Lewis Hamilton in publicity storm over ‘McLaren quit’ remarks

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.

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

  1. This sort of thing is probably why Hamilton is so cautious with what he says all the time. Any comment taken out of context can be blown up into a big news story.

    He will regret saying it but you can see where he is coming from, any offers from other teams would be considered a compliment, and if nothing else when it is time to negotiate a new contract at McLaren he will know his worth on the open market.

    It looks like McLaren won’t be competitive at the start of the season, so leaving him too much ground to make up in the championship to retain his title. He will know McLaren have off seasons and the only better place for long term success in F1 is Ferrari.

    Being a fan of McLaren and Hamilton I would like him to stay at McLaren for the rest of his career and be successful. However he could easily be in F1 for another 10 years and who knows what the future will bring to the sport as a whole in that time. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years F1 is vastly different to what it is like today.

    • Gman said on 26th March 2009, 16:17

      Same here. I am also a big fan of both Hamilton and McLaren, and I imagine he will finish out his career with the team. But things change and circumstances are different sometimes- just a few years ago very few people thought that Dale Jr. would veer leave his family empire at DEI, but things changed and the landscape was altered in that sport. The same could happen in F1, but I believe Lewis will still be with McLaren for many more seasons.

  2. Oliver said on 26th March 2009, 13:48

    Someone also said he bought a yacht. The Media have a way of interpreting a statement and getting a whole different meaning. Then they make their interpretations into headlines quoting these interpretations as statements.

  3. Oliver said on 26th March 2009, 13:53

    Hamilton more often than not speaks his mind on issues, but journalists more often than not try to look for ways to invert words.

  4. Oliver, he did buy a Yacht, did u not see the size of the £5m thing!?

    Also — “All I said was that for sure if someone did approach me, I wouldn’t tell them to f*** off. I would think, ‘wow’.

    “It is great to see that there is interest in other areas but I am happy where I am right now, so that is all there is.”

    =] – http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/73900

  5. I agree, he would be stupid to not listen to other offers, especially if Macca fails to have a competetive car the next few years. The problem with mainstream media is that we still only get one side of the story as everyone takes everything out of context. Not saying that this is what happened here, but with MacLaren/Hamilton the PR machine that they are, this just sounds like the original reporter baited him with a question like “are you talking to any other teams about a contract right now?” and he answered with a ‘no, but I would if they called because I would be stupid not too’ and it blew up from there into “Lewis Isnt Happy at MacLaren – May Leave When Contract Is Up In 2012!”

  6. Williams 4ever said on 26th March 2009, 15:21

    Wouldn’t believe either the Drivers or the teams. They have way of lying through their teeth. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to find Anthony Hamilton hobnobbing with Ferrari given that a) stefano domenicali had gone on record to put pressure on Kimi to up his game and b) Hamilton Sr. Has done that before when Ron Dennis adviced Hamiltons to stay put in Jr Formulae. Didn’t they Dally with Williams then?

    Would love to see Ron’s face if indeed Ferrari pull off the coup end of 2009 :P. It would be like visiting end of 2005 all over again, Luca DM playing Ron and Ron playing Flavio LMAO

  7. Yusuf said on 26th March 2009, 15:48

    If Hamilton is pushed, he only crashes the car more often making it even harder for the team to understand and figure what is wrong with the vehicle’s dynamics.

    I have a feeling that he will frustrate them even more than become a positive driver.

  8. Yusuf said on 26th March 2009, 16:05

    The last project I was involved that a product did not perform as we planned and designed for. The mistake was later was found and attributed to the algorithms we used for simulations which obviously side tracked us as we ended up chasing ghosts.

    I wonder whether they went back to check their modelling software, or they are still starring at the same blank screens?

  9. Gman said on 26th March 2009, 16:19

    I don’t think he’s going to be leaving Woking anytime soon- his statement was just a polite response to the question.

    • Robert said on 26th March 2009, 16:59

      Yer its not like he’s saying he is going to leave its just that if another team offered him he would look

  10. Keith, great forum, great debate. As always….

    No other site comes close when it comes down to intelligent debate with that little bit of spice and/or humour thrown in at just the right moment. The sheer numbers of knowledeable contributors you have is stunning.

    Going to be an amazing season !

  11. Martin Bell said on 26th March 2009, 16:43

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

  12. Eduardo Colombi said on 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.

    • 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.

  13. Jay Menon said on 26th March 2009, 17:14

    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.

    • S Hughes said on 26th March 2009, 19:04

      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.

  14. Lynn said on 26th March 2009, 17:16

    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.

  15. A Singh said on 26th March 2009, 17:53

    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.

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

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