 resources were fully utilised in developing a winner, but with funding drying out to pay the top end of the architects of the technical team, the team was scaled down. Now with Mercedes backing (works team) they will have the funding available in accordance to Resource agreement and the team has grown since then.
    The top teams should be warned whenever there is huge rule shake up, Brawn always comes up with a winning formula. Benneton (1994,1995) -> Ferrari (1997, 1998, 1999*champions constructor, Constructors and Drivers title domination: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, -> Brawn 2009 (Constructors and Drivers title) -> hoping for Mercedes going for championship glory from 2014 onwards.

  50. Jon says:

    I struggle to see why Hamilton has so many [mod] and I think more respect needs to be given to him in general. Sure, he came into a top team from the outset of his F1 career, but he instantly took on Alonso, and proved to be at least his equal. Since then he has consistently proven to be one of the most exciting and fast drivers on the grid. Its not a personality contest at the end of the day, most of the time the drivers have their helmets on!!

    Clearly Lewis left because of Martin Whitmarsh. The way Whitmarsh has spoken about Lewis in recent times is so cold its arctic, and I would imagine it must have been hard for Lewis to watch Button arrive into ‘his’ team, generally fail to match his speed, and still become the new golden boy. Maybe its Lewis’ fault, maybe its bad management, probably none of us will ever know.

    I personally suspect Rosberg is going to be annihilated next year, and the Mercedes will turn out to be a lot better than the current driver line up have shown it to be. Lewis needs to be loved. He believes he is the best, and needs his team to believe the same for him to be happy. I think he’ll get that at Mercedes and will do rather well.

  51. For Sure says:

    http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/mj-laughing.gif

    There is a higher chance of me getting massage from Brazilian volleyball team, then that team producing championship winning car under normal circumstances.

    That team is rubbish.. They always go backward.

  52. DanielS says:

    Won’t happen. Hamilton has shown repeatedly with his tweeting / comments to reporters / fits of piste that he hasn’t got the temperament or patience to build a team around him.

  53. NJ says:

    Is it not possible that Lewis’ entire motivation for going to Mercedes-Benz has all to do with those clauses that allow him to “Promote his Personal Brand and Image as he sees fit”?

    It’s common knowledge that XIX Entertainment have held a higher regard of prestige for the three-pointed star than the brand at Woking.

    The clauses will allow Hamilton to “individualize” himself as a celebrity, a symbol. He’ll be star (like his girlfriend).

    And that goes, even if the car never finishes higher than 4th ever. This is the life he probably always wanted and why he increasingly took on that Hollywood lifestyle which clashed with McLaren’s view of how he should be managed.

    Now he’s free to do just that.

    Even if the car never finishes higher than 4th.

    You’ll know this is true when the clauses actually allow him to appear in different colored overalls from his teammate and he can skip sessions because he has his own photoshoots and is inspecting his own merchandise.

    The clause completely separates his own “performance” from that of the team’s.

    He can be a “winner” even if Mercedes trundle around in the mid-field. He only needs to keep up the image of being a “fighter punching above his weight” to make the whole thing work.

    1. NJ says:

      It must be noted that Lewis is taking on representation that is VERY different to typical sports or F1 representation.

      This is representation used in Entertainment (which I have some familiarity with).

      So I think I need to clarify the view in earlier post:

      As a celebrity/talent you need to be able to post “forward momentum” or “winning image” even with any material progress. Traditionally as an F1 driver you’d have to say you want to win World Championships and you need to keep winning to keep that brand up. That’s the old way (the MS way) of doing it. Lewis knows first hand brands/talents like his girlfriend Nicole continue to have upward momentum even if she does not make album after album or score platinum 10x in a row.

      She doesn’t have to do that. Chances are XIX have advised him that neither does he to “win at the game of life”.

      Lewis has tried running with his talent, but instead of him being the dominant power of F1, F1 in recent years has become the Sebastian Vettel show. Lewis has seen that in the age of limited testing, the power of success of a talented driver is limited.

      But the people around him (his celebrity friends and XIX) no doubt have understood for some time that winning in straight terms isn’t necessary.

      For people outside of Entertainment, staying ahead with only the “veneer” of high performance sounds like a facade. In Entertainment, that is actually the sustaining goal of Entertainment Representation like XIX.

      For Lewis, it now means he never has to worry if Vettel wins 20 championships from now on.

      He will be more famous. He will be more marketable. He will be more wealthy.

      He will be the “winner”.

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