Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
Japanese Grand Prix
“A big loss”: Reality sinking in on Hamilton’s move from McLaren
McLaren Mercedes
Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Nov 2012   |  5:35 pm GMT  |  170 comments

A few weeks have passed since it was confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will leave McLaren for Mercedes at the end of the 2012 season. Today Jenson Button admitted that he would be a “big loss”, while Hamilton has addressed the mountain he will have to climb next season with a Mercedes team which has failed to score points in the last three races.

“The team loses a very fast driver, a guy that’s achieved a lot with the team, the last guy to win a world championship for the team,” said Button in the Abu Dhabi paddock this afternoon. “It’s a big loss but things change and you learn to move on and adapt.”

Button, like many within McLaren, is unsure exactly how to evaluate his new team mate Sergio Perez, who hasn’t performed particularly well since his promotion was announced, apart from a surprisingly quick qualifying lap on Saturday in India, which gave him 8th place on the grid.

McLaren has evaluated Perez and sees potential in him, as Martin Whitmarst explained during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. His three podiums this season were achieved with impressive pace and consistency, but those two qualities are not always present in the Mexican and the spotlight will inevitably fall on qualifying pace in particular. With no major rule change for next year and Pirelli continuing to supply tyres, qualifying at the front will be as vital as it is today in order to mount a challenge. There are some question marks over Perez’ outright pace and qualifying consistency this is the area where Hamilton will most be missed.

As for what lies ahead for Hamilton in his move to the Brackley based team which Button left in 2009 when it was called Brawn GP, he said,
“He’s (Hamilton) as quick as they come but sometimes it’s not that easy to win Grands Prix and to build a team around you and also to help a team achieve great results.”

Time will tell. Hamilton addressed these questions himself today, admitting that the competitiveness of the Mercedes at this stage doesn’t look very encouraging, but he is clearly looking at three years rather than next year, “It doesn’t worry me,” he said. “I’m really excited to go there. I feel fantastic about the decision. I’m massively excited about working with new people. It is a fantastic team. I know they have lost their way a little bit at the moment but I’m going to go and help them find their way.

“I already knew how big it (the job ahead) was. I really thought about it hard, and I could see how big it was. Perhaps it’s growing as a task, but I’m excited about it.”

Hamilton wanted a fresh challenge and that combined with the greater commercial freedoms at Mercedes swung the balance in favour of the move.

He will evolve as a Grand Prix driver through this process, but one thing he will need to acquire is a forcefulness in driving his new team forward to produce a better car and develop it. That behind the scenes pressure from a driver is what winning Grand Prix teams thrive on.

Featured Video
JensonTrialthlon
Sign up for Jenson’s Triathlon today!
Featured News in mclaren
MORE FROM McLaren
LATEST FROM THE MCLAREN MERCEDES COMMUNITY
Previous
Next
Share This:
Posted by:
170 Comments
  1. Gordon says:

    I feel sure that Perez got the drive at McLaren, not because of his ‘potential’ but the Mexican finance he could bring to the team. I understand McLaren are losing a major sponsor in 2014 and next year have to pay for their engines. Looking pretty grim for the Woking outfit.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      Mexican finance might have been added value but its surely not why he got the drive. McLaren is not Williams..

      1. Michael C says:

        yet…

    2. growers says:

      McLaren will be fine, it’s Hamilton you should be worried about.

    3. AndyK says:

      Mclaren are a massive name for any brand to be associated with. Globally recognised as winners in competition among the most technologically advanced industries this solar system (or possibly universe) has ever seen. I think they’ll probably be alright.

    4. Had to be a combination of both – there are other drivers that bring finance as well

    5. MaximumF1 says:

      With McLaren now a bona fide manufacturer of super cars, why would they be looking for another engine supplier? McLaren powered by Renault, Ferrari, Honda, Tata or Cosworth is unlikely to be a good marketing relationship between race team and road car.

      Will their race cars become the signature Mclaren orange when the Mercedes deal ends? I would like to think so.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Is it correct that Perez and Button have more similar driving styles?

    In which case it would surely be a benefit when it comes to developing the car. It would seem that many teams this year struggle with getting the car to perform well for both drivers.

    1. Dan says:

      Exactly and McLaren have messed up by not backing up their best driver.

      Button is a good driver, but he isn’t in the same class as Hamilton. F1 should be about speed and talent, not who can tip toe around the track best, protecting tyres.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        Sometimes ‘tiptoe-ing’ around the track, preserving your equipment is what it takes to win. F1 has never been about 10 lap sprint races.

      2. Andrew says:

        No but it has been about 50 sprint laps. I remember when the top drivers used to make mistakes and spin because they were pushing their car to the limit, not much chance of that these days with the drivers cruising around preserving tyres.

      3. Andrew J says:

        As has been said before, in terms of results Button and Hamilton (based on points scored during their time as team-mates) are probably the most closely matched driver pairing going.

        The fact that this year the car has suited Lewis better than Jenson may indicate that design-wise they HAVE been backing their best driver.

        What Wade says about preserving tyres in this true – it’s part of modern racing. Fangio might not have shone at all in the current era. Things change.

        With reference to Andrew’s point, modern aerodynamics make it harder to spin a car nowadays just through pushing hard. Again, different era.

      4. bob says:

        Well actually Dan, McLaren have backed their best driver.

        Average WDC finishing position since being team mates;

        LH – 4.5
        JB – 3.5

        Be assured Dan, the most successful McLaren driver of the last 3 years is staying put.

      5. Dan says:

        You haven’t got a clue mate.

      6. bob says:

        @Dan

        Really, I haven’t got a clue??

        haha

        Why is that? Because I’m not a mindless Hamilton fanboy who does not use his brain and just thinks Hamilton is the best – just because.

        The fact is, Hamilton has not finished any higher than 4th in the last 3 years, 4 including 2012.

        He may be a good qualifier, but as a racing driver, he’s clearly not that good.

        But hey, don’t let ACTUAL facts stand in the way of your blind belief!

      7. bob says:

        @Dan

        “…McLaren have messed up by not backing up their best driver…”

        If this sentence had of read “…their best qualifier..” then it would be correct.

        But unfortunately for Hamilton and you, his blind faithful, it’s not the Formula 1 World Qualifying Championship.

        Last time I checked, F1 GP’s were slightly longer than 1 lap. But hey, that doesn’t matter does it, cause how fast you go over 1 lap is the REAL measure of how good an F1 driver really is.

        LOL

    2. Well they can both look after their tyres, but I am not sure if this is the result of the same driving style

      1. kfzmeister says:

        How do you figure that both can look after their tires? We know this of Button, but this year’s Sauber clearly was the gentle tire conserver….

  3. Justin Bieber says:

    Its gonna get worst before it gets better.. It was a bad move if you ask me.

    1. Sebee says:

      Oh baby! I think you’re right Biebs!

      Schumi went there for a three year project, and we all know how that worked out.

      1. Justin Bieber says:

        How can Justin Bieber be wrong! ;)

    2. Colin B says:

      I think Hamilton is hoping that the new engines and regulation changes in 2014 will bring Mercedes forward. He will probably have to treat 2013 as a year to build the team around him, and get the team pushing for a competitive 2014 entry.

      In 2014 it would be great to see a 3 way battle for the championship between Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton.

      1. Justin Bieber says:

        I dont know what to expect from 2014… but watch out for Newey’s car.

      2. bob says:

        “…He will probably have to treat 2013 as a year to build the team around him…”

        You see Colin, there’s the problem right there!

        Hamilton the team leader and moral builder – I think not.

    3. Peter Scandlyn says:

      Hands up those out there who asked Justin?

      1. Justin Bieber says:

        I dont expect to see any hands up.. if you ask me.

  4. Jeb Hoge says:

    Interesting comments, and a little poignant from my perspective. It’s clear that the adrenaline and emotions from Hamilton’s announcement have subsided somewhat, and now everyone’s gone from the “IT’S FINE IT’S FINE IT’LL ALL BE FINE” point to really thinking about what the next year or two will bring.

    1. Sebee says:

      Yup.

      Someone is getting cold sweats at night wishing there was a 30 day return policy on F1 contracts like on CDs at HMV. But unfortunately the original McLaren packaging has been ripped and goods are no longer returnable.

    2. Sascha says:

      The last races – the whole 2012 season showed clearly what McLaren is going to lose.
      Korea GP was the best example: this passion, dedication, fighting spirit and driving skills, will not be replaced so easy. It will be very strange to see Lewis at Mercedes next season

      1. Justin Bieber says:

        Like Charles de Gaulle once said: “The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men”

      2. Sugar Water says:

        +1 Those “motivational” qualities are irreplaceable and serve as an essentail catalyst for the entire paddock and factory. I fear neither Button or Perez are able to provide that “spark”. I might add that while Lewis has some ways to go to smooth out his “maturity” he will be missed emenseley. The guy can win on any day……

      3. bob says:

        If you ask the McLaren team, I’m sure they will tell you that Hamilton has little or no ‘motivational’ qualities.

        Anyone who thinks that McLaren will not be a much better team with a much better working environment after Hamilton is gone is dreaming.

        He might be able to drive fast, but providing a team with leadership and motivation is hardly what Hamilton is known for.

  5. Irish con says:

    I remember reading a bit from mark Hughes talking about the 2010 Chinese gp weekend. In one of the practice sessions jenson did a lap that he said was the best lap the car and him could do and was confident it was good for p1 only to be told Lewis had gone 3 tenths faster. Jenson aparantly was shocked at the time Lewis could do. I reckon jenson can’t believe his luck that Lewis has left and went back to his old team.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      Like Charlie Sheen would say: he’s winning!

    2. madmax says:

      yep, Jenson had been extremely unlucky stuck with that rubbish BAR/Merc team and only picking up 1 win in 6 years.

      But his luck changed big time for Brawn and now I bet he can’t believe his luck!

      1. KRB says:

        BAR/Merc? BAR/Honda y’mean? Only in 2009 did that team (Tyrell -> BAR -> Honda -> Brawn) switch to Mercedes engines.

      2. madmax says:

        Meant more or less the same team through the BAR to Merc days rather like Benneton-Renault-Lotus.

    3. Cliff says:

      Not many GP’s won on during Practice Sessions. JB made it work on Sunday.

    4. Kay says:

      McLaren is too big for Jenson to carry imo. Esp. when you said Jens thought he done the best the car could do, only Lewis did 3 tenths better.

      So from next year onwards, Ferrari may be the only team left to fight the RBR, with Lotus snapping at their heels. McLaren may drop behind to become the 4th best fighting Lewis who will spend the first year to gather things around him.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Jenson carried mclaren in 2011. Hamilton sure as hell didn’t.

      2. Rach says:

        He carried them at the end of 2011 when the title was finished. What about 2010 and 2012?

      3. KRB says:

        Rach is right … Lewis was ahead of Button for most of the early season, though they did go back and forth. He only got ahead for good at the Belgian GP, the 12th race of the season, and also a Lewis DNF.

        Much easier to be loosey-goosey when there’s nothing to really fight for.

      4. clyde says:

        If he could carry brawn with no resources except the lone double diffuser he sure as hell can carry Mclaren

      5. Joel says:

        JB din’t carry BrawnGP – he literally let it fall apart towards the end of the season. He won because of the lead he had built earlier in the season.
        Having said that – drivers are only part of the equation, say 40%. No top driver can excel in a mediocre car and vice-versa.

      6. KRB says:

        40% is being generous. It all depends on the relative pace of the cars you’re comparing. If you’re comparing Caterham to Marussia, then yeah, the cars are pretty close, so the part each driver plays is bigger.

        But if you’re comparing the Red Bull to the Lotus, no driver in that Lotus could make up the fundamental car performance gap thru their driving ability.

      7. colin grayson says:

        button won the WDC at Brawn thanks to his maturity ; early season the diffuser gave him an advantage which he exploited ; once the other teams had the same system the Brawn was outclassed …but button ignored the …win in style ….comments , and racked up enough points

        if webber had done the same thing in 2010 he would have done the same , but he tried to win another race , and disaster struck

  6. Dmitry says:

    The news didn’t sink with me yet… I watch at F1 and feel like I lost something very dear.
    I hope the feeling will be gone and replaced with the joy of something new next year, but honestly – I don’t hold my fingers crossed.

    I really wish Lewis finds what he is looking for.

    As for McLaren – I feel very sorry for them. They are strong and will move on, but I feel even Martin feels they f***ed up big this time.

    1. Stephen Hughes says:

      I don’t think McLaren messed up. As a private team there was only so much they could afford to pay to keep Lewis. There is no point breaking the bank and then not having the resources to develop the car.

      I get the impression this was more led by Hamilton’s new management team than by either driver or team. It may work out, my gut feeling is that it is a bad move, but either way it has given Lewis a nice boost in salary and opened up some very interesting possibilities in the drivers market.

      1. Tim says:

        and dont forget the nice percentage that Lewis’s management team will get. What factor did that play?

  7. Sebee says:

    You don’t know what you got till its gone.

      1. DonSimón says:

        They paved paradise and Herman Tilke put up too much runoff.

      2. Sebee says:

        Sir Jackie said, take the trees from track side and put’em in a museum.

      3. DonSimón says:

        And Bernie charges all the people $300 just to see ‘em.

  8. McLaren78 says:

    I’m probably being too cynical, but I’m not buying Jenson’s PR-suave comments. Of course he realises it will be difficult for the team to accumulate as many constructor points without Lewis on board, but I’m sure he’s delighted he will now be the clear no 1 in a big team.

    1. Gul says:

      I agree….So not genuine.

    2. Joel says:

      +1. Agree 100%
      He is just being diplomatic.

      1. Andrew J says:

        Diplomatic is better than hot-headed tweeting, don’t you think?

        Throughout their McLaren partnership I think both JB and LH have been extremely diplomatic, playing the team game, giving credit to each other when it was due. The only negative thing I can recall JB saying about Lewis was the ‘What is he doing’ comment in Canada in the wet, and in the heat of that particular moment that was understandable.

  9. Charlie says:

    Anyone else feel this is lose-lose for both McLaren and Hamilton? That they both cut off their noses in spite of their faces, and should have swallowed their pride? Cus I do!

    But then again if Hamilton was disillusioned with McLaren then it was probably best he left. Pity he couldn’t go to Red Bull!

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      Sadly after 6 years in F1, the only teams that were interested in his service was his current employer and a team that his a distant 5th in the WCC.. No other top team would touch him with a ten foot pole.

      1. McLaren78 says:

        And would care to explain why? Maybe because Alonso had a veto and Horner did not want to upaset his golden boy?

      2. KRB says:

        I think part of Lewis’ move was to show that he was indeed serious about leaving McLaren. I think he will have out-clauses in the Merc contract such that if an RBR seat comes open, and they’re still the best bet, that RBR will know a move for LH is doable.

        If you have the fastest car, wouldn’t you be curious to know truly how fast it could possibly go? For that you need the fastest driver out there. Which to me, and especially after qualifying today in Abu Dhabi, is clearly Hamilton.

      3. bob says:

        @KRB

        I love it. Hamilton has a good pole position, and this CLEARLY makes him the fastest in F1.

        LOL

        Yeah, not Vettel who is absolutely wiping the floor with Hamilton on the pole position front.

        Oh, but that’s right, when anyone other than Hamilton gets P1, it’s because the car is the best. When Hamilton gets pole, it’s nothing to do with the car and everything to do with him being epic.

        LOL

  10. Gantsta says:

    What a great image this post has. They’ve had their moments but I’ve really enjoyed the Lewis and Jenson pairing at McLaren. Sad that Lewis is going but wish him all the best at Merc. Now come on JB and co. – regroup, rebuild and let’s go and win em’ all!

  11. Chromatic says:

    Unless Merc have secretly also nabbed Newey for next year then this decision is daft and Ham will forever regret it.

  12. ajay says:

    Really sad Hamilton decided he had to have a new challenge at a new team. If we assume that the top three drivers are Hamilton, Alonso and Vetttel in no particular order, who would have been best option to replace Lewis? Not sure there is any one head and shoulders ( no pun inteneded) above Button, but I would have like to see Raikanen baack to Mclaren. So all things considered Perez seems a good choice especially if he comes with sponsers

  13. Becken says:

    I noticed that since Lewis ‘turned his back’ to McLaren, Jenson sounds — more & more — like a senior member of this team.

    Today was one of those days. The ‘Ron Speak’ bit is missing, but I bet Jenson is training hard to be fluent in it until he retires as McLaren driver.

    About Lewis, as this season fades, McLaren is looking more and more like the bride left alone in the church. Anytime they cure an old trouble, and a new one arrives — pit stop, set up, lack of development, slow starts, reliability —, Lewis decision seems correct.

    Australian GP result next season could be a shock lesson to this bunch of racing bureaucrats. And I bet not a good one…

    1. Gul says:

      Racing bureaucrats! Spot on!

    2. bob says:

      @Becken

      Yes, because Hamilton won the 2012 Aus GP didn’t he?

      Oh, hang on a minute, no he didn’t…but I’m sure a McLaren driver did.

      Hmmm…who could that have been?

  14. Justin Bieber says:

    If you are honest with yourself, you’ll agree that Lewis left McLaren, not the other way around. Mercedes, McLaren and Lewis have said publicly that it was not about money but about a new challenge.

    But dont worry, he’s still young.. he might one day be back in a top team.

  15. James Berti says:

    Can’t wait for the Lewis reality show and coca-cola sponsorship! Next will be a brain-dead girlfriend.. oh wait..

    Bring on Perez, fresh start for the Mac boys.

    1. Jim says:

      Nicole doesn’t strike me as any thicker than anyone else. And Lewis is hardly an intellectual powerhouse.

      1. Neil Daniel says:

        My sister works in the entertainment industry and has met Nicole. Said she had a quick wit and was very switched on. So not brain-dead at all!

        As for the reality show and Coke sponsorship, my money’s on it being on MTV and Pepsi Max. Fits the image better.

      2. bob says:

        Jim, you crack me up dude!

        Belly laugh from me on that one!

  16. ferggsa says:

    I am sure McLaren will miss Lewis next year for short term results, but they have been here long enough to be relying solely on one driver, however fast he is
    They do need to get their act together in terms of reliability and pit work (where they have improved a lot)to give their drivers a good chance at both titles next year
    I also think Checo might never be as fast as Lewis, but I do think he might turn into a more consistent points finisher in the long run (once he settles down)
    I am glad he is making pressure errors now (sorry for Sauber)and hope he avoids them next season
    As for Mercedes, Lewis might be the spur they need to get their act together, even if this will not show until 2014

    On another subject, great Spanish article, but maybe you need a language selection option, rather than a different article
    And don’t worry too much about precise translation, Spanish in Asturias is so different to rest of Spain, not to mention from Mexico all the way down to Argentina, or else you would also need a different English slang for UK, US, Australia, etc.

    Great work as usual

  17. goferet says:

    No joking, Lewis will be missed at Mclaren for not only will Jens not have a bench mark to judge himself by (which was the main reason he moved to the team in the first place) but Mclaren too will miss out on all the sponsorship & coverage Lewis brought the team.

    But one can’t help feeling some people within the team wanted this move to happen taking into fact Jens’ comments last year along the lines of backing a clear number 1 driver.

    So if you take into account, Mclaren’s initial pay cut offer to Lewis maybe some within the team were hoping Lewis would move on then bring in a number 2 driver that can make it easier to win the world title without both drivers taking points off each other.

    And if you think about it, Jens isn’t really that bad a qualifier for if the car is good & everything is equal set up wise, he can plant it at least on the front row.

    So I think indirectly, the arrangement Mclaren have now is the most ideal moving forward more in line like Ferrari & Red Bull for that equal status thing has been proved to be a failure over the years.

  18. goferet says:

    As for Perez, am optimist he will grow into his shoes and if he gets to grip with a top running team, he could easily become Mclaren’s future champion for not only has the Americas given us great drivers over the years but also in F1, it’s rare for the older teammate to beat the younger one especially if there’s a big age gap between them as shown by numerous team mate battles over the years like the Vettel — Webber head to head.

    Yes, what some drivers just need is a good car to show what they can do e.g. The old Massa when he finally got his hands on a Ferrari.

    Also if you take into account, since Mclaren’s birth — in 1966 — Mclaren have won world drivers’ titles every decade with their worst decade (between 1999 ~ 2009) they won only 2 titles if you begin counting from 1966 e.g. 1966 ~ 1976, 1977 ~ 1987, 1988 ~ 1998, 1999 ~ 2009.

    So I believe Mclaren will be alright heading to the future considering their new decade begun in 2010.

    *Fun Fact*

    The only British champions to have done it with Mclaren so far are James Hunt in 1976 & Lewis in 2008

    On the other hand South Americans have done good at Mclaren in the form of Aryton, Fittipaldi and to a lesser extend Montoya.

    1. Martin says:

      Fun Fact

      decades have eleven years in them

      Or McLaren won the WDC seven times in eight years, and this period drags all the remaining statistics up.

      McLaren having an engine advantage with Porsche (fuel efficiency) and Honda (power) and Mercedes’ better years have tended to coincide with its best results. McLaren heading towards customer engines doesn’t sound like the best predictor to me…

  19. goferet says:

    As for Lewis’ move to to Mercedes, that to me looks like a reputation building move because the Mercedes car is looking awful at the moment that whatever performance Lewis can drag out of it & whatever points he can achieve with it, will be seen & feel as a win each time.

    And if he can turn their fortunes around into a front running team over time (either thanks to Schumi’s input or Ross Brawn) it will all be credited to him and thus he will be hailed as some kind of Messiahic figure.

    Personally, Lewis has given me something to look forward to in 2013 for even though we have another Red Bull run away season, I will be following the ups and downs of Lewis Hamilton more so because people like me have always believed the main problem that was holding the lad back (in terms of misfortune) was the fact that he was in a British team kinda like what happens to the England football stars when they play for England.

  20. Patrick Byrne says:

    Both McLaren and Hamilton lose out – it’s a tragedy in many ways. Button may miss Hamilton as well. He had the maturity to be able to accept Lewis’ better speed and be motivated by it. If he starts out-qualifying Perez it’ll soon be clear how far away they are from their potential.

    I think Hulk would have done a good job. He seems to be slowly gaining in stature and reputation. He struggled to match Barrichello sometimes in his rookie year but with such limited testing these days perhaps we have come to expect too much of rookies? How they overlooked him (or Di Resta) for Perez I can’t fathom. Are McLaren really that stuck for ££££££££?

    1. James Allen says:

      Look at the car this weekend and imagine it without Vodafone stickers.

      1. Sebee says:

        So Vodafone leaving may be true. I think McLaren are falling on leaner times a la Williams. I hope that Honda story is true and they can get manufacturer support with fully free engines. Honda already has a good V6 in IndyCar, so they have the experience.

      2. Sebee says:

        By the way, with the mess in IndyCar, Honda may really feel like they are not getting value and thus be well on the move to F1 like you say below. I hear the Acura division is not doing too well sales wise, and here is Infinity winning the F1 Championship! Their hand may be forced by Nissan to show up in F1 with the introduction of V6 engines. Wonder if they will be Honda or Acura branded. Perhaps they will look for 2 teams and brand McLaren Honda for historic reasons and another team will brand Acura? Who knows…

  21. Cliff says:

    As much as I wanted Lewis Hamilton to stay at McLaren, the time was right for all parties. The next couple of seasons will hopefully show us his true character and talent. Jenson Button is in a similar position. He must now drive the team and the spotlight will be on him rather than Perez. Bottom-line, both drivers will have to show that they can develop a car and drive a team to build a winning package.

    As an asisde: I’ve heard that McLaren will not release Lewis Hamilton untiol 01/01/2013. If true, all i can say is “what goes around comes around” to Ross Brawn (JB to McLaren in 2010)

  22. TG says:

    On the upside, when Hamilton starts dragging that Merc up the field next year it’ll be pretty exciting.

  23. JD says:

    To this day, I still can’t believe McLaren didn’t sign either Di Resta or Hulkenberg, or even re-acquire Kovalainen. Looking at 2013, Mercedes engines has seen its quickest driver move down from McLaren to the factory team, and they traded down young drivers by taking on Perez in favor of losing Hulkenberg. Maybe Renault and Ferrari powered cars will dominate next year and beyond?

  24. Richard says:

    Well McLaren have themselves to blame! They have, in effect, squandered Lewis’s talent by their failure to design a properly competitive car. These days because the standards are so high, cars have to be vitually aerodynamically perfect to have any chance of winning a race. That means low drag, high downforce, and of course we all know that Red Bull excell in that field with a design team lead by Adrian Newey. It’s a bit sad that this has happened in way, but aerodynamicists of Newey’s calibre are rather thin on the ground, and I expect he’s something of a visionary backed by years of experience.

    1. Jim says:

      Your points are somewhat confused. First you say McLaren have only themselves to blame, then you say that Newey’s the guy that’s made the difference. So how can it be McLaren’s fault? Should they have kidnapped Newey’s family to make him work for them???

      McLaren have screwed up in the pits a few times, but their car has been the best all season, up until RB’s resurgence a few races ago.

      1. Richard says:

        Sorry! I assume everyone knows what is going on in F1. It is McLaren’s fault by all the operational errors, and reliability problems that have cost Lewis about 3 wins. In the last 3-4 races Red Bull have improved their performance by increasing downforce wrought by changes at the rear of the car. – All as a direct result of Newey’s design team.

    2. AuraF1 says:

      To be fair mclaren built the fastest car at the start of the year – then blew it with procedural failures at pitstops and poor strategy calls. And Newey has built poor to average cars before – including for mclaren – he like many of the drivers who get in his designs, seems to have a few great years then a few ‘quiet’ years.

      I think the difference at red bull is Adrian is given a big budget and free reign to build the departments around him and run how he sees fit. So he’s built a real team – even if Newey has an off year, he’s built an outfit that will push harder than most.

      Mclaren can build a very fast 2013 car, as can Ferrari. They can only hope they start fast and grab the points early or it will likely be another vettel year.

      Everyone will have to wait until 2014 though for any genuine shaking of the order though.

      1. Richard says:

        Yes in general I would agree with what you have said, but after 2008 the cars have been lack lustre with this year being the best, with McLaren losing focus with the operational and reliability problems directly responsible for Lewis losing the lead in the championship. – I suspect they lost him about three wins.

        In the past Newey’s cars have been a bit fragile, but with greater autonomy, without interfering committee’s he comes good, and his brilliance is there for all to see.

        McLaren have got a fast car they simply need to take a similar step as Red Bull to improve downforce still further to match Vettel in the Red Bull, although they will have lost a very fast driver in Lewis next year as Jenson may not be quite up to the job. – Perez certainly won’t. In the current formula all teams need fast qualifiers to stand a chance of beating Vettel.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        I’ve mentioned this before – McLaren follow the Ron Dennis school of trying to build the ‘perfect’ racing car (or whatever – Ron is infamously an anally obsessive compulsive about perfection at the cost of human spark). The problem with aiming for perfection is as humans, they will fail and they don’t have any overriding philosophy.

        Adrian Newey and his team have a very distinct philosophy – and it’s far from perfection – it’s actually very pragmatic considering he’s a genius.

        Build a car that has immense downforce, even at the cost of top speed, let Vettel qualify at the front on Saturday, launch fast, build a two second gap before DRS is available, cruise to victory. If they mess this up, even Newey’s cars have to work hard to win it, if they pull it off – they end up with multiple championships as displayed recently.

        I think Jenson can qualify ‘quite’ well when the car is set up right and he’s got it down. He regularly beats Lewis in practices and we know he’s not bad in races. Lewis just seems to have an ability to drag a car faster on a Saturday than it normally deserves to. So McLaren lose that skill.

        If they can get over trying to build a model super-computer which avoids all human frailty and just build a car that suits Jensons highly unusual racing driving style (his near minimum steering input is incredibly rare amongst any F1 driver past or present) then McLaren might actually do okay.

        The fact is, if everyone just lets Red Bull have Saturdays and tries to compete on Sundays only, they will ALL lose to RBR/Newey/Vettel. Only Pirelli managed to interrupt this earlier in the year by confusing even Newey with their tyre operating windows.

        The best hope for any other team in 2013 is that the tyres are totally different again – and that someone can build a big enough cushion over RBR before they get on top of it and crush everyone from Saturdays again (and we get another 2011 snoozefest – unless you’re a Vettel fan in which case I guess you get another brilliant season of joy!)

  25. CHXUNDA says:

    It is just Jenson managing expectations as usual i.e. set a lower target than you can achieve so that when you do okay, you look good. It is all about appearances.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Possibly. Most drivers do that, including Hamilton and vettel – only alonso seems to buck the trend by declaring his highest intention. Though I think that’s just how alonso manages his own psychology.

      To be fair to jenson, unlike alonso he moved to a team to race against Lewis knowing Lewis was faster over a lap. Unlike some drivers who demand preference he went to the team where he said he was the slower driver but thought he could outrace Hamilton. Which he has done sometimes. I think jenson has been quite honest about Lewis speed from day one. He just believes he’s a better strategic racer – given the overall stats of their time at mclaren it would appear he’s been right.

      1. Joel says:

        Are you kidding me – Alonso and Ferrari’s strategy this whole year has been to downplay their speed at every given opportunity. Come race day – they had always been the 1st or 2nd fastest. Also, here are two other important points.
        1. Ferrari might not be a good qualifying car.
        2. They more than make up for the questionable qualifying by having some tremendous starts – I think they are having some mechanical assist that helps them start so strongly.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Alonso is the only driver who has publicly said ‘I am 100% confident of winning the world championship’. Not even Vettel has done that. He’s consistently said it is tough and he takes one race at a time. Alonso has at several races said he will win (varying between 100 and 120% certainty according to Ted Kravitz!)

        So, no, I’m not kidding you. Alonso manages his pressure by publicly saying he will still win eventually. Vettel and others have all said variations of managing expectations.

      3. Joel says:

        Saying he’ll win 100% is different from underplaying their speed. Even Button failed to admit that he is out of contention, until he was mathematically in the game – apples and oranges my friend.

  26. Chris Horton says:

    I really think Perez will step up, genuinely think McLaren will be fine.

    The consistency and maturity he maybe lacks now will come with experience. If McLaren come up with a good car for next season I think Button and Perez will be formidable.

    1. Kay says:

      +1 on Perez.

      Raikkonen done his job very well at McLaren after his first year spent at Sauber. So I have no doubts about Perez.

  27. gudien says:

    Ron Dennis’ remark during the critical point in driver negotiations was to the point that “he works for us, we don’t work for him”.

    As time goes on I believe this will be the defining moment of the McLaren/Hamilton contract talks.

    McLaren, after all, is Ron’s baby and it doesn’t belong to Lewis or any other driver.

  28. G Hindle says:

    As a JB fan I’m very keen to see how it goes in 2014. I’m clearly hoping McLaren will focus 100% on creating a car which suits JB. As for LH I think he may regret leaving a race winning team.

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      …But not a championship team. That, in part, is why he is leaving.

      1. Jim says:

        …to go to not even a race-winning team!

      2. AuraF1 says:

        But Lewis has won his championship with mclaren so bit difficult to state that. Mclaren haven’t been able to defeat red bull recently but then neither has anyone else!

    2. D17MO.D says:

      … As you just said, he is leaving a ‘race winning’ team and not a ‘championship winning’ team!

      I for one am looking forward to the next few seasons! :-)

  29. G Hindle says:

    As a JB fan I’m very keen to see how it goes in 2013. I’m clearly hoping McLaren will focus 100% on creating a car which suits JB. As for LH I think he may regret leaving a race winning team.

  30. Michael Cassie says:

    I just cannot see Hamilton managing to galvanise the Mercedes Team around him in the way Schumacher and Alonso managed with Ferrari. I wonder if he thinks he can drive the team ahead, but unless he stops the twittering and other silly behaviour we have seen from him Rosberg will still be their favourite. We have seen how Button has grown up over the years and how he got the Mclaren team onside quite quickly, even when he isn’ the fastest driver. Sometimes nice guys do win.

    1. Kay says:

      “We have seen how Button has grown up over the years ”

      So why are you dissing Hamilton then? Something restrains him from growing up?

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Apparently it does. Button has generally got better with age, as has alonso and clearly vettel too (you could also point to webber showing an increase in talent). Hamilton has something button, alonso and webber lack which is a blistering qualifying speed (only vettel seems to match that one lap feel). Lewis has sadly gotten worse over the years though. Much of it seemingly based on his childish behaviour. He’s almost 28 now – occasionally he acts like a 20 year old rookie. If he shows he can learn from experience and matures he may yet be that 3 time champion he so desires. But he won’t at the moment. His growth is stymied. By himself or by his team or just his life circumstances – hard to know. I hope his move to mercedes brings about that change as it would be a shame to see such a talent wasted.

        That’s the attitude a grown up fan of Lewis has – not just the constant button hatred and mindless defence of Lewis against all comments. He’s not infallible – he’s just a nice kid with a talent – who has a lot of growing up to do in a short space of years.

    2. Janis says:

      My thoughts exactly.
      Lewis is a bit like Mansell in many respects: aggressive, very fast, but – impatient, moody and not so great technically.
      He will win another WDC if he has the very best car, but all things being equal, Alonso, Vettel, or even Kimi with their much more disciplined approach will prevail. I think :)
      Also, I am not so sure about his team building ability. He hasn’t exactly made himself popular at McLaren with a number of careless criticisms, tweets, and so on.
      McLaren may have done the right thing letting Lewis go, but whether their gamble on Perez will pay off – only time will tell. I have my doubts.

  31. dubdub says:

    Perez has raw speed and an aggression that sometimes isn’t tempered.
    My old engineer use to say to me “you can slow a race horse down, but you can’t speed a donkey up.”
    I think Perez has shown enough this year that, in the right environment, he will be special. If special equals race wins and world championships…who knows. But I’m guessing Mclaren thinks it can create the right environment for him to thrive.

    In any event, I’m picking that Perez will beat Hamilton in the Championship next year.

    1. Joel says:

      Usually, I don’t, but here I have to agree with Ferrari. Perez isn’t ready for a top tier team yet – unless McLaren is looking for a No 2 driver.
      A lot is written about him getting to podium 3 times. However, you need to look at the circumstances that led to his podium finishes. Sauber is the gentlest car on tyres & fuel. When you are fighting upfront – the ability to extract that final oomph from that car matters between a first and a second place finish. Can Perez deliver that – I doubt. I read that he is struggling to beat his teammate in qualifying.

  32. Luke Clements says:

    Perez seems a bit like Kovalainen…started at a second tier team. Gets a promotion to A-grade with Mclaren, before he’s really proven himself. Didn’t work out for Kovy, hope Perez can do better.

    1. Kay says:

      Kovo’s case wasn’t exactly “promotion”, but it was a swap between McLaren and Renault just so McLaren could get rid of Alonso. There wasn’t exactly a lot of options for McLaren back then.

  33. Peter says:

    They also lose lots of Hamilton`s ups and downs drama, big ego, excuses, conflicts and empty hype. They should have got Kimi back for any price for the next two years, they would be WCH with the guy who has taken Lotus to the third spot of the championship in his first come back year with unknown team, car and tires. I think McLaren will be refreshed with the new pairing anyway.

    1. F1addicted says:

      I am not a Raikkonen fan but I agree they should have gone all out to get him.

      Just another example of their non-logical thinking.

      They probably though ‘no we need a young driver’ or ‘no people will think we have gone backwards’ or ‘no people will think we don’t have new ideas’…

      Typical of Whitmarsh and his illogical, ego-based leadership.

      1. Peter C says:

        In your opinion.

      2. Jim says:

        I didn’t know you had worked so closely with Whitmarsh. Because nobody with any sense would make this sort of judgment based on a few tv interviews.

        What’s your theory as to why he hasn’t been removed from his post, given that his leadership is so illogical?

  34. Davexxx says:

    Regarding Hamilton, I wonder how long it will take before he ‘makes an impression’ on Mercedes and actually helps them. I somehow doubt he will. He dreams of emulating Schumi when he joined Ferrari and helped them improve, but Lewis – while being a quick driver – doesn’t have the same ‘all-round’ ability. I remember in Schumi’s Ferrari days he’d win a race and climb out the car but STILL be peeking at the opposition cars for hints on their performance. I’ve never seen Lewis study other cars like that. He’ll simply be relying on Brawn et al to make ‘his’ car quicker for him.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      What do you mean by “all round ability”? What is it that Lewis lacks vs other drivers? I ask this because I have seen Lewis study other cars lots and lots in parc ferme. He does it all the time, as do other drivers. And I would also say that every driver is reliant on their engineers to make their car quicker, Hamilton is no different.

      1. colin grayson says:

        the days when drivers made a technical input to the cars are long gone ; telemetry tells it all

        all that is required from a driver is to report back to the engineers how it feels to him ; OK they will be allowed to make a choice between various set up offerings because a happy driver is a confident driver …doesn’t mean their choice was correct though

    2. Kay says:

      Actually I’ve always thought MSC peeking at other people’s cars were pretty pointless.

      What is there expected to see inside the cockpits? Batman’s tumbler style hand lever throttle? Attack mode that makes the driver sink into the nose?

      Peeking inside other people’s cars isn’t what helped MSC to shape Ferrari around him back then.

    3. Joel says:

      Common, apart from watching the races on Sunday’s and the filtered commentary or qualifying, how much do you know about the insides of F1?
      All drivers at this level do their very bit and McLaren wanting him (also offering him the highest salary among all F1 drivers) proves that what you are saying is an “arm-chair expert’s” opinion.

  35. Stephen Hughes says:

    I hope Lewis has some good performance clauses in this contract. It’s all well and good saying that Merc are looking hopeful for 2014 with the new engine but their existing engine is pretty well respected but other teams are doing a better job with it.

    It is hard to understand just why they are performing so badly when they are probably one of the better resourced teams on the grid.

    There have – as far as I’m aware – been no significant changes in management or technical staff so there is no reason to suspect things will improve.

    I can see Lewis giving it two years and taking a lower paid offer elsewhere just to get back in a good car. He rode out one poor year for McLaren and didn’t look too frustrated with the situation but I can’t see him lasting more than a couple of years in a bad team.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      I was under the impression that the last 2 years have seen massive staff changes at Mercedes (nee Brawn GP). As Brawn had to cut back so many staff to get a car to the grid, Merc were starting afresh.

  36. SA says:

    Sorry but I see the loss of Hamilton as a positive one rather than the negative that has been portrayed in the media. Button will do very well next year, because he is better than the overrated spoilt brat of Hamilton.

    1. Rach says:

      Do you actually really believe that?!

  37. M. Collins says:

    I don’t believe for one second that Lewis is making this move to Mercedes because he wants a “challenge.” It’s not like he’s putting the McLaren (an objectively better car than the Mercedes) on pole every qualifying session and finishing out race weekends at the top of the podium. He’s fighting tooth and nail for every position from the first to final lap, and it doesn’t always work out in his favor. And we’ve all seen how he is when he feels he’s in an uncompetitive car. Things will only get worse in the Merc, I think. This move is almost certainly a financial one and issues from internal friction within the team. Drivers don’t just leave championship winning vehicles to get into one with huge question marks surrounding it for a “challenge.” They almost always have other motivations. It would be like Lorenzo or Pedrosa hopping off their front running Hondas and Yamahas onto the Ducati; ain’t gonna happen.

    Also, I’m not all the convinced that Perez is on the same level as Hamilton or Button, especially when it comes to consistency. He has flashes of brilliance, I’ll give him that.

    Time will tell. Lord knows we need as many competitive car/driver combinations on this grid as possible. I hope Perez and Hamilton prove me wrong.

    1. MikeyB says:

      “It would be like Lorenzo or Pedrosa hopping off their front running Hondas and Yamahas onto the Ducati; ain’t gonna happen.”

      Maybe, but isn’t that exactly what Rossi did though?

    2. Joel says:

      I don’t see him going to Merc for a challenge either. However, I do believe that is the best option for him (and probably McLaren) as his day-to-day life at McLaren isn’t hunky-dory. He himself said that some in the team would like to see him gone – that speaks volumes.
      I can see him performing very well (evidenced in the last few races) once he could let the burden (should I stay at McLaren or not) go from his head.
      Good luck to both.

  38. Don Farrell says:

    Even though I’ll be a Ferrari fan until the day I die… I’ve always liked the synergy between Button & Hamilton & McLaren… an all British dream team…. will be sad to see the end of that era in McLaren. As for Perez joining McLaren… sounds like a big cost saving measure by McLaren….. time will tell eh.

  39. F458 says:

    I think that McLaren are suffering from the lack of top driving talent coming through at the moment due to pay drivers/testing restrictions which was the subject of one of your previous articles James.

    When Mika Hakkinen retired 11 years ago, McLaren replaced him with an up and coming talent by the name of Kimi Raikkonen. I can’t see anyone in the younger generation of drivers who has shown the promise that a young Raikkonen/Alonso/Hamilton/Schumacher did. Are we heading towards a generation of good but not good enough drivers where not one driver stands out above his peers? I hope not.

    1. LL says:

      Lol at you leaving out Vettel, you know, the guy who is beating all of the ones you mentioned.

      In before ‘it is the car’, yeah Fangio’s cars were always 2-4 seconds a lap faster.

    2. Kay says:

      Got the same feeling here.

  40. F12012 says:

    Big loss for Mclaren, is this the start of their downfall, they have to pay for engines next year and if they don’t get second place in the constructors, they might not have the money for car development next year

  41. falonso says:

    Respect to Hamilton from this Alonso fan for his decision. We all know about his talent but it is this kind of challenge what shows the strengh of character and self confidence that define F1 Greats rather than one DWC more or less. I wish him all the best.

  42. F1Ray says:

    “I know they have lost their way a little bit at the moment, but I’m going to go and help them find their way”. I find that comment just a tad patronizing, to be honest. If, at all,such words would normally be said by someone at boss or manager level, not a driver. I’m sure Brawn, with all his experience, is over the moon, at being described, as captain of a ship of lost souls.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Yeah, I thought that too. I hope that it was said in a manner that looks terrible to read, but was actually tongue in cheek or something. It is true though, Merc do seem to have lost their way. Can Hamilton turn it around? We’ll know in a couple of years if he manages to.

      1. F1Ray says:

        @aezy_doc. One of Mercs problems is, or at least was. heavy tyre wear in comparison to other cars. I fail to see what Hamilton could contribute to cure such an engineering problem. Schumacher suffered many reliability problems, first half of the season, if they were to return next year, again, how can Hamilton fix that. he can moan about it, but he’s not putting the car together. His comment just had a degree of self importance about it, like he thinks he’s going to be Merc’s one man saviour. Nothing wrong in a driver showing a keen interest in problems, but by definition of his job and knowledge, he’s not going to fix things that qualified engineers struggle with. Lewis Newey he is not.

    2. Liam in Sydney says:

      A tad harsh… the guy is on the spot to make a comment for the media. Its not an easy thing to do.

      1. F1Ray says:

        @Liam. Having such a major management team behind him, you would have thought they would have had him better equipped, for such an obvious question.

    3. tom in adelaide says:

      Absolutely, if I worked for Mercedes I’d be thinking “who the hell does this guy think he is”. Lewis doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy who can rally a team around him like Alonso/Vettel/Button have in recent years.

      1. colin grayson says:

        if I worked for mercedes I would say ….this guy is the fastest driver in F1 by a margin , and maturing
        now we have a chance of getting to the top

    4. Craig in Manila says:

      Agreed.
      Easy to imagine some cynical/sceptical Merc mechanics sarcastically saying something like “relax lads, the saviour is coming and all will be well”.
      If he can do it, he’ll be a hero.
      But, if he can’t, I fear that people will turn on him very quickly…

  43. Dugan says:

    Good Riddance.

  44. Rein says:

    Perez will win next year for McLaren. Hamilton will win next year for Mercedes. No worries. Exciting times, can’t wait!

    1. Jugraj says:

      Ditto that.
      Next year the top 5 teams will be very close and in championship contention till the end.

  45. David S says:

    Still a bit puzzling for me but I think Lewis needs to press reset and I wish him well.

    One thing though. I cannot for the life of me workout how Mercedes will give him more ‘freedom’ than Mclaren.
    The opposite will be true. Mercedes are absolutely paranoid about their image. One foot out of line and Lauda will be asked to align him to the corporate message. If Lewis thought Ron had a tight rein he ain’t seen nothing yet.
    Rappers, bling and girls on the front pages will cause a twitchy Merc board to give him a clear message.
    If Lewis wants a racing challenge then fine but if he is really going for his ‘freedom’ he’ll get a shock.

    For his sake though I prey the Merc board will lose those bean counters who plainly don’t understand the importance of heritage and the sport to their company’s ethos because hey pose the real threat to that team. Merc GP need to win 1 in 5 GP’s to survive as a team otherwise it will go engine supply only.
    Perez and Button will be fine when they get their Honda motors in 2015! Can’t wait for the turbo’s and a more engine related era.

  46. JB says:

    Finally, the truth comes out: Mclaren sulking on the lost of Hamilton.

    I still believe that Hamilton will excel in Mercedes. He has great talent on overtaking (i.e. great car control on adverse situation) and very good speed.

    Perez’s recent performance really suck. Seems to me he has little hunger to do well now that he feels he has earned more than everything he set his career before. Mclaren should lower their expectation from Perez. He may be only as good as a Kovalainen.

  47. thejudge13 says:

    James – sorry to go off topic, but the televised drivers’ press conference is just becoming a joke. You sit on the FIA press council, is there nothing you can do about it?

    What never ceases to amaze me about these events is the lack of preparation from the local journalists. Given the opportunity to ask each F1 driver 1 question, I would spend a lot of time and consideration thinking about it.

    I would anticipate the ducking and weaving possibilities and eventually come up with a question that is very tightly phrased.

    Jenson was asked – “So what do you think of Abu Dhabi?” by a Scottish Gulf News reporter. He meandered through some party he’d once been to and then admitted he knew nothing of Abu Dhabi and his experience was limited to the track and hotels he’d stayed in.

    Somewhat embarrassed in giving his answer, Jenson unwittingly said it all. Abu Dhabi is 8 miles long by 3 miles deep. It has a staggering 98 hotels, all of which are 4,5,6 star – and even in the current economic climate opened 4 mega hotels in 2012. It is a playground of the rich, hot and sunny and the beaches are not that nice.

    Jenson dub deeper by concluding most amusingly, “its been great here, but I’ve spent the last 3 days down the road in Dubai”.

    At least this was a piece of theatre, but the perfect example of what I’m saying about inane questions came next. Jenson was asked, “What do you think has Lewis learned from you [as an older driver with more experience]“.

    Predictably Jenson said “ask him”. If the questioner had thought for a nano-second he may have considered a better option.

    “Jenson, as more experienced drivers can always pass on something to their younger counterparts – no matter how talented they are – what would the one thing be you’d have hoped to pass on to Lewis during your time as team mates”.

    The press conference then got worse. Okay we heard today Marrusia lost $80m this year and are looking for investment.

    Charles Pic is asked for his thought on this and whether he is broadening his focus on driving for other teams.

    After a long pause, followed by a laugh and much amusement among the other drivers…guess what we got? “My job is to be focused on this race…..”. Inane or what?

    This is an FIA promoted event from a sport that generates $1.5bn a year and this is the best we get?

    Reminds me of a Punch and Judy show with the high desks and all – except Punch and Judy is far more professional and has better content.

    1. James Allen says:

      Fair point. I’ll bring that up at next FIA Press Council meeting. Thanks

  48. LL says:

    Reality will sink in fast for Hamilton, in fact he already looks shell-shocked and can’t believe he signed a Merc contract.

    It is the dumbest move an F1 driver has ever made in this sport.

    Also, Perez to McLaren will be a huge disappointment too. He is not exceptional, unless the team gets lucky with strategy and he gets the special treatment for it while his teammate is left out to dry.

    They should have picked Hulkenburg or even Kobayashi.

  49. Chris G says:

    I read rumours recently that McLaren may be teaming up with Honda for 2014 (don’t think it was this website but could be wrong). Honda may not have done so well with their eponymous F1 team but are formidable when it comes to engines and innovative technology. If this rumour turns out to be the case I would not bet against McLaren/Honda delivering a championship winning package.

    Can you shed any light on this rumour James…or did I dream it?!

    1. James Allen says:

      There are rumours of Honda gearing up to build a new engine, Gary Anderson, who worked with Honda at Jordan, got the impression during the Suzuka weekend from old colleagues that something is happening.

  50. Saidy says:

    Lewis leaves a great team, but they get rid of some distractions. I think LH and his mgmt team’s strategy is to align incentives between Merc corporate, Ross, and some new techies to commit more resources than what has been provided over past 2 years. Lewis needed to leave the crib. Ross and Lewis will be good together. Haug is very shrewd as well. Patience could pay off. Not easy to see how they match RBR, Ferrari and the big surprise performance of Lotus in next 2 years given only limited changes next year. 2014 engines could change the mix as well.

    As for Sergio? Smart aggressive and a talent that will be consistently top 6 or 7 with more and more podiums. Best choice they could have made given availability….and the dough he brings plus Latin viewers. Hard to let him slip away. He has had some great drives this year. He will only improve at McLaren.

    1. Becken says:

      “…Lewis leaves a great team, but they get rid of some distractions…”

      Interesting is that, looking back to this season, Lewis was the only who didn´t look distracted and error prone.

      I can´t say the same about McLaren team and Button. Just my opinion. :D

  51. Dave Aston says:

    McLaren are closer than ever to emulating Ferrari’s run of 21 years without a driver’s championship. As for Hamilton, it’s not quite Fittipaldi moving to Copersucar, or Villeneuve going to BAR, but it’s close. He’s a rare talent, but with the high standard of younger guys coming through wanting top drives, he’ll probably never win a championship again. I expect Perez will win a few races next year, and finish ahead of Button in the points. Funny, after nearly two years together, Perez and Kobayashi are equal on 80 points. Qualifying, Perez was slightly ahead last year, Kobayashi this year; I think it’s 19-16 overall. Pretty close; one goes to McLaren, one is looking for a sponsor to keep his drive. Come on Lotus, take him!

    1. Monza01 says:

      Dave how on earth can you justify this statement ?

      Were you hibernating in 2008 when McLaren won the driver’s championship with Lewis ?

      In the last five years McLaren also had two 2nds, a 4th, and one 5th place in the Driver’s Championship !

      They have never finished below third in the constructors championship and were in second place three times !

      Surely you must have meant Williams, not McLaren ?

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      McLaren won it in 2008. That would mean not a single WDC until 2029 when all this generation of drivers (even the youngest) have passed. I doubt this is going to happen.

    3. Joel says:

      I’m no Button fan, but I’ll tell you now that Button will Perez for lunch. You will be disappointed next year.

  52. Kev says:

    I can’t imagine Sergio doing PR Business for Mclaren. Imagine a Hugo Boss ad or a Tag Heuer ad featuring Sergio. It just doesn’t have that element of ‘COOL’ in it to be honest. And his recent performances have been disappointing.

  53. Wade Parmino says:

    I don’t think Perez is going to like it at McLaren. It seems too commercial and cold an environment.

    Bruce McLaren would be pleased with the successes the team carrying his namesake has made since his time, however he was a true enthusiast who drew much joy from racing. The philosophy of Ron Dennis’ McLaren team has been about winning and making money from this success. Dennis has always said “2nd place is first of the losers” as well as “we are not here to have fun, we have a job to do”. Sure, winning is the aim of the game but these sentiments come across as being void of the true passion and enjoyment that comes from motor racing. This is in stark contrast to Ferrari whose founder sold cars to the public for the sole purpose of funding his passion of racing cars.

    Fernando Alonso has confirmed this by describing Ferrari as a family, unlike McLaren. Perez may encounter this as well.

  54. All revved-up says:

    I’ve been expecting McLaren to return to their status as a dominant team since the Prost Senna years. But now, 20 years has passed, McLaren has been a top team and an occasional champion, but not dominant.

    Hakkinen, Kimi, Alonso and Lewis have put up championship winning drives but not achieved WDC for many reasons – team infighting, unreliability, poor race weekend set-up.

    F1 is a tough sport as minor errors (set-up, component, pitstops, driver errors) can be severely and publicly punished with no place to hide. As fans we appreciate it is immensely tough and admire well run shops like Red Bull and Ferrari in recent years (even then many errors were made by those two teams).

    But when world championship drivers (Mika, Kimi, Alonso, Lewis) put in championship winning performances, and are not rewarded by the taste of success, I feel that this can be quite disheartening.

    In this light, I can sense the strong emotion to just try something different. Lewis walking away to give change a chance is certainly not for want of trying hard at McLaren.

    1. KRB says:

      Gotta say they were dominant in 1998. If you win 8 races as a driver, you’re in a very, very good car. Hamilton I’m sure would give a lot to have been in that ’98 McLaren, or even that ’05 Mac, nevermind the 80′s and early 90′s McLarens.

  55. clyde says:

    Lewis seems to be on a Emulate Senna adventure but he somehow strikes me as lacking the all round ability of the all time greats ….just my opinion

  56. Rockie says:

    Mclaren would be just fine, there was Mclaren before Hamilton and they would continue to win races when he leaves.

    1. KRB says:

      They didn’t win any in 2006. Hamilton’s won at least two every year since, even in the bad year of 2009, though the car was decent the times he won that year. He’s never had the luxury of a dominant (by dominant, I mean over all others) car. His best car at McLaren was the 2007 edition, and that year the Ferrari was an equal car (Mac better at some tracks, Ferrari at others), and he had 2xDWC Alonso as his teammate, as a rookie!

      McLaren and he should’ve and could’ve done better in 2010 and 2012, but for various circumstances didn’t. 2008 was an against-the-grain win, winning b/c of mistakes and misfortune befalling Massa and Ferrari.

      1. Rockie says:

        If it makes you sleep @ night then you could believe Mclaren won’t win a race without Hamilton. But believe that at your own peril.
        I can see you intentionally left out 2011 but wait it doesn’t count right as he didn’t do well also hasn’t Button won races? So what’s your argument exactly?

      2. KRB says:

        Do you think that BUT/PER will win the same number of races as BUT/HAM this year? Even if the car is 100% reliable next year, I doubt they will win 5 races over the season, but I’m fully ready to be proven wrong.

        2011 was HAM’s worst year (still 3 wins though), yet unbelievably he will score less points this year while having one more race! Part of that is that the grid in general is closer to each other (it was the top 3 teams hoovering up all the plum positions last year), but also the lost points for the #4 car, thru team mistakes and unreliability.

        My point was that Hamilton is McLaren’s best bet to score victories, and they are losing him.

  57. Quade says:

    I recall a candid interview Paddy Lowe had when Jenson was having tyre and various set up woes. He was pointing out the differences with both guys and basically said that Jenson is one of those modern F1 drivers that cannot do without driver aids and engineer help, whereas Lewis is not dependent on those things. He alsi said that Lewis can go out and immediately respond with feedback on the cars behaviour, but Jenson needs a few laps to bed himself in first.
    Lets also not forget that Jenson needed Lewis set up skills and maps of Lewis driving techniques to get out of the doldrums earlier this year.
    It is all of these things plus Lewis raw speed and elevtric talent that McLaren is going to lose next season.
    I haven’t rooted for any team outside McLaren since Mika’s time, so I feel a big hole in my heart these days when I see their cars go round, because I know that I’ll be rooting for Mercedes (at least until Whitmarsh is gone).

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Top Tags
SEARCH McLaren Mercedes
JA ON F1 In association with...
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Download the chequered flag podcast today
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer