Hamilton wants to emulate Schumacher, turning around a “struggling” team
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Oct 2012   |  4:21 pm GMT  |  172 comments

Lewis Hamilton has spoken today of his desire for a fresh challenge in Formula 1 and admitted that he has felt that way “for some time now”.

The 27 year old underlined that he relishes the challenge of trying to turn a “struggling” team around, rather than “cruise” in one of the best cars in the field.

Hamilton announced his move from McLaren to Mercedes last week and faced the cameras in Suzuka today. Speaking to the BBC, he said,

“To stay would be easy, I had two similar offers on the table. To stay in a great car didn’t really suit me. I wanted to have a challenge. I want to try working with new people. I want a challenge of taking a car that’s not very successful and and the exciting journey of trying to take that to be as successful as the car I’m in now.

Asked if he wanted to emulate Michael Schumacher who went to Ferrari in 1996 when it was uncompetitive and helped to turn the team around Hamilton said,

“That’s it exactly. I don’t feel like any of the drivers are doing that nowadays. I could take the easy route and stay here and cruise on with a great team, a great car, making decent money. But that’s not what I want to do. I want to go and struggle. I want to go and help a team that is struggling, to get to the top and start winning. That’s going to be the coolest, the most satisfying feeling if we do get there.

“And if we don’t, I’ll only be 31 at the end of it (3 year contract)…so keep the door open for me (he would say to McLaren)

“I’ll always have McLaren at heart, because that’s how I’ve grown up, it’s my home.

“Next year is going to be tough, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. ”

Hamilton also said that he had spoken to McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh about his reasons for leaving, but had not been able to speak yet to Ron Dennis, who mentored Hamilton since he was 13 years old.

He said he would visit him in person after the Korean Grand Prix in the factory at Woking.

UK readers can watch the video Here

Meanwhile Hamilton’s new team-mate Nico Rosberg has said that he spoke to Hamilton about Mercedes when it became clear that he might be doing a deal,

“We spoke about it a little before, when the possibility was there,” said Rosberg. “We were laughing about it!

“And we spoke about it when we were 14 years old in go-karts. ‘Imagine if, one day, we’re team-mates in F1, how cool would that be?’ Now, all of a sudden, that’s happening, which is unreal.

“I didn’t necessarily talk him into it. I tried to stay quite objective. Yes, I mentioned the positives but he asked me a few things and I gave honest answers.”

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Is it not possible that Lewis’ entire motivation for going to Mercedes-Benz has all to do with those clauses that allow him to “Promote his Personal Brand and Image as he sees fit”?

It’s common knowledge that XIX Entertainment have held a higher regard of prestige for the three-pointed star than the brand at Woking.

The clauses will allow Hamilton to “individualize” himself as a celebrity, a symbol. He’ll be star (like his girlfriend).

And that goes, even if the car never finishes higher than 4th ever. This is the life he probably always wanted and why he increasingly took on that Hollywood lifestyle which clashed with McLaren’s view of how he should be managed.

Now he’s free to do just that.

Even if the car never finishes higher than 4th.

You’ll know this is true when the clauses actually allow him to appear in different colored overalls from his teammate and he can skip sessions because he has his own photoshoots and is inspecting his own merchandise.

The clause completely separates his own “performance” from that of the team’s.

He can be a “winner” even if Mercedes trundle around in the mid-field. He only needs to keep up the image of being a “fighter punching above his weight” to make the whole thing work.


It must be noted that Lewis is taking on representation that is VERY different to typical sports or F1 representation.

This is representation used in Entertainment (which I have some familiarity with).

So I think I need to clarify the view in earlier post:

As a celebrity/talent you need to be able to post “forward momentum” or “winning image” even with any material progress. Traditionally as an F1 driver you’d have to say you want to win World Championships and you need to keep winning to keep that brand up. That’s the old way (the MS way) of doing it. Lewis knows first hand brands/talents like his girlfriend Nicole continue to have upward momentum even if she does not make album after album or score platinum 10x in a row.

She doesn’t have to do that. Chances are XIX have advised him that neither does he to “win at the game of life”.

Lewis has tried running with his talent, but instead of him being the dominant power of F1, F1 in recent years has become the Sebastian Vettel show. Lewis has seen that in the age of limited testing, the power of success of a talented driver is limited.

But the people around him (his celebrity friends and XIX) no doubt have understood for some time that winning in straight terms isn’t necessary.

For people outside of Entertainment, staying ahead with only the “veneer” of high performance sounds like a facade. In Entertainment, that is actually the sustaining goal of Entertainment Representation like XIX.

For Lewis, it now means he never has to worry if Vettel wins 20 championships from now on.

He will be more famous. He will be more marketable. He will be more wealthy.

He will be the “winner”.


Won’t happen. Hamilton has shown repeatedly with his tweeting / comments to reporters / fits of piste that he hasn’t got the temperament or patience to build a team around him.



There is a higher chance of me getting massage from Brazilian volleyball team, then that team producing championship winning car under normal circumstances.

That team is rubbish.. They always go backward.


I struggle to see why Hamilton has so many [mod] and I think more respect needs to be given to him in general. Sure, he came into a top team from the outset of his F1 career, but he instantly took on Alonso, and proved to be at least his equal. Since then he has consistently proven to be one of the most exciting and fast drivers on the grid. Its not a personality contest at the end of the day, most of the time the drivers have their helmets on!!

Clearly Lewis left because of Martin Whitmarsh. The way Whitmarsh has spoken about Lewis in recent times is so cold its arctic, and I would imagine it must have been hard for Lewis to watch Button arrive into ‘his’ team, generally fail to match his speed, and still become the new golden boy. Maybe its Lewis’ fault, maybe its bad management, probably none of us will ever know.

I personally suspect Rosberg is going to be annihilated next year, and the Mercedes will turn out to be a lot better than the current driver line up have shown it to be. Lewis needs to be loved. He believes he is the best, and needs his team to believe the same for him to be happy. I think he’ll get that at Mercedes and will do rather well.


If we look at Mercedes GP, they have won one race so far this season with potential to do well. However we know that the DDRS, has caused problems with the tyres, not able to obtain the sweet spot.(The car becomes better when the fuel has evened out). Ross will have the tools in the right place and now with a top flight driver, the only way is up.

Now I will say that when the team was called Brawn (2009), during the Honda days from 2007 to 2008 resources were fully utilised in developing a winner, but with funding drying out to pay the top end of the architects of the technical team, the team was scaled down. Now with Mercedes backing (works team) they will have the funding available in accordance to Resource agreement and the team has grown since then.

The top teams should be warned whenever there is huge rule shake up, Brawn always comes up with a winning formula. Benneton (1994,1995) -> Ferrari (1997, 1998, 1999*champions constructor, Constructors and Drivers title domination: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, -> Brawn 2009 (Constructors and Drivers title) -> hoping for Mercedes going for championship glory from 2014 onwards.


I see the same dissing of the 2010 Button case in Hamilton.

When Button joined McLaren, everyone said Button will fail, he will be eaten alive by Hamilton, etc etc… that proved the world wrong, which I admit includes me.

So this time round, I’m not prepared to dis Hamilton off. The points about Hamilton not mature enough, he is no team leader. I suppose the teams, Brawn, etc know better?

Didn’t Alonso also matured quite a lot since his first two titles? Yes, he’s always been fast, able to drag out ounces of time from the car more than what the computer tells the engineers, but to me Alonso never seemed like the team leader and builder until he joined Ferrari.

Hamilton joining Mercedes with the will to build a team around him, wishing to be another Schumacher and pull a team up the ladder to become winners again, whether lie or not, at least that’s a sign of him wanting to win, wanting to do something for himself and the team, and I say he’s got big balls in order to leave his comfort zone and walk down into unknown. I bet you he knows damn well there’s a chance he might become another Villeneuve, he must’ve weighed up the pros and cons in this decision, but he’s still doing it. So what’s wrong in it? If he never left, the same people may well have said he’s mother’s boy and can never leave his home.

So never say never! Best of luck to him!


This is an important point – some people are doubting Hamilton based on his worst moments as if that was the sum total of his character. The truth is that people grow up and develop over time and have more to offer. It happened to Alonso and this feels like Hamilton’s moment. He wants to change and show that there is more to him and achieve more than he has so far and this is how he has decided to do it. Let’s see what he can find within himself.


Well, Schumi went to a struggling Ferrari in 1996, but from then until he actually got his first WDC with them, he was constantly outqualifying his teammates with boring regularity… hence his ability to claim No1 status, and continue building the Schumacher brand.

I’m curious to see if Hamilton can thrash Rosberg quite so convincingly…


If Hamilton can thrash Rosberg, well the career of Rosberg’s is over.


Yes… and what if Rosberg outqualifies Hamilton next year?


Hmmm so now hes forgotten Senna and wants to emulate Schumacher ….Btw hes also forgotten all that Ron denis and Mclaren have done for him without which he probably never would have made it into F1.

I remember before the 2007 season began Coulthard and JYstewart saying he was to inexperienced to be given the full time drive alongside Alonso but Ron stood firm and not only gave him the seat but also blew his championship chances by favouring him over Alonso (who can ever forget “we were fighting alonso not kimi”)All this eventually led to Ron having to resign …. smacks of low principles and selfishness.

foot note: hes also forgotten all his father sacrificed for him


I agree that McLaren blew their chances of the 2007 title, but it wasn’t through “favouring him [Hamilton] over Alonso” – indeed, it was their insistence on not favouring one driver over another to an almost psychotic degree that led to them losing it.

Ron Dennis resigned over the Spygate scandal under pressure from Max Mosley, it was nothing to do with the outcome of the 2007 season.

Obviously, Hamilton owes McLaren a lot, but he doesn’t owe them everything. It was of mutual benefit to both parties, and now it’s run its course. It happens in Formula 1. I don’t see many people saying Perez has betrayed Sauber or Ferrari after his move to McLaren.

As for the father comment, I don’t think anything really needs to be said, other than hopefully people will see it for the empty, uninformed Hamilton-bashing that it is.


1)Does not favouring one driver over another to an almost psychotic degree translate as “we were fighting alonso not kimi”)

2)Ron denis resigned after liegate not spygate

3)Perez wasnt given a ferrari drive nor was he nutured from the age of 13 so the two cases are not comparable

4)Simply stating a fact should not be naively inteprated as hamilton bashing as you so quaintly put it

Hamilton is one of the fastest drivers out there but everyone is entitled to their opinion 🙂


1) No, Andrew is saying they should’ve favoured Hamilton at that point, but didn’t

2) Ron Dennis did not resign b/c of liegate (2009). He resigned at the end of the 2008 season, and only b/c he thought McLaren wouldn’t get a fair shake from Mosley so long as he was in charge at McLaren

3) Dennis signed Hamilton up at 13 b/c he saw big promise in him, and wanted to snatch him up before others

4) It’s not a fact, you are offering an opinion even though you know nothing about their (the Hamiltons) situation. I would never think to say I know everything about a family’s dynamic or back-history, only from what I saw as a distinct outsider

Your comments have a decided undertone of Hamilton-bashing. Just my opinion. 😀


1. No, if anything they should have been favouring Hamilton over Alonso at that point.

2. Fair enough, but I still think it’s a stretch to blame Hamilton for Ron resigning.

3. They’re not identical but I do think they’re comparable, drivers move on all the time, I don’t think Hamilton.

4. Saying “hes also forgotten all his father sacrificed for him” isn’t a fact, it’s an opinion, and they way you presented it a particularly baseless one.

And needless to say, I never said you werent’ entitled to an opinion. You were stating yours and I was stating mine 😀


Well I agree that these comments seem a little bit plastic, I do see some reasoning behind his logic.

When he came in to F1, just like Alonso before him, and just like Vettel since, he clearly had one eye on beating Schumacher’s records. With that possibility now looking extremelt far-fetched he does need to sit back and reinvent his goals and decide on what his legacy is to be. The whole ‘building a team around himself’ is as good a one as any.

However, like many, I don’t think this can be likened to the Ferrari story. Ferrari had been around for ages and had a long history of winning, followed by a very lean streak. This incarnation of Mercedes has one championship to its name and but a couple of flashes of promise since.

Additionally, Schumacher brought along a load of key personnel from Benneton (not least of which, Ross Brawn). In this situation, unless James knows differently, all the positions are filled at Mercedes prior to Hamilton’s arrival. As James said, the final piece in the jigsaw.

Then again I do find it amusing that it generally appears to be the same people criticizing Hamilton for the move, saying it was all about the money and that he had no chances of a championship with them, who are now saying that Merc are already an up and coming team and Hamilton will deserve no credit for their achievements. Looks like some people just want to look for the negatives everywhere.


Yep, I agree. I’ve just read through all the comments, and it’s clear some folk won’t cut Hamilton any slack about anything.

At all.


Still, their loss. Despite the unrelatable fashion choices and occasional running of the mouth (does Vettel get as much stick in Germany, btw?), Hamilton remains one of the quickest and most exciting drivers to watch, and when he retires, which happens far too frequently in my book, the race loses something.


I didn’t give him slack! In fact I’m hoping he’ll prove the world wrong! 😀

Lets cheer for him!


Is Lewis going to be the #1 in Mercedes and Rosberg #2? I know they’ve been teammates before in karting but this is a whole different world in Formula 1.


I wonder how they’ll divvy up the numbers? Give Lewis the #9 b/c of previous season’s points, or the #10 as the new boy?

Hell, if Sauber catch them, it could be between #11 and #12. He’s had a lot of ‘2’s on his cars before in F1 (#2 in ’07,’10; #22 in ’08).


Good luck to Hamilton.

With the contract being only 3 years, and a lack of top talent like himself other than Alonso and Vettel, surely if he wants to return to McLaren in 3 years time they’d readily open their doors for him. Though at the moment Hammy is giving up a lot, including the McLaren F1 which Ron promised him. Maybe he fancies the SLS more? 😀


M.Schumacher join the struggling Ferrari as a world champion. Lewis is joining Mercedes struggling to win another title.

I just can’t rationalized the reasons and the mentalities of behind these two move being of same sort. I am not saying Lewis can’t do it but I admit there is a doubt that’s what he has in mind.

Lewis may win a title in the next few seasons, but does that make the team “turned-around”? I would expect a few more before he can make such claim.

Just my view………..


Don’t get me wrong, I like Lewis’ move to Mercedes. I think he should leave Mercedes out of his comfort zone to grow into the better driver he will be whether he will win another title or not. He’s got my respect.

I just finding all these talks after the official announcement unnecessary. I suspect Lewis is going through the so-call “cognitive dissonance”. Also, He feels/knows he is being branded as a traitor in some way and wanting to proactively come out and justify his decision. It just sound to me he is comforting himself…………(too much of such talks).

Stone the crows

I think there’s some truth in Hamilton saving a stuggling team, If Mercedes had not signed him but were looking at a fourth season with Rossberg and Schumacher, I think it would spell the end of the team. I’m no Hamilton fan, but I do hope that this new chapter in his career will be good for him. Then again, Martin Whitmarsh’s weekly driver drama could now be Ross Brawn’s. One thing is for certain, no more excuses for Mercedes.


I’ve got to give Lewis respect here. He could have very easily stayed and had a really good car. But he has been brave,and went to a team that probably wont give him a car that is capable of giving him a 2nd title. He is going for the challenge of TRYING to bring Mercedes to the top. Why is everyone shooting him down for that? I really hope it works out for him.

Adrian Newey Jnr

James – what is the implication for Rosberg? He has struggled to outperform Schumacher (who some say is past his prime). Now he has a team mate who is at the peak of his performance. My prediction is an Alonso/Massa type points disparity.


Interesting reasoning from Hamilton… but I find it hard to believe that it’s the genuine reason for him leaving. What was the back and forth all about then with McLaren if he wanted this kind of a challenge. IMO if you’re leaving for such reason you’d spell it out clear from the beginning that this is what you want and there won’t be a reason to engage on money debates and trophy ownership with McLaren. I think this is just diplomacy talk… Nonetheless it’s good for the sport and it’s character defining moment for him if he pulls it off.


“That’s it exactly. I don’t feel like any of the drivers are doing that nowadays. I could take the easy route and stay here and cruise on with a great team, a great car”


So why complain, for the last 3 years, about how McLaren did not have a competitive package? Where was Lewis Hamilton in leading McLaren, pushing them to hire the right technical staff & the right strategists & partners. And now that he has a competitive package he wants to leave? I don’t buy it!

Remember in 1993 when McLaren were using B specs Ford engines and Senna went with Ron Dennis to persuade Ford to provide them with the same engines that Bennetton were getting? I don’t see Lewis Hamilton demonstrating that sort of will and leadership. If he hasn’t done that at McLaren, I don’t believe he will do that at Mercedes…you don’t turn from a follower into a leader overnight.

I’m still trying to figure out Lewis Hamilton…he is a mystery within an enigma. I think he is simply a confused, spoiled young man who wants to escape an unhappy situation at McLaren.


C’mon. Its obvious that this whole thing that Lewis is saying is typical F1 today. He is saying nice stuff. Its a story. Is he supposed to tell how they treated him in Mclaren? How many times they messed up. The problem is that they treated him like a boy. In Belgium he wants Button’s wing he gets “sit down boy”, in Singapore he tells them he can win from 6th and they risk everything. He was their “child” and they always perceived him as a child. Did he get a chance to “lead” the team or does this team lead itself. How can Button lead the team if everybody knows he is 3 tenths slower than Hamilton. Mclaren have lost so much. And they got it wrong. In this sport the whole team should work for one person. And perhaps listen to that person. This move is great for Hamilton even if Mercedes doesn’t shine.


I see he says he wants to “struggle” . You’ve got to say then that he may well have picked the right team. Odd that he has had a complete personality change as all the indications are that he hates any kind of struggling, and on the occasions when he’s struggled with a bad car or been beaten by Jenson he has never been able to hide his feeling that it should not be happening to him.

I honestly think that Schumi saw no light at the end of the tunnel with the Merc.

I expect Lewis to remain positive if things don’t go right for a few races with Merc, but will he have the patience to cope if the Merc proves to be as unreliable as Schumi’s has this year.


He doesn’t have much of a choice now does he?


Mercedes/brawn/honda/bar have rarely produced a first rate car. Apart from the 2004 car which benefited from other teams under performing and the double-diffuser 2009 car most of their challengers have been erratic. I understand that recently they have been on a recruitment spree of high profile engineers but I can’t see Mercedes equaling Mclaren or Red Bull in aerodynamics any time soon.

I think Hamilton has made a mistake in leaving McLaren since there is no room in F1 for compromise. He complained for several years about not having a car to challenge Red Bull, but and as soon as it looks like McLaren are getting their act together, he leaves!

In an ideal world McLaren want Raikkonen back (yes biased…) since he delivers on the track with none of the controversy and negative attention that Hamilton attracts. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Kimi won the WDC in 2007 despite being 17 points behind with 2 races to go – thats 42.5 points in 2012 money. So I find it crazy how people are saying its Alonso’s to lose with 6 races to go!


I would imagine Alonso chuckles every time he thinks how on earth I got here. And he is mature enough to understand that his 1st place is nothing if any of contenders suddenly enjoys his luck this season.

I do think that Alonso is going to get ripped apart by Vettel and Hamilton this year, but I hope for Kimi!! 🙂


I had to laugh when I read “I want to work with new people and improve a struggling car”. He sounded pretty moody on the radio everytime he wasnt leading. At Mclaren he seemed to lose his temper quickly when things didnt go right.

Having said that, I can totally see how the new challenge is appealing. He has been with Mclaren since he was a child, and at 27 he’s running out of time. If you consider a 3 year contract, it is a sizable percentage of an f1 driver’s career.

I hope he does well, he is lightning fast and great to watch.


“I want to go and struggle.”

Well, you’ve joined the right team.


It is called setting achievable objectives 😀


One question remains unanswered for me. Was something going on with Sauber in the last week?


I wish Lewis Hamilton every success in his efforts. However,he can’t turn the the Mercedes team around on his own.

Michael Schumacher didn’t do this either at Ferrari. In 1996 he outperformed the car by winnng 3 races. However it was in 1997 that the recovery really began with the first chassis to be designed by Rory Byrne. Formula One today is all about design and aeorodynamics and the point is that unless Mercedes hire a winning designer to join their winning driver they won’t win.

Without the a good design for 2014 they still won’t win simply on the strength of their engine. Many forget that in Ferrari’s years of dominance the most powerful engine was the BMW engine in the Williams. Without the right chassis they still couldn’t beat the Ferrari. Going back further to the turbo days you had cars from different teams with the same engines lapping each other.

The fact is that Mercedes must get a much improved aerodynamic package to win.For Hamiltons sake I hope that they do.


Maybe what we haven’t been told is that Newey is moving to Mercedes at season end 😀


Maybe this already got mentioned, but I think it will be hard for Lewis to emulate Schumacher because fundamentally they seem to be different driver. They both have the “I’m faster than you” attitude but Lewis seems more like Casey Stoner at Ducati often thrashing around a less than desirable setup/car design etc and thus hiding some of the underlying flaws that might make it undriveable whereas Schumacher like Rossi surgically picked the car apart and contributed to a ground up overhaul to get to a better design. This obviously worked better in the no budget days and I think is a big reason he failed to truly succeed in the timeframe he was inthe sport, there wasn’t enough time or money for him to thoroughly develop the Merc like he used to do at Ferrari. I think Lewis will be in for a surprise.


“Schumacher like Rossi surgically picked the car apart and contributed to a ground up overhaul to get to a better design”

So you’re saying Schumacher joined Ferrari and took over from the engineers?

Schumacher drove the car and gave good feedback which the engineers worked from. Hamilton can do the same. All that is left to be seen is whether the engineers at Mercedes are up to the challenge like the ones at Ferrari were when Michael joined.

It’s that simple.


Not to mention sport is very different. Now days drivers have hard time giving(having time to test) feedback on ever coming upgrades, let alone develop something.

It’s good to have a driver with natural feeling these days, that can just tell if part works or not, rather than confuse engineers – they will base their opinion of data collected anyway. Don’t forget drivers are not the smartest lot compare to guys behind the scene.

So yeah, “developing the car” today is incomparable to what we saw in earlier years.

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