Lewis Hamilton in publicity storm over ‘McLaren quit’ remarks

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton has suggested he might leave McLaren
Lewis Hamilton has suggested he might leave McLaren

Several British newspapers are running stories this morning claiming Lewis Hamilton has said he might leave McLaren.

Hamilton has a contract with the team up to 2012 and has previously said he wants to spend his whole career with the team.

He is quoted in The Guardian saying:

I haven’t had offers from other teams and I am not talking to anyone but I would listen to an offer if someone asked. It would be a compliment and it would be silly if I did not.

Thanks to Jay Menon for the tip. The Sun, The Times, the Daily Mail and others have all picked up the story.

The Press Association is now quoting Hamilton playing down the remarks:

I’m happy where I am. It doesn’t really have any grounds. All I said was that it’s quite cool if you find out other teams are interested in you. It’s good to know you are wanted. I honestly want to see out my career with McLaren. I do feel it’s my family, it’s where I am right now and it’s where I’m happy

On the face of it Hamilton’s original quote seems innocent enough – but it is a departure from what he has said before and I can understand why it’s been spun into a story.

Last week we were discussing how cautious and PR-sensitive Hamilton usually is, but it seems he has failed to exercise the same care with his words this time. These are not the kind of headlines McLaren needs as it heads into a tough weekend, and Hamilton has inadvertently invited a year’s worth of questions about whether he’s going to jump ship.

Is Hamilton really thinking about leaving McLaren on the even of what looks to be a difficult race for the team? Or is this the press giving him a hard time and spinning a spurious story out of a few innocuous quotes? Have your say in the comments.

More on Hamilton and the media

85 comments on “Lewis Hamilton in publicity storm over ‘McLaren quit’ remarks”

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  1. A bit dissapointed with the Hamilton camp’s response, but I guess most of you were at school today.

  2. Eduardo Colombi
    26th March 2009, 17:03

    He won’t leave mclaren, hi was supported by the team since the old days when he was nothing, he has a contract to deal with and i’m sure that the recision terms worth some euros…
    they are just trying to change the focus of their car problems to something that is safe to talk about.

    1. Your right, he won’t leave McLaren but thats because no other team would have him unless of course he paid them. What a team wants is a driver as capable as Alonso not a driver who’s never made the mental transition from cart’s.

  3. Saying that Lewis is the only driver that has to endure media scrutiny is unfair. If you live in the UK, you’re bound to see your driver in press, which is Lewis’ in this case. Live in Spain, you get Alonso mania, Massa in Brazil, so on and so forth…so that just doesn’t cut bread.

    Doesn’t matter what he said, if he stays, he will stay, if he doesn’t..we’ll thats his problem.

    1. I’m sure other drivers get media scrutiny in their respective countries, but it is positive as opposed the the negative crap and lies writtn in the UK media about Lewis.

  4. I have not seen anywhere that Lewis will quit McLaren, just press stirring as usual. But if he does leave in the future what of it. He has repaid McLaren already by winning the drivers championship last year. What would be great if the team could win both titles this year, and then Lewis can move on.

  5. I think it’s a case of Hamilton saying something that’s completely bypassed his PR manager for once.

    More of that would be good – it might make him seem human.

    1. Not for the first time and precisely the reason Matt Bishop was brought to McLaren just over a year ago.

  6. Toby Thwaites 93
    26th March 2009, 19:20

    OHMY, i knew it!
    i can vividly remembering discussing how Hamilton was a silly little boy when he signed that 5 year deal and that it was a stupid time to do it. AND whadda you know now his team isnt competitive he wants to jump ship

    I feel good something i said has come true :)

  7. I can’t wait for the first “Hamilton to Brawn” headline.

  8. Hamilton is a bit naive sometimes in believing the press will understand exactly the message he is trying to get across. What he doesn’t know is that its the furthest thing from their mind

  9. This is a non story, but becuase it’s got Hamilton attached to it it’s news. Zzzzzz.

  10. I’m not putting too much store on this story, as obviously Hamilton is under the microscope as the defending champion. If the car is no good, and really as bad as everybody suggests, then who can blame ‘ANY’ driver for considering their options.
    The worrying thing is for McLaren is that if Hamilton is seriously thinking about leaving, then obviously he knows that the teams problems are no short term blip.
    Lets remember that Renault endured two years in the doldrums after their 2005/2006 championship double, and have yet to fully recover from this.
    Also, it would also confirm my previous suspicions about Ron Dennis standing down, in the knowledge probably that McLaren had produced abit of a mutt.
    The fascinating part of this saga is that we will soon see who is right and who is wrong, the pundits or McLaren.
    Whatever the outcome, entering this season is the biggest ‘unknown’ I have ever experienced watching any sport. Nobody knows for sure what will happen when that fifth light goes out on Sunday.

  11. The Mclaren and Renault look like dogs from the First practise, the on board shots of the cars leaving the exit showed no grip at all and a load of opposite lock, even Alonso look liked he was going to bin it at the exit of each corner, i dont think Mclaren or Renault will be competative at all this season, the cars just have no grip on the exit of the corners! i dont blame Hamilton for his comments its going to be bad season for Mclaren!

  12. Just goes to show the difference those aero appendages made to the cars in recent years. Also, the fact that teams like Toyota and Williams a seemingly hitting the ground running in Australia.
    Both of these teams have produced below par machinery in the last couple of seasons, but their forward thinking in the development of their 2009 spec cars may well prove their saviour.
    I want teams like Brawn GP, Williams, and Toyota to prosper this season. This sport has to have them become successfull or they will fold, and unlike the former Honda outfit, disappear into oblivion.
    I am so confident that finally, with these new rule changes, the little teams a being given the chance to succeed that they deserve. The bottom line is that the
    championship for too many years has been dominated by
    Ferrari and McLaren, and this has to stop if F1 is going to survive.

  13. I can totally see Hamilton leaving McLaren at the end of 2012. Maybe to a younger team with a bit of potential, like Brawn perhaps. Lewis might not win another title for McLaren in the next three years or so and will probably get frustrated and will want a fresh start.

    I think Ross Brawn should tap up Rosberg for next season too. I think Nico and Lewis would work well together in the future in 2013, which is four years away from me posting this and certainly not next year or anything.

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