Domenicali buries chance of Hamilton racing for Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Aug 2011   |  12:02 pm GMT  |  196 comments

Stefano Domenicali, the team boss of Ferrari, has been hosting a summer break version of the Wrooom winter sports event which has traditionally prefaced the start of the F1 season.

Some important messages have come out of this event and from the Ferrari website at the same time. These are principally an insight into his and Ferrari’s thinking on drivers for the future and the strategy for making sure they are competitive in 2013. But he has also said quite clearly that he doesn’t think that Lewis Hamilton will drive for Ferrari at any stage.

First the drivers: “For the Ferrari of the future, I believe the right combination is to have one well established driver with great experience, alongside a talented youngster on the way up, ” Domenicali says on the Ferrari website.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. He seems to have been discussing this in the context of whether Ferrari would ever run two young drivers, but nevertheless it indicates the direction that their thinking is taking, vis a vis who to partner alongside Alonso for the next five seasons. Felipe Massa has this year and next year and then Ferrari may well be looking for a younger driver, one would imagine ideally from the Ferrari Driver Academy. Jules Bianchi is a high profile member of the FDA, but many in F1 are surprised by his struggles in GP2. Sergio Perez is another young driver Ferrari have their eye on.

Ferrari doesn’t run rookies. the closest it has come to that is Massa, who was schooled at Sauber and did a year as a Ferrari tester before getting a race seat.

The upside of having a young driver alongside Alonso is to prepare the succession, but he’d have to be very good and very consistent because points towards the Constructors’ championship are vital and McLaren and Red Bull have two driver capable of scoring the points.

On Lewis Hamilton, Domenicali says that he still sticks to his view, a common one among experienced people in F1, that Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel are the three standout drivers at the moment, and nothing Hamilton has done would put him off signing him if the circumstances were right. But he says that he cannot see a place for Hamilton at Maranello,

“I am pleased he said ‘never say never’ on the subject of Ferrari, in fact it is logical that everyone aspires to come to Maranello sooner or later, given what we represent in the history of this sport.

“Having said that, I don’t think the question will arise, neither in the short nor in the long term, ” said the Ferrari boss.

The other point of note is that he has flagged up Ferrari’s intention to develop the car until September and then ‘focus on next year’s car’.

The rules don’t change much from this year to next so many teams plan to run developments in the second half of this season which have carryover to next year.

“At the start of September, we will concentrate solely on next year, because we have already defined all the updates for the 150° Italia, at least up until mid-October. Sure, if something was to change, then we would react accordingly,” he said.

“The more time we can spend on the wind tunnel the better. Because for sure what I really want to avoid is another difficult winter like the last two years.”

Although he believes that Alonso will score more points from now to the end of the season than any of his rivals, he’s being realistic.

I’m sure Vettel will be delighted to hear this, as if McLaren take a similar view, then Red Bull will be able to do likewise and throw more effort at 2012, so one hopes that McLaren will keep pushing the development button to the end of the season.

Ferrari’s plan will have been specified by new technical director Pat Fry and agreed by Alonso, who can see that this year, unlike last year, there is only the slenderest of chances to close the gap and catch Vettel.

Nevertheless he said this week at the Wrooom event that they cannot give up on 2011, “We are Ferrari and we have a moral obligation, especially for the millions of fans spread around the world, to always think of the maximum goal. We can’t ever say we will tackle eight races without having the championship in the back of our mind: we will always have an eye on the title, at least until there is no longer the slightest chance. Of course we must start winning and we have to hope that Vettel makes a few mistakes or has some problems.”

Problems with the wind tunnel which was scaled up from 50% to 60% models hurt them last winter, but these are now resolved and they are getting good results.

Ferrari need a good car straight out of the box next season in order to challenge for the championship. Their comeback this season, like last, has been impressive, but they want to be the pace setters from the outset next season.

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1

Motor racing is a very passionate sport. Drivers fall in love with their cars. Never criticize a driver who can express his burning need both on the track and in the honesty of his words.

2

bring back shumi , just give him one more year in 2013 , he will delever .

3

I would love to have a change in Ferrari and came a young driver to replace Massa. Give a new look to the team I think they need urgently. Youth and aggressiveness

4

Kobi is the obvious replacement for Massa.

Unfortunately, there is a severe risk that Alonso might get a beating from him, like he did with Hamilton.

This may push Alonso over the edge… nonetheless – it would be entertaining and explosive.

5

It’s not that Hamilton is over aggressive, it’s that Button is so passive, that he follows way behind, and very occassionaly picks up the others left overs…

Hamilton has the right amount of aggression…

Button is so passive, that he could put a baby to sleep before his mum could finish a lullaby…

I find it laughable that people think Hamilton has anything to learn from Button – his only skill is picking up scraps. Period.

6

Button does tend to take a more ‘active’ role with the team’s strategy and tyre selection, something I’d like to see more of from Lewis.

He should have overruled the team in Monaco for example and demanded he go out and get the proverbial ‘banker’ lap in qualifying, instead of complaining about it afterwards.

My guess is that Alonso is probably more Senna-like in terms of the demands he puts on the team his involvement in key decisions. He’s older of course and has 2 WDCs under his belt which helps.

7

As a Ferrari fan I would very much like to see Lewis in a red car. But a mature Lewis, not this GP2 kind of driver making crazy moves and blaming everyone else.
Stefano Domenicalli, with due respect, is [mod] uncapable of managing accordingly the Scuderia. Examples:
1 Lack of development in 2009
2 Appointing Fisichella to stand in for Massa
3 Keeping Massa although how useless is today this little guy
4 Underperform in 2010 and 2011 at season start
5 The rescale problem in the wind tunnel
6 Disastrous strategy management since 2009
7 Lack of agressive development approach

May I continue?

In the days of Jean Todt he always was adamant Fernando Alonso would NEVER come to Ferrari. The moment he step down, the guy was already signed. Domenicalli says the same on Hamilton. I guess, and hope, 2011 to be the last season with Domenicalli as Sporting Director. Then, great things should happen in the Scuderia. By definition, Italians are too political, too passionate. It requires a good cold head up there. Stefano doesn’t has it. Strange Montezemolo has given such a wide margin. Weird.

8

Yeah Jean Todt made the mistake of hiring Kimi instead of Fernando. Everybody makes mistake. Stephano is not Jean Todt but he could be worst.

9

Mistake? Come on! Kimi’s first year = 1 WDC. Fernando already 1.5 years and no WDC. Head to head paired in the same team, Fernando would see nothing but Kimi’s back wing.

10

You have a short memory. Do you remember that Kimi was fired because he was slower than Massa in 2008/09. Kimi was hired to replace Schumacher and he failed miserably. I know he won the WDC on year 1 but for the next 2 years he was only a shadow of himself. He was sacked because clearly wasn’t the drivers need at Ferrari to lead and inspire the team.

The guy was fast and won a WDC, you cant take that away from him. Bu then he got slow and unmotivated and got sacked.

I respect Kimi and his fan, but Fernando Alonso was not responsible for Kimi’s sacking. Kimi was responsible for his own sacking, he is gone and its time to move on.

Alonso is the new leader at Ferrari, he came very close to winning the WDC in 2010 and I’m sure he will have other opportunities in the near future.

11

Off topic:

Currently the Indian GP bosses are worried about a very hot race there next April.

I have a potential solution:

1) Bernie and Hembrey want more rain races.

2) It is cooler in July and August than April, in India.

3) It rains a LOT in July and August in the Delhi region: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Delhi

Ergo:

Run the race in August! It’ll be cooler AND huge chance of rain! Problem solved.

(If they want it even cooler, March or December are the only cooler months that fall within the current season… but very little chance of rain!)

12

Hamilton don’t have anywhere to go, he is stuck at McLaren and by the time Alonso retires, Hamilton will be too old to hire him, 32 or 33 years old, and we will see if Alonso retires at the end of 2016.

Lewis should stay at McLAren and behave like a team leader and not like a baby, for once he should watch his teammate, perfect gentleman and perfect team supporter.

13

Hamilton wont go to Ferrari or Red Bull because they don’t want him. They both already have 2 fast/strong drivers and what they need is not Hamilton but Button. Hamilton is getting to be a liability more than anything else. Why would a top team want a guy who’s called more often than not in front of the steward and still doesn’t get it, wins as a team but point fingers at anyone but himself when things go wrong and seems not to have evolved as a driver since he join F1. Hamilton is extremely fast, by now he should have realized that its not just about being fast, just ask Button.

14

The relationship between Button and Hamilton is professional and artificial. Jenson doesn’t like Lewis. One of the reasons he joined Mclaren is the challenge from Lewis that Janson felt at Monza 2009, when Lewis crashed out trying to attack Button in the last round.

I am conviced that Janson would prefer Vettel to Hamilton of winning the championship. Whenever Janson, Sebastian and Lewis are together, Janson always ignores Lewis to have a chit-chat with Sebastian. Watch attentively the situation after the qualification at Hungaroring.

15

Jenson is certainly fake on many levels.

In my eyes, had the FIA not wanted to save Honda/Brawn – they would never have allowed one team to get away with the double diffuser scam.

Jenson’s WDC is so artificial – it’s quite sickening.

16

Focusing on the next year’s car as early as possible is always a good idea. Look what happened at Honda in 2008. They focussed on 2009 and produced the Brawn car for Button which absolutely destroyed the competition in the first half.

Likewise, look at what happened at McLaren at the same time. The championship forced them to keep working on the 2008 car right until the end of the season. At the start of 2009 they had one of the worst McLarens ever made. Ferrari was similar but not as bad.

Alonso and Hamilton need good cars at the start of the year if they want to challenge Vettel. But if they focus on 2012 now, RB will do the same. Hmm tricky.

17

There’s no need to hire Hamilton. Alonso is more than capable of winning the WDC.

18
Ricardo Consulini

I’am italian and have supported Ferrari since I was born, but I must say that I would be extremely disappointed and would possibly drop the sport. He is not consistent enough and his aggressiveness causes more damage than befefits. He is sure exciting to watch, but as a fan I want to see Ferrari on top, kinda like Alonso last year. Beside Hamilton will never speak our language.

19

Ross Brawn was n’t Italian, neither was Jean Todt, Neither was Scumacher or Massa…and along with neither almost all of Ferrari’s top drivers in history.

So what difference does it make that Hamilton is not Italian?

20

Ferrari weren’t on top last year. They came 2nd in WDC and 3rd in Constructors.

Regardless of that though. Hamilton in a McLaren and Alonso in a Ferrari competing against each other is what most fans want to see. Its the early 90’s all over again. Unfortunately the pesky German in a fast car has come into the story a bit too early.

21

Like Il Leone spoke Italian? Does it matter?

22

Do you mean Ferrari’s internal communication is all in Italian? I hadn’t thought about that.

23

Ferrari can’t make it any clearer that they’ve put their long term faith in ALonso. Therefore they don’t need Hamilton.

Equally, I can’t see Hamilton going to Ferrari without some sort of guarantee of equality, which would undoubtedly unsettle Alonso, which is the last thing they would want to do to their long term star.

I am surprised that they have extended Massa again. He always seems to be at the back of the top 6 cars this has really hurt Ferrari in the WCC. It also seems that Alonso has given up on him his help to take points of Vettel and he only talks about Webber and McLaren in this capacity.

There does not seem to be any better options for Lewis than to stay at McLaren, but then McLaren is a a pretty good option to keep.

Whitmarsh seesm to be doing a very good job of keeping the two drivers happy. Lewis handled Button’s win and his own mistakes very well at Hiungary, so perhaps he’s learned a thing or two from his experiences this year – and from Button’s example.

Ferrari and McLaren are in the same boat where they need to start the season on the pace of Red Bull and I’d say they both have equal chances if achieving that.

So for Lewis its all about maxmising the chance he has right now. Learn from Button’s experience and how Button relates with the team. Reduce his errors and maximise his chances.

With a team mate of Button’s class he’s not going to always be in front like he was with Heikki but he knows he has the speed to win most of the time and he needs to be picking up big points when it’s Button’s day.

Without the 2x DNF’s Button recently suffered Button would be closer to Vettel than Lewis is now, so clearly it’s not all about the car.

Lewis has had a tough year for whatever reasons, but his return to form in Germany seemed to do him the world of good.

My hope is he has his mojo back permanently and he and Button can have a good campaign from the start next year.

If his car is almost as quick as Vettel, he can win it.

24

Can’t understand the point for LH to go to Ferrari, that’s because there is Alonso already. If there wasn’t him then this case could be considered as a positive factor for Lewis. But, now seems that he is in best place where he could be for the time. And by the way, I don’t think Ferrari will go much quicker than Mclaren, more over, one can anticipate vice versa.

25

Coming to Hamilton and Ferrari, it would be Giles effect if Hamilton races for Ferrari.. True, Alonso is the most complete driver in F1 and the only man who beat Shuey in his Helm. But, the flawed out but fast Hamilton does bring entertainment value to F1… Mclaren’s image is too boring when compared to the Flamboyant image Ferrari posses.

So, a driver of Hamilton’s mould is best suited at Ferrari.

Mclaren has always misused their drivers, from Prost to Montoya to Alonso… So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would hand out the same treatment to Hamilton and so far the signs of which has not been surfaced, but with Mclaren you can never say… Mclaren have been dispassionate when it comes to their drivers… Ron Dennis was a joke in this aspect.

Yes, a talent like Hamilton deserves a Ferrari, but since, its seems like an impossibility.. hence, which team he drives for is irrelevant.

The only thing about Hamilton is that he shoots himself on the foot and is rather habituated to it, if not in car then out of the car… Like Steve Slater of ESPN-Starsports pointed out “Someone should put a tape on his (Hamilton’s) mouth when he steps out of the car”…. Maybe thats what we should do…. or even better… Mute the mike 🙂

26

“Mclaren’s image is too boring when compared to the Flamboyant image Ferrari posses.”

That is a matter of opinion.Some would disagree when you see McLaren’s drivers, Lewis and Jenson battle it out.

Having a pre determined no 1 driver can be boring!

Some would even say that Hamilton’s talent would be wasted given Ferrari’s recent performance.

27

TO ALL MCLAREN FANS

Wasn’t Bruce Mclaren from New Zealand? So, how can Mclaren be called a British Team? Just coz’ its now owned by Brits? Hardly makes the difference who owns the company, it will be a team from New Zealand… just like, Rolls Royce will always be British irrelevant to the fact that Germans own it and like Jaguar and Ranger Rover the two distinct British Marques will always be British, irrelevant to the fact that Indians own them.

The only true British Team and the most pure and Legendary British Marque is LOTUS. Irrelevant who owns it currently.

Colin Chapman of Lotus has contributed the most in terms of technical innovations to formula one than any individual, from Monocoque Principal to Sidepod designs which is still the norm of Formula one and will always be.

So to all the Brits out there… Get behind Lotus for it is your very own Ferrari.

28

You can’t have it both ways!

How can Lotus be British when it is a Malaysian team that purchased the Lotus name, yet in the same breath you try to claim McLaren is not British even though Ron Dennis aquired full control of McLaren in 1981 following the merger with his own successful Project FOUR team.

29

Have you heard of Ron Dennis?

31

The marque LOTUS irrelevant to who’d own it, it is The Best Team ever to hail out of Great Britain.

32

Mclaren merged with Ron Dennis’ Project FOUR team , so surely it can be considered British? After all that is the reason the chassis’ are named MP4.

Also, Team Lotus will probably play the Malaysian national anthem if they win (since they’re a registered company there). Or if you mean the other Lotus, which is owned by Proton, who are Malaysian.

33

Flawed argument.

McLaren, the company, was always based in Britain even though it was started by a Kiwi — a Kiwi who had moved to Europe in 1958, aged 21.

Surely a team ‘belongs’ emotionally to the country where the cars are developed and built, whoever the owner might be? I wonder how much support there is for Red Bull in Austria? Is there more or less than there is in the UK?

34

Its a very complex situation.. in this era of globalisation… Toyota and Honda and even BMW builds cars in the U.S. yet they remain Japanese and German car makers respectively.

And no one can take one thing out from Britain.. They are epicentre of formula one technology and development, barring ofcourse Maranello and Hinwil, Toyota F1 tried it in Germany but couldn’t pull off a Ferrari for it is best advised to head to Britain if one wants to start an F1 team.

Baring this in mind.. the origins of a marque is from the country or the individual’s country of origin where n’ who created it.

Like Colin Chapman hails from Britain, hence Lotus will always be British.

Like Enzo Ferrari hails from Italy, hence Ferrari will always be Italian.

Like Renault hails from France, hence it will always be French.

Likewise, RBR will be Austrian for Mateschitz, the owner of REDBULL hails from Austria.

Interesting fact: Jaguar from whom Mateschitz bought the team from to form Red bull is now owned by Indians, now would you ever consider the Premium British Marque Jaguar an Indian Marque?

35

Better a Brit team than a New Zealand team anyway Mo Kahn as down here in NZ bugger all of my fellow Kiwi’s have even heard of Bruce McLaren & the amazing legacy he began.

Ask any Kiwi who Denny Hulme is,9 times out of 10 they won’t have a clue who your talking about.Our 1 & only F1 WDC,in an era when that claim was worth 15 Olympic golds at least in my opinion.

“McLaren UK,not a problem”.

36

Indeed, while I was in Christchurch (visiting), I was surprised to learn that Australian Touring-car championship is more treasured than F1. Sad, to see that. But, you have to hand it out UK they did turn Mclaren into a dominant force in F1.

37

I think you will find that although McLaren had some very succesful years in the 1970’s, it was Ron Dennis that transformed McLaren into the very succesful F1 business it is today!

38

What anthem plays on the podium when they win? That’s surely the arbiter. When RBR win it’s now the Austrian anthem.

39

James,

RBR is a re-badged fresh entry, very much like Brawn and now Mercedes are re-badged Honda, we are accustomed to constant changes of Marques in F1, but when you strictly talk of a true British Marque, you have to admit it is Lotus. On a personal level, I am complete fan of Colin Chapman, and no one can deny the fundamental contribution he has single handedly made to Formula one and also to the Motorsport in general.

Ofcourse, there have been other marques like BRM etc. and ofcourse Williams which are out and out right British Marques.

When one comes across Mclaren, even though British Anthem plays for it now but it is a team that was brought into existence by Bruce Mclaren, so, it is but obvious that Mclaren does not have a 100% British pedigree as Lotus, and now Williams have.

It is a debatable subject I completely understand, but it is a subject of debate nonetheless.

On a personal level, for me… there have been brilliant engineers and contributors to Formula one over its existence and will be so in future, but no one has had a more powerful influence on Formula one other than Enzo Ferrari and Colin Chapman. So, while Italy practically worships Enzo Ferrari.. Britain should least bit hold and exhibit pride for the Legendary Englishman – Colin Chapman and his creation – Lotus.

I hope I have not offended anyone, I’m only establishing a perspective.

🙂

40

I’ve long beleived that F1 teams don’t really have a nationality in this day and age – they are multinational, even global, organisations. National Anthems certainly for the teams (if not the drivers too) are irrelevant. It’s not as if anyone in F1 is officially representing their country anyway.

Perhaps it ought to be like boxing or wrestling and all the teams/drivers can have their own theme music. I’m sure everyone can think of some good suggestions…

41
Fulveo Ballabeo

Wants a young driver, unless not.

Hamilton is welcome, unless not.

Will focus on next year’s car, unless not.

Talk about saying a lot, without saying anything.

42

I think he’s very clear on both Hamilton and 2012.

43

When was the last time Ferrari had the best car straight out of the box? Maybe 2004?

I can see Vettel going to Ferrari 2013. If Alonso doesn’t make champion next year his position be less than secure.

“No one is indispensable!” said Montezemolo.

44

Alonso is doing his best with the car he has, his position is secure till 2016 because, if they can’t win the title next year is not gona be because Alonso.

45

Unless it is a situation like Hamilton and Alonso at Macca when no one knew how fast Hamilton would be out of the door I can’t see top drivers ever pairing up again. Alonso would never want anyone else at Ferrari PERIOD that would race him… Hamilton and Vettel I think would be up for a good challenge, but would not see Horner or Whitmarsh wanting both on their teams.

46

Alonso has said he wouldn’t mind to be in Ferrari with Hamilton, and that could be an exciting prospect.

James, do you think Fernando was treated fairly in 2007? I recall you mentioned in F1 racing that Lewis received better strategies than Fernando.

47

A bit like the one in China – Lol. However, on a more serious note that there was a rumour that Alonso tyre pressures were not correct at Fuji and China, although I suspected this was sour grapes from Alonso at the time, what changed my opinion was Ron Dennis’ commented about Hamilton’s retirement from the race: “We weren’t racing Kimi, we were basically racing Fernando.” This does strike me as someone who is equally treating two employees.

48

Sorry meant to put “does not” instead of “does”

49

you have no chance on getting james opinion on this, he doesnt give his opinions when it will most likely result in a war on his website. but of course fernando didnt receive fair treatment from monaco onwards. no driver can out qualify fernando by 6 tenths as it was in china i think when fernando kicked the doors down in mclaren after they tampered with his tyre pressures and the fia guy had to be in the team in brazil. no smoke without fire.

50

Domenicalli is only praising his own drivers and making sure to Alonso that he would never have a driving with the same talent alongside him.

Fair enough…

But what amazes me in this thing about Lewis driving for McLaren and Fernando driving for Ferrari is that both men seem to be driving in the wrong team.

Everybody knows how Fernando loved McLaren before the disaster in 2007 and for me his character – very cold and calculating – match with McLaren´s ethos.

Question for you, James: Dont you think Lewis have some qualities that the Tifosi would love?

Sometimes I think Lewis have a very latin personality. The man is a fighter, very passionate and brave, maybe in the same mood as was Gilles.

Fernando would never risk a move like Lewis’s in Monza 2010, but Lewis would never sit and wait to see what happens like Fernando did at Abu Dhabi/2010. Lewis would go for it…

I bet that every Tifosi would love to see Lewis in red hunting Vettel like Lewis did at Hungary last week.

Enzo loved Gilles and I bet he would get in love for Lewis too.

51

One thing is gold at Ferrari – no driver is bigger than the team. This is not what I’m getting from Lewis at the moment. Maybe in future this will change, but right now he is not ferrari ‘material’.

52

What! — even MSC? I don’t think any other driver ever thought of himself as important as Michael did — and perhaps with some justification.

53

Shumi not a team player? Totally disagree. Him being the number 1 driver in his beneton and Ferrari years, does not mean he was not working for the team. 1999 comes to mind when being out of reach for the driver’s championship after his return from injuries, he did is best to help Irvin to the wdc and to win the wcc for his team.

54

The tifosi love effort and passion and emotion. I’m sure he would be popular with them if he won for Ferrari in his way, but whether it would be the same having come from McLaren..

55

The Tifosi would love Lewis’ style, I have no doubt of that. In 1990, although Prost won 5 times, and Mansell only once, the Tifosi loved Nigel’s attacking style, and personality(in the car!). They remember his passing of Gerhard Berger into Peraltada on the penultimate lap for 2nd, even though Prost won the race from 13th on the grid!

They loved Alesi too, for similar heart on sleeve reasons.

I’m sure they appreciate Michael’s relentless winning and Fernando’s application, but I’m not sure if I see the same ‘love'(for want of a better word).

56

I agree with what most people say here, if Hamilton stays at McLaren with Button as a team mate, then it is highly unlikely he will be world champion again. Looking at the evidence Alonso nearly won the title last year, despite making mistakes at the beginning of the season and having an inferior car, due to having number 1 status within the team. However, Red Bull nearly lost the driver’s title due to giving Vettel and Webber equal status (ignoring the Silverstone wing debacle). Equal treatment is what also lost Hamilton or Alonso the championship in 2007, forgetting the shenanigans or the laughable strategy in China. So based on this evidence, the best way to win the championship is have a clear number one and a strong supporting driver; Domenicali realises this. Let’s face it, when Hamilton won the Championship in 2008, he was a clear number 1 within the team; anyone who believes Kovalainen had equal status is deluding themselves.

57

I don’t see Hamilton in a Ferrari; after how long he was with McLaren. To be honest I don’t ever see Hamilton changing teams in F1. I can see Alonso finishing his career in Ferrari though. Before he goes out of retirement to drive for Merce… oh wait. That’s the other (then-)double world champion who joined Ferrari

58

After Schumacher going to mercedes anything is possible.

59

I completely disagree, Your comment isn’t based on any facts, the mercedes might never be a championship winning car and wasting his career seems a bit strong!

60

I don’t see this McLaren/Lewis/no WDC business at all. When has Lewis ever been in a position to be handed 1st place by Jenson when it mattered? Given that McLaren can afford to provide both drivers with equal machinery, why would not the fastest driver rise to the top – and with the best will in the world towards Jenson, we know who that would be.

Of course, situations may arise in the future which would need a decision and it would be taken then on the basis of the current WDC situation – though it must always be realised that WCC points are more important for the team and that’s what the drivers are employed to get.

However, a request to a driver not to indulge in dangerous fighting is not the same as ‘Fernando is faster than you’, which is why I don’t think Red Bull should be castigated for their attempted manipulation at Silverstone.

I really don’t understand why people who well understand the requirements of their daily jobs don’t realise that drivers are also workers. The team employs them to achieve the best possible result for the firm, their sponsors and ultimately, the jobs of their fellow workers, back in the factory. Should they not, therefore, do whatever is best for their firm? Or is the firm simply supposed to provide these drivers with racing cars for them to indulge their passion for speed on a Sunday afternoon? If that’s the case, why do they pay them? Think about it.

If Lewis and Jenson are in this position of answering to no-one, they are incredibly privileged, they are being paid enormous sums, apparently with no responsibilty whatever to their employers.

The truth is, of course, that as long as the sponsor gets the media exposure he contracts for, the details aren’t important; at that level, nobody cares who does what as long as it’s on TV. This is what gives McLaren the ability to let their drivers race.

61

The reason McLaren let their drivers race is because they are much better at driver management than Red Bull.

Whitmarsh accepts the risk of the occasional crash to give the drivers freedom, and as a result they feel trusted and respected by the team and each other. Happy employees perform better.

Having said that I guess their job is a little easier to begin with – I don’t think Button and Hamilton feel they have much to prove to one another, so there is less potential for friction between them.

Side note, I noticed Button dropped a hint about the excessive PR duties in his 200th GP party speech – “When someone said 200 to me I though it was the number of PR days I’ve done this year”. Clearly both drivers are a little fed up of doing so much media stuff.

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