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Is Lewis Hamilton really “Ready to finish the first Grand Prix in 15th place” ?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Feb 2013   |  12:21 pm GMT  |  479 comments

Lewis Hamilton is doing a great deal of his work in the media at the moment setting out his stall in the early stages of the Mercedes relationship.

And an interview in today’s L’Equipe with Fred Ferret is a good example of how the 2008 world champion wants to draw some lines in the sand; to get some basic understandings out there, knowing that the world’s commentators, media and public will all have plenty of opinions and judgements on the rights and wrongs of his move down the grid, as he goes through the first year at the Mercedes team.

There is also a similar interview in today’s edition of Gazzetta dello Sport, the Italian equivalent of L’Equipe.

In the L’Equipe interview says that his targets are modest for 2013; to get a podium, perhaps a race win, but he is “quite prepared to finish 15th in the first race” in Melbourne on March 17.

After a couple of days of testing the new Mercedes, Hamilton admitted that the Mercedes has some catching up to do, but made it clear he is more focussed on the longer term and on 2014 in particular.

As we saw yesterday with the hiring of Rory Byrne to focus on Ferrari’s integration of the 2014 turbo engine and chassis, there is an opportunity for teams that build their own engines to get an edge in chassis design.


As for his first taste of Mercedes vs McLaren machinery, Hamilton was pretty frank,
“The McLaren was better, but that’s not a surprise. I could see last year that the Mercedes was often a second off the best; sometimes two seconds. I was prepared for that. I could tell (in Jerez test) that the Mercedes had less downforce than the McLaren. But it’s not catastrophic. I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things.

There is a fascinating passage about his thoughts on Niki Lauda, his part in getting Hamilton to Mercedes and the wider role at Mercedes,
“I’ve always respected him, but in the last few years he used to criticise me without even knowing me,” said Hamilton. Lauda has for many years had a media platform for his outspoken views with German TV rights holder RTL.

“When we met I wanted us to spend time together in order for him to understand who I was. And on my side, I wanted to know if I was going to like his character. At the end of the day, we have a lot in common. We spoke at length about things with passion and that contributed to my decision (to join Mercedes).”


Another important note to commentators, pundits and fans comes from his explanation of why he needed to leave McLaren,

“Definitely things weren’t as good as they had been at McLaren; I was driving a competitive car, I could win races, battle with Sebastian Vettel.. But I perhaps stayed there too long. I need new challenges. I can’t stay for 25 years in the same office, doing the same things. And McLaren had become a bit like an office for me; the routine, the same gym, the same factory in which I knew what was in every single corner.”


Hamilton has made another change in his management with Tom Shine (above) from XIX Entertainment coming in to look after day to day matters, replacing the veteran driver manager Didier Coton, who looks after Valterri Bottas.

Shine was senior vice president of Adidas Reebok, for 11 years, where he worked closely with Hamilton, before moving to the Los Angeles headquarters of XIX at the start of year. “The talent we have under contract is huge,” Shine told the US Sports Business Journal at the time of his move.

“The idea is to build them as brands, and bring some of the ones with marketing savvy from entertainment to sports, along with combining those disciplines.”

The Sports Business Journal noted at the time of Shine’s move to XIX, that there is a vogue at the moment for major sponsors and brands “combining sports and entertainment marketing investments. From Coke’s Olympic “Move to the Beat” music platform to Pepsi’s current “NFL Anthems” campaign, the new programs just seem to make sense, especially when big brand expenditures for music and sports programs are easily into seven figures.”

So it is interesting to note that XIX has this in mind for a Formula 1 driver like Hamilton and it will be even more interesting to see how F1′s own in-house promoter Bernie Ecclestone reacts to their initiatives around Hamilton.

Hamilton says that he wishes to bring “simplicity” to Mercedes and cites the example of the steering wheel which he feels is over-complicated. At McLaren he went through a similar process, to reduce the number of buttons.


“It was drowning in buttons; all the ones I never use, I eliminated them,” he said. “Next I moved the most important ones to the top so they were more visible. At Mercedes there are 26 of them. I’ve already got rid of six. I’m already thinking about the 2014 wheel, where there will be new functions.

“I love these kinds of details.”

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479 Comments
  1. John McKay says:

    Oh, by the way-I’m getting loads more cash at Mercedes.

    1. Philiboy says:

      And what’s wrong with that?

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Nothing if you don’t mind giving up the chance to win a WDC for a midfield team

      2. Matt says:

        Ferrari last won the constructors in 1983 and a WDC in 1979. Schumacher went and changed the culture over there (with help from the tech people from benneton that followed him). I imagine people said the same thing about schumi leaving after 2 consecutive championships.

      3. Michael says:

        Sorry, my friend. Mclaren isn’t winning anything. We’ve seen that movie the last 3 years. This team has lost there way ever since Whitmarsh took over.

    2. Wayne says:

      Whereas as we would turn down more money if offered a new job on….what…principle?

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        He’s already loaded enough. Its not like he’d have been payed peanuts if he’d stayed at McClaren anyway

      2. Cos says:

        So because he’s already “loaded” you think he shouldn’t be allowed to earn any more? I take it you will be applying this same rule to the following, all of whom are earning a fair bit through sponsorships in their own countries and through other merchandise / leave alone their standard pay???

        Vettel
        Alonso
        Räikkönen
        Button
        Webber
        Massa
        Grosjean
        Rosberg
        Perez
        Hulkenberg
        Kobayashi
        Schumacher
        di Resta
        Maldonado
        Senna
        Vergne
        Ricciardo
        Petrov
        Glock
        Pic
        Kovalainen
        Karthikeyan
        de la Rosa

      3. Wayne says:

        So you decide that he is loaded enough and that’s it? End of debate? Only he can decide if he’s loaded enough. We’d all love more cash, he had the oportunity to get some and fair bloody play to him.

    3. Joel says:

      Please, for a moment take your eyes off the money part. It is really getting boring…

      1. John says:

        Joel, you are right. This is what I think. Lewis starts to appear to me like Jack when he moved to BAR.

    4. Cos says:

      and you’re point is? …like you wouldn’t move to a new job if the money was right.

      1. simon mawdsley says:

        He’s an F1 driver, not at Journeyman accountant at Ernst & Young. Money will be a factor but to say its the main driver is disrespectful to his ambition and but gives an insight into the basis upon which those not capable of an F1 seat make their decisions.

        He was also offered more at McMerc.

    5. Sebee says:

      You guys, give “poor” Lewis a break. He will have enough to deal with, getting well paid for his 15th place finishes.

      1. SaScha says:

        I hope you will not be too disapointed it he ends up in the top 5 at Melbourne

      2. Sebee says:

        Not at all. And if he does, that will be as good as a win.

        But to flip it around on you – if you were to come to me and say, “Hey, I bet you a pint that Lewis will be in the Top 5.” I believe I would take you up on that bet before you finished pronouncing fi…

        Which reminds me, someone out there please put in a bet on Lewis for WDC so you can tell us the odds and rub it in when you cash in.

      3. MookF1 says:

        This is not as far fetched as some are making out, if you take Gary Andersons view of the first test to be an indicator.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/21417831

        Anderson has the Mercedes as a competitive car and hopefully it will be, as it would be brilliant to see Rosberg and Hamilton in the title fight too. I think a lot of the negative PR is coming from the Hamliton camp, so that whatever happens, he comes out looking good which is understandable. I also will be interested to see how good Rosberg really is because I don’t think you can just write him off. He could really give Hamilton a headache, for this season at least.
        As to the articles title question, I just cannot see Hamilton sucking it up very well if they do end up 15th in a lot of races. It has to be tough for him though, as he is under so much more media scrutiny than the others in my opinion.

      4. goodpaul says:

        Odds for 2013 driver world championship

        Vettle 6/4
        Alonso 11/4
        Button 5/1
        Raikkonen 9/1
        Perez 14/1
        Hamilton 14/1

        Webber 16/1
        Rosberg 45/1

      5. MookF1 says:

        Hi goodpaul,

        You can get some better odds than those according to oddschecker (mostly with betvictor)

        http://www.oddschecker.com/motorsport/formula-one/drivers-championship

        Vettle 6/4 same
        Alonso 3/1
        Button 13/2 he was slightly higher before the first test
        Raikkonen 14/1
        Perez 18/1
        Hamilton 20/1

        Webber 20/1
        Massa 50/1
        Rosberg 80/1 This is good odds for the outside chance he is, considering Hamiltons odds and when Rosberg knows the mercedes and broke his duck last season

      6. Sebee says:

        goodpaul,

        Amazing what these bookies come up with here.
        Hamilton at same odds as Perez?

        I have a feeling that Button may be easy money. Button has hardly put a foot wrong when you look at his carrier moves since 2008. Guy is the Ninja of F1 moves. And considering that Ferrari and Red Bull were not an option, he has played his hands best of anyone. I have moments where I still sit here and scratch my head about how he ended up with McLaren all to him self. Just amazing! Is Button’s wife Ron’s daughter by any chance? :-)

      7. Anne says:

        We both know that even missing Q3 Lewis can make up places. Last year in the India GP the McLaren had several problems.It was a nightmare race for him. Lewis ended up fingting for position with Hulkenber and Vergne. He dragged a piece of green turf in the last laps. He still finished in P10. Lewis made that race exiting

        :)

      8. Helenka says:

        And I will try again wih iPhone speak lol. It was the Korean Gp he had a problem with the turf but had a similar issue with the anti roll bar in Indian and Korea

      9. Anne says:

        Sorry, my mistake. Anyway both of them boring races dominated by Vettel

      10. Candice says:

        Brilliant?? he spent 10 laps on defending his position with worned out tyre and wasted 20sec++ the moment he finally pitted and came out declare he outperform the car when in true story, if he pitted earlier for fresh tyre, he would finished much higher than 10th.

        His fans went on and cheers for him, i mean, how blind can people be ?

      11. KRB says:

        Candice, his tires were wearing out faster than normal b/c the anti-roll bar in his car was broken! Pitting sooner would’ve meant pitting an extra time later on.

        Don’t be a muppet.

      12. JTodt says:

        Yes, he will have plenty to worry about. Including maintenance of his new private jet.

    6. SaScha says:

      He got as much money at McLaren

    7. grat says:

      Except that McLaren (belatedly) apparently offered to match what Mercedes was paying him.

      However, Mercedes may not expect him to “bleed Mercedes” when cut, or be concerned that food and drink in the team HQ will “contaminate the building”.

      1. Elie says:

        Exactly.. When you first get told- ” times are tough” & you might have to take a pay cut from 10m then Mercedes comes and offer 20m then your team says ok we will give you 15M and then you say can I keep my trophies & sponsorships and they say -no you can’t. Then he says well I better move on now and then they say well we will give you 21m- Mclaren end up like a bunch of beggars- & that’s exactly what happened to Ron [mod]

      2. SaScha says:

        For me McLaren always appeared more a relgion than a racing team. Other teams seem all more human & down to earth to me. I will only benefit Hamilton in his further live to have left them & expeience the live outside the holy shrine

    8. Baghetti says:

      There it is: the first misspelling of Valtteri Bottas!:-)

      1. James Allen says:

        Won’t be the last!

    9. Kay says:

      As if you don’t want any if you make a job change.

      This is getting really old with people bashing drivers (Hamilton in this case) for making team switches with money being part of the reason. Who wouldn’t want more?

  2. F1FanaticBD says:

    For how long will he be able to constrain himself, before lashing out against the whole Mercedes team. When this guy gets things not going his way, he do react pretty hard. Wonder when he actually end up being in the 15th place in Melbourne, he will certainly show the bits he used to in his McLaren days.

    1. James Allen says:

      A long time, I reckon.

      He’s maturing, but also his emphasis is clearly changing, with the Tom Shine move

      1. McLaren78 says:

        James, excuse the bravity, but I really don’t understand your comment. Do you imply that the Tom Shine move would distrct him from focusing solely on F1, that he would be happy to underachieve as long as his brand is being built up on the back of Merc?

      2. James Allen says:

        No, but if you compare his objectives in becoming a worldwide brand in his own right, with Vettel’s objectives, you’ll see that there is a whole side to his life and activities, which isn’t present in Vettel’s.

        I’m not saying its good or bad, just observing that it’s there.

      3. guy says:

        In reply to JA’s second comment – I don’t think Vettel has Hamilton’s level of marketing power therefore that might explain why that is not one of his objectives.

      4. Richard says:

        James perhaps Lewis has greater awareness of the business opportunities that the F1 environment presents. I can’t fault him for that as long as it is not a distraction

      5. DANNY says:

        Hamilton has achieved at the highest level and is seeking a new challenge. Mercedes are hardly the worst team on the grid. Button is better suited to be the lovable loser at McLaren: the classic underachiever.
        It’s cheeky to criticize an F1 driver for going after money when many of these ‘national heroes’ live in tax havens.
        Thumbs up to Hamilton for taking a bigger part in promoting his own brand. It always seemed strange that McLaren felt justified in using their drivers for promotional work and claiming all rights to any trophies.

      6. Bloke says:

        I think Mr Hamilton has lost the burning desire he so clearly had in his career trajectory up to and including 2007 and 2008.

        Since then, he’s had his self – polished image as being the ‘New Senna’ somewhat tarnished. He lost out to Jenson (in more ways than merely points) and has watched Sebastian rise up as the de facto Super Star. He is now too old to go into the history books as the child prodigy he clearly believed himself to be.

        I fear he is now more interested in his brand – so, look out for Lewis Hamilton sunglasses / shoes / headphones / aftershave / underwear/ pizzas / tinned peas etc etc coming out en masse over the next couple of years as he ‘Does a Beckham’. I think he will occasionally throw ‘freekin’ tantrum’, but will settle into not really being that bothered, as the Hamilton Cash Machine, cranked so readily by Messrs Fuller and Co, really gets into overdrive.

        How things have changed since the days of Tazio Nuvolari…. and not for the better in some respects.

      7. Paul says:

        Remember Vettel is German, you can NOT compare LH to Vettel, grow up…

      8. bob says:

        @DANNY

        ” Button is better suited to be the lovable loser at McLaren: the classic underachiever.”

        Are you even serious dude?

        The lovable loser? You mean the guy who won the WDC, then left the team he won it with to join McLaren and enter the ‘Lions Den’ where he goes on to out score the team mate who was going to SMASH and DESTROY him?

        Is that the lovable loser you’re talking about?

        Is that the under achiever you’re talking about?

        You go on like Hamilton is some sort of hero cause he’s achieved at the highest level and is now going on to other challenges.

        Really? You mean like Button – who has achieved at the highest level and has as many WDC’s to his name as Hamilton does. And not only that, he moved to a better and more successful team and put himself up against one of the best in the business.

        Unlike Hamilton who is moving to a lower, less successful team. This is FAR less pressure than Button had coming into McLaren. If things don’t go well for Hamilton, he can just blame the team.

        As far as I’m concerned, Button was FAR braver than Hamilton when it comes to moving teams!

      9. Enzo says:

        Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.

      10. Onko says:

        Mr Allen a superb article as always thank you.
        I am quite confident Lewis Hamilton will suprise many,simply he’s a racer a true champion, and may I say with (balls)Hami will
        do what Alonso did with the donkey of F- 2012
        in to a reasanable thoroughbred,as long R.Brawn
        is there, the only thing questionable N.Lauda
        a yesterday man and Aldo Costa a Ferrari man
        who did not made the grade.

      11. Andy R says:

        For those who follow cricket (as I am sure UK fans would), it’s like T20 vs Test cricket. T20 even the best dont have to try to hard to succeed and they get paid in $M upwards. In Test cricket the mediocre are just wiped out in no time while the best who are focussed, hard working, not-distracted by peripheral things succeed. Not saying one is better than the other, it’s just two different formats and in this age there is a place for both.

        Hamilton is T20, just riding on his natural talent to rake in big money without worrying too much about wins and championships. Vettel is a old-school boy in that sense.

      12. JEZ Playense says:

        James I think many of us will expect Lewis to achieve a whole lot more than he has to date to make himself a worldwide brand…

      13. Hal says:

        He already is getting there…Stirling Moss is synonymous with Motorsport, speed, great racer and he w has did not win a WDC. I believe Hamilton is one of the biggest stars of F1 and in fact more of a brand than Vettel (certainly not less).

        As long as he remains focused – and he is making all the right noises so far – good luck to him I say (don’t under estimate all the promotional work he had to do for McLaren and now he is doing more for himself without increasing his off track duties).

      14. JEZ Playense says:

        You could be right, Hamilton could be one of F1′s biggest stars.

        To be a worldwide brand is something quite different. He will need to significantly improve his appeal to other markets/ non F1 fans. Take Beckham for example?

        I disagree that it is likely that Lewis will be able to emulate Stirling s position in F1 without winning at least one more championship. Frankly in my opinion Lewis will need at least three WDC’s to get there.

        Another year finishing outside the top three drivers final results would be disastrous for any aspiring “World” brand.

      15. SaScha says:

        How will you know it @JamesAllen?
        IMO Hamilton will be more focused than ever on racing at Mercedes, without all those sill PR trips he had to do at McLaren.He will have a lot more time to prepare for racing ( training etc) A few private interests will not change his emphasis. there is also a live outside & after F1 wich Hamilton knows.

      16. toleman fan says:

        Interesting.

        This is the same Tom Shine who’s a convicted fraudster, yes?

      17. SaScha says:

        Have you any proof for your theory Mr Allen? It’s quite a big thing what you suggest there, that Hamilton is not commited to racing anylonger. Please show us something wich backs such a heavy suggestion up?
        I did not see anything wich would point in this direction!

      18. James Allen says:

        I didn’t say that. No idea where you got that from.

        I said he has a whole other side to his life now, but that’s not the same as saying that he’s not committed to racing. It’s his job!

      19. Smellyden says:

        And there is where the difference between Hamilton and Vettel, for Lewis it is a job, while for Seb its his passion.

      20. SaScha says:

        Wich whole other side @JamesAllen? The major difference is he has a dog and a jet now. I can see no whole other side. Ever since Hamilton joined XIX the journos where pretending, he gets a brand now, has other interests etc. But until now there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wich would reinforce this suggestions. Au contraire hamilton gotA more private person since he left McLaren.
        @Smellyden
        MOst real experts ( Lowe, Whitmarsh , Neale)said what Hamilton makes outstanding as driver, is his passion for racing, his dedicatio,n and that he is willing to give always 100%
        Whenever he comes in you can be sure he gave 100% and left nothing ( Lowe)
        Would it be only a job for him he would have stayed at mcLaren where he was comfortable 6 would it have had much easier than at Mercedes now!

      21. Grabyrdy says:

        Of course he’s committed to racing. And he thinks he can be WC again, in 2014, when all the cards will be redistributed. Otherwise he wouldn’t have gone to Mercedes. So given that he felt he had to move away from the team of his youth, and there was a bit more dough, and he now loves Niki, it all fell into place.

        PS Can anyone explain to me (James perhaps) how Merc was so much better than everyone else for one lonely race last year, and in the middle of the pack for the rest ? Hard to believe it was just tyres.

    2. Wayne says:

      He certainly does, but that sort of behavior appears to be trailing off as he gets older. We were all 22 once – the things we did then are not, generally, held against us.

      The question is, can Mercedes deliver on what they ‘promised’ HAM? If HAM has a tantrum I do not believe we will see it until 2014 when he will expect better, and then he’ll probably be very justified if they do not deliver.

      1. Rich C says:

        No. *I was never 22. I believe I impatiently skipped right past it. Perhaps I’ll go back and do it now…

    3. RMR says:

      I may be wrong (my memory may be fuzzy) but in 2009 when McLaren started with that dog of a car, he didn’t lash out much and knuckled down, worked hard and eventually ended up helping the team to win races. I think recent ‘misbehaviour’ was due to the Hamilton-McLaren relationship souring in other ways.

      1. Random 79 says:

        Pretty sure you’re right.

        +1

      2. Quade says:

        Yes, he did superbly in 2009 with a car that was an absolute zero. I recall him getting fined for doing donuts just to give something to the fans, since the car was a soddid wretch.

        In 2012, Lewis had to learn how to deal a well oiled racist campaign and the peer pressure it exerted on the more gullible who responded with all sorts of rumours and “Lewis knowledge.” Things like that place a very heavy burden on the individual. Kudos to Lewis, his come through very well indeed.

      3. Sikhumbuzo says:

        And on top of that they didn’t let him keep the trophies!

      4. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Food for thought….

        Donuts and burnouts etc that arent required and that other drivers dont subject their cars to couldnt cause potential reliability issues with things like gearboxes neding to last 5 races do they…..oh wait, they do!

        Thats ok but because if it breaks, then its not him, its the car, remember? ……. lol

      5. AuraF1 says:

        Sort of true, but the start of 2009 also had the whole ‘lying to officials’ kerfuffle, which ended up with Ron Dennis backing away from F1 to calm the FIA’s McLaren dislike.

        Though in that instance Lewis was told to lie before the stewards. A lot of his stressful media appearances did seem to stem from that episode. Even with the Alonso ‘warfare’ he seemed a very different person after that 2009 start.

        Though you’re right, he didn’t slam the team as much as he did in the following years. I think he accepted Jenson winning in the Brawn because he knew the McLaren didn’t stand a chance that year and it was likely a one-off anyway. But his loss to the younger Vettel for year after year must be more galling.

        Losing to Jenson doesn’t seem to bother Lewis as much. Perhaps because Jenson was already older when he got his success and not a threat to Lewis’ self-image as much as Vettel’s young determined Schumacher-esque dominance (much like Alonso, Lewis seems to share his distrust of Vettel’s true ability).

      6. Dren says:

        That sounds most likely to me as well. Surely Mclaren caught wind of the talks Hamilton was having with Mercedes before the media speculation.

        Hamilton did knuckle down in 2009 and won towards the end of the year.

      7. Blade Runner says:

        Well remembered, he did do that and I think his moody reputation is really all because of the problems he had with his partner and the way he behaved in the media in 2011.

        To be fair to him, if Nicole was my lady and she dumped me I would be pretty upset too…………

      8. MikeyB says:

        In reference to Hamilton’s performance during 2009, it should not be forgotten that his post-Championship year began with the Melbourne GP, where he lied to the stewards about allowing Trulli to pass under safety car conditions. He was subsequently disqualified from the race for providing misleading evidence (and supposedly considered retirement from F1).

    4. grat says:

      I know. I expect to hear “I’m much faster than him, Do Something!!!” during the first race.

      No, wait– that was someone else. Maybe he’ll complain that he “doesn’t have the grip for that”…. no, that was someone else too.

      1. Helenka says:

        Haha brilliant! Don’t know who you are on about ….. :p

    5. Rishi says:

      I don’t actually think finishing 15th in Melbourne will be what upsets him. It seems that he’s already playing the long game and thinking of 2014 and is satisfied (if not exactly in love with the idea) to grind out this year.

      However, if McLaren were to win the drivers’ championship (not just races) I think he will find it hard to take, and that could well be compounded if Mercedes don’t have a world-beater on the grid for the opening round in 2014.

  3. AdrianP says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else feel like Lewis’ new-found technical brilliance has a touch of Spinal Tap…

    Mercedes: ‘So Lewis, what do you think of the new car.’
    LH: ‘C’mon man, what’s that sticker doing there. Can’t you see it’s not straight. Y’know these details are important.’.
    Mercedes: ‘OK, Lewis, we’ll have a look at that. But how about the handling. Is the car responding to changes in the differential settings.’
    LH: ‘Differential settings?’
    Mercedes: ‘Yes, that dial there. You know, for the diff-er-ent-ial’.
    LH: ‘I didn’t like that button at all. It’s in the wrong place. Come to think of it, what are all these buttons. I want six buttons. With chrome on. And gold. And I’d like some buttons with diamonds in as well. Like this. I don’t want twenty-six buttons. This looks seriously uncool. Let’s get this right for 2014, guys. We can have some flashing LEDs. We’ll need those to compete with Sebastian.’.
    Mercedes: Of course, Lewis. Thanks for the feedback. We’ll look into that. So what about the car, Lewis. Is it going to be quick.
    LH: No. It’s not as fast as last year’s Maclaren. It must be the downforce. I think. Or maybe it’s that sticker. Ron never used to get the sticker’s wrong.

    1. AdrianP says:

      LH: I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things. First, there’s the stickers. Second, let’s sort out these buttons. Third… ummm… well, I’m not sure that I should really be saying this but at Maclaren, Jenson was always going on about this special thing they had called downforce. He said that’s what made the car quick. Have you thought about that guys?

      1. Grant says:

        Jenson Button? Downforce??

      2. Quade says:

        I thought I was the only one shocked to hear that. Lol!

      3. Enzo says:

        So Lewis wants a button that makes the car go faster? He should’ve stayed at McLaren then.

      4. James Allen says:

        Always work with a drummer!

      5. SaScha says:

        He got rid of 2 of those not neccesarry Buttons by leaving McLaren

      6. Elie says:

        Enzo: “Ringo” -No it’s Always a case of 1 less Button makes a car faster.

      7. Sebee says:

        It’s easier for Lewis to improve stickers and button than Hulkenberg to “improve” the size of his feet.

    2. Mark in Australia says:

      I think Lewis’ technical input will be slightly better qualified than that… But I do take your point on board all the same!!!

    3. madmax says:

      Brilliant!

    4. AdrianP says:

      Ross Brawn’s press conference

      “He’s very straightforward, I have to say. In many ways, he’s very simple, very straightforward. He’s never short of detail in telling you what he thinks, and what level you need to go to. He’s interested in everything about the car, he’s interested in the fact the stickers might not be put properly on the bodywork. He’s got a very good eye for detail, and so I think he’s going to be a very involved member of the team, which is what we wanted.
      “He is clearly a very talented driver, but F1 is about so much more. There are a lot of highly talented drivers that don’t have the rest of it, and I think he’s got the rest of it as well. I think we’ve made it very clear to Lewis that he’s part of the solution. You have a choice in a team: Are you the problem, or are you the solution? And he’s part of the solution to get us where we want to be. And I think he knows that and he understands that, and I think he’s relishing it. It’s correct that he gives us reference points and helps us understand what we have to focus on. I think some of it we knew already, and that’s why we restructured the aero group. I welcome that approach. It needs to be positive, it needs to be constructive. Criticism of the right sort is always helpful to a team to drive it forward.”

      and reading between the lines

      ‘In many ways, he’s very simple… he’s interested in the fact the stickers might not be put properly on the bodywork… There are a lot of highly talented drivers that don’t have the rest of it…’.

      1. CHXUNDA says:

        Clearly you don’t think it takes much to win a Formula 1 Championship do you? Afterall, if a guy who does not understand “diff-er-ent-ial” settings like Lewis Hamilton did it, who can’t?

      2. Wayne says:

        Ok, the joke was was cheap, sarcastic, stereotypical and opportunistic the first time – now you;re just milking it.

    5. Wayne says:

      Not really, no. ‘His new found technical brilliance’ will not be so new. F1 drivers are probably all technically brilliant. HAM’s never been mentioned as a great development driver, I’ll grant you, but then you wonder how much input he had at McLaren given the way they do things. He has enough experieince now to be an asset to any team in F1 technically and that was part of the reason for his move, according to the man himself.

      1. JEZ Playense says:

        Well if Lewis has some development/ technical brilliance, he either didn’t share it with team Macca, or it wasn’t any good since they haven’t won a championship in years?

      2. Wayne says:

        Are you joking? They didn’t win it for 7 or 8 years BEFORE Lewis either! Was this their drivers’ fault as well?

      3. JEZ Playense says:

        Wayne, your post implys that Hamiltons imput will make a big difference. It hasn’t previously made one so it is unlikely to do so in the future.

      4. KRB says:

        JEZ, your argument is like someone saying b/c they personally haven’t seen an atom, that it doesn’t exist, and it’s not possible that one could ever exist. It’s just silly.

      5. JEZ Playense says:

        KRB, that is not correct. Reread my comment and yours and you should see this.

    6. Jonathan says:

      I do (seriously) wonder when Lewis says “I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things” what sort of suggestions a driver can bring to the table that the designer, engineers and aerodynamicists can’t?

      1. Cos says:

        I sort of get where you are coming from but still….he drives it, where as they design and build it. What I mean is, it’s like architects…sure they know their stuff and yesthe building looks nice, is very environmentally friendly has lots of green credentials etc…but they arent the ones who have to work in the building..or in this case drive at +150mph speeds. So yes his input is needed…no point building the damn thing and expect the bloke who’s driving it not to have an idea or two.

      2. aezy_doc says:

        Agree. An architect can build a great house, but if you are the one living in it, you can point out all the things that need improving.

      3. Jake says:

        It’s called feedback. You can have all the sensors you want on the car and collect huge amounts of data, run endless simulations with your mathematical modelling but nothing beats actually driving the car on track fast. He does not need to know how to fix it he just has to know what is wrong.
        Do you think he walked around the McLaren garage/factory with his eyes closed? He knows what Mercedes are doing that is different to McLaren, it stands to reason he would have some ideas on improving the Merc.

      4. Veena says:

        You have to check with Alonso, who had been termed as that he brought 0.1 to 0.1 secs of technical knowledge to Ferrari.

    7. marc barker says:

      AdrianP… that really made me laugh…lets hope he’s not got rid of the ‘Go’ button…

    8. Bonaventura says:

      Brilliant!!
      Gonna be a character-building season for Lewis and his fans lol

      1. Andrew M says:

        If this is the level of biting satire aimed at Lewis throughout the year then I think we’ll probably pull through :)

      2. SaScha says:

        Or very depressing for his detactors, when he is successfull!

    9. Anne says:

      That´s what Lewis has in mid. He wants to remove all the “useless” buttons and instead he would add a CD player or maybe an Ipod with loud speakers to listen Spinal Tap. However I think Iron Maden would be the right choice for an F1 race

      :)

      1. CHXUNDA says:

        Doesn’t take much to be a formula 1 driver, does it? Either formula 1 fans have become more juvenile than i thought or i greatly over estimate the skill set required to drive a formula 1 car and win a championship in the process.

      2. Anne says:

        We are just joking. The same way we joke when we saw the buttons in Raikkonen´s wheel. He came up with few funny names for them like Ice Cream or Jenson Button. Just have fun with the rest of us.

    10. cliff says:

      Sorry mate, its just you unfortunately!

    11. Andrew S says:

      Possibly a bit harsh but none the less that has made me laugh especially the last line

    12. Matt H says:

      Bit narrow minded. F1 drivers are hugely intelligent in terms of understanding their machinery and to insinuate that Lewis is all about a sticker is rather childish. Suppose that’s how F1 fans have become now with a number of immature and frankly disrespectful posts. Whoever the posters favourite driver is it appears that gives a free for all to slate their rival / fellow driver. I for one appreciate all the drivers are there on merit despite money help but feel opinions on people or assumptions shouldn’t be made by the fact you don’t like them. Granted all fans are allowed their favourite but when has disrespecting another driver done anything to elevate their drivers status ?

      1. Richard says:

        Hear hear! A driver like Lewis has had enough experience to understand how the car is performing and give the right type of feedback to the engineers. Ross Brawn is not a bullshit merchant and goes about his work in a calm methodical manner. Personally I wish the team well.

      2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        This is the same Lewis that tells the engineers on the radio that his tyres are gone after 4 laps and then proceeds to set fastest laps on those tyres right?

        Just checking……..

      3. Richard says:

        Aussie F1 Fan. I think the problem is yours rather than Lewis’s for misinterpreting what is going on. – Are you sure you didn’t make it up! In any event it’s a well know fact that the soft and super soft tyres lose their edge very quickly. They may go on to produce the fastest lap because the times are relative, and the track is rubbering in as the race progresses. It’s a learning curve and I can see you still have some way to go.

      4. AdrianP says:

        I appreciate that the ‘sticker’ business is a bit childish…

        …but that’s apparently the example that has been given of Lewis’ attention to technical detail! Cf. the interview with Ross Brawn quoted above – I think this originally emanated from a comment by Hamilton himself.

        I yield to few in my admiration for Hamilton’s driving skills and speed, but I do find this idea which seems to be floating around that he is going to bring a substantial technical impetus to Mercedes a little hard to swallow. This is, after all, the same person who did not seem to realise that he should not be tweeting telemetry. Unfortunately, Lewis seems to set himself up for these things: he cannot seem to accept that he’s not the best in every single area. It would be much more sensible for him to emphasise his strengths and work on his weaknesses rather than trying to suggest that he will inevitably bring to Mercedes what Schumacher brought to Ferrari in terms of galvanizing the technical team. Not all drivers are equal on the technical side of things.

        So there was a semi-serious point to it all.

      5. Andrew M says:

        There really wasn’t.

      6. Richard says:

        The fact is that only the teams he’s driven for know how good or bad he is technically. A driver of his calibre knows how the car feels, and can interpret that information very well such that the enginers will understand the requirement.

      7. Cos says:

        I admire and respect your comments but if the fact that he appeared not to know that tweeting the telemetry was wrong as being one of the reasons you doubt what kind of technical impetus he brings to Mercedes then you must be one of those once bitten twice shy people I’ve heard about.

        He did something wrong. No I won’t use the excuse that he was young…but I will say we have no idea why he did what he did. Was it spite? Was it him being childish and immature as some would have you believe? I personally think there was more going on behind the scenes than what we are led to believe and although he is no angel neither are McLaren..remember those incidents about spygate/ and then LH being coerced to lie when questioned by his “mentor” a few years ago.

        I agree with you in that he should emphasise his strengths and work on his weaknesses but disagree with your point of him not accepting that he’s not the best in every single area. Although that may sound like he’s a bit “up” himself, why shouldn’t he be? No one else is going to blow his own trumpet so to speak and there are plenty out there who behave alot worse claiming to be the second coming.

        Not to defend you but I did enjoy how one person managed to indirectly insinuate that your were taking a pop at him due to his socio/economic back ground!!!

      8. Quade says:

        I am quite sure that he deliberately tweeted the telemetry. He hasn’t told anyone he didn’t know it was wrong for anyone to claim so.
        Things werent going well at McLaren, he was given slow car parts, felt very wronged and told the World about it.

        It was a quarrell that burst into the open. I don’t see how anyone who is neither Lewis nor McLaren can take sides, afterall both sides took care to bury the matter.

      9. Matt H says:

        Thanks for at least clarifying and I appreciate our opinion. I myself think Hamilton is a fantastic driver as Alonso and Vettel are. How these guys compare to each other behind the scenes development wise,not a clue! (For all I know which ain’t much is, I can’t distinguish on quotes alone as to who is the best development wise between button,de la rosa or whoever). Admittedly Lewis makes errors as we all do and the over simplification may be a bit too far but to me if a guys doing 180mph then he is far more qualified as to what works to make him go faster.

        The bottom line is its easy to armchair judge but I can also see your sense of humour implied in the comment so I’m not totally oblivious to your humour with underlying context but feel the guys all put their lives on the line for what they love as well as what we love (pure racing) so I tend to get grouchy when I perceive a comment to knock a driver without merit : D

        Good luck to whoever u support tho and I hope it’s a cracking season with drama fairness and wheel to wheel tight racing throughout the field !

      10. SaScha says:

        Schumacher must have been pretty bad .at least the last few years, if you look at the progress Mercedes made.

      11. Wanja says:

        Hamilton comes from the team of Formula 1′s very own Adrian Monk. What did you expect? That he wouldn’t see it?

    13. Mike from Colombia says:

      I think it is just your stereotyping Hamilton as you would like to imagine him and others of his background…..poorly educated, superficial, does not understand technical words, and badly spoken.

      The excerpt was about Hamilton’s comments on the McLaren versus the Mercedes and given that Hamilton put the 2012 car on pole 7 times, won 4 times and would have won the championship if it was not down to reliability and team errors….I think he should be listened to.

      Mercedes need to make the team work more effectively to get the best out of the drivers and in turn to make the car faster. Steering wheel buttons was an example that was easy and harmless to quote….what did we expect – public details on ride height, wing setting and brake bias?

      1. Richard says:

        Quite right! – Too much complexity at the wheel can impact negatively on the driving. To quote Ford’s motto ” Simple is efficient!”

      2. AdrianP says:

        That was not the intention at all and I hope you are not right.

        I don’t think Hamilton comes from a vastly more underprivileged background than say e.g. Jenson Button or Robert Kubica or indeed Michael Schumacher (I may be wrong). If anything, I would have thought the opposite, given that he seems to have been picked up by Maclaren at an early stage.

        The sticker example was fact rather than artistic license.

      3. Andrew M says:

        “The sticker example was fact rather than artistic license.”

        How is that exactly, seeing as you made the whole thing up?

      4. SaScha says:

        Button or Schumacher did not come from the county estate!

      5. AdrianP says:

        I mean that spotting whether stickers were in the right place was given as one of the examples of Lewis’ attention to technical detail.

      6. Mike from Colombia says:

        The background I was referring to was not the underprivileged one.

      7. RobertS says:

        well said!

      8. Quade says:

        Stereotypes! Stereotypes!! Stereotypes!!!
        You hit the nail on the head. Its easy to see through the veil of words.

    14. Araqiel says:

      I guess we’ll find out come Silverstone, if he has to drive his car out of the garage under a model of Stonehenge that’s slightly too small for the car to get through, and then has his grid girl and mechanics replaced with a team of elves.

    15. Richie Hezz says:

      Lol at the flashing LEDS!

    16. Michael A. says:

      Amusing but a little insulting…

    17. Random 79 says:

      995 ASCII characters just died an embarrassing death.

    18. McLaren78 says:

      Quite funny, but if Lewis wons 1-2 WDCs in the next 3-4 years, it will also be one of the most idiotic posts ever!

    19. JPS says:

      brilliant….simply brilliant. thanks!!!

    20. Dan Harrison says:

      Hilarious. I’m splitting my sides. You should write jokes for Tarby …

      1. Andrew M says:

        Let’s not throw him in at the deep end…

    21. ronnie says:

      Well at least he never requested a dial that can go up to 11!! Now that would be very Spinal Tap!

    22. James P says:

      That is the funniest thing I read so far this year.

    23. MISTER says:

      You’ve got it wrong mate. He’s not talking about how un-cool they look. There are just too many of them. 26 buttons on one small steering wheel. He does this for ease and efficiency while driving at 200mph.

    24. P King says:

      Adrian, you are very smart.

      So you are sat here being a comedian on the comments section.

      Meanwhile, Lewis is … ?

      1. AdrianP says:

        You are of course quite right that I’d love to have half of Lewis’ driving talent and also wouldn’t mind his job (…let alone the salary…!).

      2. Cos says:

        or his missus (?)

      3. Quade says:

        I wonder what half of Lewis driving talent really entails? Seeing as driving an F1 car requires both brains, fitness and coordination?

    25. Andrew M says:

      Nope.

    26. CHXUNDA says:

      Keep It Simple Silly – wikipedia describes it as a design principle noted by the U.S. Navy in 1960 and alternatively represented by the KISS acronym coined by Kelly Johnson, lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird spy planes, among many others). Looks like some pretty serious and intelligent characters hold this principle in high regard. What do you have to your name @AdrianP to make fun of this principle?

      1. Random 79 says:

        I prefer what I was told whenever I tried to overcomplicate things, which was ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’, but yes; it is a damn good principle to have.

        Generally – but by no means always – simple things are more efficient and much more reliable, and so end up being better.

        If Lewis can help get rid of a bit of chaff at Mercedes then more power to him.

        CHXUNDA +1

      2. Wanja says:

        Everything should be as simple as necessary, but not simpler.
        The last part of the sentence is vital.

    27. Carl Craven says:

      This button goes to 11.

    28. Rishi says:

      To be fair I don’t think Lewis’s technical ability is as bad as some make out, though I agree it’s not his strongest area in the sense that his natural driving ability and racecraft are stronger.

      That said, I found these set of posts really amusing and a good laugh. Regarding the Ross Brawn quote/statement, maybe a career in the Communications Department of an F1 team – including helping draft the press releases – awaits!

    29. JeremySmith says:

      I think you are being very disingenuous …

    30. AuraF1 says:

      Genius post.

      Although I do remember Schumacher struggling to keep his hands on the wheel most GP’s so maybe Mercedes just have a tendency to over-complicate things.

    31. grat says:

      So, when Alonso went to Ferrari, he made the comment that with his experience, he can help the team shave three-tenths off the car lap times in development.

      No one seemed to dispute this.

      When Hamilton moves to Mercedes, and says he wants to help the team turn the car into a winning car, everyone starts mocking him, asking when he became an engineer, ridiculing him for paying attention to detail, or simplifying his controls.

      Is it really that inconceivable that he’s been paying attention his entire racing career, and actually knows what he’s doing, or is there some type of double-standard being applied?

    32. Alexyoong says:

      Um, we’ve invented a setting at 11, to make the car go faster

    33. LAH says:

      i’ve heard jeremy burgess (no stranger to getting the most out of his riders)say that “if a rider thinks gold plated handlebars will make him faster he will get them”.
      a large part of speed is comfort and happiness.
      if the button is a distraction, move it!
      no pun intended.

  4. Richard says:

    Well if Hamilton wants to build a team from the ground up, he’s starting in the right place. Yes currently McLaren have a competitive car it seems, but they have a nasty habit of dropping the ball, and they haven’t won a championship since 2008. It is a pity because Hamilton could have been looking at a third drivers championship this year had McLaren done things properly. My main worry is have they got adequate talent in the aero design department because without that they are nowhere. Despite the early test problems they do seem to have a reliable car so they need to refine it quickly. Potentially they are in the position to make the biggest gains providing they develop in the right direction. It seems as though Hamilton has some key ideas in mind that may help to guide them in the right direction. Ultimately I think Hamilton will give them three years to come good.

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      And by then has given up 3 years in the prime of his career when he should have been at the top end fighting for WDCs

  5. Craig in Manila says:

    Suddenly it makes sense. Michael, one of the greatest drivers ever, was slow coz the freaking buttons were in the wrong spots the whole time !!

    Seriously tho, he’ll have so many people at Merc and XIX continually saying “Relax Lewis, it’s 2014 when it will all come together” that he’ll be content just to do his “I’m here to improve things” media-routine during 2013.

    It’s 2014 where, if the car isn’t competitive, things will start to get ugly as the media will start to ask some interesting “what went wrong” questions to Lewis, Lauda, Brawn, etc etc etc.

    1. . says:

      Mercedes keeps talking earlier about next season’s car being their focus.

      in 2010 they started focusing on the 2011 car about 3/4 in to the season. In 2011 they started focusing on the 2012 car 2/3 of the season in. In 2012, they started focusing on the 2013 car halfway in to the season.

      Now they just seem to have skipped the entire 2013 season, already bigging up the 2014 car. This team is doomed, they have never shown any potential to be champions on merit and 2009 was one of the biggest flukes ever in F1.

      1. Timmay says:

        Agree completely, the facts support this 100%

      2. James Clayton says:

        Except Lauda is already bigging up this years car…

        http://www.planetf1.com/driver/18227/8492852/-Merc-can-compete-with-top-three-

        I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Mercedes say that they don’t expect to have a competitive car this year, or that they expect to have an advantage in 2014 (in fact I’m pretty sure they’ve played down the 2014 advantage).

        Th media have been throwing them this lifeline and I guess they’ve just let all the hype around 2014 build up. It’s a win win situation, I suppose. If they’re competitive this year everybody will be super shocked and talking about it. If not then they’ll just be where people have been expecting them to be already.

  6. Ralph Ledward says:

    Hamilton will be lucky to get a podium this year I think. I’m very intrigued to see how he and Rosberg compare – hopefully Rosberg will keep him honest.

    1. Diesel says:

      +1.

      With you on this, perhaps James could tell us whether the rest of Europe has forgotten there are 2 Mercedes entered or whether it’s Britain being nauseatingly xenaphobic again.

      I mean, Rosberg scored the highest result in the Williams driver test I believe. So there’s not going to be a great deal Hamilton can tell the engineers Rosberg can’t. Are we all so sure that there’s only going to be one driver at Mercedes scoring any results.

      Remember China last year, the Mercs were dialled in, qualified 1 and 2. Rosberg was on pole, half a second quicker. He drove away from the field and won in a class of his own. The guy in the other Mercedes? Some bloke called Michael Schumacher.

      1. Mickey78 says:

        I think Rosberg will scratch his head many times coming season as of why his new team mate is beating him.
        Rosberg is a very talented driver and he did well against Michael, but Hamilton is no Michael at the age of 42. Hamilton is in his prime. Maybe Rosberg will be the victor after 19 races, but that can only be after he stepped up his game significantly compared to the previous 3 years.

      2. Dave C says:

        Rosberg very talented? is this the same Rosberg that got thrashed by Webber when both at Williams? The Webber thats been trounced by Vettel 4 years on the trot, now imagine if Rosberg were to race Vettel??

      3. Timmay says:

        I dont rate Rosberg much at all, and dont see why anyone else should.

        So if he beats Hamilton often then that really lowers my opinion of Lewis. I hope to see LH beat him.

      4. Richard says:

        While I know Nico Rosberg is quite technically minded what Lewis Hamilton will have is the experience of driving a proper front running car with high levels of downforce. Personally I think Nico Rosberg is very underrated and given the chance will deliver as he did in China last year, and the Mercedes car was only good while the double DRS held an advantage, but as the other teams developed higher levels of downforce they were quickly overtaken.

      5. Mickey78 says:

        @Dave C.
        Trashed? Really. By trashed you mean Webber outscored Rosberg 7 to 4 points,
        If this is your thesis…..
        Besides, look closer at what is happening at RB.
        Vettel clearly the number one driver at that team.

      6. Cos says:

        @ Diesel…whats with the appologist (assuming you’re from Britain) remarks? If Britain choses to support a British driver, then why not? No one bats an eye-lid when the whole of Brazil gets behind a Brazilian or Germany supports a German so why have a go at the British? And just to clarify there are plenty of people in Britain who support drivers of other nationalities, and even more who have a a bit of common sense to respect the person on their ability to pilot such machines where ever they come from. Perhaps you should stop believing the Daily Mail and other senationalist papers?

        Also that “other bloke” you refer to was indeed a one Michael Schumacher but lets not forget, he came back into the sport as an old man compared to the young bucks he was racing against. The machines have changed alot over the period he was absent for, as have the rules….and lets not forget his reaction times too (although they’re still better than most average 20something drivers!!)

        I’d like to see Nico (who I also admire as a driver) come back to the sport after a long absence a lot older than those around him and in different machineary to what he is used to. Good as he is – a 7 time champion he ain’t..well not yet anyway.

  7. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    It is like Lewis brand this year is more important than on track performance, like we should expect that he can progress with the business but not in the sport, at least this year, and maybe for 3 years. Too much blah-blah.
    Maybe many fans of Lewis will be cheering Kimi this year.

    1. Joel says:

      Hmm, not so much.

      In fact, Kimi’s arrogant attitude from last season has driven me away from him as a fan. I think he has taken the “cool” tag a little too far…

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        I understand you, but to say “let me alone, I know what I’m doing” and win the race is actually pretty cool. Lotus appears to be competitive at the front this year, but not sure for Lewis.

      2. JEZ Playense says:

        GO KIMI! Kimi does it on the track, and seems pretty popular with the fans with his no bs style.

      3. Joel says:

        Kimi is just one part of a complex team structure, although an important part.

        Just so he could be perceived cool, he shouldn’t be insulting his team members IN PUBLIC. I know how hard it is to work with people with such attitude – run across such people in work now and then. Whether he won the race or not, the fact is – he did lose a lot.

      4. Candice says:

        Insult?? Winning is above all. Who cares about your dignity when people only cheers for winner?? If the driver felt uncomfortable it will cost them win in the end.

        FYI, kimi been like that since sauber days….apparently all his engineers were impressed with him rather than upset.

      5. Elie says:

        He’s not arrogant – he is very blunt no doubt and definitely lacks tact at times. But he’s the most honest bloke in the field that let’s ” his driving talk Eloquently “

      6. Bertie Wants A Kracker says:

        I never seem to get this drift of Kimi’s arrogance while he’s going flat out on the racing line… All you couch copping F1 lords think that in those adrenalin pumping split seconds, Kimi should have had a polite conversation with Simon Rennie minding all his p’s and q’s and saying thank yous. That’s crazy. Guessing you’ve never tried any adventure/ thrill seeking/ competetive sport.

      7. Joel says:

        God help people who tolerate with you when you are in “adventure/ thrill seeking/ competetive sport” mode.

      8. Kay says:

        Arrogant?

        Or maybe he just want a little peace from trying to concentrate in his job?

        If I were concentrating at something and my colleague came around telling me this and that and all sorts of details which I already know how to, I would get pretty annoyed as well and send him away before he messes up the task I’m doing.

        His engineer was trying to be helpful but he wasn’t, Kimi told him to stay off (certainly wasn’t his first time, just go to YouTube and dig up his comments). He just wanted some peace that’s all.

        Chill out!

      9. Joel says:

        There are 23 other drivers doing the same job that Kimi is doing, he ain’t the only one.

      10. Kay says:

        Joel, Kimi isn’t the only one that have a dislike for his engineers to come on the radio and tell him what to do. Yes there are 23 other drivers also doing the same job but they are not all the same. Alonso also shows a dislike for the same radio messages I didn’t see you saying he is arrogant. Just do a search for Australia 2010, you’ll hear Alonso telling his engineer to stop the radio.

        So why is Kimi singled out as being arrogant?

    2. Actually, The Brand in F1 is of utmost importance. I think you are all missing the point. As happened with M.Schumacher, build the brand to attract the sponsorship money to increase the development budget to improve performance to increase wins to improve the brand image to attract more sponsorship money etc etc. Whilst Mercedes haven’t written off 2013, they have set modest targets with the aim off building the team, drivers and cars for going all out in 2014. Lewis’s part in that is to build his brand this year so that they attract the sponsorship revenue to have the development funds to spend big on the 2014 car and season. I think you will find that Lewis knows what the score is for the next few years and is doing his bit to deliver.

      1. Bring Back Murray says:

        Well Lewis is the one who’s going to end up with a half-full trophy cabinet when it should be packed to the brim

  8. Richard says:

    There’s no doubt that Lewis Hamilton is a brand, and I happen to think there may be a few envious guys out there. Unfortunately F1 is a lottery as it doesn’t matter if you are the fastest driver because unless you have the fastest car in these aero dependant times there’s absolutely no chance. In that environment, personally I dont’ blame him maximising his earnings potential, and let’s not forget he is now the highest paid driver in F1. – I wonder why? All this aside I think he is serious as Mercedes are serious about winning in F1. Red Bull will not have him partnered against Vettel because sparks would fly and I think Vettel would be up against it most of the time.

  9. Simon says:

    Do we have to feel sorry for him now then.

  10. Matt W says:

    I think 15th was an ill advised soundbite to trott out. He should be looking at 7th realistically given the form of Mercedes for most of last year. 15th would be a big step back for the team.

    As for his comments ref the wheel, I like that kind ideology. There is no need to be too complicated with processes and I hope that is something Lewis can bring in as a general concept within the team if he feels it helps.

  11. Chuffbiscuits says:

    Very droll AdrianP, but check any driving sims forum and check the massive numbers of posts about different steering wheels, custom force-feedback settings, joypad mappings – you name it and that’s just the armchair racers trying to sort out their controls so they can get the best lap times. How many racing sim fans would seeth if the game had a default controller setup and that was that?

    Please give the real F1 drivers some credit for knowing what makes a difference to them when they’re in the car. This sort of thing is pretty standard and you’ll often find differences in the way two drivers in the same team use the same wheel (e.g. I’m pretty sure Massa and Alonso configure theirs slightly differently).

    1. Alex W says:

      Well said.

  12. Mike84 says:

    Just has to be careful he doesn’t tick off the engineers by voicing too many ideas too soon. He’s the driver, not the chief designer. They’ll accommodate him but you don’t want them losing the initiative.

    If he’s accepted it’s going to be a non-WDC year, maybe he should take it more slowly and tactfully. You can often get others to arrive at your idea like it was theirs.

    Talking to the press about how he’s doing a better design than Mercedes’ best designers isn’t wise IMO. Whatever happens behind the scenes, in public he should just be the driver and let Mercedes take credit for the car.

    1. Quade says:

      Agreed. I think he should be much more measured, but then, the press is always prodding him. He is the most interviewed and talked about F1 driver by quite some margin.

      1. Mike from Colombia says:

        Attitudes of the some “fans” is much more cruel than the press when it comes to Hamilton.

  13. goferet says:

    To be honest, I do have some concerns relating to Lewis’ move to Mercedes for not only does his career path remind some of the fans of Jacques’ career but also last year, he said he always loses money at the casino i.e not too much luck.

    However, whenever am reminded of his father and Eddie Jordan saying they believe he could help Mercedes become champions >>>> then I do get some good vibes back.

    Also this maybe a coincidence but the last pilot to replace the Kaiser went on to win the driver’s title, the following year and that was the iceman in 2007.

    Lastly, when Lewis won the 2008 title, he had a Finnish teammate in Heikki and with Rosberg being of dual citizenship >>> well you know the rest

    1. Random 79 says:

      Well, that settles it…

      HISTORY HAS SPOKEN! IT CANNOT BE DENIED! ALL THE FACTS (well…all two of them) POINT TO ONE INEVITABLE CONCLUSION! LEWIS WILL BE WDC IN 2013! YEEEEAAAAH!!!!!!!!!

      Goferet, you’ve done it again :)

      1. Hahaha – spot on. And the pope has announced his retirement which indicates that Ferrari and Italy expect a bad year.

      2. Random 79 says:

        I hadn’t heard that. The pope’s German isn’t he? If so, then that’s got to have an impact on Mercedes too.

      3. Anne says:

        I hope it has an impact on Vettel too

        :)

      4. Random 79 says:

        Ouch lol, but I have to second that :)

  14. vintly says:

    At least he’s not being bullish about Mercedes’ potential in 2013 – which is shrewd, at least for Hamilton. Last year and the year before he was anything but shrewd, with various offhand comments and tweets that simply shouldn’t have been made. Nevertheless, already he is saying one thing, and Lauda another. This may need addressing, regardless of where he finishes,

  15. Joel says:

    :)
    Nice dream you had last night before your mom woke you up. Please share your dream from tonight.

    1. Joel says:

      This was a response to @AdrianP

  16. forzaminardi says:

    He’s easy to criticise and I’m sure commercial reasons were not furthest from his mind in making his decision, but credit to him for taking the road less-travelled and apparently having a sensible attitude toward it. I’m not sure he has the human or technical qualities to alone turn Mercedes around, but if he does his job as well as everyone knows he can, and the other big names at Mercedes do theirs, I think he’ll make more than a few eat their words.

  17. Matthew Cheshire says:

    Good for Lewis.

    He’s investing a big part of his career with Mercedes. He should open his mouth and use his profile to get what he wants.

    And saying everything at McLaren became the same? Like being almost good enough but never looking like winning championships? That’s what he’s saying. And that’s why he left.

    Its better better to be fifteenth and improving than perpetually third best.

    Its always entertaining when Webber says what he thinks. And Kimi. Brilliant if Lewis does too. Does anyone enjoy all the banal team-speak from drivers?

  18. zombie says:

    I give it 3 yrs. If by 2015 Mercedes are not in a position to win the world title, LH will be knocking on the doors of RBR.

    1. Tim says:

      I thought he did knock on their door, but they didn’t open it.

      1. Random 79 says:

        True, but apparently Webber was the only one there that day and he thought it was Marko at the door ;)

    2. Sebee says:

      zombie,

      I think we need to face up to the serious situation here. We can be honest and say that 2013 Lewis will not walk away with the WDC. Which means really all this hype and talk about Mercedes in 2014 better materialize. Otherwise, 2015 Lewis may be knocking at doors of teams because Toto Wolff bought the team for 1 Euro.

      And to make a point about this Mercedes 2014 hype – are we really to believe that others are going to be asleep here and Mercedes is just going to have a cake walk season?

      Conspiracy theory #27. Bernie has his team put together a script to make Mercedes WDC for fear of driving away a manufacturer. After all, Bernie understands ROI, and knows Mercedes needs to show it on paper. After all, each Mercedes board meeting where F1 is mentioned someone brings up VW Group and now BMW and their success and profitability without being in F1. Where is the case for our F1 participation…Mercedes board will ask.

      The more I think about it, the more I am impressed with Lewis, Toto and company. They are in a no-turning back, WDC/WCC or bust scenario. Their survival depends on it, and certainly lack of investment or bad drivers are not going to be an acceptable excuse. It’s yet another huge story line, that just keeps getting huge-er! :-)

  19. Dan says:

    No, he isn’t ready to finish 15th. I think his decision is largely influenced by his desire to be in the car with the best engine, which is still the Mercedes.

    I hear that’s the kind of logic Senna applied, and Lewis does oh-so-love being like Senna.

    1. Guillermo says:

      If Lewis had used Senna’s logic, he would have offered to drive for Red Bull for free…

      1. Timmay says:

        Indeed

        Quite the opposite of Ayrton then, isnt she?

      2. Andrew M says:

        There’s plenty of difference between saying you’re going to do stuff in an interview and doing it in real life. Senna didn’t actually drive for free, plus Williams had a seat open and were openly courting Senna.

      3. Anne says:

        Keep in mind that Lewis called RB a drink company. Later his management team asked RB if they wanted Lewis and they say no.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I hate to break it to you, but he was already in a car with arguably the best engine, only it had a much better chassis too.

      He clearly wanted to leave McLaren, and Ferrari and RBR were out. That left Mercedes, with the *hope* that things will turn out well next year.

      Agreed, Lewis might not be ready to finish 15th – or even 8th – but given his options he’ll have to live with what he has for now and hope that Mercedes lives up to the hype in 2014.

      I’d be surprised if there was ever a driver didn’t want to be in the car with the best engine.

      1. Kay says:

        Vettel?

        Renault is known to be behind Mercedes and Ferrari, and Vettel is very happy being at RBR.

      2. Random 79 says:

        You’d be happy at RBR too if you were winning consecutive WDCs!

        You make a good point, but I’m sure Vettel wouldn’t turn down a Red Bull with a Mercedes or Ferrari engine – the thing would be virtually unbeatable!

    3. Hansb says:

      No way, its because there were no better alternatives for his future.
      And what makes you think the Merc engine is currently the best?

  20. Richie Hezz says:

    I would love to know how Rosberg is feeling now.
    The language being used in the media and Lewis’ immediate rallying calls within the team seem to be leaving Nico out in the cold. Any progress made by the team in the near and distant future will be attributed to Hamilton coming onboard. How can Nico possibly benefit from this relationship unless he can dominate Hamilton and wrestle the team into his corner?

    1. Joel says:

      I bet Mercedes will be keen to find out how different this car is from McLaren from the man who has driven a McL thoughout his F1 life – as you know McL was ,generally speaking, the fastest car for most of last season.

      1. Dren says:

        Yes. Nico can judge the step the W04 is over the W03 and Hamilton can judge based on the Mclaren. This has to give the team some insight on where they are.

      2. Sikhumbuzo says:

        And add the Aldo Costa effect as well from a Ferrari aspect comparison.

    2. Alex says:

      I suspect that for now Nico is taking it all in his stride, just like when there were questions about how he’d deal with Michael as a team mate.

      1. James Allen says:

        I have a feeling the results may be rather different with this team mate..

      2. Marcus in Canada says:

        subtly understated…

      3. Wanja says:

        What if Rosberg beats Hamilton hands down? That would put several drivers’ performance into a whole new perpective, I guess.
        But to be honest, I’m with you James. In 2012 Schumacher was not looking bad against Rosberg. If he hadn’t been plagued by an unreliable car (not only in the races, but also in qualifying) and strange decisions of race stewards, he could have well beat him. And this is one sign that Rosberg may be very good (he has had some very strong races for Williams, remember), but not as good as Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton. But I guess we’re talking about about two tenths of a second here, not a pretty large margin.

      4. KRB says:

        I expect that, but no 17:3 in qualifying (or even 16:3 for this year). Rosberg is better over a single lap than Button, that’s for sure.

      5. Elie says:

        James I have a feeling your very right..

    3. Fireman says:

      This is a huge opportunity for Nico and I’d imagine that he is tougher to beat than Button. And Lewis still has button problems…

    4. Thompson says:

      I like Roseberg, but he needs to grow up and get involved this year. The past 3years he costed and always seem to have a ‘what ever…’ attitude about him.

      He is capable, but unless behind the scenes he was ignored by Mercedes these past 3yrs (only schmacher had a say in all things) he needs to impose himself – get involved.

      he needs to take a leaf from Hamilton me thinks and step from under his fathers influence/shadow – he needs to man up – be a part of it – as opposed to a passenger which is what he’s been these past 3 years.

      Ihope thats the way he’s thinking.

  21. JTodt says:

    Ross: So, what’s you feedback on the car Lewis?

    Lewis: That sticker needs to be a little to the left. Also, can you put some social media buttons on the steering wheel so I can tweet my fans while I am driving. And one more thing, the car needs more downforce…. OK, gotta run, I have some XIX functions to attend with Nicole. Tweet me if anything comes up. Cheers.

    1. Alex says:

      I guess when the car was parked up in the garage with brake failure and he had the best part of the day just hanging around waiting he might just have resorted to looking at stickers on the car.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I thought the first response might have been that the brakes need a bit of a looking over..but maybe that’s just me.

  22. chris green says:

    i think mercedes have again failed to rectify the chassis’ hunger for tyres and it still lacks downforce.

    it’s not looking that promising for hammy or rosberg.

    1. Sikhumbuzo says:

      Well we shall know at the last test in barca won’t we? They have said that they have a five element front wing that they didn’t run as yet and the rear is last year’s version too.

      1. KRB says:

        They ran that new FW on the last two days of Jerez.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Bear in mind that the effect will have been greatly exaggerated in Jerez due the the documented issues with the abrasiveness of the circuit. If a car is *slightly* harder on its tyres on a standard track than the others, it’s most likely to be *much* harder on the tyres on a more abrasive track.

    3. SJM says:

      Its too early to tell, after all Jerez was not exactly the best track for tyre assessment because of its abrasive track surface.

      If you also noticed. Lewis changed his assessment of the w04 after his long haul run on the last day, from “lacking downforce” to “I couldn’t ask for more…”

      Loaded statement if you ask me…

    4. Philippe H says:

      I think both problems are actually correlated. So improving downforce might help solve the tyre problem..

  23. Riccardo Consulini says:

    LOL. Very good and funny post. Keep it up.

  24. AussieWoZ says:

    Well played Lewis. He will be well-served to continue low expectations for 2013, I’ve no doubt (like others) he has had one eye on 2014 throughout his decision to move to Mercedes.

    I wish him all the luck, and more importantly, patience, to see 2013 to the end without a win. I’ll be impressed if he keeps it this cool for more than half the season though before his frustrations with a slower car in the midfield.

  25. Rein says:

    JA.F1 – great headline!

  26. barry says:

    I can’t agree at all.

    The removal and re-organisation of buttons and switches on the wheel is a world away from ‘moving stickers and adding diamonds’.

    To suggest Lewis Hamilton doesn’t understand differential and is only interested in flashing lights is simply ridiculous, even if it was an ill-judged attempt at humour.

    In my mind, there is no-one who is going to know better what buttons are useful, and which positions are easily reachable, than the driver, so this is exactly the kind of feedback the people that design and build the wheels need.

    1. AdrianP says:

      I see that the ‘sticker’ reference was a bit cryptic.

      It refers to this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/feb/08/lewis-hamilton-mercedes-ross-brawn
      (and I think an earlier interview with Lewis which I cannot now locate)

      The flashing LEDs was a reference to Vettel’s helmet and Lewis’ obsession with not be able to compete on an even footing with Vettel.

      The diamonds was artistic license borne from Lewis’ stud earrings.

      The point that I was trying to convey is that Hamilton has obviously been trying to play up his technical input and the idea that he can ‘build’ a team and car like Michael Schumacher did, but the examples which have been given of his technical input seem faintly ridiculous.

      1. Quade says:

        It just wasn’t a good post. It is ridiculous to claim that the number of buttons on the steering wheel does not slow a driver down. It is worse to rinse down a driver who follows a principle that is used in fighter jets, rockets etc. Perhaps, by your reckoning, astronauts are a bit addled too?

      2. Timmay says:

        Whatever bro, it was the best post of 2013 so far

      3. Simple says:

        It was in perfectly good humour! Why so serious?

      4. Hal says:

        The point is Lewis has achieved way more than you have and another company is willing to pay him a lot of money to bring his talents, knowledge and experience to the table.

    2. Jake says:

      Buttons and Stickers, the inside story.
      Seems the majority of posters here don’t get it. The sticker is actually very important. True, it does not make the car any faster but to dismiss it is to show the lack of understanding behind the comment.
      The fact that someone fitted the sticker incorrectly and the fact that no one in quality control picked up the error indicates a culture within the organisation of that’s good enough, it’s not important.
      You absolutely do not want that mentality anywhere near an F1 team. To be successful the whole team has to be dedicated, motivated, have pride in their work and strive for perfection. Go to Ferrari, McLaren or Red Bull and see if you can spot some dodgy stickers, not a chance, that is no accident.
      If you have a dial with 10 settings, no problem you should be able to grasp what each setting does. Now we add another dial with 10 setting, we now have 100 possible combinations of settings, a bit more to remember here. Now we add 10 buttons. This gives us just over 1 thousand combinations on the buttons alone, add in the two dials and we now have 100 thousand different possible combinations. The possible combination of settings becomes far too large for anybody to comprehend, certainly not when you are concentrating on racing. This is of course an extreme exaggeration as not every button/dial will actually interact, however it should be clear that too many dials and buttons may not be such a good thing.
      Lewis is spot on, on both counts and is doing exactly what he said he would, that is improve the Mercedes F1 team. Unfortunate from too far behind the leaders to make the difference this year.
      We have to wait until 2014 for a serious challenge.

      1. Kay says:

        +1.

        I love your comment.

      2. Thompson says:

        +1 again

        A serious bizniz needs serious people, hope team Mercedes sees it that way and not the way of the naysayers ‘its only a sticker…’

        My prediction for this season is that Hamilton will do a Hill at Merc (he who acheived the most amazing result in f1 history when he nearly won a race in an Arrows….an Arrows!!!) and drag that team to the front of the field they way Hill dragged Jorden to 3rd in the constructers.

        But 1st things 1st….. get team Mercedes serious.

        yeah, that was a great post Jake

  27. **Paul** says:

    “I was driving a competitive car, I could win races, battle with Sebastian Vettel.”

    Begs the question why Lewis left really. He’s acknowedlged that McLaren will almost certainly have a superior car in 2013. I’m not such a massive Lewis fan at present (in all honesty I think if he was as good as people say he’d have at least 2 WDC – I have my own opinion rather than taking what pundits say as gospel!), but is he one of the top 4 or 5 drivers in F1? Probably yes. So I find myself stuggling to understand his Mercedes move. Drivers like Alonso, Button, Prost, Senna and Raikkonen all made career moves for better cars. Lewis has moved to a worse car. The only person I’ve seen do that with any continued success in my 25 years watching F1 is probably Schumacher, but unlike Hamilton, Michael was a double world champ and took an entire team of extremely talented people with him. Lewis hasn’t.

    All that said I’m really really looking forward to seeing what Lewis can do in a moderate car, because that’s what seperates the men from the boys in F1. We’ve seen Alonso go well in a Renault, Vettel in a Torro Rosso, Button in a BAR/Honda – none of which were true front running cars, but they all showed what they could do. For me 2013 will be the season that makes or breaks Lewis. It’s the season where he has a chance to really shine. If the Mercedes is genuinely still a second off the pace and Lewis can pick up regular podiums and 3 or 4 wins and no one, not even I, would be able to doubt his talent as one of the finest in the sport. If Rosberg finishes ahead of him though, well then that throws a completely different complection on how good Lewis is.

    This has the potential to be the most interesting season in F1 for several years, I really can’t wait to see how it pans out!

    1. Cody says:

      So he just needs to get 1 win in 8 seasons like Button? Or 1 win and a bunch of middle of the pack finishes like Vettel? Don’t forget how the Renaults when Alonso won were very good cars, making Fisichella and Trulli into race winners.

      1. **Paul** says:

        [mod]
        It’s not all about the finishing positions, but also the performance on race day, the qualifying, how they perform in the wet (which helps level the cars performances somewhat).

        All of the drivers I listed have put in good performances in non-front running cars. We’ve never seen Lewis in a non-front running car.

        So what would I expect from a great driver in the 4th or 5th best car on the grid (pressuming the status quo remains)? I’d expect him to be able to win 3 or 4 races and pick up a good number of podiums. Just as I’d expect Button, Vettel and Alonso to fight for the title if they’ve all got cars that are fairly similar in speed.

        etc etc

      2. Philippe H says:

        3 or 4 wins, seriously? Hamilton won 4 last year, button 3, Alonso 3, Webber 2, Raikkonen 1… You really think anyone can win 3 or 4 races in the 4th or 5th best car? Perhaps if the 5th car is just 3 tenths of the pace, otherwise you’re being ludicrous!

      3. **Paul** says:

        @ Philippe H

        Everyone keeps saying that Lewis is so much faster than Jenson, Mark and Kimi though? And they’re all rearded as quicker than Rosberg. So why should it be wrong for him to demonstrate that this season? Alonso and Vettel have demonstrated in recent years that they’re a good margin quicker than their team mates. So why shouldn’t putting Lewis into a car that’s half a second or so off the pace see him pull the car up into positions that allow him to challenge for a few wins and some podiums? Perhaps 3 or 4 is too high a number, but the general point remains. I expect Lewis to show his real value this season, and by that I mean, not just be a tenth ahead of Rosberg, but to be 6 and 7 tenths up on Nico, because Nico is a three or four tenths slower than the drivers I mention above, who are in turn a couple of tenths slower than Lewis.

        It’s going to be an interesting season, and the driver moves always really help show up relative performance.

      4. Jake says:

        At the moment the Merc is probably sitting around 5th, definetly behind the Red Bull, McLaren, ferrari and Lotus. That means there are 8 drivers sitting in faster cars at every GP. Lets say its a good day for Lewis and two front runners are having a bad day, another two come together and have to pit and yet another two have mechanical issues and DNF. Even with all this luck Lewis is still only third or fourth (depending on the other Merc).
        At the moment they are probably down a second a lap. Thats a full minute down at full distance, Lewis is good but no one can expect to take 4 GPs with a car that slow.

      5. Andrew M says:

        You clearly weren’t watching the first half if 2009 if you think Lewis has never been in an uncompetitive car.

    2. SaScha says:

      Hamilton is devinitefely a top 3 driver, and if not for bad relability ot McLaren many costly operational errors 2012, Hamilton would be 2x WDC now.
      IMO he was not happy at McLaren anylonger, even a superior car and more money,could not convince him to stay there. Looks like he wanted to get out there, as sooon as he had the chance, even at the price of having a worse car.
      Since Hamilton made the decission to leave McLaren, he seems to be in a better place personally and a much happpier than at the last few years.

    3. KRB says:

      Prost to Ferrari for 1990 was to a better car?!? Same with Mansell from Williams to Ferrari. Sometimes you have to take a step back before you advance once more.

    4. Elie says:

      There was slightly better cars called rb6,7 & 8in his way don’t ya think

      1. **Paul** says:

        I agree the RB6 & RB7 were faster, but last years McLaren was the fastest car on the grid. A mix of reliability, operational and decision making lost the title for McLaren last season. But lets not forget what Alonso managed to achieve in cars which weren’t fastest.

      2. Kay says:

        I’d rather call it a mix of Sam Michael, Martin Whitmarsh and Maldonardo di Rambo. ;)

  28. Dave says:

    James – posting from my email address (without the underscore) results in my post not being displayed. Has it somehow been added to a spam blacklist or something?

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      No. I don’t know why that should be, but it’s good that you have found your own solution!

      1. Dave says:

        Well, the downside is that I don’t get email alerts to replies as the email address doesn’t exist!

        I could create a new account, but seems a bit like overkill for one news site (despite it being the F1 site I enjoy reading the most!)

        Any chance you could forward the query on to whomever administers the wordpress side of the site? It’s definitely something about the email address (I’ve ruled out the browser, pc, location, etc) so I wonder if I’ve accidentally (or automatically) been put on a blacklist somewhere.

      2. James Allen says:

        Maybe you’ve found a fix for anyone else who has a problem posting!

      3. I had the same issue with my previous email address. Fortunately, I changed ISP and got a new email address and the new one works (for now) but there has to be some technical reason why the site is blocking email accounts that used to work fine. You should invetigate and address it before it spreads wider and seriously impacts your fans’ ability to interact with the site. I’m sure Adrien Newey doesn’t adopt the “She’ll be right, mate” approach when very small glitches appear in his carefulyl crafted output.

  29. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    The “over-buttoned” steering wheel seems to be Schumy’s legacy. I remember Alonso having to eliminate many of them when he arrived to Ferrari because the steering wheel had not changed a lot since Schumy left and it was full of buttons with functions that would never be used.

    1. Kay says:

      I reckon they should take a leave out of Apple.

      Steve Jobs disliked traditional phones with numerous buttons, so he wanted to create a phone with just one button and voila! iPhone changed the whole mobile world.

      Mercedes needs a wheel with just one button that can do everything. Maybe just put Siri into the car and have the drivers voice-control various functions. :D

  30. Cos says:

    I’m guessing the steering wheel is dveloped with each driver in mind. Bearing in mind he’s taking over from Schumacher so what if he wants less dials on it compared to Schumacher. If he chooses to have 50 dials or just 5 it’s up to him he’s the one driving the car.

    1. Cos says:

      this was in response to Post 3

  31. Grant says:

    What’s become clear in the past three years is that Merc certainly need more input to turn their around. The more input from Lewis, the merrier.
    Anything to turn that car around….

  32. Janis says:

    I strongly suspect,
    these 26 buttons on the steering wheel were the legacy of Schumacher. He always liked to tinker with his car attempting to push it further performance wise. Just remember the astonished comment by Davidson on Schumi’s Monaco pole lap – where Schumi adjusted the brake balance while negotiating a corner at >100 mph (where Perez crashed earlier).
    Hamilton is rather more used to McLaren way, where the car is put in front of you – and you drive it, without much thinking about what’s under the hood, and receiving instructions from the pit regarding diff settings.

    1. Kay says:

      Well one thing for sure: the car is going to save some weight from having dozons of buttons! :D

  33. Joel says:

    “At Mercedes there are 26 of them. I’ve already got rid of six.”

    No wonder “The Legend” ran into the back of other cars, twice, fiddling with his toys.

    1. Grant says:

      :D
      Just too funny!

    2. Jake says:

      It’s common practice in engineering to give people who complain continually a button/dial to play with. It does not have to do anything you just tell them it does. It reduces the complaints.
      I guess Schumacher complained a lot.

  34. goferet says:

    Meanwhile, was surprised Lewis didn’t get the number 1 drive at Mercedes on the spot like a certain Schumi

    However, seeing as Lewis has had his best seasons as the number 2 driver, I guess it’s okay e.g. 2007, 2010, 2012

    1. Quade says:

      There has never been a number one at mercedes.

      1. Peter says:

        Indeed, Button took it with him to McLaren at the end of 2009.

    2. KRB says:

      You want a good one goferet? Here’s one … Lewis won the WDC the last time he drove with a double-digit number on his car (#22 in 2008). In his six seasons in F1, Lewis has been #2, #22, #1, #2, #3, and #4. Could also say his best seasons have been those where he drove an even-numbered car.

      1. Ryan Eckford says:

        Hamilton has No.10 on the car, it has been 5 years since his 2008 World Championship, 10 divided by 5 equal 2. Possibly Hamilton will win his second world championship in 2013.

      2. Kay says:

        Teams are going to hire scientists of Einstein’s level to win anything now…….

  35. Pete says:

    James, clearly Lewis will have knowledge about the current McLaren car, and potentially some very sensitive information in his head that he could use to influence the Mercedes car.

    At what point does this information cross the line of industrial espionage? Lewis can’t un-learn knowledge he has gained at McLaren, but as a driver in transition are there any boundaries about what information he can use?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s an accepted part of F1that drivers take info in their heads. It’s not acceptable to walk out with CAD files and drawings…!

      This is why no-one patents anything in F1 – the idea gets copied really quickly anyway!

      1. Random 79 says:

        Could it also be said that engineers take it as a compliment when other engineers copy their ideas?

      2. Smellyden says:

        Unless you count Williams of course James, did they not patent the KERS flywheel?

    2. Davexxx says:

      Could this be a big reason why Ron Dennis would be ‘a touch peeved’ that Lewis left for Mercedes??

  36. zombie says:

    I am not surprised at the number of buttons considering Schumi was driving it earlier. I so remember reading an article on the Ferrari F430. Apparently Schumacher suggested to seperate the traction control settings from the e-diff settings which resulted in an additional button on the dash.

    He probably took the same approach at Mercedes and before he knew, he had 26 knobs to play with !

  37. FernanDino says:

    James,
    You should know that Rory Byrne actually never left Ferrari’s payroll. He kept on a role as a consultant ever since he left his active role as chief designer at the end of 2006. Having said this, I am sure he did NOT design the lame donkeys that were both 2005 and 2006 cars, he must have taken a back seat and let the children play. But then was certainly a major driving force behind the carbon chassis designed for the Enzo successor and after finshing this off in the 2nd half of last year Monty must have thought what a great waste it would represent to have someone like Rory do too much scuba diving in some thai paradise resort….

    1. James Allen says:

      We do say he maintained his links….he stayed on primarily with links to road car side.

      I’m told he will be at Geneva show

    2. Andrew M says:

      2006 Ferrari was hardly a “lame donkey”, it was the pacesetter for much of the season and was a match for the Renault.

      1. Sikhumbuzo says:

        And McLaren copied their designs.

      2. James Clayton says:

        With all this talk about brand Hamilton, do you see him going off to race in America eventually? I think he’d want to get a couple more championships under his belt first, but if he achieved that, I could just about see a move on the cards…

  38. Eric says:

    “I’ve got ideas on how we can improve two or three things.”

    Lewis has presumably got to be careful that those ideas don’t come from McLaren or he will probably be in breach of some confidentiality clauses.

    1. Quade says:

      I doubt confidentiality clauses can work in F1. Teams copy each others technolgy all the time. The dividing line is, not to steal files and documents.

      The case most similar to Lewis current claims are Alonso’s claims to have brought sixth tenths of a second to McLaren. Only thing is those six tenths came from a Ferarri and Alonso had never been in the employ of Ferarri, so ye olde espionage trap was sprung, someone had to have stolen PHYSICAL files. Alonso huffed off and McLaren sat in the naughty room and paid 100 thousand big ones in fines.

      1. Anne says:

        For that matter. The track engineer that Webber had in the RB just went to Lotus. I bet that guy also has 2 or 3 things to share with none other than James Allison. I don´t see anything wrong with that. Nor I see anything wrong if Lewis wants to share some info he may have about McLaren.

    2. SaScha says:

      I don’t think there are such clauses.He can use his knowledge wherever he goes.

    3. tharris19 says:

      Lewis had no access to any important data on the current McLaren. What is wrong with accepting the possibility that he has independent ideas?

    4. Andrew M says:

      When de la Rosa left McLaren he tipped Sauber off about the F-Duct, and lo and behold it appeared on their car pretty sharpish. If he didn’t get into trouble for that I doubt anything Lewis takes with him is going to land him in any trouble.

      1. Kay says:

        Nice reminder about the Sauber F-duct. :)

  39. Dan Butcher says:

    I made a comment when Lewis to Mercedes was announced along the lines of will we see any of Lewis’ Mclaren DNA cross over to AMG and cited the steering wheel as an example.

    Mclaren usually have very clutter free cars, look at their respective suspension layouts this year and last year, the AMG one has parts everywhere.

    The sticker thing could be as simple as one catches his eyeline or they sit proud which may sound no big deal but add that up to every sticker on the car and you might be losing 0.1 points of downforce.

    K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid.

    This clip Lewis briefly talks about the Mclaren steering wheel

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjoFJnNMbGA

    Now look at that picture of the Mercedes one.

    1. P King says:

      @ Dan Butcher: Good post, thank you.

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        +1 yes now it’s clear the difference between steering wheels… Tks.

  40. Alex says:

    Is the media,and certain journalists, the ones that can’t let this issue go.
    Can’t wait to see him winning with Mercedes to read the articles.

  41. Dave Aston says:

    I love Lewis, he’s a fantastic racing driver and competitor, but… he talks too much. [mod]

    I want to add, it’s depressing that we’re only one test into the season, and we’ve had the first reference to a driver as a ‘brand’.

    I do think he will improve Mercedes’ results. How many think he’ll win a few races with them this year? I reckon he’ll win one, maybe two.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well he has to, because the teams for which he works require him to do media and he can’t exactly sit there and say nothing.

      If you drive for Marussia, you don’t get interviewed or quoted so much. Twas ever thus.

    2. SaScha says:

      It’s more the fault of the journalists, they ask too much ;) And write too much articles;)

    3. j says:

      “He talks too much” meaning that you don’t like press conferences or articles written about what the drivers say at them? Or is it just this particular driver?

      Says the guy visiting an F1 news site. No one forced him to click the “Read More” link. :)

    4. Stone the crows says:

      Maybe that’s why he seems to be getting on with Niki Lauda :)

    5. cc says:

      Good point. Can you imagine one of your friends as a ‘brand’?? You’d probably be nothing but just another groupie stat to them.

    6. Anne says:

      I think Lewis problem is he doesn´t think twice before saying or doing something. For example he called RB a drink company, he posted telemetry in twitter, he drove and made some spins in the streets of Melbourne that got him in troble with police there a few years ago right before a race. Lewis could avoid these kind of problems if he hires a good PR agent who could give him the right advice all the time

  42. goferet says:

    *Pop Quiz*

    What do the following drivers have in common?

    Schumi
    Fangio
    Moss

    Yes, all former Merc pilots that so happened to go down as legends

    1. JimmiC says:

      Pop Quiz: What do these two people have in common?
      Paddy Hopkirk
      Me

      We both drive a Mini, except he drove it fast and well and I commute to work everyday.

      Besides, in your list of three, one of them arguably had his legacy dented by a stint in the Merc.

    2. RodgerT says:

      Schumacher is a legend, but not because of anything he did with Mercedes. It all happened before he went there.

      Fangio won titles with cars from a couple of manufacturers, so the Mercedes link is weak.

      Moss’ legacy with Mercedes has more to do with the Milli Millia (if spelling of this is off its because I haven’t had coffee yet) not F1.

    3. Kay says:

      I like statistics in F1, they offer great insights into how F1 has evolved and how one (driver or team) has achieved. However, when it gets to the point of being relied on as a crystal ball continuously, it does get a bit silly and tiring.

  43. P King says:

    Lewis is a fantastic F1 driver.

    In his first year, poor McLaren strategy and management cost him the title.

    In his second year, he just got the title despite more errors by McLaren.

    Since then he has possible lost another two potential sure-wins of the title due to incompetence by the McLaren team.

    Just get off his back and let him get on with the job. He adds immense value to the F1 show, and deserves every penny he makes inside and outside of it.

    1. Grant says:

      Amen, to that.

    2. JEZ Playense says:

      Very confident! So if Nico matches Lewis you will reconsider? Lewis didn’r blow Button away, and I wonder at the confidence level now…

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        didn’t blow…? But check this in 2012:

        Qualy Hamilton 17 vs. Button 3

        Races Hamilton 9 vs. Button 5

      2. JEZ Playense says:

        2010 Lewis 4th and Button 5th
        2011 Button 2nd Lewis 5th
        2012 Lewis 4th Button 5th

        Call that blowing him away if you like?

      3. KRB says:

        F1 bosses know that Hamilton put Button in some serious shade last year, even if the final points tally was close. Any F1 team boss who would plump for Button over Hamilton is either off their meds, or shouldn’t be an F1 team boss.

      4. Mike from Colombia says:

        He might not have blown away Button in terms of points but on many may occasions he made Button look ordinary. Hamilton was annoyed that the points situation did not reflect his actual superiority as a driver.

      5. Quade says:

        It looks to most people that he blew Button away. One off year doesn’t change what we observed, especially last season when button needed to use Lewis driving telemetry, car setup and engineers to get out of a hole.
        Before last season, it would have been inconceivable to hear of a driver needing a team mates data to such a shocking extent. Thats the definition of “blown away.”

    3. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      in his 1st year he stayed out too long on the wrong tyres and blew his own chances through over confidence and inexperience…..

      I think mine is a bit more accurate than your view through the ‘lewis can do no wrong’ glasses you seem to be wearing ;-)

      1. KRB says:

        The team kept him out there, assuring him it was the right strategy. You could say Lewis should’ve said “I’m coming in”, but it’s a bit much to ask of a rookie, to question his team, a team with a fine racing pedigree.

        McLaren should’ve played it safe and conservative. They certainly had enough of a lead to ensure such an approach, but it seems to me that McLaren thought they could wrap up the championship in China.

        Your view more accurate?! Sounds to me like the same old tired anti-Lewis fare.

    4. Timmay says:

      In my opinion he lost 2007 & 2010 all by himself. 2012 was mclarens fault.

      Youll never convince me otherwise

      1. James Clayton says:

        I agree he lost 2010 by himself. I can’t really agree with 2007 – he was relying on the team to tell him when to pit. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard reports of him radioing in to ask “are you sure?”… the team were busy trying to get one over on Alonso.

      2. Andrew M says:

        Vettel should have won 2010 by any measure. He lost a hatful of points through unreliabity (Bahrain, Australia and Korea) and lost more points through driver errors than Lewis (Turkey, Belgium, Silverstone, Hungary). Saying Lewis threw it away is just double standards.

      3. Timmay says:

        Having the championship by the balls at 2/3 distance in the season and then losing it by driver error is a lot worse than Vettels teams unreliability at the start of the season.

      4. Andrew M says:

        The reason he had the title “by the balls” is because up until that point he hadn’t made a mistake while all the other drivers had. Somehow getting yourself into a position to win the title and then making mistakes is somehow worse than making loads of mistakes to make sure you never get into that position? Also, he was leading the title by 3 points with 6 races to go, it’s not like he was running down the clock.

        Even by your own flawed logic, Webber had the title “by the balls” in Korea (after Hamilton made his mistakes) and then spun off, costing him points that would have won him the title. Double standards.

    5. Andrew M says:

      In 2008 Lewis arguably lost more points through driving errors than the team cost him (crashing into Raikkonen in the pit lane etc)

      In 2010 Vettel should have been champion taking the whole season into account by pretty much any measure.

      In 2012 he was badly let down for sure, but it would have put him in the title hunt at best, it’s not like he would have walked away with it 2011 style.

  44. Greg says:

    Good luck to him, but from the outside looking in at Mercedes, it seems like something just doesn’t click throughout the team. I can’t explain it, but the team just doesn’t seem connected together.
    Banking on the 2014 regs creating a new car and saying the engine building teams will get an advantage is far fetched. All the teams will have the engine dimensions and the power/drive information as a base to design too, you only have to look at the Brawn tagged Honda to see it isn’t that important, they fitted a completely different engine within a couple of weeks and it dominated.
    The teams are going to get surfice information or they won’t be able to build gearboxes, mounting, intakes and exhaust. McLaren, Lotus and Williams etc will not be at a disadvantage and I can’t see a driver being sold on this idea.
    I can’t see things improving for a while at Mercedes and if media reports were correct saying MSC was offered a 2 year contract and couldn’t make his mind up, there is no sign of a championship winning car for a while or he would of stayed on.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I think I can see what you’re trying to say, and mostly I agree.

      This is a team that has a new driver and new management, it’s only natural that things wouldn’t have clicked yet.

      Many believe that Mercedes will have the best engine package next year, but no one knows whether or not the 2014 Mercedes will be a winner – it’s only next year we’ll find for sure, but right now it’s what everyone is banking on.

      The factory teams may get a slight advantage as they have some input into the process. The customer teams pretty much get what they’re given…but yes, in the end they all end up with the same respective engines.

      I don’t think Schumacher was thinking about the possible performance of next years car when he was trying to negotiate his contract. I think that by that stage he just wanted to take things one year at a time for his own reasons (probably his age being one of them).

      As another example of an older driver (now the oldest), even though Webber is pretty much guaranteed a great car these days he still takes his contracts one year at a time.

      I think it’s mostly the younger drivers who are looking for multi-year contracts as it’s the best way to secure their F1 career…at least in theory ;)

    2. Andrew M says:

      Brawn said at the time that they had to make significant compromises to fit the Merc engine as opposed to the Honda, without that they would have been even more dominant.

  45. Mr Ed says:

    The teams spend how much on wind tunnels and aerodynamic development? Have a look at how complex the shape of just the front wing is to try and get the airflow just so. Is it not possible that a sticker in the wrong place could have a detrimental effect on all this effort? Or do we really think that Ross B was poking fun at Lewis? Come on people.

  46. Gul says:

    He will win; whether its from 15th/or 5th. An exciting 2013 awaits! 33 days to go!

    1. Agree. Unusual strategies may suit Lewis very well.

      McLarens ‘strategy’ (if that is not an oxymoron) has just been terrible for years now.

      Going a little bit ‘left field’ of the 3 teams may allow him to pop up in unexpected places with a slower car – from where he can use his talent to try and stay ahead

  47. clyde says:

    I think Lewis is a driver more in the Mansell mould very fast but doesnt know where the speed is coming from unlike senna who could tell his race engineer how the car was performing at every dip,bump or corner in the circuit ….that said i still think rosberg will give him a run fo his money

    A few more stray thoughts Lewis saying that THIS years Mercedes has less downforce than even last years Mclaren means that Rosberg performed a miracle winning in china and Schumachers pole in Monaco was also an extraordinary feat :-)

    1. Ah, the old Mansell canard again…he was a far better car sorter than some of the stories suggest. I read the story of his first Williams test in 1990 where he got into the car driven by Thierry Boutsen, who liked a stiff car. Nigel declared it undriveable after a handful of laps, told the engineers to fit softer springs and roll bars, played with the rake and ride height and by the end of the day was 1.5 seconds faster than Boutsen had been at the track….pain in the arse? YES. Poor car sorter? Nope.

      1. clyde says:

        poorer than his contemporaries for sure :-)

    2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      Good points in 2nd paragraph. Everyone seems to forget this, that if Schumacher finished 6th in Brasil in THAT car after all his race issues too, and Hamilton is happy to finish 15th in a car he admits is both an improvement over last years Mercedes and yet still lacking downforce etc compared to last years Mclaren….

      Then how stunning must Schumachers last performance in Brasil plus Monaco plus Nicos win in China etc have really ben in that dog of a car ???

      Forgive me for saying this but there is some really serious bias and manipulation of the facts in many comments by British fans it seems, looks like the Hamilton marketing machine is already in overdrive and has been successfully branding him for some time, hence the “its never his fault” common theme that seems to pervade every comment.

      its always the car, not lewis. Well answer me this, do you think that for example doing silly donuts at the end of a race on a gearbox that is supposed to last the next 4 races and then blaming the team when there are gearbox issues in one of those races is intelligent?

      Yet we know what gets said in that situation… The car let Lewis down, its the teams fault……….Really? :(

      1. Andrew M says:

        So what was Lewis supposed to do when he was dominating in Singapore and Abu Dhabi when his car failed? Get out and push?

      2. clyde says:

        Hes known to be very hard on his cars compared to jenson !

      3. Jake says:

        Your comment relies on two assumptions.
        1-Spinning the wheels damages the gearbox.
        2-This was the first race with this gearbox.

        Spinning the wheels is a techniche drivers use in order to recover after a spin leaves them facing the wrong way during the race. It is necessary due to the poor steering lock on the F1 cars. You would expect that the gearbox is build to handle the stress this induces, otherwise none of the drivers would do it.
        When Hamilton performed for his fans are you sure this gearbox had not already done it’s quota of races?

    3. Quade says:

      Ross Brawn, the only team boss with 9 World championships to his name, says Lewis is the complete package. I’d rather believe him, won’t you?

      1. Kay says:

        Hmm..

        When MGP lured MSC out of retirement, they claimed he’s the final jigsaw. As history shows, no WC were delivered to them.

        Now they’ve got Lewis onboard, they again say he’s the final jigsaw.

        Something just isn’t right with that team.

      2. clyde says:

        it doesn’t matter matter who youd rather believe ….To each his own :-)

      3. clyde says:

        To each his own :-)

    4. SaScha says:

      Oh well, Monaco is not about downforce, & China the tyres were more important last year. China is also a track wich don’t need the most downforce

  48. Baruni says:

    Many drivers change teams for different reasons – Schumacher, Villeneuve, Irvine, Alonso, Raikonnen, Montoya, etc. Some successfully, others not so. But the truly great pick it up and get the job done and largely by working on the details and help putting the pieces together. The mindset and work ethics play a huge role in this process which is why Schumacher did it where Villeneuve could not (Likewise for Irvine).
    Hamilton is a major reference point for Mercedes in a similar way when Schumacher joined Ferrari. Schumacher even had to tell Ferrari that their car was terrible – it was good for one podium and ten retirements out of 16 races in the hands of Eddie Irvine. Schumacher drove the same car to eight podiums—three of them wins—single-handedly placing Ferrari a distant but credible second to Williams. And this is where I think a driver like Hamilton will make the difference. And only time will tell how it pans out.

  49. slaven niksic says:

    frustration made him leave mcl. he thinks he’ll be able to make a fresh start, but i haven’t seen him showing patience so far

    1. SaScha says:

      He showed enough patience at McLaren who did not win anything beside Lewis title the last 13 years. He was patient with all their blunders & sloopy work last year. he will be patient this year.

      1. slaven niksic says:

        yeah, last season the team really let him down on more than few occasions, but just rewind to 2011. and you’ll find a real lewis risking to much and losing to many points when it could have been so much different. if you ask me, that patience he showed in 2012. wasn’t natural for him, he really pretended, as if he was waiting for the team to spoil some good opportunities so he could leave without guilt. i think he’ll do some silly stuff in 2013.

  50. AMSG says:

    Can anyone else see this being another Villenuve (sp) . Join team with more money than car, toil away for years, until money runs out or team owners just give up the will. Then what, any scappy drive you can get !!!!

  51. Peter says:

    I have always had the feeling with Hamilton, that he focused just a bit too much on what to say and how to look like someone cool, professional, Senna-like etc., trying to down-grade Vettel and Co. He wants to sell his image too hard and with me that has an opposite effect. Each time I start to believe that he is maturing he comes out with some silly statements. I never experience that with the likes of Raikkonen, Webber, Vettel etc.
    Hamilton should just act in a normal way and let people form an opinion, but should not tell me what I want to think of him or the way I should see him. Once he stop doing this I will like the guy, but so far he is not changing.

    1. Dan says:

      excellent comment

  52. Chris says:

    It seems to me that Hamilton is more concerned about being famous than being a Formula 1 driver. I loosely understand his reasoning for moving to Mercedes, but then to lower his expectations an account for the team? It makes no sense to me. Imagine any great champion from another sport, moving to a less competitive team and being okay with not winning…

    I don’t understand his priorities as a racing driver anymore and I think it’s only a matter of time before a very public meltdown happens at Mercedes. There’s a lot of egos on that team and I don’t see it ending well.

  53. Interesting to see drivers focussing on improving their user experience (XP) by removing unwanted controls and simplifying and clarifying the control layout.

    XP is commonly used to improve software user interfaces and websites, typically by removing extraneous graphics (plenty on this website) and arranging controls in a left-right, top-bottom arrangement.

    1. Random 79 says:

      It’s okay, I’m sure James has got Lewis coming in any day now to fix everything.

      By this time next week the only things only the page will be the latest analysis from James (in shorthand), followed by a ‘like’ button, followed by an ‘add comment’ button (which will automatically generate a comment based on previous posts made by that user).

    2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      Ctrl-Alt-Del :)

    3. Ed Bone says:

      Stephen, check out this article – very pertinent comments, when you consider what Lewis has been saying about Mercs forrest of buttons…
      http://www.simonatherley.co.uk/win-formula-1-with-ux-design/

    4. Kay says:

      Thank Goodness F1 has no BSOD then! I certainly didn’t understand what that meant, or to any ordinary users!

      1. Random 79 says:

        Windows 9x – Ahhh the memories…

  54. Mitchel says:

    I wonder what we’d all be talking about if there was no Hamilton?

    He’s definitely brought something in the past six years that no other driver since Senna has- in terms of driving, controversy, and excitement!

    1. lol says:

      A lot of people who care more for show news and soap operas rather than driving you mean?

      1. KRB says:

        Don’t be silly. It’s clear that Hamilton is a big talent. I agree that you’ll get some fawning from the British press for a Brit racer … it was the same when Jenson started out. But it’s just bigger for Hamilton b/c he is the real deal. He has the ability to turn races, just on sheer driving talent. I would highlight Austin last year, or the Nurburgring in 2011, as great examples of this.

        So I say why let the fawning of others influence your opinion of a driver? Form your own opinion, just on the facts. Since Lewis’s arrival in F1, only Vettel has won more races. A bit harsh then to write him off as a fluff driver, don’tcha think?

  55. Franco says:

    Hi James

    This may be bit off topic but I’ve noticed Nico and Lewis have very similar helmets so enjoy trying to distinguish between the two when commenting :)

      1. Sikhumbuzo says:

        Lewis will run the red colored roll bar camera I think same as Micheal.

      2. KRB says:

        I thought he was the yellow camera, being the higher numbered car? Schumacher drove the #7 to Rosberg’s #8 last year.

      3. JohnBt says:

        Yes the roll bar color we all know, but as a fan during the frenzy I do look for the helmets too. Fun.

      4. Random 79 says:

        That’s why you get paid the big bucks ;)

      5. I am still surprised at this. Lewis had a gold helmet at one race (was it US?) so I thought he would go gold… gold & silver (car) kind of thing, but alas…

        At least gold would have been darker and more easily noticeable.

        If/when one of them crashes out at one race and then the camera instantly flicks onto them, I am going to crap myself trying to figure out who it is

      6. Kay says:

        Talking of which, James, do you know why Hamilton has #10 rather than #9? He finished higher up than Nico in the 2012 WDC order, so shouldn’t he get the #9?

    1. JohnBt says:

      LOL! that was the first thought when Lewis was confirmed at Merc. But if you observe carefully Nico’s helmet is a brighter tint of yellow and Lewis’s is much darker. Then at that speed it’s easy to get confused though. Commentators will be stumbling……’yes, yes Lewis has took another position, ooops that was Nico.’

  56. Michael Powell says:

    I happen to know where Lewis is today, and he’s not skiving. That can’t be said for some of the people posting malicious comments on a work day in office hours.

    1. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      Stalking is illegal in most places ;-)

      1. Michael Powell says:

        OK – I should have said that I knew where his plane is parked. Can’t miss it, really, it’s very red.

  57. Lawrence says:

    Nice to see Lewis maturing a bit but if I was the team manager (whoever that is?) I’d be worried about is side-line activities. I understand why he is doing it but he will always earn a pretty penny, especially if he gets a few F1 WDCs under his belt. I’d be telling him to forget the sneakers, the hip-hop mates etc and focus on F1,family, friends and of course a bit of fun! :)
    The WDCs will ensure him as a legend – look at Lauda, Stewart. History has proven in off-the-pitch/court/track shenanigans affect the performers performances.

    1. Quade says:

      I’m sure you need to take another look at the old F1 champs. It was a time of wine, women and cigarettes.

      For starters, try googling “James Hunt slept with 33 BA air stewardesses before race.”

      Lewis does not drink, womanise or smoke. The dude is almost as holy as a geek; so it is incredible to see how those who had all the Worlds vices can be placed on a higher rung than him.

      Please lets stop these stories.

    2. In reference to a previous post of mine – I disagree entirely. This is the year to max out the building of the brand and get as many endorsements as possible and schmooz the corporates. Mercedes (and Lewis) seem to be gearing up the public to expect a mediocre year from them and going all out for a 2014 victory. Building the Lewis Hamilton brand attracts sponsorship money which feeds into team budget which feeds into car development which feeds into track speed (we hope) which feeds into race wins which feeds into more publicity which feeds into more sponsorship funds attracted which feeds into team budget which feeds…. and the circle of F1 life goes on.

    3. SaScha says:

      What side line activities?
      I can see none!

    4. Lawrence says:

      You may all be right to some extent. Imagine what James Hunt could have achieved if he hadn’t clowned around so much. Niki Lauda was the more focused and his three F1 WDCs bear testimony to that and his post F1 life was more lucrative. LH maybe more focused than James Hunt and is probably a better driver than JH ever was but he needs to seize the opportunities. Brisbane Bill – Good point but the team have people to do that for them. LH just seems too interested in Los Angeles, sneakers, hanging out with famous people etc. Add to that his Twitter and Instagram addiction. If you’re a class act and you win WDCs your brand will take care of itself. It is not as if he is short of money or ever will be.
      Having said all that he does have the right to have outside of F1 interests and should enjoy them. SaScha – I’m Google can help you out :).

      Anyway here is to a good season :). Love the debate. Good to meet people passionate about F1.

  58. tharris19 says:

    Hamilton, Fuller and Mercedes know that as a brand (Mercedes and Hamilton) they need to win to be relevant. If they are winning everything else is moot.

  59. richardc says:

    I will love it when LH starts to turn things round at Merc!! All those doubters will be eating their words. I don,t think it is a coincedence that merc went a little bit backwards at the end of last season, I believe they were concentrating on this years car. Don,t be surprised when they unveil a few gems at the next set of tests.

    1. lol says:

      They always go backwards after the start of the season and focus on next years car earlier than any other team, so nothing new there.

  60. Always enjoy the articles, but this is the best one in ages

    Very interesting insight into Hamilton. Personally I think he will become a much more likeable character once he can start being genuine. I think one of the biggest issues with McLaren is that they restrict the personality of the drivers.

    I imagine Mercedes will give him a lot more freedom – but of course at the end of the day if he does not win around five races in 2014 and 2015 you would have to call it a mistake

    1. lol says:

      So why is Button likable then? He is one of the, if not, the most open personality in F1 at the moment. He works for McLaren, entering his 4th year?

      Right, because it is not McLaren to be blamed for Hamilton not being liked. It is Hamilton not being authentic and more interested in portraying himself as something he is not. Just drive.

      1. I think it is because Button fits the mould McLaren want for their driers, whereas Hamilton did not.

    2. KRB says:

      Well I’ve always said that Lewis will not win another WDC until he wins at least 5 races in a season, and likely he’ll need 6+. In 2012 he could’ve easily won 7 (Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Brazil, in addition to the 4 he did win), but even with those 7 wins he still would’ve been trailing in the WDC table.

      Imagine if Vettel had won with 3 less victories than Hamilton? I’m sure Bernie would be talking up his gold medal system then. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the biggest difference in victories between the WDC and the driver with the most wins in a year is two (Prost’s 7 to Lauda’s 5 in 1984).

      1. Interesting point. I think every driver is aware the consistency is more important than outright wins. I think the biggest proof of this last year was Kimi’s performance last year.

        Usual problem with the medal system is that it does not reward teams down the grid. I think it would be interesting though if you had medals for the drivers championship and points (as currently exist) for the constructors championship – but of course there are just as many problems with this idea as any other system

      2. Kay says:

        Actually, Bernie DID say even with the medal system, the points system would be kept for the sake of those finishing outside the medals.

        BE wanted the medal system so that drivers would have to push themselves for wins, rather than settle for second, third or whatever.

  61. Lee says:

    Lewis has done the right thing because when Mclaren lose those Mercedes engines they will be midfield at best.

  62. tharris19 says:

    Win or lose, Lewis’s flair will excite regardless of where he is at during the race. That is why those of us who are his fans like his racing style. We know he will bring it not matter what.
    He and Alonso are the most competitive drivers in F1. If they were driving WRC, NASCAR, indy car, DTM, etc, they would still be the drivers to beat.
    They are naturals and thus can be competitive in any car or race environment. Case in point Hamilton 2009, Alonso last year. I would not feel comfortable say that about any other driver in F1.

    1. lol says:

      People who intentionally leave out Vettel when mentioning the best/most competitive in the grid, cannot be taken serious.

      1. Andrew M says:

        I agree, it’s disgraceful to leave out the difference maker at Red Bull when discussing the leading lights in Formula 1 – the three most talented people in the paddock are Alonso, Hamilton and Adrian Newey.

      2. Kay says:

        Everyone has their opinions.

        First half of 2012 proved that without a decent car, Vettel couldn’t max out his car as much as Alonso and Hamilton, and there was Alonso last year to compare with.

    2. tharris19 says:

      If you choose to discount my opinion because I don’t see Vettel in the same class with Alonso and Hamilton, that’s OK by me. My views reflect what I see and value in motor racing.

      1. Thompson says:

        Tharris19….. naaah, Vettle totally dominated his team mate and won the WDC done so for a couple of seasons now – Alonso on the otherhand abused and has abused his position as no.1 driver how can you rate a driver with crashgate & gearboxtampergate ..oh & Fenandoisfasterthanyougate on his cv….

        Hamilton on paper did not dominate Button but on a race weekend its clear he did, Kimi got on with the bizniz he knows what he’s doing…

        Vettle belongs in the top 3…… its not the car.

    3. Quade says:

      The 3 top drivers are Lewis, Alonso and Kimi.
      That group is followed by Vettel and Hulkenborg, then its the Buttons, Webbers who “can beat anybody on their day when the car is set up just so.”

  63. Bonaventura says:

    Poor Lewis, he loses Didier Coton a very knowledgeable man in racing and gets stuck with Tom Shine, a racing nobody and convicted for fraud.

    “Reebok VP sentenced in Just For Feet fraud

    Thomas Shine, who had been a vice president at Canton-based Reebok International Ltd., was sentenced to six months of home detention and three years of probation for helping Just For Feet Inc. fake earnings, according to Bloomberg News.”

    1. Aussie F1 Fan says:

      lol So he’s surounding himself with top blokes, what could go wrong?

    2. Peter says:

      Maybe a “rogue employee” at Reebok “badly advised” Shine to lie? If so, we should just let him off because it wasn’t his fault. He was only doing as he was asked, after all.

    3. SaScha says:

      Hamilton does not need someone to tell him about racing. He neeeds someone for PR buissness thing.To do all the things a f1 driver has not time for.
      Coton is not a buisness manager, Hamilton does not need him anymore.
      I remember Alonso & Webber have been managed by Briatore somone far worse than Shine. Or Willi Weber Schumachers manager, a fraud, too
      Or what about Mr Eccelstone?

  64. Rob says:

    If Ron was still running day to day operations at McLaren, Button would never been hired, and Hamiton would never have left…

    Whitmarsh just is the reason for McLaren’s downfall… RIP.

    1. Stone the crows says:

      Well… he isn’t so I guess we have to live with it.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      Or, if Ron was still there Lewis would have left sooner.

      1. Kay says:

        You really think so?

        From what I’ve read for the past many years, JB’s been MW’s baby ever since he joined McLaren. That’s when things started to go downhill for LH. Before that, LH was happy in the team, max out everything possible, drive to the best etc.

        It is Ron who nurtured LH through racing ranks, brought him into F1 and won him a WDC (almost 2). If anyone it’s definitely not Ron who drove Lewis out.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        From what I understand Ron has a very inflexible, controling personality. It’s one thing for a rookie to defer to him, but I find it difficult to believe that Lewis would have stood for it for too long given his seeming desire to prove his indaviduality.

  65. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – Interesting post. I must say I was relatively anti-Hamilton in the past and your recent stories have softened my attitude. I think he has shown a decent amount of humility in this move. He could have held out for the best seat in a stronger team, but I think he has realised that history judges you not just on the number of WDC wins, but also in how you achieve them. Alonso also realised this by seeking to rebuild Ferrari. I hope that Lewis’s journey with Mercedes continues to see his (at least public) persona change for the better. The fans will (perhaps grudgingly) respect this. I know I have.

    1. lol says:

      So you must hugely respect Villeneuve?

      1. Kay says:

        I’m not the original poster here but despite him having a loud mouth, I do have respect for JV for leaving a successful team to help his friend in a new F1 team.

    2. Laurence H says:

      Alonso rebuilding Ferrari? They were winning championships before he arrived!!

      1. Holly says:

        That’s because it’s rebuilding and not building ;)

      2. Anne says:

        They didn´t win a thing in 2008 and 2009.Alonso wasn´t there. Alonso lost in 2010 because of Ferrari´s stupid strategy. In 2011 nobody could deal with Vettel and Neweys car. And 2012 well… the wind tunnel wasn´t working. Still with with a crappie car Alonso fished second only 3 points behind Vettel. I don´t think the driver is the problem

      3. Andrew M says:

        Ferrari won both titles in 2007, missed out on the 2008 title by a point and won the constructors’ title. Alonso arrived in 2010. That’s hardly a massive title drought to be brought to an end is it?

      4. AndyK says:

        they won the constructors in 2008

      5. Anne says:

        I didn´t say a word about 2007. only 2008 and 2009. So 2008 was a half a title WOW!!!. Well speaking of drough the same can be said about McLaren. Another half a title in 2008, again WOW!!!. Is all Hamilton´s fault? NO. Don´t blame Alonso for Ferrari´s missery.In fact the same can be said about everybody but Red Bull

      6. Andrew M says:

        It’s not about “blaming Alonso”, it’s about the fact that Ferrari have been less successful in the three years he’s been at the team than the three years prior to his arrival.

      7. Anne says:

        I understand that. But keep in mind it´s very hard to deal with RB. Not only for Ferrari. Ferrari would´ve been in the same situation or worst with other drivers.

  66. aveli says:

    everyone involved in f1 is there to make money. from ecclestone and the teams to the mechanics including james allan so why should hamilton be shy about making money from f1? he said in one of his childhood videos that he wanted to race against the big guys in f1 and make big money and he’s doing exactly that. his intentions were not to listen to what others want him to do with his career.
    hamilton made his brand in 2007 while the biggest people in f1 were not looking. it was too late after 2008. they have since tried to artificially creat champions to diminish brand hamilton but its too late. he will attract media attention even with the slowest cars. most top engineers would love to work in a team hamilton is involved with. in 10 years time hamilton will be bigger than anyone can imagine right now.

  67. John Gill says:

    No – he’s not ready to finish 15th.

    But I do think he named his new dog after his new team mate…

  68. aveli says:

    compare the interest this story generates with others on this site. a lot more replies to this simply because it is about lewis hamilton. i feel sorry for nico rosberg.

    1. Mike from Colombia says:

      I don’t feel sorry for Nico. He has been able to fly under the radar for the last few years and will again be able to do so due to a high profile team mate.

      Have to say that Nico comes across as a very decent guy. I hope that he gets to benefit from Mercedes raising their game.

      1. aveli says:

        rosberg is a year younger than hamilton and yet he was fast racked into gp2 and then into f1 ahead of hamilton. ron dennis claimed at the time that rosberg was fast tracked because he was older than hamilton but as we all know, hamilton is older. they were worried rosberg wouldn’t shine as bright in hamilton’s presence and now faced with yet the same prospects. rosberg will struggle to get any exposure albeit he’s championship material. i hope he’s as fast as hamilton or even faster than hamilton in 2013 so that he can also shine.

  69. Sri says:

    I don’t know why everyone including Hamilton think it is 2014 that they are aiming for. You never know for guarantee that you will be fastest in a particular year (BMW did that sometime back and learnt it in a hard way). Even if you are fastest, you can never be sure that you will win it for things beyond your control (Raikkonen in 2005 and Hamilton in 2012). So it is premature to think that Hamilton will be very competitive in 2014.

  70. Chris says:

    I don’t understand all this talk on downforce, Mercedes took pole at Monaco last year in a dry session on merit, with a true legend yes, but hardly the fastest guy out there last year. They also dominated the Chinese grand prix weekend, in fact it was to easy for them there, Rosberg was on pole by half a second and won by 20 seconds without breaking sweat, and we all thought, thats the first race weekend thats been dominated. Did they loose a designer, or key personal?

    1. Dren says:

      In Monaco you can slap on the downforce with little drag penalty. I expect the W04 to be well suited there again, but keep in mind Monaco is a one off a kind track. It is efficient downforce that the car needs.

      The team has done well at China the last two years. Their car design philosophy fits well to that track. Their DDRS still held an advantage at that point and they were dead on with the set-up for the tires, everyone else got caught out by the temperature change.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      No, everybody else got their heads round the tyres in the end and Mercedes seemed to get lost on development.

  71. Andrew says:

    Ill just be honest upfront and say I don’t like the guy. He comes across as very immature and ungrateful. I hope he finishes 15th every race and then maybe he will learn that being handed a winning car every year is not a given.

  72. Stone the crows says:

    I think Lewis is going to be more of an asset to Mercedes than being a very quick driver. He’s providing a baseline for the W04′s performance in comparison with the fastest car of 2012. It must be quite discouraging to have started so early on the 2013 entry and finding out it still doesn’t have enough downforce. I read elsewhere that the W04 appears to understeer into a turn and then snap oversteer coming out of the apex. A good indication of aero/downforce issues I would surmise. I think Brawn and co. can make the car better once they know what they need to do. IMO, Lewis has already earned his keep at Merc.

  73. JohnBt says:

    Win or lose Lewis will be receiving lots of criticisms. I feel he will win a race or a few. Don’t rule that out. Not forgetting Rosberg too.

  74. Elie says:

    [mod]

    Firstly I doubt Lewis Hamilton will finish 15 in any midfield car- he has finished 10th in a car with problems & turf hanging of it.! He is aware of expectation come Melbourne’ obviously trying to limit that. Rosberg showed me enough last year to know that unless pushed he is not a consistent performer and will have his hands full this year trying to keep up with Lewis. With 3 years experience within this team he should be a good few tenths quicker than Lewis at every race but I will bet it will be the other way round.

    Ross Brawns comments were very clear . That he was seeking straight forward comments from Lewis Hamilton & let’s face it most of the people here even good engineers would sound “simple” next to the gurus they have at Mercedes. People going on here about Lewis comments on the buttons need to get a life if you have 26 buttons on a steering wheel- some that can be managed in other ways wouldn’t it make perfect sense to eliminate them- who knows maybe that’s why MS kept crashing into the back of people last year! What Lewis will bring to the team will be evident at race weekends and his ability to get the most out of the car and the best set up very quickly. That’s something that his more experienced team mate did not do often enough at Mclaren.

    Anyone that doubts he is a racer first and foremost is quite foolish and if your saw the Top year episode where he got to drive the mp4-4 of senna would understand why. If he makes the commercial aspects work form him through his marketing – then good luck to him- its not for me either. But for me he is one of 2 top drivers [mod]

    1. Grant says:

      Well said Elie.
      One would think the points you’re making are obvious, but guess some people choose to turn a blind eye.

  75. Richard says:

    Clock Gary Anderson’s extrapulation of the lap times at Jerez which rather put’s a different complexion on things than many thought. Yes Mercedes have to sort out the tyre issue, and apply more downforce whilst maintaining a good balance within the car, but with careful work they will get there. As I understand it the front pecking order currently looks like this:- McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus, Red Bull. However what we saw at Jerez is far from the final cut as we go into the first race in Melbourne. Adrian Newey did say Red Bull were behind with the 2013 car and perhaps that’s reflected here, but I expect things to change at the next test. So it’s watch this space, but it’s looking that McLaren have a well sorted car this year.

    1. James Allen says:

      We said here “don’t write Mercedes off” and although they have some catching up to do, they can do it.

      We think McLaren is a little ahead, possibly at this stage, but Red Bull is very strong.

      Anyway the final Barcelona test will tell us the pecking order.

      1. Richard says:

        I’ve always thought Red Bull cars very agile, more agile than McLaren because of how stable they are around medium to high speed corners, and I think that shows this year. The problem they face is that they need to counter the power deficit of the Renault engine by having a supremely efficient aero package. If one of the Mercedes powered cars get’s on an equal footing around the corners then they are disadvantaged. – But that maybe a big ask!

    2. Andrew M says:

      Unless I’m missing something, Gary Anderson didn’t make any allowances for the tyre compounds the laps were set on. As such, aren’t his rankings unrepresentative?

      1. Richard says:

        I think it was purely based on each teams fastest times regardless of tyre compound. Jerez is very abrasive surface so not good for soft tyres particularly. Many teams found that the harder compounds worked better in this instance on this particular surface.

      2. Gazz says:

        You are quite right in your observation. The fact that the tyre was not taken into account makes the outcome null and void. Add at least 6/10ths between compounds and it gives a better result. The surface was the same for each driver except maybe one who challenged the track on the first day!!

  76. bambam says:

    can just see the little pony LH now… ross i have a great idea… can we have a touch screen steerin wheel.. i bet i pick up half a second a lap wit that ! o an tweet at the same time whilest stuck behind a force india!

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      lol, I cant wait to see Nico’s rear wing settings if he is faster than Lewis. Bet there is a nice, well defined, confidentiality clause in Lewis’s contract. :)

  77. ArJay says:

    **Request to Moderators**

    This article has (intentionally?) brought out the “fan-boy insult tennis” brigade as a similar one did on 24.01.13 – (Lewis says Mercedes “Hungrier”…)

    I realise that it is an impossible task for you to separate the wheat from the chaff but how about limiting all replies to eighty words and nested responses to five replies in future articles, in order to contain the focus. It won’t eliminate puerile comment but will facilitate readers’ extraction of cogent opinions.

    [Word-Count = 80]

    1. Kay says:

      Just for your reference, according to Microsoft Word, your post had 82 words. Nothing wrong with your post, but just shows word limits doesn’t help a thing.

      1. ArJay says:

        Only if you include ‘[Word-Count = 80]‘ which is solely for reference purpose and traditionally not part of the count.

        [Note to moderators: as the only reply so far focuses on scientific precision you might like to move this to the technical section]

      2. Kay says:

        Fine, 80. Still, that’s a solution that wasn’t a problem in the first place. Word limits don’t help with restricting fan boy insults. That’s to do with moderators being stricter in approving / disapproving posts. Various lengthy comments offer great details and insights from their decades of experiences and followings on F1.

      3. ArJay says:

        As the moderators have acknowledged elsewhere, many of the longer replies contain nuggets of wisdom buried within invective and padding. Limiting the response length might encourage everyone to focus on their prime intent, be it insult or inspired analysis – but hopefully not both – making the review process more productive for the rest of us.

        This is the fourth ‘nested reply’ (unless others have beaten me to it) – only one left – so you may have the last word!

      4. Kay says:

        It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out word limit isn’t the solution. If people are to bash someone, it doesn’t take 80 or how ever many words. Whereas if you’re trying to be helpful and offer some detailed insights, it usually takes paragraphs and paragraphs.

        For example: (these do not reflect my true opinion, but just as examples)

        1. Montoya is crap! He is utterly useless without that Williams!

        How many words was that? Now example #2 (taken from a real source on JA’s website http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2013/02/ferrari-goes-back-to-the-future-rory-byrne-to-work-on-2014-turbo-f1-car/):

        2. hero_was_senna Reply:
        February 10th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

        I’ll offer my view on this, whether there’s truth to it. I don’t know.
        Back in 1982/3, Ron Dennis went to Porsche to design him a bespoke engine for John Barnard’s chassis.
        Barnard specified exactly what he wanted from the design and Porsche accommodated his wishes.
        Basically the width of the engines, the placement of turbos and ancillaries for Centre of gravity and weight distribution.
        It was paid for by Tag and Mclaren dominated until Honda overtook them during the mid 80′s

        To my mind, this was the first time a chassis designer specified the engine spec with handling performance being more important than engine power etc.

        I would say this was the exception until Renault teamed up with Williams in 1989, I don’t think Honda did anything but provide free engines to Mclaren.
        Legend are the stories that only Honda engineers could touch the engines, Mclaren staff were allowed nowhere near.
        Now we have effectively 3 works teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and RBR.
        Anybody else using those engines will be given the package, they will have no say on it’s development within the structure of the car.

        How many words was #2?

        Both posts focused on the poster’s intent, but it didn’t take more than 10 words to insult a driver the first poster disliked, it could even take less! Whereas post 2 was length, had 80+ more words but I really enjoyed reading that! Hence I said word limit is a solution that wasn’t a problem in the first place! Word limits normally stop spamming, but not post quality. As I repeat, that’s up to the moderators to be stricter with their approval of posts.

  78. chillyjack says:

    I respect Hamilton as one of those drivers with a real ‘racing’ mentality (i.e. if there’s a gap 1mm wider than the car, I’m going for it etc.), which is why this “15th place is fine” way of thinking shocks me. To me, Lewis is definitely playing the long game here for 2014 and almost writing off this season. I hope the Mercedes group can produce a car which shows at least a glimmer of winning potential this year to get Lewis back into the all-or-nothing fighting attitude which makes him (in my opinion) a great driver to watch.

    1. Solomon says:

      Going for every gap is not a “real racing” mentality. The great racers know when a gap is not worth the risk. Do you think Alonso or Vettel go for every gap?

      1. chillyjack says:

        OK OK I apologise, maybe my example wasn’t so good. I simply meant that (IMO) Hamilton is one of those guys with slightly more of a devil-may-care attitude to racing. With respect to your second question, sure I think Alonso and Vettel have shown that kind of attitude when frustrated and impatient.

      2. Richard says:

        I think that was the case, but no longer. The tyres won’t stand it for one thing. As we run a tyre conservation exercise these days it unfortunately curbs proper racing, and protects the guy out in front. This year as the tyres are being designed to have a wider operating window may be it will be better, but I much prefer durable tyres, than the constrained circus we currently have to watch.

      3. EffWon says:

        A certain Ayrton Senna said something about this, I do believe.

      4. Kay says:

        I recall same.

  79. Glennb says:

    Since coming back to F1, Mercedes have had the same 2 drivers, getting the same results (give or take). If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got (Henry Ford). Mercedes have brought Lewis into the team to change things up a bit. He’s obviously a dynamite qualifier, he’s a proven race winner with enormous courage and talent. Schumi was brought in for the exact same reason but it didnt work out too well. Mercedes will now be able to see where they really stack up. No more uncertainty, is it the car? is it the drivers? is it both? I feel certain they did not bring him in to tell them how to suck eggs. Lewis’ job will be to get that car as far up towards the front as is humanly possible. Damn the torpedoes. Rosbergs job will be to keep Lewis honest ;)
    I think Mercedes have made the perfect driver choice.
    GlennB – Webber fan…

  80. eric weinraub says:

    WHile we focus on Lewis we also need to flip it around. If Lewis is in the top 5 do teams like McLaren, RB, and Ferrari start questioning their own investments in the car?

  81. Chuffbiscuits says:

    If I ever see Lewis Hamilton classified 15th at Melbourne either he has DNF’d near the end of the race, or he’s in a Caterham, or I’ve ingested some really dodgy fungus and am hallucinating. The biggest tragedy of the liegate scandal that overtook LH after that race was that it completely overshadowed a superb drive in a slow car which was made possible by his superb racecraft and deft use of KERS in his first ever race with it. If it were not for that disastrous team-led meeting in the stewards’ office he’d have taken one of the slowest cars on the grid from 18th to 3rd. It was one of the most impressive drives in a poor car on a dry track that I’ve seen in almost 40 years of watching F1.

    1. . says:

      The car was not poor in race pace. People like creating legends while it was just the car not being good in quali.

      Same for Alonso in 2012, the race pace was on par with RBR most races.

      1. Chuffbiscuits says:

        That would be the more indicative MP4-24 race pace that we saw at which races after Melbourne? Do you remember Barcelona and Silverstone that year when the car showed just how slow it was on a fast track? Hamilton made the difference at Melbourne 2009 as plain as any driver has ever made a difference. It’s the sort of circuit where a driver can do that, unlike at the faster tracks where he was scrapping (valiantly and entertainingly it has to be said) for minor places such as his 14/15th battle with Alonso at Silverstone.

      2. KRB says:

        Give me a break. At the first races, that MP4-24 was way off the pace, an absolute dog! The 2012 Ferrari looks like a dream compared to it. His drive in Australia was a great drive, ruined by Liegate.

    2. Ryan Eckford says:

      It was and it was a shame that the sporting director told Hamilton to lie to stewards about what happened with Trulli.

    3. +1 it was an amazing drive

  82. Michael Powell says:

    BamBam managed to be puerile in a good deal fewer than eighty words. Perhaps it was his lunch break.

    Instead, we need to ban all comments made when people should be at work …. I am retired, so you lot need to knuckle down!!

    1. Jake says:

      or school/kindergarden/nursery…:-)

  83. Muk says:

    Man oh man… what a waste of a championship Lewis. Why not be World Champ in 2013 for McLaren and 2014 for Merc? Go Marky mark Webber!!!

  84. Muk says:

    Diamond buttons ROFPMSL…. Classic!

  85. Peter Jones says:

    James,
    the real question is is he prepared to finish 10-15 at the end of the season since we all know how hard it is to pull back time in R&D? your thoughts please.

    thank you

  86. Val from montreal says:

    The flying Finn Mika Hakkinen says Mercedes and Hamilton wont challenge much this year :” I have a strong feeling McLaren is in top form this year. Like we saw in testing in Jerez, the Mercedes was not exactly up to the speed I expected them to be, so I don’t see them competing too much this year.”

  87. Jake says:

    In answer to the question, yes he is.
    I don’t think he wants to finish 15th but has prepared himself for this eventuality should it occur. Lewis is probably the best placed driver to have a handle on the relative performance of this years cars. Having just come from one of the fastest a few months ago and stepping into the Mercedes he will know how much ground has to be made up. 15th may be downplaying his hand slightly but realistically start of the season position is middle of the pack.
    I hope it’s a lot better than that but that’s where the car is now.

  88. Gazz says:

    There is no love lost between Lou and myself, none what so ever, but I think the move is the best thing for him. He is to much the firebrand to be a McLaren Driver and should be better suited to to Mercedes. McLaren is a team who needs driver’s with a certain clinical work process, believes the team is greater than the driver and submits to the team ethos. That is not necessarily a bad thing but its not for LouLou. JB is extremely well suited to McLaren and those who feel they should right him off are somewhat narrow minded. Good luck to Lewis and I expect to see him up in the top 4 or 5.

  89. ric_z says:

    Fred Ferret is the best name for a journo I’ve heard in a long time :-)

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s a very good jour too. Sniffs out a story….!

  90. Rich says:

    It all smells of a young guy having his head turned. By his representation in order to greater exploit the commercial opportunities. And by Niki Lauda who wanted to pull something out of the hat at Merc in order to undermine the existing management and strengthen his position.

    Making comparison with Schumacher’s mid ninties move is nonsense. Regardless of whether or not Lewis has the right character to do what Schumacher did; Michael moved from a small British privateer who had just had their first period of success to probably the biggest team on the grid who were underperforming. Lewis is doing the exact opposite in my opinion. Mercedes/Brackley’s current performance is pretty much at their normal historical level. 2009 was very much the exception.

    As for Lewis’ ‘new challenge’ line: it will probably do him good to see whether the grass really is greener. I imagine he’s learned a lot from Button about integrating himself into a new team and makin it his own. I don’t think he’s the man for the job. Alonso and Vettel (and Button) must be rubbing their hands!

  91. nusratolla says:

    It would be unwise to write off Hamilton under any circumstances.

    Last year Kimi surprised everybody and silenced his critics.

    This year it will be Hamilton who would be doing the same.

    Trust me writing off Hamilton is unwise…. period.

  92. Joe Papp says:

    James, when you write these fine blog posts, would you please use links to document and link us back to the interviews and other source material that you’re citing? Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/glenn-greenwald-security-liberty) is a master of this and it’s a tremendous service for the readership, which allows them to participate even more effectively in discussions and analysis around the material that you’re working off of. I’d like to read Hamilton’s interviews that you’re referring to, but it would be appreciated if you included the URL’s so there’s no question of whether or not we’re reading the same primary documents as you. Thanks.

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