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Whitmarsh talks Hamilton, regrets and flexi wings
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Oct 2012   |  1:45 pm GMT  |  95 comments

Martin Whitmarsh spoke today of his feelings on losing Lewis Hamilton, his lack of regrets about the situation and denied that the McLaren’s wings were being protested by Ferrari. He also said that he thinks new recruit Sergio Perez can win his first Grand Prix for McLaren in Melbourne, next March.

Speaking in a Vodafone phone in for leading F1 websites, Whitmarsh said that the offer McLaren made to Hamilton exceeded the pay of any F1 driver, “The offer that we made was higher I believe than any driver in Formula 1 is currently receiving or will receive next year, ” he said.

He added: “I think Lewis is a top-flight driver. We didn’t underestimate his attractiveness to others in Formula 1. We knew Lewis would be in demand, that’s why we made him an offer.

“I think it was a good offer but there clearly we had to look at the alternatives because we recognised that there was a serious threat.”

“We put a lot of effort into trying to keep Lewis. He’s clearly a great asset to any race team. So we made a big effort. I think ultimately Lewis had to make a decision, he made one, and we must now look forward.”

Asked whether his feeling was one of sadness or relief situation is over, Whitmarsh replied,

“Neither. I think actually it goes down the middle. We’ve got six races to go, we’ve got a competitive car, two competitive race drivers and two championships that are still in our sights.

“So we haven’t reached that point. I think we’re all hoping, Lewis and the team, that we actually really focus now. So in one sense there is some clarity. We are committed to working as hard as we can to allow Lewis every opportunity to try and achieve the drivers’ World Championship and at the same time I believe Lewis is totally committed to the team to contribute to our assault of the Constructors’ Championship.”

On Perez, Whitmarsh denied that the Mexican had any further apprenticeship period to serve, “I don’t see why – if we give him a good enough car – he can’t turn up at the first race in Australia vying for a win,” Whitmarsh said.

“I don’t think he will consider himself an apprentice. I think he will be a quick learner. Time will tell on this, but we’re optimistic and ambitious for him next year.

The final question concerned a report that Ferrari had raised a question about the flexibility of McLaren’s front wing. Whitmarsh batted it away,

“I don’t envisage any particular problems for McLaren in that regard in the near term and consequently I don’t think it is anything that will harm us,” he said. “Also I’m not aware of anything with Red Bull.

“I think the FIA technical department have to remain vigilant and be testing front wings, rear wings and attachment systems all the time, and making sure they comply with the testing requirements of the regulations but also that the teams don’t find other ingenious or creative ways to circumvent the intention. I think from time to time many teams get spoken to by the FIA and are expected to correct a situation. We’re not in such a situation ourselves and I am not aware and do not think it will be an issue that will affect the championship.”

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95 Comments
  1. AlexD says:

    So…enough of Hamilton:-) Let’s talk flexi wings…it is really interesting that for years this thing is not resolved.

    1. joe123 says:

      @AlexD If only this was the case – time to move on from the Hamilton debate that is. It appears Martin Whitmarsh has been repeating this mantra about offering Hamilton more than any other driver in F1 for nearly a week now.

      There have been several interviews with this being he theme.

      I wonder why he needs to continually attempt to justify the McLaren negotiating position in the Hamilton saga.

      Here’s a theory on why this is – for all the denials it appears to have been all about the money for McLaren over Lewis http://wp.me/p2HWOP-6A

      1. Hendo says:

        Interesting article that you point out – I had similar thoughts too.
        In James’ article on 28th Sept, Whitmarsh is quoted as saying …
        “We have made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula 1, other than himself, receives today, and that is something that I am comfortable with,” he said. “I know we made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula 1 driver is enjoying today.”
        The key is ‘receives today’ and ‘enjoying today’.
        This still leaves room for McLaren to have offered a pay-cut to Lewis,
        eg: We pay LH $2 mill more than the next highest driver is getting this year – but for 2013 we offered him only $1 mill more that the next highest driver is getting this year. (let alone any more than that driver is promised for 2013).
        Definitely a very careful choice of words – so if McLaren offered a pay-cut to LH it’s no wonder he walked and its too late to up the offer after the door has closed.

      2. thejudge13 says:

        Agreed, its like comparing Lewis at McLaren existing contract – Lewis at McLaren new contract – Lewis at Mercedes.

        Which is the number?

        Real problem for me as I said is Alonso – it was reported last year his new 5 year extension was for £150m – £30m a year (maybe in 150m euro’s not sure)- anyway euro/pound was about 1 to 1 last year – I remember the p[ain when I bought some.

  2. ArJay says:

    One would assume that ‘flexible’ drivers are far more of an issue than ‘flexible’ wings.

  3. Martin says:

    I do wonder if “We are committed to working as hard as we can to allow Lewis every opportunity to try and achieve the drivers’ World Championship” means that Lewis will still have full access to the technical data, especially on new developments. If he is able to tweet them, he is equally able to take is laptop to Mercedes. New bits might be on the car, but I wonder if he will be given all the info he previously got, or the same amount of simulator time in the current spec car.

    1. Gunner says:

      Good point.

      Also, taken at face value, his comment would suggest that the team sees Lewis as the only driver with any realistic chance of the driver’s title. Will Whitmarsh be having a quiet word in JB’s ear, and if so, will JB be content to help Lewis’ title aspirations considering how ‘chilly’ their relationship has become.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to now see McLaren drop development of this years car and start throwing their resources behind development for 2013, if not to spite Lewis, but to get a head start on the pack early next season and show him what he has given up on.

      1. Phil Too says:

        Has everyone forgotten the Alonso won a WDC with Renault with the explicit knowledge that he was going to McLaren the next year (if I recall, before the season even started). This idea that teams won’t allow a leaving driver to race at his full potential (through development bits, access to data etc) are rubbish.

        Third attempt to post this. Come on wordpress

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Phil,

        your comment came through to me, even if your post was in reply to Gunner.

        If we take an extreme example of Prost vs Senna in 1989, clearly Prost’s car didn’t become an aerodynamic mess. Honda’s possible biases are another issue depending on who your talk to as radar traps were rarer then. However, when testing was allowed, drivers moving to another them tended to cease testing duties and the team mate and supporting drivers picked up the work.

        In Hanilton’s case since he can cope with a wide set up window, it matters less, but it is likely that from now on McLaren will focus on Button’s development suggestions. Driver’s in general still make rubbish race engineers to paraphrase Frank Dernie, so the real issue is driver confidence: if a driver needs to understand what is going on then this is an issue. If a drive can feel through the car then it isn’t a big deal – the team just says this bit is faster, go qualify with it. If the driver says no it feels wrong then it is taken off. There is a degree of preparation, but much is in the driver’s head.

        The intellectual property issue is real enough for Webber to talk about it in the context for Red Bull wanting to resign him.

      3. david nelson says:

        You could well be right on 2012/2013 development. The MP4-27 still looks very highly competititve. Time is short for 2012, 6 races in 7 weeks(?). Minor add-ons to suit individual circuits may feature. But major upgrades? Why bother?

        I suppose if they have a major fix that will transfer to 2013 then save it, if not they’ll use it. But it’s up to them not us.

        How LH will play out the rest of the season is anyone’s guess.

    2. Wayne says:

      I think they have to or they would be disadvantaging him – and if they do Hamilton will make sure the world hears about it.

      Hamilton, in the mean time, needs to show his current employers respect. I support Hamilton through thick and thin but noted that within two days of making his new agreement public he was tweeting the link to Merc AMG race team page. This is not the way to behave – right now he is employed by McLaren, and this sort of behavior is what may loose him fans in the long run.

      (additionally, I know it’s a non issue, but I really wish Hamilton would reconsider his picture on Twitter – he looks ridiculous).

      1. JanDeBoer says:

        Wayne,

        It’s HIS life to live! Get real. If he chooses to dress like a parrot on Twitter that’s HIS business. I believe he has earned the right to make his own decisions regarding his private life. Lots of kids from Lewis’s background/generation listen to Rap and R&B music, they also dress differently. It’s not my thing. But my Dad hated Rock music, again he’s from a different generation.

        We should only be intereted in what he does in a race car…leave the rest for the tabloids.

      2. Wayne says:

        You did see the ‘I know it’s a non issue’ bit right?

      3. JR says:

        Just curiosity but, are you the same Wayne that jumped at me for suggestion that Lewis may not be capable of taking control of Mercedes if he continued his Hollywood lifestyle?

        http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/09/ja-on-f1-podcast-8-hamiltons-move-life-at-marussia-and-how-the-f1-cars-move-around-the-world/#comment-659207

        In any case, I agree, that twitter picture is ridiculous, as most of his Twitter feed. I agree with JanDeBoer is his business, as it is ours to give our opinion of his PUBLIC profile.

      4. Wayne says:

        Errr, yes, but I have not suggested that how he dresses has any effect on how he drives! I just thought he looked comical. You linked his lifestyle to his ability in F1 – I have not.

      5. Andrew M says:

        I don’t think tweeting a link to the Mercedes website after he’s signed a contract for them is disrespecting McLaren, it’s not exactly a secret he’s moving on next year.

      6. Wayne says:

        If it’s not a secret he has no need to tweet the link. McLaren have paid for his services on and off the track this year – including marketing and PR. I don’t think he should be publicising a compettitor.

  4. KGBVD says:

    Once again Ferrari misses the trick and goes complaining to Daddy Todt about it. The pattern continues.

    (Maybe they should just sack their tech team and bring in the ppl who have new ideas! It would make them look less whingy and prob save a bit of money in having to log official FIA complaints all of the time.)

    1. Michael Brown says:

      If, as AMuS reports, McLaren and Red Bull have front wings that flex by rotating about their horizontal axis, then they are breaking the rules, cheating. Yes, cheating. It’s only right that any other team that is aware of this cheating reports it the FIA for them to investigate. Ferrari is not “missing a trick”, it’s just playing by the rules.

      1. Peter C says:

        You can afford to ‘play by the rules’ when you have millions of extra cash paid to you more than anyone else on the grid.

        The reason given for this is just not satisfactory.

    2. Chris says:

      You seem to have forgotten that McLaren spent most of the last two years moaning about the Red Bull wings!

    3. zombie says:

      In the past Mclaren and Williams have complained plenty about Ferrari’s aero bits, so i don’t see how Ferrari complaining about Mclaren’s flexi-wings is an issue here.

      1. KGBVD says:

        Because these days, it’s all they do.

        Feeling
        Envious
        Regarding
        Rivals’
        Always
        Reoccurring
        Innovation!

    4. xrr says:

      Once again?

      If Im not wrong it was Mclaren that complained about

      1. 2006 flexi wing of Ferrari
      2. 2006 mass damper system of Renault
      3. flexi floor of Ferrari
      4. and in recent years continuously about Rbr team

    5. Dave C says:

      No you are being unfair, the team that protest the most are Mclaren and it’s usually to do with Redbull, if Ferrari has a reason to protest then I say do it because the upturn in the Mclaren’s speed is quite unusual for normal upgrades during mid season, but its still probably not enough for them to take the title tho, especially with Vettel and Alonso to deal with, we shall see.

      1. Peter C says:

        They’ve become faster?

        Oh well, they MUST be cheating, then.

        Fine ‘em a hundred big ones.

        Have a word with Todt.

      2. nigel says:

        I think Mclaren is one of the best if not the best developing the car during the season.

      3. Elie says:

        Dave C- Ferrari found 2 seconds since the start of the season – with a big step mid season does that automatically mean they are cheating too !
        Thanks to RBR FIA testing is quite rigorous in this area and Whitmarsh don’t seem bothered by it because they’ve passed all the tests! Unlike his counterpart who screams blue murder and ends up having to change their cars !

    6. Pman says:

      Only problem with that theory is that “Daddy Todt” is not the one who decides legality!
      Crazy conspiracy theories everywhere.

      1. DB4Tim says:

        “Crazy conspiracy theories everywhere”
        Only form the Ron Dennis crew…

    7. CerinoDevoti says:

      Did you feel the same way about Mclaren in 2007 when Ron Dennis was claiming Ferrari had won the first race of the year with an illegal car(flexi-floor)? Perhaps Ron should have sacked his engineers and hired ones with innovative ideas? Oh wait, he just used info from Nigel Stepney(the whistle-blower) instead. ;-)

      1. KGBVD says:

        Ahh, you’ve remember the last time Ferrari came up with an idea worth mentioning!

        Considering the drought since, i think it’s time to recognize that something is broken.

    8. MISTER says:

      If those wings are not legal..why not complain?
      And why would they sack their tech team for being fair and designing legal stuff?

      1. KGBVD says:

        Because they are reactionary, not revolutionary.

        This season we have heard nothing but Ferrari moaning about others’ innovations (yes, yes, I know it was Paddy who tipped the FIA off about the engine maps– a misnomer this year).

        That front suspension works a trick. As it did on that Minardi 15 years ago.

  5. Sri says:

    Ferrari has this penchant for complaining to FIA whenever things do not go its way mainly because they have been the laggards in development unlike other teams. I do however think that McLaren suddenly finding a second gain per lap over the rest of the field is a bit suspicious. How can we be sure that the car at high-speeds behaves the same way as when parked which is what FIA sees? That is a nice loop-hole to exploit, unless someone does a video analysis of the car at high-speed, which is what I suspect Ferrari might have done. Obviously, all the teams do study other cars very closely, so very likely Ferrari might have some data to support their claim. No smoke without fire.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Like Christian Horner says, if the car passes the tests the FIA have in place, it’s legal.

      1. Elie says:

        Exactly ! People also seem to forget Mclaren bought a major suite of updates to Germany / Hungary- including front wing , side pods, floor, and many other bits and pieces since so its not like you could narrow it down to just one thing. The word I would use to describe their engineering / aero development is ” Successful” that’s something no one could take away from Mclaren .

  6. Richard says:

    If the wings meet the FIA test criteria then they are legal. – End of story! The fact that some wings are more flexible than others is irrelevant. I hope that Lewis would realize that what remains McLaren’s interlectual property, theft of which would potentially attract very hefty fines, and possibly even a custodial sentence. Demonstrating something on twitter is one thing, theft is quite another!

    1. Chris says:

      News Flash: Drivers move from team to team and this has happened since the birth of F1. Lewis is surely free to take what he knows or are you suggested Martin wipes his memory Total Recall style?

      Get a grip man, I doubt very much Lewis is hatching a plan to steal plans for next years car.

      1. Richard says:

        Of course I don’t think he would be so daft, and in any event he is no engineer so what he has in his memory won’t amount to much in terms of hard data. My assertion here was in response to some other guy’s comment, but would not be the first time problems of this nature have arisen with engineers, but hardly drivers.

      2. Chris says:

        Fair enough Richard, sorry for assuming. I just read so much nonsense when it comes to Lewis at times I tend to shoot from the hip a little too often!

      3. AuraF1 says:

        I doubt Lewis is a brilliant engineering mind. He’s a seat of his pants driver. He barely seems to understand strategy – he just wants to drive fast.

        I suspect someone old school like webber or Schumacher might memorize some technical details but Hamilton doesn’t even seem to know why he drives fast – he’s just happy when he does!

  7. Rach says:

    I’m curious about how they quantify how Hamilton would be the highest earning driver if he had accepted the terms offered by mclaren?

    Surely alonso earns more?

    1. Aaron says:

      What each driver earns is secret, but various estimates have reported that Alonso is reckoned to earn in the region of €30,000,000 a year. I can only conclude that McLaren made him an offer in excess of €30 million, which if true would have doubled his estimated salary.

      The Mirror ran a story a few months ago saying that McLaren were set to offer him £95 million (approx €120 million) over 5 years, which works out at €24 million/year so there may be some truth in this.

    2. Rich C says:

      Did not know Shirley Alonso was an F1 driver? I seriously doubt his mum makes more than Fernando!

      1. Peter C says:

        Plese stop calling him Shirley.

      2. Elie says:

        Shirley, Shirley…lol

    3. aezy_doc says:

      possibly through sponsorship and endorsements and win bonuses Alonso earns more, but his flat salary might be less than McLaren were offering. We are only speculating really unless the contracts are in front of us.

    4. AuraF1 says:

      Ferrari have repeatedly said the rumors of Alonsos pay is vastly exaggerated. Knowing the Italian marque they wouldn’t pay over the odds for anyone – but they’d probably promise vast riches for a WDC.

    5. Stephen says:

      From what I’ve read McLaren restrict their drivers in terms of other commercial arrangements such as personal sponsors. They may well be paying more in salary but at other teams there is more scope to supplement this from sponsors and endorsements.

      Presumably Lewis and XIX decided they could make enough from such endorsements to mitigate a lower salary.

      In other words, McLaren offered a better guaranteed figure but Mercedes offered more potential and Lewis chose to take the risk that this potential would pay off.

  8. McLaren 78 says:

    Whitmarsh has to deliver at least the constructor’s title, otherwise Sam Michael is waiting in the wings. Driver’s title is a nice to have, but I can’t see it happening.

    1. Michael says:

      Sam Michael? You’ve got to be joking. The guy who got let go by Williams? lol

  9. Shah Alam says:

    Hi James,

    I’m looking forward to Hamilton at the Q and A to see if he gives his reasons for leaving Mclaren.

    And, is Lotus going to use the Double DRS system in Japan?

    Thanks

  10. Glen D. says:

    I think Mclaren did under estimate Lewis’ options. Hinting that the market is not as rosy as it was in 2007 and squabbling over trophies. They were trying to be the hard negotiator and it backfired. As a fan of Lewis I’m glad he moved he’ll still be exciting to watch.

  11. Michael says:

    I was thinking about that myself. Alonso is the highest paid driver in F1. I think he makes like 30M per year. That’s long ways from Hamilton’s 15M. Whitmarsh again is talking out the side of his neck.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Ferrari have denied that figure several times now. Those who are more involved in the Swiss based negotiations for many F1 drivers suggest he’s paid less than Hamilton already but has significant win/championship bonuses.

    2. Peter C says:

      No, we don’t know what the increased final offer was.

  12. F1fan4life says:

    James what is your thought on the flexible wing story? Apparently it is more reported as a “tilting” wing, vertical on a horizontal plane. McLaren did suddenly come back surprisingly fast a few races ago. Of late it is as though Lotus and Ferrari have lost a chunk of ground on Red Bull and McLaren. Results prove nothing of course. This might be the next hot topic..

  13. Chromatic says:

    “Perez can win in Melbourne”

    Doesn’t say much for Jens….

    1. Auntie Podean says:

      What needs to be said, he’s won it 3 out of the last 4 times with two different teams?

    2. DB4Tim says:

      No kidding

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Whitmarsh says Perez can be competing for the win – I presume that means they’d allow both racers to fight for it on merit like the past few years.

      I’d say whitmarsh’s comment is more along the lines of ‘the mclaren will be at the front next year with both drivers free to race’.

      It’ll be fascinating to see how jenson holds up or flourishes with a new teammate.

      I suspect neither is a qualifying specialist but both have a knack for eating their way back up the field.

    4. Quattro_T says:

      He think he meant “Perez can win in Melbourne, as opposed to our previous driver…”

    5. Michael says:

      Yes, what about old Jenson? It doesn’t say much for him. From the best driver line up to middle of the pack, unbelievable.

      1. Peter C says:

        Wait & see.

  14. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Whitmarsh said the offer was higher to Hamilton, but he skips if the offer of commercial freedom (or trhophies freedom) was higher too… So it is not faire to talk like that.

    McLaren won’t have a Number 1 Driver in 2013, because Button has really shine just half a year in 2009 only, and Perez could be more a contender for 2014.

    So I cannot understand McLaren losing Hamilton, I think they did a mistake and they are going to pay next year, it’s not a Hamilton mistake.

    If Hamilton cannot be a contender in 2014, maybe he also could take advantage of more commercial freedom.

    1. Peter C says:

      Trophies freedom?

      If that really entered into the negotiation, it’s like a child in a sweet shop not getting the sherbet lemons.

      I think Jenson will have to start stamping his feet.
      Or maybe he’s happy with the odd replica.

  15. Richard says:

    I think the original offer to Lewis was of Ron Dennis’s making behind the scenes because of the financial climate wanted to offer him a cut. What he did not take fully into account was other teams interest, and so really shot himself in the foot. Along came Mercedes with a better offer with more commercial freedom, McLaren countered that with an improved offer, but the damage was done. Ross Brawn must be quite pleased with himself, now all he has to do is produce a front running car.

  16. Wade Parmino says:

    If a wing passes the static load test, then it’s allowed, full stop. Whether or not the same wing flexes under race conditions is irrelevent.

  17. Rich C says:

    I’m sure he’s a sterling fellow and all, but I just never know what to make of anything he (Whitmarsh) says anymore.

    Its probably best just to ignore him.

  18. AuraF1 says:

    I doubt mclaren would disadvantage Lewis in the remaining races as a win is a massive financial bonus for them (not to mention the engineers and other team members who get a huge bonus at the end of the year – if nothing else you can rely on people working towards a multi- thousand pound Xmas bonus!)

    However like mark webber said when he was turning down the Ferrari offer – the team may refuse to offer him updates that spill ideas for 2013 and make it uncomfortable.

    Mclaren under whitmarsh have been unusually open about their design ideas for some reason so I don’t forsee Lewis meeting the same disadvantage.

    Unlike red bull, mclaren use their test drivers in the factory more so Lewis gets less time on 2013 parts than webber and vettel do anyway.

  19. James Encore says:

    Just a thought.

    Ayrton did six seasons with McLaren, and Lewis is leaving after … Six.
    OK Ayrton did win 35 races and 3 championships, and McLaren multiple constructors championships in that time.

    And a second thought from Norbert Haug , quoted in Autosport

    “[Mercedes] financed [Hamilton] 50/50 with McLaren in his junior career… And we have been paying for his retainer with McLaren. That’s common knowledge from the past.”

    Lewis was the product of the McLaren / Mercedes marriage. They split, he stayed with one, now he’s moving out of the family home and in with the one who’s being paying his pocket money.

    1. James Allen says:

      Nice way to look at it!

    2. clyde says:

      Hmmmm ….rose tinted glasses!

  20. Pete_GH says:

    Here is an image showing the alleged flexi/rotating front wing:
    http://noob.hu/2011/07/30/mclaren.JPG

    1. Simon Donald says:

      Nothing wrong with that. It’s a static test. Both Ferrari and McLaren got their nickers in a twist last year about RBR’s flexi wing and the FIA sad it was legal. McLaren have gone away and perfected one, Ferrari have gone away and designed a box of a car that’s only leading the drivers championship because of the brilliance of Fernando Alonso and the fact that everyone else has been plagued with either driver or team errors and failures. They should get over it and get on with it. Just like Lotus did with the double DRS – only difference is that it doesn’t seem to be quite so useful as the flexi wing.

    2. Blog_Raider says:

      That image is of last year’s car, look at the sidepod, clearly u-pod, and from what I understand, they were asked to modify it then…

      Yes I know they could be using a similar wing/concept but where are the images then?

  21. Kay says:

    ““We put a lot of effort into trying to keep Lewis. He’s clearly a great asset to any race team. So we made a big effort.”

    I don’t see how giving your driver less than what he currently earns is making any sort of effort, let alone ‘big’ effort…..

    1. Peter C says:

      If you are not keen on something happening, then you don’t put in maximum effort.

      Perhaps they didn’t.

      Maybe the Press pushing for answers 24/7 increases the likelihood of getting misleading aswers.

      In Hamiltons ‘latest’ interview, he said he didn’t hear from Ron Dennis at the negotiation stage, or after he made his decision to move.

      He also said he made his final decision after the car breaking down with gearbox trouble in Singapore.

      The final decision to quit McL was made in Thailand while he was ‘chillaxing’.

      Believe that if you’ve a mind to.

      1. Kay says:

        “If you are not keen on something happening, then you don’t put in maximum effort.”

        Yes, naturally. But when MW claimed he made the effort and offered the best to Hamilton, which was clearly a lie, it’s no surprise that Ham want to leave.

        Though if I were Ham, I would stick with McLaren. He gave up a HUGE amount of things to leave McLaren, for one he gave up on getting his hands on a rare McLaren F1 which Ron promised him if he wins a second title; plus being with a team that he knows.

      2. Peter C says:

        And a CEO who has had enough of you, because you don’t know how to behave at certain times?

  22. Nadeem says:

    I am wondering why the press keep on saying Perez and apprentceiship. I remeber Senna, Schumacher all had wins in their 2nd season, leiws in his first and Prost possibly? I see him as established now, yes he’s still learning but I reckon he can win the first race as can Button as well in Mlebourne. I think too many seems people keep thinking as Perez as young and being a Ferrari academy driver means up and coming. I think he is here and probably the best of the younger drivers along side Riccardo, Di Resta and Hulk.

    BTW Perez not my favourite driver just saying what I think

    1. Kay says:

      For sure Perez is a promising future WDC and has huge talents!

  23. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – How does Hamilton’s past/current / future salary compare to Kimi’s golden handshake? Surely that was the highest F1 driver salary, even if it was NOT to race!

    A lot has been written about Hamilton, but other than this piece, very little has been written about the background to Perez’s move. It seems odd that they were announced at the same time. I contrast, look at how Mecedes have dealt with the Schumacher/Rosberg question. Or Sauber with Perez’s move. The key to me appears to be Ms Monisha’s comment about the drivers for the 2013 season some months ago. This suggests McLaren have been working on a backup plan for some time.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, it’s lower. Kimi’s Ferrari salary was a bit of a record breaker. >€30 million !

      The 2010 payoff was €19m

      1. Peter C says:

        I think he deserved every penny!

        He really is the best…….so different from the mouth-almighties.

      2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        Thanks James – how does this fit in with Martin’s comments then?

  24. Elie says:

    Thanks for this James. It just confirms what I’ve always known about this subject – Lewis did not leave purely because of money ( even if that’s a large part of it).

    Martin Whittmarsh should have a lot of regrets- his unconditional support for Jenson and his nonchalant treatment of Lewis till it was too late !and Im not just talking about contract negotiations- although I must admit I was baffled why they extended Jensons contract so early also!

    1. Kay says:

      I guess because MW thought Button is another Alonso and worth signing, that’s part 1.

      Part 2 was, originally Button and Hamilton’s contract were due to expire in the same year. McLaren needed to ensure they should have at least one of them that’s certain to stay, so they wouldn’t have a headache in finding two replacements at the same time which would leave them very very vulnerable.

      You may recall that early on in 2011, Jenson said he would one day wish to drive for Ferrari, and that’s the place that every driver wish to end up, hence initially he never confirmed with McLaren. Why he suddenly did a 180 turn and decided to stay with McLaren and possibly want to end there is anyone’s guess though, that was never clarified or mentioned afterwards.

      With hindsight, signing Button early on was a right move, as it proved now that Hamilton has indeed made a switch. Had they not signed Button AND got snapped up by Ferrari to partner Alonso, McLaren would have no proven driver to race for them. Though if you ask me, I’d say they should have tried harder in getting Kimi back. Kimi has less setup problems etc.

      1. Elie says:

        Wrong Kay hindsight and foresight tells you no driver would give up a no1 seat at Mclaren for a no 2 seat at Ferrari – this was always the case!
        Common sense tells you the guy with outright speed and already won the last DC for the team is a little harder to replace than someone like Jenson- Something which Whittmarsh is clearly lamenting now.he won’t loose too much with Perez but look at it another way -what if it was Lewis & Perez. & yeah Lewis & Kimi -fastest guys ever !! ( Lewis all the media Kimi can hide). Lewis and Mark earlier in the year. Also further proof no top driver was going to Ferrari!

        These are things that contributed to Lewis decision many months ago not just the money that Whittmarsh so desperately tried throwing at Lewis- too late mate!!. Tells you Lewis had other reasons that have been brewing for a long time. I could see this coming since last year- & I’m happy to say Lewis made the right decision even if Mercedes end up last next year ! ( And i reckon they will be top 3) It’s the principle – if my boss was treating my colleague better even though I made the company more successful & then he tells me take a 30% pay cut – well any normal person would do the same thing . I consider it really weak from Mclaren to start negotiating that way – they ended up offering him twice as much rather than 30% less & still lost the deal ! arrogance from R.Dennis &co.

      2. Peter C says:

        Do you really KNOW all that? Amazing.

        I’ve been looking for sources of this info.,but can’t find any.

        Please let us know where it came from.

      3. Elie says:

        Nobody knows 100% regardless of the source. I mean only weeks ago Perez denied at Monza that he’d spoken to other teams. Many papers said oh well he’d not going anywhere right .I said on this site “just because he said it didn’t happen doesn’t mean his management didn’t talk to them” http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/09/perez-says-hes-ready-for-a-top-team-but-denies-any-approach-from-mclaren/. and now it’s very clear he did! I also said Lewis would leave Mclaren many times on this site and he should go to Mercedes, before anyone- I won’t pull out all the links.

        You have to learn to read beyond the politics and the lines and form your opinion by watching peoples body language and comments over a race weekend. After many years you begin to get a feel for what’s really going on with the different personalities. Experience – just ask JA..there’s no substitute. Also, not everyone has these instincts.
        I appreciate Lewis isn’t the easiest driver to put up with either – but some of the rubbishing he gets is just not right. – all this from a Kimi fan !

  25. Sinkers says:

    It would be really refreshing if Martin Whitmarsh could just say, “we’re really sorry to be losing Lewis, but we’re happy to have Perez in as a replacement”.

    What’s so hard about that? Does he think it would make him or the team look weak to say this? He and McLaren just look silly refusing to acknowledge that it’s a blow losing Hamilton.

    Sometimes all the posturing and politics is really quite silly!

  26. Gul says:

    It takes a big man to step up and admit his mistake! MW is not that big man!
    And bet you any money there will be some “pit stop” delays for Lewis come Sunday’s race! All i have to say is Karma….take note MW, Ron and sly button! Karma!

  27. Gul says:

    It takes a big man to step up and admit his mistake. MW is not that man! And how much do you want to bet Lewis will have some “pit stop” issues come Sunday’s race!
    All I have to say is Karma…it has a way of getting people back! Take note MW, Ron the wannabe Don and sly teacher’s pet button!

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