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Hamilton turns back on McLaren and signs for Mercedes
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Hamilton's deal was done at the peak in 2007 (Darren Heath)
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Sep 2012   |  9:52 am GMT  |  946 comments

[Updated] Lewis Hamilton has cut his 14-year umbilical cord to McLaren and announced he will join Mercedes at the end of the season on a three-year deal.

In a huge coup for Mercedes and major shot in the arm for its ambitions of winning consistently in Formula 1 that was predicted by JA on F1 earlier this month, the 2008 world champion will replace Michael Schumacher in the team’s 2013 line-up, reuniting him with his old karting team-mate Nico Rosberg. Sauber’s Sergio Perez will replace Hamilton at McLaren.

Intriguingly, however, there was no mention in the Mercedes press release of what Schumacher will do now, despite an expectation that Hamilton’s arrival would prompt the 43-year-old into permanent retirement.

What there was confirmation of however – and which clearly paved the way for the Hamilton deal – is that Mercedes have committed to F1 and signed the new eight-year Concorde Agreement. Niki Lauda, who is said to have played a key role in convincing Hamilton of the Mercedes ‘project’, has also joined the team’s board of directors as non-executive chairman.

An hour or so earlier McLaren, having to face up to life without the driver they have nurtured since the age of 13 and took all the way to world champion, were the first to confirm news of Hamilton’s departure and duly announced that in his place will come Mexican youngster Perez to partner Jenson Button next season, the team crediting the 22-year-old’s “string of giantkilling performances” for the decision to sign him on a “multi-year deal” from Sauber.

But while Martin Whitmarsh expressed confidence in McLaren’s statement that Perez is “perfectly poised to develop into a world championship challenger”, the stark reality hitting home for the team and its shareholders this morning is that they have just lost a driver who’s a proven champion and 20 time race winner.

“It’s entirely appropriate that I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis Hamilton. He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club: the McLaren world champions’ club,” Whitmarsh said in McLaren’s statment.

“It goes without saying that we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying that we hope and believe that Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long.”

It is Mercedes therefore who will certainly feel they have got the better end of the deal, having signed one of the top three stars on the grid and biggest names in world sport. Speaking in the press release issued by this new team, Hamilton admitted it was time for a new challenge and that, cruically, he believes he can win more world championships with his new employer.

“It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning which I share,” Hamilton said.

“Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.”

Team chief Ross Brawn, who has overseen a major restructing at Mercedes to get them in position to win races on a consistent basis over the coming years, is likely to see the arrival of a world champion in his prime as the final piece in a similar jigsaw to which he was first part of at Ferrari with a then much younger Schumacher in the late 1990s.

“The arrival of a driver of Lewis’ calibre is a testament to the standing of Mercedes-Benz in Formula One and I am proud that Lewis shares our vision and ambition for the success of the Silver Arrows,” Brawn said. “I believe that the combination of Lewis and Nico will be the most dynamic and exciting pairing on the grid next year, and I am looking forward to what we can achieve together.

“Over the past three years, we have been putting in place the foundations and building blocks that are needed to compete regularly for the world championship. Behind the scenes, we have assembled a team that is technically stronger, more experienced and better resourced. The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team. Our task is now to translate that potential into on-track performance for next season and beyond.”

As reported by this website, Hamilton’s decision to end his association with McLaren and jump ship to Mercedes had already appeared made at Monza given the demeanour of both him and the team in their post-race victory celebrations, despite Martin Whitmarsh’s claim that suggestions that a deal between the two parties was already signed as “fantasy”.

Although media reports suggested in the week that McLaren had upped their basic offer to Hamilton to try and get him to stay, the 27-year-old is set to earn more than what was offer at Woking with his earning potential increased by Mercedes giving him more freedom to strike his own personal sponsorship deals and maximise his image rights, a major factor behind his decision to hire XIX Entertainment as his management last year in the first place.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, however, Whitmarsh has said that McLaren’s offer to Hamilton would have made him the highest paid driver in F1.

“We have made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula 1, other than himself, receives today, and that is something that I am comfortable with,” he said. “I know we made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula 1 driver is enjoying today.”

Nonetheless it is believed that with a deal to bring Hamilton to Mercedes was already in place by the end of the Italian GP, Brawn and the Mercedes F1 hierarchy were waiting for the sign-off on their F1 future from the main Mercedes board in Stuttgart before going ahead, which duly arrived on Wednesday.

Indeed this looks like the final push for Mercedes – Ross Brawn knows what it takes to win and has followed the tried and tested formula: he has built up his technical team, they have their own engine facilities and a clear plan and now it looks like they have the driver.

All the pieces are in place and Mercedes, confident they will be in a position to take advantage when the new engine regulations come into place in 2014, know they now have to start delivering over the next few seasons.

That will now be without Germany’s star sportsman Schumacher, his departure a relative footnote in Hamilton’s arrival in contrast to the fanfare that greeted his shock decision to come out of retirement in the winter of 2009 to spearhead what he and the team had expected to be a push for the title by now.

“I have had three nice years with the team which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side,” Schumacher said today. “I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up. I would like to thank the team for their trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races.“

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946 comments

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1

I think it is great for Perez, but a bad move for Hamilton.

3

I agree. I think Perez is going to be dominant at McLaren, and if McLaren can stay ahead in the development race, or even keep close, then Perez could take it all.

Ultimately, if one of the two parties isn't totally happy, then such a team-driver relationship is best changed. Clearly Lewis, for what ever reason, thinks he will advance himself, in the ways he wants to advance, better at Mercedes. And especially after the telemetry tweet, McLaren were starting to be a little bit unhappy, as well.

4

I don't see Perez going to dominate, at least not the first season, but I do look forward to seeing that and hope he'll make me wrong 😀 😀

5

I've been really rather annoyed at all the sensationalist clap trap from some pundits about what a 'huge risk' Hamilton is taking and even more angry about claims he is moving purely for money. Brundle was ridiculous in saying he would be 'mad' for moving. Why? Where is the evidence and on what basis are we judging success?

If Hamilton stays at McLaren he is sure to win races, but the WDC - I don't think so. McLaren have won 1 wdc and no constructors in the past decadeand their mentality reduces their chances of their drivers winning WDCs. They have come up with some truly awful cars over the last five years - every bit as bad as the Merc. Who is to say they won't next year? They rely on their development to drag them back into contention rather than open with a great car - especially whenever there is a savage change to the regs as there will be in 2014.

Let's look at this year, Lewis would be leading or very close to Alonso this year were it not for the car failures and pit-stop blunders. Lewis went away last year and came back as the driver everyone wanted and advised he should be in their infinite wisdom - calm, measured, patient and calculating (in the car) while still be blisteringly quick if not the quickest. So what happens? The team let him down hugely.

Mercedes are offering him the might of a manaufacturer supported by possibly the best brain in the game - Brawn and a hugely strengthened team from top to toe. They will have a heads up on the engines for 2014 whereas McLaren become paying customers as of next year and their title sponsor (Vodaphone) is in doubt. Hopefully, Mercedes will also have the common bloody sense to back whichever driver opens a lead in the championship and maximise their chances of WDCs as well!

No, rather than be all about the money I believe that Hamilton is playing the long game, looking to develop the team for a real title push in 2014 - and (as we all bloody would) maximising his earning potential in the mean time.

For me this is the most mature and brave decision this lad has made in F1 to date - to have the confidence to accpet a msssive challenge and be man enough to live with his decisions.

Congratulations Lewis and good luck, I'll be wearing Mercedes Silver as of next year. We'd (Brits that is) all do well to get behind one of the most talented sports-people this country have ever produced and stop all the bull. He's super talented and he's British and that's something I can be proud of.

6

Wayne - one of the most mature and well judged comments I have read on this thread. I was thinking of shunning this charade of a thread.

McLaren have underperformed for some considerable time and with Whitmarsh at the helm this is not going to change.

Kudos to Hamilton for attempting to break out of this regime.

A huge gamble - this alone shows the true standing of the man that he is prepared to put his whole career on the line. He has recognised the limitations of staying with McLaren.

Good luck but by no means an easy ride.

7

Sorry Wayne but your statement to the effect of McLaren building some awful cars in the last 5 years is well wide of the mark. Come on now, only in '09 did they not produce a front running car that could win races throughout the season.

Merc haven't built a decent car at all. The Brackley squad have built two decent cars in the last 8 years... '04 and '09. 2004 they'd have won the WDC if the Ferrari wasn't so utterly dominant and '09 they had ALL of '08 to develop.

I'm completely unbiased about any team\driver, I just love motorsport and I am telling you that McLaren have built genuine contenders nearly every year Lewis has been there - Some team blunders yeah but look at their pit stops now! If Lewis had dominated Button as Vettel has done to Webber and Alonso has done to Massa your boy wonder would be at least a 3 time world champ by now.

The fact is that although he's super fast, until this season he's been inconsistent - not in terms of speed but in terms of aggression, setup and strategy. That's his doing.

There is no evidence anywhere to suggest that Mercedes is a better place to be than McLaren going forward.

I don't necessarily think he's done this for money but that will definitely be high on agenda for his management - How much influence they have we don't know but you can be sure that they only care about the money and the Hamilton brand.

People will argue that black is white till they're blue in the face when it comes to their faves, it seems that in F1 circles taking an objective view of a season\race\incident\car\team is practically impossible.

8

I concur Jimbob. Over the past 5 seasons in F1 there is a strong argument that McLaren have done a better job car wise than any other team in the sport. They had a dip in 2009 yes, but it was half a season, they then got things together and had a very decent car.

Mercedes is a huge risk for Lewis. Lets look at the history of that team.... Mercedes, previously Brawn GP, previously Honda, previously BAR. In all that time (which probably works out at about 15 years?) They've built one championship winning car, and for those of us who watched all those seasons, I'll tell you for free Wayne; The Honda only won a race because of mechanical failures in front, it was never the best car. The Brawn had a huge development advantage (which didn't last more than about 8 races because the likes of McLaren caught up) and the Merc of Rosberg winning in China was down to double DRS - another small innovation that didn't last.

Whilst I agree the McLaren car develops more over a season in F1 I'd like to point out that Lewis had the tools to win the WDC in 2007 (arguably the best car), 2008 (the best car that year) and 2010 (the RBR kept breaking down, but LH kept making driver errors).

Mercedes lack consistent pace, they have trouble with rear tyre wear, they now have a driver who eats tyres and isn't especially renowned for development skills. It doesn't take 25 years plus watching the sport to tell you that this isn't going to be an easy job for Lewis. Still you support your driver, and I hope he does something in a lesser car and proves he can do what Alonso, Vettel, Button, Schumacher, Senna etc have all proven in the past - good drivers still shine in rubbish cars.

9

Wayne, the cars haven't been consistently the best but if you look at the full picture they have been able to win at least 60% of the races since he joined and that's an undisputable fact. There were races last year where the McLaren definitely had the pace to win... Vettel did not run away with it like people thought.

And why not move? Well, he needs to man up and see that if he'd driven in 2007, 2010 & 2011 like he has so far this year he'd likely be a 4 time world champ.

Operationally McLaren have screwed up some... fine. But you're talking about 10-20 seconds in a race for a few races. Merc lose that to McLaren every race before the first round of stops practically every time and have done since the beginning of 2010.

Besides, McLaren have really sorted themselves out operationally so that's no longer an issue.

Here's the gamble... He's leaving a team who will almost definitely produce a challenger year in, year out to go to a team who haven't yet produced a challenger at all bar a one off in 2009 and that was only because they spent a full year developing. Even then they were slow come the end of the season.

For a man who says his only priority is winning races this is complete and utter stupidity.

10

The car has never been consistently the best, not even this Year, throughout a season. It has usually started the year off the pace.

And regardless whose fault it is they have not won the wcc once and have a single wdc in over ten years. Why not move?

11

Completely agree mate, I think Hami is the taking the HUGE gamble on joining Mercedes. Shumi might be old but he was main driver in developing the car but even with shShumi's input and Ross brains there is something fundamentaly wrong with the car, each year they try to make better car btu we all have seen it didnt translate into on track perfomance. Wonder what perfomance car had in first few races when Shumi had all those DNF's (only one of his own doing) and it will be interesting to see how Rosberg is going to feel once he looses his preferential treatment unlike last 3 seasons where they just used SHumi as a test dumy(Brawn is realy sneaky englishman). I hope I'm wrong but Hami is likely to end up like Villeneuve chasing the money without considering the effect can that have on oyur future by ignoring the recent history of Mercedes after all Mercedes hasn made any success in since come back and all they have to show is great engine but no car to match so they fooled and tarnished Shumi and they going to destroy Hami hope I'm wrong but all signs are there doubt anything will change...

12

Don't forget this Mercedes team in Brackley is the same BAR team Villeneuve joined to ruin his career, I remember those 2 having simlar course in their careers.

14

"Where is the evidence and on what basis are we judging success?"

On exactly what bases are you so certain Mercedes will beat Mclaren in the long run (3-5 years)? What track record are you referring to? Basically you are SPECULATING that the mighty brain of Brawn will in some magical way turn the Mercedes team - the same team that BRAWN have bean managing for several totally fruitless years, years when team has gone nowhere - to a CHAMPIONSHIP (let alone race ) winning team!

Mclaren? Well, apart from being among most successful team in F1 history, they have provided very competitive championship contending packages (2007, 2008, 2010 & 2012), and real life results (refer to the standings!). You cannot just erase the relatively hugh success Mclaren have had, with statements about pit-stop errors (which team is best at pit-stops today?) and such.

Show tangable facts please regarding how Mercedes has better chanses to win titles than Mclaren, and do not build that reasoning on misstakes Mclaren has done becuase the misstakes of Mclaren does not make the Mercedes car go faster.

15

@Wayne

"This site allows us to offer opinions."

I very happy it does sir - very appreciated indeed!

Maybe I express myself clumsyly and english is not my strongest language.

My point was that, given what we known today, the "sensationalist clap trap from some pundits" makes sense. The move makes no sense if the guy truely (as he did say himself) thinks only about winning. Mclaren have long been and are today vastly more competitive than Merc and if you are rational you should stay there if what you value mostly is winning. So what is left as motive for still making the move is (1) money (2) speculation/hopes that Merc will beat Mclaren the coming 3 years or (3) something that only HAM and Merc knows, that transforms (2) from speculation to something more tangible...maybe he knows that Mclaren will not have a (Merc) competitive engine in 2014 (?) or something else...Peace!

16

What? I never said anythng about being certain. That's the whole point. It's not certain that he'd do better at McLaren either.

I have no facts to offer you, not even James could give you facts one way or the other at this point.

This site allows us to offer opinions.

17

I feel sorry for Perez. He talent will get wasted due to Jenson's mind games and one-upmanship.

18

To all three posters above, mind-games from Jenson like dissing Alonso as contender for 2012 from the start of this year before even the first race; saying Alonso does not deserve 2010 title due to Massa 'gifting' the German GP win; talk as if he manages McLaren saying HAM was wrong in the tweet-gate.. etc etc etc.......

19

Mind Games?? JB? Where is your hard evidence (not just supposition) for this accusation?

I think JB has played mind games on number weak minded LH fans who thought he'd get crushed by Lewis. But many LH fans like myself always thought JB would be a worthy rival in the team.

I worry that McLaren without Lewis may be weaker, as I worry that Lewis without McLaren will also be less victorious.

20

Erm sorry? Jensons mind games and one -upmanship? Aren't you thinking of Paul McKenna?

Could you explain further all of this evidence for the above please?

21

Mind Games and one-upmanship? That comment is more of an insult to Lewis Hamilton rather than a slight on JB. I'm sure Lewis Hamilton can handle anything that's thrown at him from JB. From the outside he appeared to have other issues, but who knows? Let's just hope that McLaren can move forward and Lewis can re-discover his true form, because no matter what we say he's still great to see when he's at the top of his game.

22

+1 and then some.

23

Get real Wayne, I've no doubt Lewis will take performance to Mercedes but adding a few 10ths on a single lap won't give you a world championship.

Ross Brawn is a legend of the sport but his dominant success in the recent era - Ferrari and Brawn was built around unlimited worldwide support (cost and resources) from Rory Byrne etc and the Honda corporation. The recent evidence of his genius and influence has been much less convincing - the Brawn GP car fell behind in the development race from race 1 in 2009 and the design, engineering and performance of all his cars since have been average at best. He certainly has no Newey magic formula and the best engine in F1 surrounded by an average chassis won't give you a world championship.

As for Lewis any decision requiring his own intelligence and made away from his dad be it in the car or in life has been the wrong one and I've no doubt he'll live up to form.

Yes he's British and yes he's talented but he should have waited for Red Bull. Never mind and chin up.

24

Lewis is the unequivocal number one at Merc, isn't he? It shouldn't even be a question of getting to mid point of season to see who to support. Think Andrew Benson was saying that earlier.

25

Nope..check out the Beeb's interview with Ross Brawn...equal status on the driver front.

27

Excellent points Wayne, I could not agree more, the only question in my mind is how soon Lewis will be able to integrate into the new outfit and how soon Mercedes will be able to deliver to Lewis a championship capable car.

Why Lewis is not celebrated more comes down to some seriously negative media coverage, and the astonishing double standards applied to him compared to many other drivers on the grid. Deeply suspect in my view.

28

Very deeply suspect, in my opinion. Not a conscious prejudice, by any means... Just a more natural affinity with other drivers.

29

Hamilton certainly has jumped into the deep end by signing with a team as suspect as Mercedes Benz. Nico Rosberg won't exactly be the pushover Jenson Button has been either.

Lewis' best days may well be behind him at 27 years of age.

30

Excellent post.

Though money may have player a significant part in his decision, Whitmarsh's (and possibly McLaren's) preference for Button is obvious to everyone which no amount of corporate PR can hide has really done the damage.

I wish both drivers well in their new roles;

31

+1001

32

I'll also point out that McLaren are a team who stared 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton and have now lost both - the two best drivers in F1 in my opinion..

33

What McLaren had in 2007 was two immature brats who would never, ever work as teammates, despite however good they were as individual drivers. While Alonso has mellowed (easy when you are undisputed #1 at Ferrari), and Lewis has improved a bit, it is a loss of memory that makes anyone think that McLaren could have crafted a _team_ from those two as young spoilt brats. So it is hard to see that as a management failure, except perhaps the actual recruitment of them both together (a risk worth taking, perhaps).

What is worth challenging is McLaren's stated "let them race" policy of not having a designated #1 driver. On a philosophical level, I like it immensely...on a practical level, I do wonder how many WDCs it has cost them.

34

Plus one +1

35

That's exactly what I'm thinking... Underachieving with a fast car since Lewis championship

36

Peter C, keep your 'oh dear' thanks. Of course they lost him, why do you think they signed him for a joke? What does it matter how or why he left - fact is he did.

37

McL 'lost' Alonso? Do you think he left of his own accord?

Oh dear.

38

Exactly. This poor management (sorry Ron but it's true) is why Mercedes lost interest in McLaren years ago and decided to put their money behind a different Englishman.

39

I'll also point out that McLaren are a team who stared 2007 with Alonso and Hamilton and have now lost both - the two best drivers in F1 in my opinion.

40

W Johnson, seriously?

41

And your point is????

42

What's your rationale on that one?

The Brackley boys have won more championships in the past decade than McLaren have.

43

And one of those teams looks like winning more in the near future...

44

I think this shows how wrong Ron Denis was when he could have won both, WDC and WCC championships back in 2007 but messed the whole thing up by simply having his 2 drivers racing each other (remember the famous "we are basically racing Fernando). He gave up the WDC that year with Alonso by supporting a driver who only races for the money and leaves the team who helped him become the champion he is for a pay rise. I am sorry for MCL and hope they do great next year with Perez. As for Lewes lets see the car he is provided with next season.

Lets see what the grid looks like next year. This may well mean Schu is back at Ferrari and Algersuari lands the Sauber seat leaving masa to replace Senna at williams. Lets see!

45

Couldnt agree with you more about Ron Dennis, basically racing Fernando was the biggest mistake he's ever made.

46

Dude, the contract run out and in this world you have to take a risk and try something new. So are all Driver that change teams are traitors? I see this a lot in sport, an athlete has the right to change teams whether for Money or performance reasons..fair play to Lewis and its about time we saw what mercedes is capable of. Lewis and Nico raced each other in GP2 and Nico tore shreds out of Lewis and vice versa. They know each other from Karting and to see them together again is good. Button is worthy of his Mclaren seat, he has worked from the bottom up and as for Perez it will be interesting cause I honestly didn't want him to end up in the driver retirement program at Ferrari...So now I expect even more from him.

47

If Hamilton flops next year with Mercedes, what will that really tell us? Not much.

I've read a great article that points out how Mercedes may be positioned very well for the new regs coming into effect in 2014, and that may have been part of the driving force for Lewis to begin a new chapter (in his racing career) with Mercedes.

And Schu at Ferrari? Yeah, because Ferrari have always opted for 2 "top" drivers! lol. If Scumi doesn't want to retire, he'll take Peter Sauber up on his offer. If he realises he doesn't have the skill required to compete in Formula, he'll retire.

48

Some people, like yourself, will say forever that he left for the money, even as we hear that the packages that were on offer were very similar. McL seem confident that they offered a very large sum to Lewis and they didn't miss out on price. But even so, there will always be some that say he did it for a pay rise.

As for supporting the disloyal driver, forget that Lewis did six seasons with them, he's still a creep for leaving. Better that they should have supported the driver that, when he couldn't get his way, showed his true colours by throwing the entire team under the FIA bus. Great guy, much nicer than Lew, right? Nice guy, despite Crash-gate - but that's tiny in comparison to Lie-gate right? Lie-gate was far worse than deliberately crashing to influence the race, let's roll that out instead.

49

Schu will be back at Ferrari for a proper send-off to a fantastic career in F1 and as a tribute to the resurgence of Ferrari under his leadership. Massa will find his way to Sauber.

50

There will be no proper send-off for 'the Cobbler' at Ferrari as they too have had quite enough of his brand of loyalty. Remember Michael was to be an ambassador at large for Ferrari and instead turned his back on them and went to rival Mercedes.

Now they would want him back?

51

Yup, really dumb idea to support the guy who stayed with McLaren for 6 years.

As opposed to favoring the driver who cheated without Ron Denis' knowledge, then tried to use the threat of exposing his own cheating to blackmail Ron, after which he left the team after his first season. You're right - that would have been a much better decision.

52

@CHRIS

You really believe Ron Dennis didnt know about having access to the blueprints for the 2007 Ferrari???.....Only Alonso, De La Rosa and a few engineers knew about this...."FANTASY"

53

You are right, we all know that Alonso tested the aero, designed, developed, produced, copied the Ferrari and engineered that McLaren.

54

to Steve:

I think Whitmarsh is devastated.

His face in last qualy when Lewis again smashed Jenson was not amusement. When Lewis passed the line with a pole he did not look happy at all.

He has also alluded in interviews that McLaren is run by owners that control the board and that he(Martin) carries out what they say he should do. He cannot decide for himself major actions. McLaren is out to make money for the owners.

They probably thought they could get Lewis for cheap and realised too late that they'd botched it. What might look like a saving for a few million $ a year by playing hardball (times are bad, you cannot earn the same as Jenson) ended up in tears.

Lewis outright pace is something you cannot buy for money.

55

Never could understand how Alonso did all that stirring and walked away smelling of roses. He is certainly a talented driver but is also the king of sour grapes and whines like a baby when things don't go his way.

I have never subscribed to the Whitmarsh favours JB club but it does seem that he isn't too fussed that Lewis is gone and no matter what anyone says he is one of the very fastest drivers out there, McClaren should have held on to him.

56

+1 about time.. not to mention any other cheating he may have been complicit in!

58

If Schumacher is willing to go back to Ferrari for a season or two, Ferrari would be mad not to oblige. Surely they won't keep Massa?

Kovalainen deserves a better drive than Caterham as well. He consistently punches above his weight.

59

Well I suppose MSC still needs Ferrari to take care of his FXX... can do his old employers a good favour 😀

60

Kovalainen hardly punched above his weight in a McLaren. I doubt any top team will take a risk with him.

61

Better than Massa, or to be precise, one hundred times better than Massa.

62

Your comment makes no sense. Lewis does not owe McLaren anything. The contract has run its course plain and simple. Do you owe your company or boss anything just becaused they hired you and paid for your training?

63

Hal: perhaps because Lewis is the main topic of this entire thread?

64

AlexD, that's funny. lewis was already a carting champ before Ron scooped him up. I suppose we'd know Jenson no matter what? We'd know Vettel right? We'd know Perez despite Telmex? But Lewis Hamilton? He'd probably be a cleaner mucking out toilets in Stevenage if it weren't for Ron Dennis, right?

Every other driver got into F1 on merit, but Lewis only got in because of Ron Dennis reached down to a talentless critter and lifted him out of the gutter, right?

65

AlexD you could say that about a lot of drivers. So why is Hamilton singled out?

66

McLaren would still be Mclaren without Lewis, but without McLaren you would not even know who he Lewis Hamilton.

67

Amen to that; Perez for WDC 2013!

68

I reject that!

69

And here you go. Perez - accelerated F1 program. Now what he does with it is up to him.

70

I think signing Perez is a blunder for Mclaren just like Kovalainen, Coulthard, Montoya, Brundle, Mansell and many others before him.

imho Kamui deserved the seat more, hes a better overtaker, maybe faster on raw pace and definitely more exciting, just the strategies let him down. Jenson I hope you show young Checko how a championship is won next year.

71

Time will tell, of course, but the pairing of Ross Brawn and Hamilton is extremely powerful, with the historic precedent of what happened at Ferrari when Brawn and Schumacher came together.

Having said that, Perez will be thinking he's hit the jackpot but he's given us every indication since he appeared in F1 that he's got what it takes to step into Hamilton's shoes. It takes a lot to shine as much as he has when you're not in a top team (ask Jenson about his first few years in F1!).

I think we'll know very quickly how good Perez is -- due to the exceptional benchmark we know as Button.

72

Where has Jean Todt gone in history ?

73

Maybe never had much in his racing history other than simply having his name written in the books lol.

74

that "historic precedent" of Brawn and Schumacher worked at Benetton, worked at Ferrari but has been largely uninspired at Mercedes.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that at the other 2 teams, Brawn was technical director, Schumacher the driver and the car was designed by Rory Byrne.

It still rankles that he doesn't get anywhere near the plaudits he should.

75

100% agree with you, Ferrari glory years started with Rory's designed cars and ended when he retired.

76

Hisham Akhtar: Completely agree. And I would also add that Byrne's cars were way more reliable than Newey's. Ferrari was having insane reliability from 97-2006, while McLaren and Williams were breaking all the time (and not all times due to engine failures).

77

Rory Byrne was a legend. Better than Newey IMO. His best cars were as dominant as Newey's and his worst cars were still up there in the races.

78

Good for Mercedes bad for McLaren.

I am not too sure about Perez capabilities.

He is a great racer but has been outqualified by Kobayashi this year, a Kobayashi who might be out of F1 2013.

To turn the tyres on have been crucial this year and some performances have been more tyre related than driver.

Next year the cars will be even closer in performance since regulations are "the same".

Then Qualy will get even more important than this year. Even if you can overtake in todays F1 qualy is crucial for using the speed you have.

Perez is a very good driver, but is he great,

I doubt it. With Button who is slow in qualy(compared to the best) McLaren takes a huge risk by signing Perez who also is a slow qualifyer.

79

I think the weak link at Mercedes has been Schumacher, and that's why the 'magic pairing' didn't work this time. Once again it proves the old adage 'never come out of retirement'.

OK, I know everyone is going to say 'Kimi': but let's be realistic -- Kimi departed F1 to take up a new challenge, not because age was catching up with him.

I think MSC came back because he was in denial.

80

Amidst the myriad reports on the story, I've been eagerly waiting for JA's account.

Well written.

81

What !

Taking the credit for Eddie Jordan !

82

Same here. Read the news on BBC but was refreshing this page every 10 min 🙂

83

I find the headline a bit problematic. Over the years we have seen drivers switch teams. Yet, those changes were never characterized as the driver "turning his back" on his former team.

The headline has an unnecessary negative slant. I am sorry to see Hamilton leave McLaren, but I certainly think he is entitled to make his own decision and is in the best position to determine what is right for him, certainly in a better position than anyone else looking in on it.

In some ways I can understand Hamilton wanting a change. Over the last few years, one got the impression that the chemistry in the team had changed.

The move allows Hamilton to explore what he can do on a team desperately in need of a catalyst to make the next step, and for the first time in a long time, it puts McLaren in a position of having to appreciate all that Hamilton contributed to the team.

84

Yeah agree on the headline

85

Excuse me ! His contract expired -he was offered a pay cut initially by Mclaren- He looked elsewhere ( as any person would) was then was offered another deal with another team.!! He Turned His Back on NO-ONE!

Mclaren turned their back on him !! -probably rightly so after tweet gate- it was always going to be "the cards". Mclaren are so confident in Jenson Button lets how good he goes in the best car in field from now on. Shall we continue to hear his wining all through 2013 " I have no grip " .. " there something wrong with the balance" .. Good luck to Sergio I hope he shows out that clown.

So yes the headline was definitely a little tongue in cheek Mr Allen - spicing up this debate !!!

86

+1

I questioned it but it's completely fair accurate and true.

Would Hamilton have made it to where he is without Mclaren who he's been with since the age of 12? What if at 14 Hamilton had no sponsers and his family couldn't afford for him to race, would he have been able to get into F1?

Definitely not.

Hamilton is a great driver but without practice, experience and support he'd be worse at racing then anyone on the F1 grid. He is a natural talent who deserves to be in F1, he may have been able to get into F1 with another team but he didn't. Mclaren made him a champion in F1 and now he's turned his back on the team.

Anyway I hope this change produces better and more interesting racing next year (and this year is top notch imo.)

87

James says his headline was accurate? It was actually his judgement on Hamiltons move and typically mischeivious.

Here's some alternatives:-

Hamilton spreads his wings after whole career at McLaren.

Mercedes steal Lewis from Mclaren with bigger bucks and a bolder vision for success.

Lewis's brave switch to the Silver Arrows paves the way for sensational driver pairings at old team and new.

McLaren fail to contain maturing Hamilton as he takes measured gamble with Mercedes.

Media unable to forgive Hamilton as he takes his future into his own hands.

Etc

88

The headline is 100% accurate and 100% true. Right now McLaren are the top of the field and he signs for another team.

Saying 'Earthquake opens door for development' is not the same as 'Earthquake destroys city' but it is another perspective.

James has said it accurately. The truth is often uncomfortable, think about it.

89

How about:

Lewis dares to runs away from Massa Dennis and overseer, Boss Whitmarsh

(Not aimed at our host, but wider F1 media)

90

I think that Vettel and Hamilton are special cases. You would not know any of them if not for their teams.

McLaren existed long before Hamilton and will exist after him...they invested a lot of money in him, they have been supporting him when he had a lot of personal struggles.

He is a great driver, but really....there are many great guys out there and we do not know them simply because they did not have McLaren to trust and invest.

91

Very silly comment. Hamilton was already a karting champion before Ron signed him to McLaren's development program. It was Ron making an educated bet on a potential future driver.

Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso are regarded as the best three drivers on the grid b/c they are the best combinations of speed, control, technical know-how, and racecraft.

F1 is about speed first of all, and you can't teach that.

92

Yes, because I don't think anyone had heard of Renault or Ferrari before Alonso drove for them.

93

That comment's just from another planet. No doubt you think McL trained the talent into him? Probably didn't have a grain of talent himself? Ron Dennis took him on as a charity case?

Teams support all drivers, just as McL supported Jenson when he went crap earlier this season.

If there are so many other great young guys out there how come there aren't tons of drivers, from the carefully selected ranks of new drivers, making anywhere near the impression that Lewis made. Don't say that it's because they weren't given the equipment that Lewis was because neither was Schumacher, he had that awful 7up Jordan, and you could see from his first ever quali lap that he was something special.

94

With that comment...I think you are the 'special case'.

95

Yeah I also agree. There is a suggestion of disloyalty in the headline that I don't think is appropriate, but maybe James knows better.

All the same, it's a brave move by Hamilton that I hope is based on a genuine belief that Merc will deliver a race/championship winning car and not just money.

I hope the 2013 Merc will be competitive but like many others, believe 2014 will be the critical year for the Hamilton/Merc partnership.

96

I have not said that JA is not an excellent writer. He is. No ifs or buts, which is why I visit the site frequently during the F1 season. However, I recall an earlier article where he said Mclaren were 'tired of "Life with the Hamiltons" or words to that effect.

In the eyes of all who have risen to his 'defense', does that seem at all fair, considering what 'Life at the Mclaren Factory' must have been like?

Hamilton is FAR FROM PERFECT but in a sport measured in thousands of seconds, he's shown immense talent, skill and a consistent ability to deliver under the spotlight.

As long as this website is publicly available on the World Wide Web and its publisher - the multi-talented James Allen - doesn't devise a way of preventing me from visiting it, I choose not to 'sod off' as he's tacitly requested/suggested. I remain a reader of his generally fine commentaries on a sport I love and occasionally contribute my thoughts which are as valid as those of other readers.

97

James has been casually negative or at best indifferent about Hamilton for long so there are no surprises in the headline. Sergio has had 2 podiums as a young driver with Sauber and jumps from them just when it seems their car appears to be on the rise but there's no suggestion that he's "turning his back on the team that has got him this far in F1".

Predictably, James will chime in that he 'calls them like he sees them'.

That's how Button would luck into a win by simply going against the grain during another almost forgettable performance and we'd see rhapsodic reports about him "thinking intelligently on his feet during the race".

When Hamilton got pole, started DEAD LAST and still beat the 'tyre whisperer', there was nary a mention of the superlative quality of that performance OR the fact that he'd managed his tyres supremely.

I'm ecstatic that Hamilton is leaving Mclaren; with Martin Whitmarsh at the helm, that team is in the tank or headed there fast. He might consider returning to Mclaren many years later when Whitmarsh is deservedly shown the door.

98

James has his own opinions, we readers have our own, we are entitled to all our opinions, no? 😀

99

This is one of the least biased F1 sites that I know of. I think you are way out of line.

Of course it's a special situation when Hamilton leaves McLaren - he grew with them, has been with them for a long time and they backed him over Alonso. Hardly the same situation as Perez.

100

I like this website.

Its my favorite f1 blog site, by a mile.

JA writes fluidly with great insight into a myriad of complex issues in F1.

He does so with gusto and nuance. Witness the recent article on the future of F1 drivers.

I can also without any equivocation that he constantly promotes Jenson, often to the detriment of Lewis.

He disagrees, and that's OK. Just read the archived articles here- much of what I write here is about this.

So, he may think we are all wrong, but there IS a perception amongst a fair number of fans of this website that is concordant with what I've written here.

Maybe, there are inside stuff about Lewis that he'd rather not share, but his insistence on a fair and balanced write up on issues related to Lewis is just not the case.

101

Absolute nonsense.

Very disappointing

102

"When Hamilton got pole, started DEAD LAST and still beat the ‘tyre whisperer’, there was nary a mention of the superlative quality of that performance OR the fact that he’d managed his tyres supremely."

LOL!..

I couldn't agree more with your posting.

103

If you don't like what you read then don't read, but on this site you will find more info and insight in one read then at other copy paste sites that just copy text without any knowledge of f1, EVERYONE are entitled to have opinion or to be biased to something or someone they like or don't like. Again what James write is more valuable than bunch of other writers put together.

104

Can I just state that James, as a talented and informed commentator is one of the best in the business? I think he knows a little more about journalism then you do. This website and Joe Sawards are the best out there- keep it up JA.

105

Come on mate, you ask for a level playing field but look at the bias in your own comments. I don't always agree with how James sees it sometimes either but he does offer a quality product that were privileged enough to contribute to.

Sorry to burst your bubble but not everyone rates Hamilton as an overall package. Fast yes but you also need to be a grownup when you get several millions from your employer. And that's the key word - employer - Lewis somewhere forgot that McLaren was that, which I'm sure Whitmarsh and the like did not appreciate.

106

I personally believe James Allen does an excellent job presenting what is a complex subject; Formula One.

I too am quite happy Lewis has finally ended the soap opera and decided to move on from my favorite team, McLaren. The 'team' have not deserved the continuous drumbeat of negative comments from their self proclaimed #1 driver over bad pit work in the past, texting messages, etc., etc.

107

Dear God you should go read some of the rubbish on sites like PF1 (SKY related of course) - you'll really appreciate this website then!

While all other pundits have been saying that Hamilton would be 'crazy' or 'mad' to move or have hinted at it being primarily money related - this site has just offered open and honest reporting, sometimes backed by James' opinion. Sometimes I think James does not share his opinion enough!

108

I am with James on this. It is nothing but sheer stupidity to compare the Perez-Sauber and Lewis-Mclaren situation. Had someone compared Perez-Ferrari with Mclaren-Lewis, I could understand. Peter Sauber doesn't fund or facilitate any young driver through any official programs. Neither has Sauber brought Checko up as a racer. If anything, they just facilitate their long term engine suppliers with giving their academy drivers a chance. If it is hard for someone to take fact for Lewis/any other driver of their liking, those guys should check through sites which endorse their view.

109

James a bit defensive I think. Everyone is biased to some degree. So what?

I come here to read James' opinion (or more correctly his interpretation of the facts around the story). By no means do I always agree with his view though but almost always interesting.

110

I've no idea what you mean by this.

If you don't like the balanced way we cover stories don't bother reading them. There are plenty of other sites out there that take sides. Read one of those instead

111

Absolutely agree. McLaren and Lewis are meant to be together. This break-up would be more emotional to Lewis than to McLaren. The headline is unfair...

112

Lewis Hamilton and his girl friend of several years Nicole were meant to be together as well but look what's happened.

113

I agree the headline is negative. It could be reversed, McLaren turn their back on Hamilton, last driver to win them a title, by offering a pay cut or out. How does that read?

Altogether though, both should be happy. The relationship looks to have soured and the team seemed to have more affinity with a more amenable Button than their fastest driver. Their choice. Perez will be a quicker version of Button, I feel, good for McLaren to develop a car in similar directions, bad when they need someone - basically just Hamilton or Alonso available - who can drag any kind of car higher up the grid when it's way off the mark.

114

+1

I frankly cannot stand Hamilton, but I think it is courageous of him to cut the cord. It was a very complex relationship he was having there and he clearly wanted to simplify life and make a fresh start. I fully support his decision.

I think the young man wants to find his own space and figure out his own life a bit. How can we say his is 'turning his back'. A tad harsh methinks.

115

Fully agree. I tried to post about this and the message was either lost due to the technical problems currently being experienced or my post was censored.

I thought the headline was a little sensationalist and over dramatic. It's a parting of the ways. McLaren will say officially that they wanted Hamilton to stay, but we also heard from insiders that they were unhappy with him and wanted him to leave. What's more, they made mistakes that undermined his championship bid.

I see it is a parting of the ways, not one party turning their back on the other. The relationship, while better some weeks than others, was strained to the point where a parting made the most sense, at least for Hamilton.

116

But it was accurate...!

117

I agree. Nothing wrong with the article at all, but the headline does seem a little off.

119

I kind of agree about the headline but I think it's a reference to the fact that he 'grew up' with the team and so it's a bit more emotionally charged than normal.

120

How do you think Schumacher will handle this? I doubt he likes being forced into retirement. I don't know how realistic it is but I could imagine him replacing Massa at Ferrari, completing his final season there, with Ferrari hoping to get Vettel in 2014.

As for Hamilton it was probably the right move, he didn't seem happy with McLaren anymore. The pairing of Button and Perez should be an exciting one and sets McLaren up nicely for the future.

121

Not exactly fun to be pushed into retirement, and you think MSC would find it fun to be pushed into a 3rd retirement at Ferrari at the end of 2013?!?? o_O lol..............

122

What eoulf Schumacher gain with a move to Ferrari?

His team from 1996 - 2006 is long gona (brawn, costa, martinelli, todt etc)

Also Ferrari already has an excellent World Champion behind the wheel and I doubt Schumacher would even possibly be nothing less then no. 1 on his old team. At least this is probably excpected from him and he doesn't accept less himself.

If Ferrari would replace Massa next uear then for me Kovalainen or maybe Alguersuari would be options but not Schumacher.

I think the next races will be the last ones for MSC

123

Great news for F1 ensuring Mercedes remain in the sport for a while longer. Will be a real test for Lewis though as things will be a lot more serious at Mercedes where he isn't 'part of the family' and will inevitably have to answer to the board in Stuttgart if things don't work out. What's the deal with Perez though?

As part of the Ferrari driver academy surely a complicated release of some sort has to be obtained to send him off to work for Ferrari's arch-nemesis?

Overall a good result for McLaren and a fresh start for all concerned. Can't wait to see how Perez goes there - could be a serious contender in the coming years.

124

I wonder how disappointed Ferrari really are to 'lose' Perez. If you believe the 'conspiracy theory' that Vettel is Ferrari bound in 2014 then perhaps it suited Ferrari to let people think Perez might be set to join the team to deflect attention from Vettel.

125

Er... I'd imagine Ferrari are over the moon?

How is Perez going to McLaren means Ferrari is losing Perez??! Ferrari didn't lose Perez. With Perez going to McLaren, possibly for 2-3 years, that'd only do their protege good by learning the skills and polish up his skills in driving a top-end F1 car. By the time Perez is done with McLaren, he'd be ready for Ferrari, and that's exactly what LdM wants, a top driver (2nd to Vettel or not, that's another matter, not suggesting Perez would be no.1 here, hell even Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 is only speculation at the moment).

And with Perez possibly coming back to Ferrari in 2014 / 2015 or whenever, he'd come with whole load of McLaren information in how they operate, etc etc... that'd only do Ferrari good.

126

Luke, I could not agreew ith you opening line more - More than anything this IS great news for F1 and F1 fans everywhere - CHANGE!!

127

Luke, I could not agreew ith you opening line more - More than anything this IS great news for F1 and F1 fans everywhere - CHANGE!

128

If Ferrari or Renault end up making a brilliant engine in 2014 and is the best then Lewis is going to end up looking foolish. It's a gamble but time will tell if its a good one or not. Rosberg is going to be the whipping boy now. Looks like its either Massa or di Resta for Ferrari now but think Ferrari will keep Massa.

James are we going to go through this all again with Seb to Ferrari in 2014. And with webber probably near retirement reb bull could end up seriously short of a top line f1 driver In the not to distant future.

129
Craig in Sungapore

I'm quite certain that if Vettel goes to Ferrari in 2014 then Kimi will replace him at Red Bull.

What I'd like to see now is Lewis to win the WDC and take the number 1 back to Ross Brawn that Jensen took to Macca.

130

+1, Craig. 🙂

131

"If Ferrari or Renault end up making a brilliant engine in 2014 and is the best then Lewis is going to end up looking foolish."

How do you work that out? There isn't an opening at a team that uses those engines. The only way it could appear foolish is if McLaren win the title through Button or Perez.

132

Elie Lewis said at the Italian gp I just want to win. Now there is no doubt that alonso or vettel would not move to Mercedes anytime soon to win and jenson left them 3 years ago because he felt McLaren was better place to be to win. So Lewis has made a big gamble. I agree Lewis isn't happy but I think he should of stayed at McLaren and tried to get into a redbull for 2014. I don't see red bull being slow anytime soon. But if the merc adventure turns out to successful good luck to him. But the current car is a long way from winning no matter who is driving it.

133

If there is no doubt that Alonso and Vettel would not leave McL, given the same position, why exactly did Alonso leave McL and move to a crappy Renault outfit?

Extenuating political factors? Well, I'm sure there is a fair few of those in Lewis's case too.

134

I'm sure Lewis knows its a gamble and the standard line is "we want to win" that goes for every driver and every team.

But I'm certain that relationship was becoming increasingly untenable for both parties. Any team is better in those circumstances.i think in time people we will hear the rubbish that goes on at Mclaren ( just like any other big team) . I could "smell" this coming even last year and I was as certain as any arm chair person could be by Monza and I reckon I was the first bloke that said it would happen. I also said that if Ferrari don't want Perez then Mclaren should grab him quick- this was back in July. A lot of people were also thinking what Fernando said in Monza- praising Lewis and saying "other drivers only win when the car is perfect" was referring to Sebastian when in fact he was referring to Jenson.

I used to love Mclaren- head & shoulders above any team but since they took on Jenson Button and the ass kissing going on between him & Whitmarsh- I don't care what happens. I just hope that Perez gets a fair go because if he's not fully integrated into the team his career can take a wrong turn.

As for Mercedes I don't think it will take much to improve the balance when the DDRS system is removed and they work on conventional set up. I think they will be fighting for podium immefiately next year.( both drivers)Also the advantage of the engine supplier in 2014 should give them a slight advantage.

135

JB didn't leave Mercedes on his own accord - he was pushed out to make way for Shumi's "comeback". It was the best thing that could have happened for JB, but hasn't worked well for Mercedes or Schumacher.

136

Merc have sold this to Lewis that in 2014 they will be competitive and start winning. But if a Ferrari or Renault powered team dominates it would mean that next year in the midfield with merc would of been wasted instead of at the front with mclaren.

137

All this assumes is that Lewis is happy at Mclaren and clearly he is NOT. It's not just about having the best car. There's been a lot of politics going on in Mclaren an I reckon that is a large part of why he is leaving and wanting a fresh change. Make no mistake it will not be easier at Mercedes but recently they have the best engines and they now have the best technical people in that team. Even if Ross Brawn retires ( and I believe that's what he's been building to). They will be in a good position. I also believe its just something very minor in the current car (prob DDRS ) that's upsetting the balance on tyres. Once they sort this that car will be winning real quickly !

138

That assumes that Mercedes will be in the midfield next year and McLaren will remain at the front. And to be honest if "at the front" means "distant fourth in the world championship despite driving arguably your best season in F1" that's not as big a loss as you're making out.

139

If you think back over the years, Mercedes, or rather Ilmor, designed the best engine of 1998-1999, but since Mario Illien left that concern, Mercedes needed the 18,000RPM limit put in place to get reliable engines.

1991 to 1997, Renault dominated.

2000 to 2004, Ferrari dominated.

You'd say that between 2005 and 2006 Ferrari and Renault were head to head.

140

WoW...Triple WOW actually

1- Congrats to James for his piece ...I think we can all chip in and offer you a nice "you read it here first !" T shirt 🙂

2-wow/Ouch for schumi. Not really the second carrer he was hoping for I would bet. I really disliked his winning(= boring) years at ferrari but I kind of feel sorry for him to be kicked out like that (at least he should have made it look it ws his decision to retire...here it seems Mercedes just want to cut their losses...otherwise they would have retained him and tried to switch Nico with Mcl)

3-wow/ouch for Ferrari. I think they will regret losing Sergio Perez as soon as next year when he will score 50% more points than Massa and why not Beat Fernando if the Mclaren car is very good. At the very least we will have a very good benchmark in Jenson Button !

141

add this one

4-wow/ouch for HAM: Now that HAM is not "at his team" anymore, he will have to start getting used to regulary being beaten by his team mate - a driver I believe is underestimated. Of course I am sure the $$$ may compensate for that a little.

142

You base your observation merely on points.

So what if:

1. Alonso loses more points due to team errors, car breaking down etc etc.. but when the car is fine he's blisteringly fast and win by miles.

2. Button consistently come in top 5 without any issue that affect his race, end up more points.

So according to your WDC point-based theory, Button is the better drive.

Hmm...............

143

Is that the same team mate that Hamilton beat ten bells out of the last time they were driving for the same outfit? Haha. The driver that can barely outperform a guy that has lost so much touch through his age that it's all he can do to avoid habitually rear-ending mid/back-marker cars? Brilliant.

When Alex Wurz tweeted one driver was now now pooing himself, I think he meant Rosberg.

If anyone's deluded, it's ....

144

"For your first point, that was why I said “barely outperformed”, as opposed to “outperformed by”. It’s called use of language."

I would not call scoring almost double the amount of points over three years as "barely outperforming" - it is more like "crushing". At the same time acknowledging SCH have had his share of bad luck in 2012.

Agree on "barely outperformed", however, if you are talking about HAM-BUT relation - only a few points separate them over three seasons.

145

For your first point, that was why I said "barely outperformed", as opposed to "outperformed by". It's called use of language.

And as for Button vs Lewis, I think we've seen this year the real reality of that match-up. Had McL not corn-holed Lewis over and over again with awful pit stops, fuelling errors and unreliability, Button would be an embarrassing distance behind Lewis right now.

Mix and match it however you want, slice and dice it as you see fit, but Lewis has comprehensively blown Button away this year but because of McLaren ineptitude it doesn't show so bad in the scores. Now, if you wish to refute that then you truly are deluded.

146

SCH has never finished the season ahead of ROS in the standing, also this year.

People were calling BUT crazy for joining Mclaren, as they "judged" he would get blowen away. BUT has since then matched HAM and also beaten him 2011.

Few simple facts...now how is deluded?

147

Wow you mean the same team mate that is currently being beaten by his current 43 y/o team mate.Wow your a genius.

148

& You think it's ok for an "under rated" great driver to be beaten or matched by a 43 y/o ex retired champ..Your a w/ker!

149

Well yes, that team mate - and I believe your "observation" means nothing for next year. Few "details" for you to remember:

- Nico was kicking the 43 y/o ass for long time (remember?) - it is only recently that things has started getting "more even" if you can say so.

- Nico has 50 points more than SCH this years and always finished higher than his current team mate.

- HAMs was beaten by his current team in 2011 season and looking over all three years Button and (the very over-estimated) HAM have been veery closly matched. I think HAM fans live in denial refusing to look at the standings to not see.

150

😀 I thought McLaren was Button's team from since Whitmarsh hired him?

151

With reference to darth_patate comment 'you heard it here first' well not quite.

All respect to James Allen but Eddie Jordan was the man on this one- he broke the news on 5th September and received so much unfair criticism for a story he got 100 percent right.

Planet F1 did not even report the story for some time after.

As for Lewis's move? I wish him all the very best, he is a very exciting driver to watch even if a little flawed over the past couple of seasons.

I only hope that the decision for his move was based around a better environment where he can win at least one more world championship and not driven by XIX management to make a killing on the deal and all the image rights.

Whatever the rights or wrongs of the move I hope for his sake that the motivation was his and not his managements.

Whenever I have done something just for the money it has a tendency to go wrong, when inspired by passion it all just seems to flow.

152

Eddie broke a story that Hamilton was close to a deal with Merc and we analysed it, looking at pros and cons

After a heads up that some kind of agreement had been made in Monza, pending Mercedes board sign off for the new Concorde agreement, we ran a story on the Tuesday after Monza saying Hamilton was going to Mercedes.

153

James,

just wanted to say it's cool you're involved in your own forum. Makes me want to go here rather than elsewhere.

Great work!

154

Cool! Have a good weekend

155

Actually, I seem to recall the conspiracy started by one of the guys posting the conspiracy theory that Lewis acted subdued and Ross Brawn looked like the cat who got all the cream at Monza... Then James got all excited and posted his theorem LOL. So credit where it is due... a JA reader/poster scooped it and JAF1 ran with it 😛

156

Not quite,

I got a strong steer in Monza that something had been agreed between Hamilton and Mercedes. I checked it out, ran it on the Tuesday. It didn't come from a reader!

157

Exactly, it was Eddie Jordan`s story.

He went out on a limb and suffered some opprobrium.

Where is the due credit to E.J. (not a supporter)

158

I think on this one James put his hand under the stone and wrote something like an early confirmation, before what he wrote it was just another rumour.

159

I'm not sure on the 3rd WOW.

Ferrari must've has Perez under some sort of contract since he was in their academy programme.

This means Ferrari released Perez in some form, and they know what they are doing. They have their reasons and their options.

I would love to see Schumi back at Ferrari for 1 year or more. I would hate to see Vettel at Ferrari in 2014 or later. Ferrari don't need Vettel as long as they have Alonso.

Schumi or Massa at Ferrari..unless Kovalainen managed to strike a deal.

Jaime Alguersuari will drive for Sauber, Williams or Caterham next year.

160

Agreed on the 3rd pt in particular.

Luci di must be kicking himself in the culo now.

It almost makes me think that he never really made a play for Perez because his knows that it would have only been for one year. Because he knows that in 2014, Vettel is arriving. SHOCK!

161

ferrari are not losing Perez. They will have him once he has finished his Education at Mclaren.

162

Not sure about that. Ferrari let Kimi slip in 2001 so he spent his best years at McLaren (no titles) and was only thanks to Ron Dennis' incompetence that he won the title in 2007 for them.

163

Andy M, the least McLaren could do for Kimi 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

164

Kind of ironic that McLaren could only deliver a title to Kimi after he left the team 😀

165

” thanks to Ron Dennis’ incompetence that he won the title in 2007 for them.”

Yup, sad but true.

I wonder what all of those Kimi's fans make of that? 🙂

166

" thanks to Ron Dennis’ incompetence that he won the title in 2007 for them."

Love it!

167

Not so sure about the ouch for Ferrari: granted that no longer being able to simply call upon Perez is their loss, but at the same time Alonso will see (i) his strongest opponent drive in a not so strong car and (ii) a not so experienced opponent drive in what might continue to be the strongest car...

So actually I think that Alonso is dancing right now!

168

Why is everybody so sure Mercedes is going to be a weak car next year?

169

I wonder the same actually.

Lotus or Renault or Benetton or whatever you wanna call them were losers before this year. Now they are potential winners / contenders for WDC everyone forgot how crap they were in 2008/09.

Never say never in F1 lol.

170

Caro Baghetti,

It is exactly what I thought from the moment I knew about that move.

Regards,

Dino

171

I 100% agree with you if you look at it from alonso point of view 🙂

(unless a drop in Lewis motivation this year helps vettel wins...i am so afraid 2012 will trun like 2010 at the current rate of performance between Fernando and Vettel )

172

I think Lewis will remain motivated to win as many races as possible this year, if nothing else he'll want to leave McLaren on a high, pointing out that he did everything he could to win the title.

Having said that, I think he's too far back to win the title now, I think it's a straight fight between Vettel and Alonso.

173

Eddie Jordan / BBC broke this story first. Credit where credit's due.

174

James actually gave him credit in the original article.

175

James Allen is claiming it is his exclusive.

176

No that is not accurate

EJ broke the story that HAM was close to a deal the week before Monza. That was the exclusive - I wrote a story after Monza based on a tip off that he was indeed going there

177

Agree, Eddie gets a lot of stick but he was proved to be 100% correct with his exclusive

178

I`ve been wondering why no-one else has noticed this.

Eddie Jordan was pilloried by many "informed" people that he was talking out of his behind.

Why does he not now receive his just plaudits ?

179

i asked same question before , but will McLaren still want lewis to win the world championship ?

being nice you would say nice , but does it benefit them at all ? Assume it would benefit Merc more , as they would be getting a 2 times / current world champion ?

Matt

180

Maybe the question can be refrased:

Will Mclaren allow HAM to participate in car development activities or not. Will they allow him to understand, test and evaluate, and use on car the latest and greatest development parts in the remaining races - parts that very well could be used even in next year project?

Will they let him have the best engineers/mechanics on his side of the garage?

I am sure HAM will be able to provide the help needed to get good points for WCC, without the latest and greatest stuff on the car. Alternatively they will put it there but not explain it for him.

As with Alonso 2007, Mclaren will not like a driver leaving the team to take the title and say bye bye.

181

For all McLaren's slightly odd decision making, I can't see them deliberately hampering their best chance to secure a world title. It's clearly in their better interests for Lewis to win the title with them than not. If it was between Jenson and Lewis there might arguably be bias, but they were fair right down to the wire between Hamilton and Alonso back in the day (suicidally so with the benefit of hindsight).

182

With Lewis not scoring any points last week I think they'll abandon this year's development and focus on next year now. LH is 52 points back and he’s leaving, there’s not much motivation for the team to keep fighting. Sad though because it’s going to be an anticlimax ending to this year’s championship. Alonso may as well start celebrating now, championship is his. Vettel will have to win all remaining races now and hope Alonso does not finish in some of them, mathematically possible, realistically impossible.

183

I think on the contrary that Alonso would be very bothered if that would be the case. If RB domination (over Ferrari) continues, Alonso would like to see Hamilton competing with Vettel and taking race wins and points from him. That can actually be Alonsos biggest chanse to win the title this year, if Ferrari are unable to provide him with a competitive package.

184

I agree with this. The best thing that can happen for Alonso's chances at the WDC now, is for Vettel and Hamilton to keep fighting for wins against each other as well.

Hamilton as champion is a longshot now but a DNF for Alonso would throw everything upside down again...

185

I disagree. The driver isn't the only competitive member of the team, every member wants to be a winner, even when their driver lineup will be different next year. Winning a WDC is, I think, prestigious not only for the driver, but for the whole team. What better way to welcome a new driver, than into the championship winning garage?

186

They need the money (which comes with being World Champions) going forward.

187

McLaren will first aim to win the constructors title. I am sure they will not mind if they win the drivers title in the process.

188

I think your spot on! Lewis wouldn't be the first driver to miss out on new developments to a car once he had signed for a rival team.

Ross Brawn refused to release JB from his contract until December 31st 2009, I wonder if MW will feel he should do the same.

189

Alonso 2007 obviously

190

Having a WDC in the team has no other benefits than a bit of media attention.

Did most people care as much about Damon Hill after he moved to Arrows? No.

Winning the WCC has many financial advantages on the other hand.

Realistically, they need Lewis to score as many points as possible to win the championship against RBR.

Hamilton is 52 points adrift, with only 150 available. That 21 points in the old currency with 6 races to go. Him being WDC is quite unlikely, at best.

191

"Having a WDC in the team has no other benefits than a bit of media attention" is really badly understated. Having the WDC is your team is a massive boon for the sponsors who pay the bills..

192

"Having a WDC in the team has no other benefits than a bit of media attention" is really badly understated. Having the WDC is your team is a massive boon for the sponsors who pay the bills.

193

They have Schumacher on board and have been playing the winners card for three years already.

Should Hamilton win the title, and that's a massive caveat, I doubt there are going to be a huge amount of sponsors wanting to part with their money to be associated with an excellent driver who'll drive for the third or fourth best team on the grid.

194

If Lewis wins WDC then he will take with him the #1 on the car next year, right? That would mean first/last pit garage.

195

Its the constructor's championship which determines the pit garage if i'm not wrong.

196

WDC can take #1 to wherever he goes, but the WCC gets the first pit garage.

197

I'm pretty sure the garage order is decided by the finishing position in the constructors championship rather than the drivers. It's just that for the last few years the winner of the drivers championship (#1) drove for the winner of the constructors.

198

What can I say? I thought Button moving to McLaren was a bad idea as well … it's great but also heartbreaking news:

Schumacher has unfinished business in F1. I'd love to see him one+ more year at Ferrari. Schumi & Alonso would be a thrilling driver line up. We'll finally find out who will be the all time greatest. It's not bad to lose out from an Alonso or Michael …

Here's hoping:

Ferrari: Schumacher x Alonso

Mercedes: Hamilton x Rosberg

McLaren: Perez x Button

Sauber: Jaimie Alg. x Kobayashi

199

Where would you place R. Kubica?? It would be hard to believe that not one team is following his recovery step by step, if not Lotus themselves. Any news on him James?

200

How can MSC vs Alonso prove who is the all time greatest? Crazy.

MSC isn't the greatest of all time anyway, he is just statistically the greatest. Big difference!

201

I watched almost all of Senna's races. Fast, undoubtedly,mature, never, complete driver, think not.

Schumi achieved more as both a driver and a developer.

And despite all the "unsporting" comments made at Schumi, Senna was worse, with far less consideration for his competitors than any other driver I have seen.

IMO Prost was better than Senna in the overall story.

202

Senna was a wild driver, trust me schumacher is the best love or hate him. 91 WINS, 63 POLES

203

Yeah he is the greatest. In the end statistics is all that matters and the rest is just opinion. Usually the best in every sport have the best overall statistics and I don't think it is any different here.

204

So according to you, MSC is better than Senna, Alonso, Prost, etc?

If it wasn't for Senna's accident, MSC would be nothing, and certainly would not have won his first two titles.

Just a quick reminder, Alonso did beat MSC while the latter was at his peak.

Hell even Kimi wouldn't beaten MSC if not for McLaren so good with their car break down consistency.

Merely basing your conclusion on numbers seem very shallow to me.

206

Agreed - good call re Alguersuari. He tweeted last week "Soon you'll all know where I will be driving next year. Thank you all again."

Sauber have done really well this year on a contra-strategy on tyres. And Jaime has been doing the 2013 Pirelli tyre tests this year. It makes perfect sense for Sauber to bring in a driver who's already well ahead of the curve on the 2013 tyres.

207

Good call. Jamie Alg would be a nice save for Sauber now that they have lost the cash from Perez.

208

Algesuari had his chance and was TERRIBLE at TR. Adrian Sutil should get the Sauber Nod.

209

He might not have set the track on fire first time round. You have to remember though a year of testing pirelli's doing 700 odd km a day is going to make him a very valuable asset, not only for his insight and understanding, but also this will have made him a far superior driver all round than he previously was. He has hinted on twitter that he has a race seat this season. I initially thought Force India because I had DIR down as filling HAM's seat. Sauber may have lost one tyre master but I feel they are about to find a new one in the form of ALG. Good luck to him, he seems like a nice guy with a lot of potential.

210

He almost double scored his team mate, making a total of 26 points. Together, both STR-Ferrari drivers this season have scored 14 points so far.

Not so TERRIBLE year, is it?

211

Excuse me?

212

Why will they have a 2014 advantage? Can't anyon such as McLaren just buy their engines? Or are the new regs directly = each team has it's own engine only?

But yes, this is a real coup and they have bought guaranteed car speed AND investment back from increased sponsorship etc.

213

Because they can already start designing the car around the new engine, where as customers will have to wait until they get there supply. the engine manufacturer teams will have extra design time.

214

Isn't it also true that the engines can be improved during the season from 2014?

If so, would the customer cars get engine developments as quickly as the factory teams? The Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull (Renault's primary team) outfits may have an in-built advantage over the rest.

215

Engine customers don't even get the measurements until the engines turn up in crates?

Right.

216

Hamilton + Brawn + Mercedes will lead to success.

Game on.

217

Shades of mid-90's Ferrari. Can Brawn rediscover the old magic. Seemed to be able at honda/brawn. Can he make it a hat trick?

218
Warren Groenewald

Brawn has been successful, no doubt, but his success has largely been through unsung heros of Byrne and Zander.

Byrne designed the Benettons that Schumi drove and then the Ferrari's. Before he retired his cars had over 100 GP wins.

Zander was chief designer for the 2004 BAR and 2007 BMW Sauber before rejoining Brackley to create the 2009 BrawnGP. He no longer works in F1, having left during the 2009 season.

Mercedes are clearly lacking a stand out designer and I feel Hamilton's career really is mimicking Villeneuve's.

219

Even if he does do a 'Villeneuve' at Mercedes, what's the major issue? Four questions?

1) how old is Alonso now?
2) is he still getting better?
3) how old will Hamilton be after his three year term at Mercedes?
4) does Hamilton's three year contract have a performance get-out clause one year before the full term, like most contracts do?

It could turn out great, or it could just be a hiccup. if people were willing to take Kimi back after two years totally OUT of the sport, and schumi after a three year break and in his 40s, you think no one's going to want Lewis? Lots of [ mod] will say it'll be the end but be rational about it.

For crying out loud, people are still watching for the great return of Kubica, and no one will want Lewis????

220

None of those elements by themselves guarantees top shelf aerodynamics. Brawn hasn't done aero since about 1991 with the Jaguar sports car. The rest of the leading design team, if being cynical, are cast offs from other teams where they were sacked.

Brawn is able to create a management environment where good ideas florish. But on Einstein's scale of 10% inspiration 90% perspiration, with the tight regs, the 90% is more like 99.5% and that comes from good people. The new teams are struggling to make the jump for what I believe is a similar reason.

At Ferrari Rory Byrne led a design team with more resources than the rest. The 2009 Brawn was a highly resourced Honda effort, and the large rule change allowed Brawn's management style to be the catalyst for a great car. The 2014 might be an opportunity.

I think the best engine is a wait and see exercise too. Mercedes had perfect timing when it took some Cosworth engineers in 2006 and made what has become the current engine. I wouldn't assume too much about the future from past performance.

221

Just being perdantic. The "inspiration - perspiration" statement wasn't made by Einstein, but by Thomas Alva Edison, the wizard of Menlo Park; greatest inventor of his time.

I bet Thomas Alva Edison would have been in F1 in some way or the other if he were alive today (he invented wherever big bucks were to be made).

222

Whilst reading your comment i had Whitmarsh at the back of my mind, and your comment somehow manages to make Brawn who has won championships with three different teams look worse than Martin Whitmarsh.

223

JA, surely there must have been some kind of financial penalty for McL to sign Perez? He's Ferrari property. Is it safe to assume McL were happy to pay a release fee, as Perez's salary will come from his own sponsors? Not to mention he'll be on micro money, compared to what Hamilton was on. McL will save a fortune, surely.

224

Haha indeed, McLaren went from having to pay 10mill to keep Hamilton or, receive huge sponsorship from Telmex, when you look at it like that makes you wonder if it was McLaren who turned down Hamilton.

225

It was widely reported Hamilton had an offer on the table from McLaren and he turned it down. If you think replacing Hamilton with Perez is some kind of master-stroke then I don't know what to say...

226

+1

It wasn't just one offer. It was an initial offer, followed by multiple improvements as negotiations went on. Not really what a team does when they're trying to edge out a driver.

Did it look like Whitmarsh didn't want him when he came on every weekend on BBC/Sky and said they absolutely want Lewis? Or was he trying to not hurt Lewis's feelings? Just ask DC if Whitmarsh cares about hurting drivers' feelings.

227

Yup, also Perez is the little toy for Slim domit, son of Carlos Slim, the guy with moar money in his pockets.

228

Not so, he was a member of the FYDDP (Ferrari Young Driver Development Program), this does not mean that he is contracted to them as an F1 driver. The FYDDP was setup to prepare young drivers for F1, (through off season training and races in lower formulas) the point being to allow Ferrari to develop their own talents instead of paying top whack to sign established drivers. However as Monty can't see past the end of his nose it would appear to have not done them much good in this case.

229

Great move by Lewis... he's needs to be his own man... and his relationship with McLaren was obviously seriously strained.

Great move by McLaren picking up Perez - a fantastic talent.

The loser in all of this would appear to be Paul Di Resta. Surely he was the natural heir to Lewis's seat. Yes he's put in some assured performances this year- his Singapore drive was great. But his restrained driving style doesn't set the heart racing... none of the spectacular/stellar drives of Perez...

Thats F1 I'm afraid - put in 2 or 3 spectacular drives and you get the big seat.... the conservative, steady mature approach doesn't cut it... lets see some fireworks Di Resta...

Well done Lewis...

230

I see Ron Dennis being the biggest loser of all this 😀

Signed a 13 yr old HAM, invested in him.

Ten years or so later, HAM leaves.

Lost his investment in a person whom he thought would be loyal to him. Maybe Ron thought he'd find another Hakkinen in Lewis.. that didn't turn out to be the case. 😀

231

To be honest Perez has been flattered to some extent by avoiding much qualifying and relying on the super-easy on it's tyres Sauber to plough through the field later in the day. It's been a fantastic approach, but it's likely to have been geared towards the Sauber itself and the recent Pirelli tyre construction.

It'll be interesting to see if Perez has the skills in a totally different car design. If he does and he is just naturally great at preserving tyres, it will be a great fit alongside smooth driving Button - then McLaren will be developing a car solely in one direction.

Di Resta really is the new Coulthard - I can see him being a race winner, but not really a title contender.

232

Providing McLaren build another competitive car next year, then it'll be interesting to see how he does. I've recently been re watching the 1996-1998 seasons and things similar to those being said about Perez now were said about Fischecella and Wurtz back in the day. As we all know, neither of those lived up to expectations (though, to be fair, I don't recall Wurz ever having a car up to the job?)

233

Wurtz drove a Jordan, I was always one of his fans in the day and was sad to see him leave empty handed. F1's history is packed with nearly men, lets hope the likes of Perez and Grosjean come good.

234

Yes, di Resta loses out on seats at McLaren AND Mercedes.

235

A red car calls?

236

Just what I was thinking. If he can take a short term contract at Ferrari and prove that he can pace Alonso, then he may be able to pick up a #1 driver role somewhere else later (or at Ferrari if Alonso's situation changes).

It makes a lot more sense than Vettel moving from a #1 role at Red Bull to become Alonso's support driver. That rumour makes very little sense to me.

237

I can't help thinking Hamilton should have signed for a year with McLaren with get out clauses if possible. Sad to see him go to Mercedes but he has looked like he needs a change of scenery for some time.

Perez is the best replacement available at the moment, but McLaren must now produce the best car by some margin for next season if they have a hope of either championship.

238

Maybe coz a contract, i.e. a document that BOTH parties agree to, isn't on Hamilton's terms?

You can say: Ham, why not sign a one year?

Er.. McLaren isn't offering one year?

239
Warren Groenewald

They've produced the best car this year - and aren't looking likely to win either title.

240

Very good point. With Hamilton being replaced by Perez, are they any more likely to take either championship next year. Highly doubtful.

241

I doubt McLaren would have entertained the possibility of a one year deal just so Lewis could jump ship in 12 month's time.

242

That's not saying much for button ( or Perez ) for that matter

243

Tyrrell - BAR - Honda - BrawnGP - Mercedes vs McLaren... Which of these two teams has been a winner more often?

Also, aside from Renault, which manufacturer has won a championship bar Ferrari who were a team prior to bein a car company? Toyota and BMW have been major failures.

Good luck to Lewis Hamilton. If he has passion for winning, I feel he's going to need lots of luck.

244

Yeah, I've heard some people comparing this to Jaques moving to BAR, but it also kind of reminds me of another move. Lets see if I can remember.

A world champion in his prime moving to a team that hadn't had much success recently, but was a large team, with lots of money, that builds it's own engines...hmm, who could that be?...

...Oh, I got It! Schumacher to Ferrari!

245

How long did this take to gel? MSC joins Ferrari for the 96 season, were competitive by the 98 season.

That's three years, the same amount as Lewis's contract.

So, assuming that history repeats itself AND that Lewis is patient enough to sign another contract, then there is a chance that he might win a championship.

Statistically though, it doesn't look promising. Only a brave man would bet on Lewis becoming WDC over the next three years.

246

James, I'm sure HAM admire Alonso's work at Ferrari and will take a leaf out of his books 😀

247

There's a few other things which are very significant.

MSC going to Ferrari in 1996 was a big challenge but we are talking about an underachieving legend that needed bringing up to date. LdM offered Todt and Schumacher freedom to turn the team around. Brawn and Byrne were signed for 1997, then the work begun.

In 1996, joining Ferrari, MSC was the only WDC on the grid. Senna had died, Prost, Mansell and Piquet retired. Williams were the only true Championship rivals.

In 1997, newey left for Mclaren and Williams were still the only rivals. 98 & 99 Mclaren were the only team capable of fighting Ferrari but from 2000 onwards there was no competition, the likes of Kimi and Alonso were only starting out, not the experienced champions of today.

What's different this time round for MSC and now Lewis is the competition base.

I don't just mean drivers, as in 6 WDC on the grid, but I'm referring to the teams themselves.

We still have Ferrari and Mclaren there, but also another phenomenal team currently is Red Bull.

Lotus ( aka Renault ) also, has recent championship winning experience

The quality of engineering expertise has improved so much in 10-15 years.

I think MSC has struggled due to age, no testing anymore, no sprint format races and tyres he doesn't particularly enjoy.

But I'm not expecting Hamilton to turn Mercedes around like MSC did with Ferrari, the game has changed.

Next year, Ferrari, Mclaren, Red Bull, Lotus will be championship challengers.

Coughlan with an additional year with Williams will provide a better car.

Is Mercedes with all theirs chiefs going to change their design ethos of the last 3 seasons? Still struggle with tyres?

Whether Rosberg and Schumacher aren't on the same pace as Lewis is irrelevant. I'd guess that Alonso isn't either but his work ethic is in a different league.

Be fascinating to watch..

248

Big difference with 1996 is that in those days there wasn't another driver on MSC's level, Damon was at Williams and did a brilliant job with a very good car, the following year Villeneuve won, but MSC was head and shoulders better than both of them

Today HAM doesn't have that luxury - ALO and VET are right up there at highest level and BUT showed last year he can string a season together and can be unbeatable as at Spa.

So HAM will have to be patient with building Mercedes to championship level

249

Schumacher was/ is a workaholic who knew how to push the team.

He also had infinite budgets, unlimited testing and Todt, Brawn and Byrne working with him.

Ferrari also has been part of motorsport dating back to the inception of the F1 championship, but further back through Enzo back to the 20's.

Ferrari's DNA is motorsport.

Mercedes have links back to the 20's through history, but they stopped motorsport back in 1955. `

Ultimately, their main line of business is road cars, not F1.

Anyway, without Byrne, how good would Schumacher or Brawn have looked over these last 20 years?

Everyone praises the genius of Newey, yet Byrne's cars took him on and beat him.

For all the assembled talent Mercedes has design wise, they have lost ground his year, not moved forward.

250

I like your piece.

But then driver also makes a difference.

Kovo didn't exactly wow the world in a McLaren.

251

Hero I bet Mercedes issue this year is the DDRS system affecting the balance ( it's given them speed) & scrubbing tyres . They will be stronger next year.

252

How good would Byrne look without Schumacher?

Newey has designed cars that have propelled lots of different drivers to the title, not just one.

And although Mercedes have slipped back a bit now, you have to remember the state they were in before Ross Brawn joined them, plus the fact they had to sack half their technical team in 2009. And they did win a race this year, they have decent potential.

253

Considering no one ever won a WDC in Byrne's car except Schumacher, it is safe to say the driver made a huge deal of difference. Except for 95,2001,02 and 04, Byrne's cars weren't exactly the outright fastest ones on the grid.

No driver, no matter how talented can win alone on his talent or work ethics. If you give the best cardiologist a hammer and nail to work with, he cannot save his patients ! Similarly, an F1 driver needs the best engineers, strategists, equipment and budget behind him to win titles. Ask Senna, he hopped teams whenever he thought the team was slipping a little, or Valentino Rossi and Ducati. Atleast Schumacher stayed loyal to Ferrari for 11 years despite having plum offers from Williams, Mclaren,BMW, Jaguar and Toyota.

254

I agree. I struggle to see Hamilton having the same success at Mercedes. The renewed Schumacher/Brawn partnership hasn't achieved much in 3 years, based on what they achieved at Ferrari, I expected better.

2014 will be interesting though. With the Kers output doubling, I expect the Mercedes power unit to be strong. It seems to have the best Kers package, Red Bull may be disadvantaged by theirs.

255

Ross Brawn vs McLaren, which of these 2 have won more championships?

256

It really depends what time frame you are looking at.

Since the birth of Mclaren they have won 12 WDC in 1974,76,84,85,86,88,89,90,91,98,99 and 2008

8 WCC were won in 1974,84,85,88,89,90,91 and 1998

Brawn has been involved in 8 WDC, 94,95, 2000,1,2,3,4,5 and 2009

8 WCC in 95,99,00,01,02,03,04 and 2009.

257

Mercedes back in the 50's???

258

That's 4 wins in 1954 and 5 in 1955.

But that's missing the point.

Why go from a regular winning team to another that does so sporadically, if not for the money? It can't be for the winning, whatever Lewis might say.

Besides, in its current shape, the Brackley team has nothing to do with the Mercedes of old, much like the current Lotus F1 Team doesn't have anything in common with the Team Lotus of Colin Chapman except for it's colour scheme.

259

What you also fail to mention is that 1954 had only 9 races, and 1955 had only 7 races.

44.4% and 71.4% winning percentages? Yeah, I'll take it, thanks.

260

Why did Vettel leave Toro Rosso for Red Bull then? RBR hadn't won a race before 2009, and Toro Rosso ended 2008 higher in the WCC than RBR. We know how that worked out.

McLaren and Ferrari are safer bets, but it doesn't preclude others from producing good/great cars.

261

they got in perez in place of lewis, which isn't a bad deal....he may not be as complete of a racer as lewis, but considering perez is from the ferrari stable of young drivers, has shown good level of maturity @ his age, and is mighty quick i'd say not bad, not bad at all. all he needs is some time to settle in. hope he gets that.

262

At least McLaren can pay for their engines now with the salary savings...

I think Perez will develop quite well with Button alongside. I get the impression Button would like to 'mentor' a rookie - whereas the equal status against Lewis given by the team always put a strain on that.

263

I think there's a good chance Perez could hit the ground running and kick Jenson out of his own party. Would be hilarious to see where the easy-going charm goes to if/when he gets his head handed to him by the newcomer.

And if it comes down to who's the better 'tyre whisperer', well, Jenson's early season shenanigans effectively lost him that title to Perez by a million miles.

264

"I think there’s a good chance Perez could hit the ground running and kick Jenson out of his own party. Would be hilarious to see where the easy-going charm goes to if/when he gets his head handed to him by the newcomer"

Looking forward to that! 😀

Cheers!

265

I think Button will probably have it handed to him by Perez.

266

This could be a great move for Lewis, he looked to have outgrown Mclaren. With a team built around him an on form happy Hamilton is unbeatable.

Ferrari letting Perez go to Mclaren strikes me as they do have Vettel in 2014.

Got to say whilst both good drivers Perez & Button doesn't look to be much outright pace there.

267

Lewis is one of the best drivers in the world right now and as a British driver I wish him the best of luck at Mercedes but McLaren as a British team comes first and so I hope McLaren exclude Lewis from all secrets and development knowledge to protect their secrets from leaking to Mercedes.

268

Despite the anthems being played, Mercedes are a British team, as are Caterham, Williams, Lotus, Red Bull, McLaren, Marussia and Force India. Only Ferrari, Sauber, Toro Rosso and HRT have bases outside the U.K.

I'm having trouble seeing how McLaren are any more British than the other 7 U.K. based teams.

270

I would assume that despite the PR from Mclaren, that they have seen the writing on the wall for some time and will not have discussed 2013 very much with Hamilton.

271

Wow. The big loser in all of this to my mind is Ferrari, who should've snatched up Perez to replace Massa. Don't know what De Montezemolo was thinking when he said Perez was too green.

272

I think De Montezemolo was actually quite smart by saying that: in a way he 'released' Perez which might have tempered McLaren in their offer to Hamilton as all of a sudden McLaren saw a good alternative for Hamilton in the person of Perez. Ferrari and De Montezemolo will be quite happy to see Hamilton step out of the strongest car and to see a promising but not very experienced driver step into that car...

273

What if Luca is actually right in his opinion that Perez just ain't ready...Whitmarsh, or should I say more probably Dennis,is taking a risk. Calculated risk, maybe, but a risk all the same.

274

I think Perez is the best driver they could have in the second seat, they weren't exactly spoilt for choice.

275

especially if you remmber how green was Massa when he came from Sauber. didn't he have a reputation of "crash kid" back then ?

276

Massa had raced with Sauber in 2002, 2004 and 2005 when he arrived at Ferrari.

More importantly, he had driven as a test driver for Ferrari throughout 2003.

277

He was thinking 'Crap! McLaren has stolen my protoge! I best slag Perez in public to save face!' And by that I mean Montezemolo would have heard of this move weeks ago and manuvered in the media to make Ferrari look ok in this.

278

Sorry EriK, the reply was meant for RobF.

Cheers! 😀

279

Maybe Ferrari earns rather than lose something out of this?

Taking Perez back to Ferrari several years later, along with info on McLaren operation would prove very valuable.

You don't suppose a company like Ferrari and a man like LdM is very short-sighted, do you?

280

Not 100% that Perez was ever a protege in the near future. If he is part of long term plans than this goes in Ferrari's favour as Mclaren will provide Perez with a good education to pick up after Alonso leaves.

281

Yeah, that's what LdM did.

Is that the same as when he announced in May 2005 (?), that as Marlboro were taking over complete sponsorship of the car, there was no space for Vodafone. Who then signed a deal with Mclaren.

Yet Ron told us later that year, that they had poached Vodafone from Ferrari?

In many ways, there's echos of Kimi with this. He raced for Sauber in 2001 and signed with Mclaren from 2002, yet the media was reporting that Ferrari had first call on his services because of Sauber connection.

282

If one considers PM paying Ferrari much more than any other sponsors there are in F1 although they had not a single sign of their famous brand, that I put words of LdM over poor Ron.

283

Its not that suprising that Hamilton joins Mercedes after all, however I am more suprised that McLaren signed Perez. McLaren will have two good drivers, but they should have signed Kimi for the next two years to win championship and beat Hamilton and Mercedes. Clearly some telecom money played a big role in this whole story.

284

My instincts tell me Kimi would never have re-signed for Mclaren. He's hardly know for his enthusiasm for the corporate responsibilities, with McLaren arguably the toughest in that respect.

285

Exactly. McLaren signs their drivers up for sponsorships with stuffy hotel chains and make them dress up in race suits to be filmed in embarrassing corporate commercials. If they wanted to sign up for a sponsorship with Angry Birds or Monster energy drink they'd be blocked by their contract. If a driver podiums or wins a race or wins a championship McLaren doesn't let the driver keep the trophy?! You can see why drivers sign the contract to get into a quick car but a lot of them seem to leave just as quickly. Jenson is the exception but perhaps he enjoys rubbing elbows with 60 year old executives at suit and tie corporate luncheons.

286

You should remember that it's those "60 year old executives at Suit and tie corporate luncheons" that fund your favourite team and help to fund F1 in general.

On your point on trophies, take a trip to williams F1, McLaren are not the only ones to hold on to their trophies. At the end of the day drivers are employees and the employers wishes takes precedent.

287

At last, confirmation! We see it in writing here and on the Mercedes F1 site.

Let's not forget that Mercedes part-owned the company that nurtured HAM’s talent. So I don't regard this as a betrayal.

James will you create a Mercedes team page? You know me; I love to send you photos.

288

Well done for the prediction James. That post was a brilliantly lucid piece of foresight. And it was brave of you to put your neck on the line with the biggest F1 story of the year.

So congratulations to Sergio, commiserations to Martin, and, well, who knows what to Lewis.

We must admire Lewis' bravery in making the switch, but at the same time we fans are entitled to question to his judgement. None of us knows whether it is the right or wrong thing to do. We must all wish him well. And yet it seems unavoidable to detect the shadow of immaturity in all this; the telemetry tweet, the bolshiness after scoring poles and wins, the infatuation with celebrity, and numerous other examples.

Where, then, did it all go wrong between Lewis and McLaren? The team has done so much for him, that it's hard not to see their support something bordering on an act of charity. He has been under their aegis since the age of 14, given a debut in a winning car, even a championship winning car in his second year, and paid millions of pounds.

Would Lewis, with the immaturity that we have come to see too often, have achieved any of this had he gone into F1 the 'normal' route? Would he have coped with, say, a Minardi debut (like Fernando) and then maneuvered his way up into a winning team with charm, guile, pace, and composure? Almost certainly not.

For that reason, this move seems to me like the sad break up of what was, and should still be, one of the great partnerships in British motorsport history.

289

It's nothing personal it's just a business decision. I personally think if Ron was still a team principle with would have been different, in fact Lewis would have won more races than he is now. I don’t think Martin has been able to fully harness what team possess in terms of performance and that would frustrate any top driver.

290

Under Ron didn't Mclaren get into a lot of trouble lose a lot of points and prize money and almost lose their major sponsors? Isn't that why Ron was retired out of the sport?

I don't get this Whitmarsh negativity. He doesn't do EVERYTHING, he's part of a team, he doesn't change tyres, he doesn't drive cars, but I have seen him cover for Lewis plenty when Lewis has made a mess.

291

I’m not negative to Whitmarsh, what I’m pointing out is that he is not yet in the league of Ron in term s of being able to draw the maximum out of the team’s advantage. I believe championship win is a function of great driver, good car and great team principle. If the team principle cannot best use the team to present the driver with conditions to win, it will frustrate the driver. I agree the team principle does not change tyres and so on... but he leads the team not a mere team member and he's ultimately responsible for the performance as a leader, the final decision of the team members and their capabilities is his. Corrective measures after a bad pit stop or wrong strategy is his responsibility. By no means I’m saying he’s a bad principle, rather he does not yet possess the natural instinct you find with Ron Dennis, Ross Brawn and even Chris Horner to some extent. So for someone like Lewis who can win horse races while riding a donkey it’s a bitter pill to swallow if he lose races because of bad decisions and team complacency. I'm sure with time Whitmarsh will get there, but for now he's good enough for the second tier of drivers.

292

You refer to the scandal of Spygate in 2007.

Some employees of Mclaren had access to secret Ferrari documents and the FIA came down hard on them.

From what I remember, Mosley allowed Mclaren to stay in the championship on condition he resigned from the F1 team. They were fined $100,000,000 for the crime and Mercedes and alot of sponsors questioned whether they could remain part of an organisation found guilty of cheating.

It was suggested but denied, that Mercedes bought Brawn so as to move away from being part of the Mclaren group officially.

293

I couldn't agree more. Maybe it's a bit romantic to imagine a young world champion Brit in a British car staying there his whole career, but personally I don't see anything wrong with loyalty, an almost unheard-of word in sport nowadays...just gimme the money and take my photo, and my shallowness will see me through...

294

JA,

Loyalty cost Ayrton Senna a minimum of two more World Drivers Championships. Please read Julian Jakobi's comments below.

HONDA "TURNS BACK" ON SENNA

"We were in Spa at the Belgian Grand Prix and Ayrton had two contracts on Sunday morning in his motorhome, ready to sign: one with McLaren to stay for the '92 season and one to go to Williams to replace Mansell," Jakobi details. "And he was determined and knew he should have gone to Williams, but he had a phone call overnight from the President of Honda persuading him to stay and basically twisting his arm not to leave and he succumbed to that, and he stayed which in my opinion was the only mistake he ever made. Because he would have been a Williams driver in '92, he would have won the championship in '92, but he picked the wrong horse."

"The contract, the financial terms were exactly the same, A or B; and he said, 'I should have gone to Williams. My mistake.' And he was persuaded by Honda to stay, and then Honda pulled out at the end of '92. And of course he was left, he couldn't get into Williams in '93 because Prost was there. So, he was stuck with McLaren and thought about taking a year off, and then decided to come back and drive on a race-by-race basis, and then ended up with Williams in '94."

"But if you think about it had he gone there in '92, he would have gone there and won more championships."

295

Yeah James, I'll second that. Brave prediction and much appreciated. Keep them coming!

296

Good luck to Lewis.

Bit of a coup for Ross after McLaren nicked Jenson from him after he won the WDC.

So *if* Lewis wins the WDC this year then they will get the #1 back.

297

Its great that Mercedes are committed to f1 for the future, especially as they took over from Brawn who had to rescue Honda!

Lewis must be hoping that he can do with Brawn what he did with Michael in the dominant Ferrari years, though I think this is unlikely due to the strength of the other rival teams/drivers being greater now than it was then. We now also have 5 world champions (maybe 6 if Schumi gets drive elsewhere) in 5 different teams next year.

How do you think Perez will do at McLaren James?Do you think he can fulfill his potential or do you think it will be too much of a step for him like it was for Kovalienen?

298

James, seems like everything thinks either you have a crystal ball or you possess some magic powers to tell the future! 😀

299

*everyone, typo.

300

Seemed inevitable after last weekend - an aging Schumacher now a danger to himself and those around him, while Hamilton wipes the floor with his team mate, only to be let down by his machinery...

301

Ridiculous on both levels as Schumacher has had a good season but also been let down by his machinery as well and if you think Hamilton has wiped the floor with Button you obviously only watch F1 on a saturday!

302

"I honestly think either Hamiltons pr company is hiring some commentators on various sites or that some of his fans are so partisan that its not even worth debating with them!"

Think it's fair to say we could say the same thing about Hamiltons detractors, are you being paid by Martin Whitmarsh or Fernando?

303

Must be KKK.

304

What happened in 2010 and this year i.e. the majority of the time they've raced together? Narrowing things down to a period like that and ignoring the rest of the times they've raced is just silly. It's like saying Massa is faster than Alonso based on the first three races of 2010.

305

I've watched Sundays too and seen Hamilton maintain a comfortable points lead over Jenson despite McLaren costing him two nailed on wins and multiple other places through botched pitstops.

306

What happened last season then? Were you watching sundays then?

307

Good season??? Schumacher is not a world class driver anymore - hence less than half as many points as his fairly average team mate. Mercedes have lost patience.

308

I honestly think either Hamiltons pr company is hiring some commentators on various sites or that some of his fans are so partisan that its not even worth debating with them! How has Hamilton not had the tools at McLaren?? Schumacher has had a better season than last and out qualified his team mate a statistic often used in Hamiltons favour against Button but has been let down in much the same way as your initial point about Hamilton?!!! My point is this you cant go off one weekend otherwise Button is better than Hamilton after spa (am sure you wouldn't agree) which is not true if you look back since both have competed against each other in the same car it has to be said that they have been evenly matched except for qualifying. The only other explanation other than Hamilton is not as good as his hype or Button is underestimated for this is that the team favoured Button over Hamilton and honestly their is no logic in putting forward an argument like that it just wouldn't make sense.

309

"I think responding 6 times to your own initial message is giving away your prejudices! So take it easy, and just enjoy the ear-ring clad, “i dont have my girlfriend or dad anymore” 1 time champ, who has a history of being given everything on the platter right from his youth for once having to fight in what i think will be a sub-par car."

Yeah, no bias or prejudice there.

310

I think responding 6 times to your own initial message is giving away your prejudices! So take it easy, and just enjoy the ear-ring clad, "i dont have my girlfriend or dad anymore" 1 time champ, who has a history of being given everything on the platter right from his youth for once having to fight in what i think will be a sub-par car.