Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012

Hamilton becomes focus of 2013 F1 driver market

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton’s rumoured move to Mercedes could have a seismic effect on the 2013 driver market by opening up a seat at the team with the fastest car in F1 at the moment.

Hamilton to Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012A contract extension for Lewis Hamilton with McLaren looked like a formality after Mark Webber re-signed for Red Bull in July.

That meant there was no longer any room for him with last year’s world champions. And it seemed unlikely Fernando Alonso would welcome him at Ferrari, despite his protestations to the contrary.

But, despite Hamilton saying he “didn’t see many problems” in arranging a new contract, weeks passed and no new deal was announced. Then last week the BBC ran a story claiming Hamilton was Mercedes-bound for 2013.

McLaren were quick to deny the claim. But Ross Brawn leant legitimacy to the view that Hamilton might join his team when he said that top drivers would be well-advised to align themselves to manufacturer teams in time for the new 2014 engine rules.

Now in his sixth season with McLaren, Hamilton’s relationship with the team appears to have strained, particularly after he posted confidential team information on Twitter during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

And there is the added lure of a more generous deal. Amid doubts over the commitment of their title sponsor, McLaren have signalled Hamilton’s retainer would not be as generously renewed this time.

But there are compelling reasons why Hamilton might not want to leave McLaren: concern over compromising his championship effort with McLaren over the rest of 2012, doubts over Mercedes’ performance (they’ve scored one win in 51 races since returning to the sport) and commitment to F1 (they have not yet agreed terms for the new Concorde Agreement), and loyalty to the team that brought him through the junior ranks, gave him his F1 break and made him a world champion.

For Hamilton to leave McLaren at a time when they have the quickest car in F1 and a genuine shot at the championship would be a major statement about his faith in their ability to remain competitive in the years to come. And it would mark an end to an association which began when a nine-year-old Hamilton first introduced himself to Ron Dennis and declared he would race for his team one day.

But neither of those things means it isn’t going to happen.

Who would leave Mercedes?

Should Hamilton join Mercedes, which of their drivers will make way? On the face of it the decision is obvious: Nico Rosberg signed a “multi-year” deal in November whereas Michael Schumacher’s three-year deal expires at the end of this season.

But contracts in F1 are often made to be broken. And will Schumacher really want to head back into retirement just as he’s finally getting on terms with his team mate? In the last six races he’s out-qualified Rosberg four times and out-raced him five times.

Who would McLaren turn to?

Kimi Raikkonen, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012McLaren are clearly the team to beat at the moment having won the last three races. If Hamilton leaves they can go shopping for a replacement pretty much anywhere.

Martin Whitmarsh has said the team don’t have a ‘Plan B’ should they fail to retain Hamilton. But group chairman Ron Dennis recently reiterated the team’s hiring policy as being simply to sign the best two drivers that are available.

McLaren is a team that signs world champions: Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, Nigel Mansell, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button. And McLaren is a team that makes world champions: Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen, Lewis Hamilton.

If they can hire another one, they will. But should Hamilton go that would leave only two plausible options.

An early attempt by Dennis to sign Schumacher was caught in this famous video. Almost two decades later, perhaps this could be Dennis’s chance to finally get his man. It would be a hell of a way to put one over Mercedes.

Failing that, Kimi Raikkonen may be susceptible to overtures from his former team as Lotus continue to come frustratingly close to delivering victories. He had talks about returning to them in 2010 after leaving Ferrari.

But there have also been times in McLaren’s history where their driver choice has been more a case of short-term pragmatism. They have been willing to give opportunities to less experienced drivers. And there’s no shortage of promising talent in the field McLaren could give a dream chance to.

Either Force India driver could fit the bill and McLaren have a connection with the team through their technical supply deal. Sergio Perez and – his recent indiscretion notwithstanding – Romain Grosjean have also impressed, scoring a trio of podiums each this year.

Will Ferrari retain Massa?

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Monza, 2012Ferrari’s option on Felipe Massa’s services has expired and hasn’t been taken up.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t. Massa’s performances have modestly improved of late with fifth and fourth place finishes in the last two races, albeit aided by a much-improved F2012.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo reiterated today that he believes Sergio Perez is not experienced enough to drive for them yet, despite Perez beating both his drivers on Sunday.

Perez, a Ferrari development driver, is in a similar situation to Massa six years ago. Massa was promoted to Ferrari’s race team in 2006 after three years racing for Sauber and one year spent testing for Ferrari.

While Alonso leads the drivers’ points, Ferrari lie third in the constructors’ championship. With each passing season Massa’s points shortfall compared to his team mate has grown.

Massa is costing Ferrari points, places and, ultimately, millions in lost prize money. That situation is one that even a team as rich as Ferrari cannot tolerate indefinitely.

Other potential moves

Charles Pic is in contention for a seat at Sauber next year according to a recent report in Autosport magazine.

Pic has made an encouraging start to his first F1 season with Marussia, out-qualifying team mate Timo Glock four times and finishing ahead of him in three of the eight races where both were classified.

2013 F1 drivers and teams

The 2013 F1 driver line-up will be updated here as new deals are announced. Here’s the state of play at the moment:

2013 F1 season

Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Images ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo

203 comments on “Hamilton becomes focus of 2013 F1 driver market”

  1. So can someone explain, how in the world Montezemolo can say The guy just beat both of his drivers, in his home track, with his engine, is not as good as Massa to sit in his car, which by te way he selected and will leave Ferrari without being WDC.
    Sour grapes all the way, he is so sure all people can’t wait to go in Ferrari, Vettel is quickly falling of Alonso grace so ….

    Perez will be WDC with or without him, but then he maybe just patting on the back Massa for being a good dog or simply sign up Hamilton already.

    1. Forgot to say he also may not want to bother Sauber customer now that VW shopping for 2014 V6

    2. It’s simple actually. Montezemolo is a colossal blowhard, and nothing he says can be taken too seriously. In fact, the more he says something the less likely it is to be true. He probably even thinks he’s quite clever…

      I am almost sure that Ferrari will be hiring Perez for next year. He is handily outscoring Massa in a smaller team with a slower car. Im not buying that he “isnt experienced enough”. Experienced enough for what? To play a support role to Fernando Alonso? Please. They dont need Perez to be championship material, they just need him to be an apprentice to Alonso until at least 2016, a role for which Perez is more than qualified. On top of that, isnt he part of their driver development program, thereby offering them a validation of said program? If Ferrari does not sign him, they are fools.

  2. People ridicule me for this, and he’s often overlooked, but I think Heiki Kovalainen going back to Mclaren would be a sensible move on both parts. He’s worked with the team before, knows their style and much of their staff. THe team know him, how he works and likes the car.

    Heikki has recieved a lot of praise from commentators during the last three seasons where he’s driven a shoddy Team Lotus/Caterham around the circuits, not really put a foot wrong, not upset others or the team. For the most part, he has been consistently the highest finisher amongst the three new teams. I feel it’s a good chance to get him back up to the sharp end of the grid. He was put into a dog of a Renault in 2007, switched to Mclaren in 2008 where the team was in a bit of disarray following the Spygate saga and the exit of Alonso. He then had to put up with one of Mclaren’s worst cars in 2009, before being told his contract was up (fair enough) and wont be taken back on for 2010.

    This is a golden opportunity for Mclaren IMO.

    Failing that, doing a swap with Mercedes for Rosberg or Schumacher wouldnt be a bad call for Mclaren, should Lewis be heading to Brackley.

    With regards to Massa, I’ve felt that this season was his last chance. Three seasons of being outperformed on the trott after his accident, and several more before his accident (2008 being an exception) has really hurt Ferrari. Massa has been there for a very long time now. Ferrari need to look to the future. Perez is the only logical choice here. He’s proven Montezemelo wrong. Perez is quick, has great mind management and a young, focus individual. An excellent partner for Alonso.

    Failing that, if Ferrari want to nurture Perez a little longer, I wonder if a certain MSC would bow out with the team that made the man…

    1. It would seem to me that Kovalainen to Ferrari is the more ‘sensible move’. But either way, he needs to be in a better team and I believe 2013 will be the year where he gets there. The man deserves it.

    2. @jamesf1, Kovalainen’s time at McLaren remains a bit of a mystery to me. Occasionally he would be on the pace of Hamilton, especially in qualifying, but his race performances were too often lacklustre. I’m sure there are numerous examples, but one that spring to my mind was Monza 2009. Hamilton was on pole but he was fuelled light and would need to make two stops, but Kovailanen was fuelled for one stop and was an impressive fourth, ahead of both Brawns in fifth and sixth (who finished 1 and 2). It all went wrong for Kovailanen on the first lap as he dropped quite a few places, and in the race he never made up any ground, finishing one minute behind the leaders (and was therefore also almost a minute behind Hamilton, before the latter famously binned it on the last lap).

      In interviews, Kovailanen gave the impression that he now knows what went wrong in those McLaren days, but I never learned what except that McLaren was pushing him to make many hours in the simulator in order to improve his performance (as Williams did with Nakano that same year). The question will be whether McLaren is also convinced that he sorted out the issues he had in 2008 and 2009. I’m not sure what his three years at Caterham prove. He was consistently fastest of the newcomers, but he was also in the fastest car of the newcomers, driving against an uncomfortable Trulli first, and now Petrov. Note that in the no-mans land at the back of the field he is driving around in, there is a lot less pressure to perform than at McLaren, at the front and fighting for championships.

      Ron Dennis said that McLaren would always try to get the two best available drivers, and I think they would first try to get a promising youngster (Perez, Hulkenberg, Rosberg) or an established champion (Kimi) before going for a guy they know is good, but not that good.

    3. @adrianmorse Nakano? That’s a blast from the mediocrities of Formula one past, I guess you mean Nakajima :)

      Personally I can’t see Hamilton leaving Mclaren just yet (cue an announcement saying he’s already signed) but if he does leave I wouldn’t pick Kovalainen. The guy is as a likeable as they come but in my mind he’s another Fisichella or Frentzen, brilliant in a mediocre car but hasn’t got what it takes to be championship material. Perez is an infinitely more exciting choice. A move to Ferrari for Heikki would however make perfect sense in my opinion, Ferrari want someone quicker than Massa for the constructors, but not so quick they challenge Alonso, Heikki would seem to fit the bill.

      If Ferrari don’t want Perez Mclaren should make every effort to sign him, if not then I would go after Hulkenberg as he is really getting on top of the job now he’s settled into the team.

    4. Heiki Kovalainen going back to Mclaren would be a sensible move on both parts.

      Perhaps it would. But I personally don’t think it’s gonna happen. Ron Dennis doesn’t strike me as a person who likes to go backwards, and frankly he (meaning the entire McLaren team/company) is in a position to pick and choose any driver he wants. And I have to say, there are better options available.

      1. I dont think Ron has much input on driver selection nowadays. I’ll bet he has a say or an opinion on it, but as Team Principal, I think it’s down to Martin Whitmarsh now.

        1. I beg to differ

  3. Massa WILL be dropped and the end of this year. Reason: Massa has not delivered enough points for the constructors championship. I like the guy but he’s had more chances than any F1 driver would get to improve.

  4. I’ve read all the comments, and agreed and disagreed with many of the points. Here’s my take on things…

    I believe that McLaren are fed up with Lewis. It’s been said here, elsewhere and for a long time that Lewis is a bit of a spoiled brat that didn’t deserve to be put into a McLaren at such a young age, but he brought home a championship within two years (and almost won it on his maiden year). As a team mate to Button (who has to be the paddocks’ coolest, calmest guy) he looks very good, but makes his mistakes, and I believe that had Button not had such bad luck he would have beaten Lewis last year, and would be doing a lot better this year. Let’s remember that Button’s shortcomings were related to operational, setup and weather/tyres, whereas Lewis has crashed and made severe mistakes that Button just has not. When was the last time Button crashed into someone (memory says overtaking the backmarker Kartikeyan earlier this year, but i could be wrong). This is very different to the kind of accident that Lewis gets involved with, which usually sees him throw his steering wheel out the car and then go on to speak badly of the team etc etc.

    I think McLaren should get rid of him. Bring in someone else, and like the others in this thread, I think the top choices are (in order):

    1 Kovaleined
    2 Di Resta
    3 Michael Schumacher

    Now Schumacher coming to McLaren would be just awesome, but I doubt it would be for more than a season. Kovaleinen likewise, I imagine Whitmarsh would put some sort of “75% of what Button gets or your out” clause, and finally Di Resta, which would be the all british line up they have now, and I’m sure that Button and Paul would get on famously. I’d even go to say that Di Resta is a younger version of Button, smooth, calm, always positive and very quick in the right car. Are their driving styles similar? if they are then its a no brainer surely…

    1. whereas Lewis has crashed and made severe mistakes that Button just has not. When was the last time Button crashed into someone (memory says overtaking the backmarker Kartikeyan earlier this year, but i could be wrong).

      Indeed Button has crashed into somebody this year, whereas Hamilton has not. Unless you wish to blame Hamilton for the fact that Maldonado and Grosjean ran into him (and were subsequently penalized). I think you think McLaren should let Hamilton go because you don’t like Hamilton.

    2. You absolutely make me laugh with that comment of yours. Agree with AdrianMorse all the way. Keep on hating and your bud will keep on losing to Lewis as well.

    3. What happens when Di Resta start beating up on Button? And you know it will happen. Until McLaren makes the perfect car for Jenson he is a scrub. He does not have the talent to drive a car with too many faults to it’s limit.

      1. arguably so. But either way (and I accept your comments, that actually this year, Lewis has made fewer mistakes) I still agree with a few here that Lewis will probably go at the end of the year.

        Button has indeed had his chances, but even if he isn’t as good as Lewis, Kimi, Alonso, Schumi, Vettel and perhaps even Webber, along the lines of this discussion, if I were to choose to step into the boots of any of these guys, I’d choose Button, cos he has the right position, enough speed, and the right team to take him to the end of his career with his head held high. None of those other than Webber have made it to that point in their career (except webber doesn’t have a WDC yet

    4. When was the last time Button crashed into someone (memory says overtaking the backmarker Kartikeyan earlier this year, but i could be wrong).

      Button hit Kovalianen while racing for position in Monaco, then claimed on the radio that the mighty Caterham car pushed him off.

  5. This is so exciting. So much can happen.

    1. It’s exciting to think about and much can happen. I’d love to see a proper shakeup of the drivers, it’s been too stagnant at the top for too long!
      Unfortunately I think not much will change. I think Hamilton and his agents may be flirting seriously with Mercedes with no intention of signing, in order to force McLaren into a better deal. McLaren just have to call his bluff, or accede to his demands and Hamilton stays. Either way Hamilton in my view will stay with the team for a long, long time to come.

      1. As long as Whitmarsh is there, I doubt it.

        1. I don’t think Martin Whitmarsh is the biggest thing stopping Hamilton signing a new contract.

  6. I’m happy for any change in the top teams. The stability has gone on for quite long – and I miss some shakeup!

    Personally I’d still like to see Vettel in a McLaren – as my favorite driver and my favorite team, the two are a match made in heaven for me. Ferrari or Mercedes would do nicely too though :P

  7. One thing I haven’t seen many comments on is the role of Martin Whitmarsh in the negotiations with Hamilton’s management. In the post-race interview that Ron Dennis gave at Monza, he said something like: “the board has a position, the shareholders have a position, and it’s Martin’s job to get what we want”. Could that position be that they want Hamilton to stay, and Whitmarsh’s job is on the line if he makes a mess of the negotiations?

    1. Board : He stays
      Share Holders : half price

  8. I think it has to be noted that a lot of what will happen before 2013 is massively dictated by various happenings in 2014 – the engine switch, possible return of Kubica, the probable retirement of Schumacher, the possible retirement of Webber. That’s a lot of potential movement in the top teams, and I think that will no doubt come into play during current discussions. It’s fascinating!

    1. I think Kubica will find it very difficult to come back to F1. He kept Renault/Lotus in the dark and his injuries are preventing him from driving without pain in a monocoque of an open-seater. Also, so much has happened in the sport since then on top of all the new potential coming through.

      However, that’s not to say I wouldnt welcome his return. It could happen…

  9. My expectation concerning Schumi in 2013: no longer in F1, though not entirely shure of it.
    My ridiculously strong desire concering schumi in 2013: still racing, at eiter Merc, McLaren or any front-running team. I want to see him win (at least) just once more before he goes.

    As for the rest…i’m quite curious about who Ferrari will enlist to replace Massa.

  10. Hamillton is going to stay. Let’s remember that the only reason that the speculation is fevered is because Eddie Jordan started a rumor. Eddie Jordan is not a reliable source on anything, and exists to attract attention to himself. All of the arm-chair psychology about people’s “body language” and whether they jumped high enough on a podium is of no moment.

    Notwithstanding Hamilton’s counter-productive swearing that he just loves McLaren and wants to stay, his managers are earning money to be diligent and to get the best deal. In this scenario where McLaren have announced that Hamilton is getting a pay-cut, XIX have extra incentive to beat the bushes for more money and to demonstrate that they didn’t sell client cheaply.

    For Hamilton it is undertandably galling that he is being asked to take a pay cut when he as the top of his game, beating his teammate like a rug, and now 2nd in the WDC he should be leading if not for team screw-ups. There is the economic reality issue but the money in JB’s contract, or going to the shareholders, is real money too. Furthermore, what econmic reality exactly—have the oil reserves in Bahrain been downgraded?

    It has to be more galling because Dennis has been piling pressure on Hamilton in the process. It has to sting to hear the man who invested in you personally for a decade basically telling you that you are just not worth that much.

    So XIX is being diligent—for their client and in favor of their commission. What will they find? Ferrari don’t want him for various reasons, and don’t need him. Ferrari only needs one good driver, it’s how they roll. Lotus is situated right now, and not flush with cash anyway. Mercedes have infinite deutsche marks, and MSC a question mark. Webber has just booked with RBR and Vettel is not going anywhere while Newey is there. Sauber and FI might be worth a thought-exercise, but they can’t afford Hamilton anyway, if money is the issue.

    So what we have is a potential to replace Schumacher, and some kind of deal with Lotus. I’m sure Brawn would happily boot Schumacher to get Hamilton. But Brawn has continuously failed to deliver a good car, and they can’t blame the drivers, who are obviously stellar. I’m sure Stuttgart is going to be skeptical that spending a mint on Hamilton is the solution to Brawn’s failures—I’m sure they heard the same when Rosberg’s contract was put on the table. For his part Hamilton should learn from Alonso, who left McLaren in a huff and ended up in the back for two years. Lotus may be on the rise, sort of. But they are likely not in a position to take a big hit to buy out one of their current drivers AND pay Hamilton’s freight. They could go looking for capital to do a deal to swap Kimi to McLaren, but that’s a big ask in this climate.

    So Mercedes is the only real scenario. Brawn may be waving around big rolls of cash, but the people paying the bills have reason to balk. And Hamilton and XIX know that the “brand” will not benefit from two years of riding in the peleton.

    Therefore, he’s staying put.

    1. I think Hamilton is going to stay too. He´s so good and McLaren can´t replace him.
      As Alonso said today: Hamilton is the “only” driver that can win a race without the best car. Other drivers can´t

    2. I stopped reading after:

      Let’s remember that the only reason that the speculation is fevered is because Eddie Jordan started a rumor.

      That is not the only reason. No one really takes Eddie seriously. He is a bit like Montezemolo. He says a lot of things, and sometimes he gets some of them right (depending on where he got the information from). But, the main contribution that triggered this debate is the recent words and subsequent reactions of Dennis, Whitmarsh and Hamilton.

    3. Eddie didnt start the ball rolling, he was fed the information by Simon Fuller of XIX and another insider (See James Allen’s article on this).

      All Eddie did, in typical Eddie fashion was fuel the fire which had only just been kindled.

  11. McLaren and Hamilton remind me of a married couple that fell in love as teenagers and now take eachother for granted, and the resentment is building. McLaren needs to recognize that Hamilton is their most plausible championship chance. Hamilton needs to recognize that McLaren is his most plausible championship chance.

    But right now, they’re both being idiots. McLaren should have swallowed their pride and offered him what he wants. Hamilton should have swallowed his pride and taken the offers they’ve already presented to him. The fact that the two parties havent reached an agreement by now leads one to believe that their priorities lie in areas other than winning races and championships.

    I think that, like the resentful husband and wife, McLaren and Hamilton could use some time apart, in order to recognize what a good thing they had.

    1. McLaren needs to recognize that Hamilton is their most plausible championship chance.

      But McLaren don’t think like that. And they never have for any driver. Sure they recognise talent. But they equally recognise that their driver success is only possible because of their team. To McLaren, drivers are replaceable assets employed (payed) to do a job. I know it sounds somewhat bad, but that is how it is with Ron Dennis and he doesn’t hide it.

      1. But after Australia, Withmarsh was saying Button could win the drivers championship. He didn’t say both drivers could win the championship, or Mclaren could win lots of races. So what I believe is that a teams objective is only dependent on who is at the helm of affairs at any given time.
        If Mclaren are interested in the constructors’, they can’t win it without the drivers scoring points.

    2. Spot on! They’ll realize sooner than later as to what they have lost out on. But this current team principal and the management team as a whole makes me laugh. Not as professional as they seem from the outside with their fancy factory and offices. Being just a corporate and not a racing team that complements each other (driver and the team) is never going to win you much glory.

      1. +1
        Whitmarsh is very cold and distant.

  12. I don’t know but i’m kinda surprised to see only few people saying about Raikkonen….its no secret Witmarsh really respects and praises Kimi…and lewis leaving Mclaren is only going to make way for Kimi…thats is why there’s no confirmation of Kimi being with Lotus yet…he’s waiting for Hamilton’s confirmation..

    1. He have contract until the end of next year and a stake in Lotus F1 Team. We don’t know anything about performance clauses of course, which he presumably exceeded by now.

      Unless Button will take all McLaren PR work on him self, I see Kimi quitting F1 again before he goes back to McLaren do that “nonsense”.

  13. If Mclaren does want a WCC and Hamilton does leave, Raikkonen is their only choice, he is a world champion and consistent, otherwise i dont see Mclaren winning the WCC in the near future i think a button and raikkonen pairing would go down well, if raikkonen wants another world championship then mclaren is his place, he wont win a wdc with lotus harsh but true

    1. Unfortunately the acrid smell of hastily burnt bridges follows Raikkonen around the paddock like a brown stripe on his overalls.

      Anyway I can’t see Raikkonen wanting to go back there. he’s too fond of having long hair and wearing hats which are too big for him. Both of which are a real no-no if you’re driving for Team Sensible.

      1. Mclaren need him, but he wont go back. apparently hes ‘locked’ into a 2013 contract with lotus now

  14. If Lewis wants to win this years WDC and potentially one more next year, then he should be staying at McLaren. If Lewis wants to win multiple WDCs and not just have a chance at it but actually dominate the way his talent and skills permit, then he must move on. Why? Because he needs to be at his happy place and I just don’t see it at McLaren. The team and the company behaves just like how their latest road car behaves on the road. Disciplined, Smart, technically outstanding yet falling short of true brilliance and actual passion on the road.

    Lewis needs a team wrapped around his success on the track. He needs a leader to show him exactly what he has to do to win multiple titles. With Rosberg at Merc or even Schumi and also good reliability, Lewis can even win a WCC for the team. Rosberg and Schumacher are top drivers, maybe not the best but they are nearly there. He needs a change in scenario and he needs a fresh mind. He needs someone like Ross Brawn to keep him focussed on whats at stake once he hits the track. Lewis’ character is flawed just like many other racing greats and that’s the only reason he needs a father figure even though he is old enough to be on his own.

    He isn’t matured enough to survive with actual success in the cruel world of Formula 1. Surely, people will feel betrayed and McLaren along with Ron will have a bitter taste about this but he left the team on one team principal’s hand who genuinely and openly favours a driver he has brought on from another team (Jenson Button).

    1. Would you care to elaborate how a car can have “actual passion on the road”?

      1. I am not sure what you drive but if you have ever driven a Ferrari and for comparisons sake, the latest 458, you’ll definitely feel how it embraces the road and fights you and every single move you make. I haven’t driven the MP4-12C yet, been on it though and it was fast but all I hear from the drivers feedback, its boring. Lacks a clear personality.

        Saying things like, McLaren is all about winning races and not mentioning “winning the championship” a single time in that interview Sky took of Ron, I have to say that’s exactly whats lacking at McLaren. It looks like they don’t necessarily care much about the true passion of racing. It’s way too technical.

      2. Humour him for a second…surely you get what he’s trying to say?

        1. @electrolite, I’m not really sure I get the concept of passion in a car at all. I’ve heard it mentioned often enough, but I think it’s all nonsense. If the MP4-12C had a Ferrari badge on it I’m sure people would say it had loads of passion. Likewise, a McLaren 458 would be thought dull. It’s all down to the image of the company, I think.

          But there’s nothing wrong with McLaren’s attitude. Ron Dennis has as much passion for his work as is humanly possible, if you ask me. It’s just that his passion manifests itself in perfectionism and attention to detail rather than producing ridiculous cars that will only be fully exploited by 1% of their owners 1% of the time yet are somehow more exciting for it.

  15. Funny how every year we talk about the silly season starts earlier and earlier but this time it’s actually quite late!

    For what it’s worth, I see Rosberg going to McLaren and Hamilton going to Merc (on a two year deal, in case a seat at Red Bull becomes free at some point and Merc aren’t very quick in 2014 after all).

    Schumi stays in the other Merc seat for one more year, and Perez joins Ferrari (Luca was basically having us all on).

    If all this comes true, I will refer you all back to this comment!!!

    1. This is exactly how I see it as well.

      Red Bull: Vettel / Webber
      Ferrari: Alonso / Perez
      McLaren: Button / Rosberg
      Lotus: Raikkonen / Grosjean
      Mercedes: Hamilton / Schumacher

      Now, someone tell me that wouldn’t be a brilliant line-up for the top 5 teams…

      Add a more level-headed Maldonado / Bottas at Williams and Kovalainen / Alguersuari at Sauber and it really won’t matter what the other 5 teams are doing imho…

      1. Going to +1 that.

      2. +2
        One exception
        McLaren: Rosberg/Button.

        1. britanny on top of button?

          1. I wish I could delete this comment before Keith gives me a e-hammer

          2. I wish you could edit it so you could spell Britney correctly.

          3. Yes, why not? That has been his position with Hamilton over the last three years.
            But it really does not matter because he will be Whitmarsh’s boy regardless.

  16. Hamilton should not be afraid of comprimising his 2012 chances of he announces a move to Mercedes. For sure Mc Laren, and mr Dennis, will treat him as Fairly as they did with Alonso in 2007, so perhaps Keith might consider re visiting that part of the article :-)

  17. All I can say is that loyalty works both ways.
    Where is Mclaren’s loyalty.
    Mclaren has aligned their future with Button and have shown it.
    There is no longer a loyalty factor, he has been made to look like an outsider, long before the tweet.
    Spa was just the last straw of a breakdown of trust in the team.
    All we hear is rear wing, but I believe it goes beyond that.
    Information was not shared, therein lies the root cause of the tweet.

    1. wow, interesting point.
      A lot people may have overlooked what that tweet was about, in rush to just criticize Lewis, but he’s no fool, there’s most probably more to that tweet than has been explored so far.

    2. When it happened last week, it was easy to notice the complacency in the garages about getting the new wing to work with his vehicle. But noh, everyone here claimed it was just some delusional conspiracy.

      And at Monza, HAM improvement was the slowest I ever saw as if he was alone just dealing with it. So whatever ppl that use to work with him, they are not there now.

  18. I think a Button/Raikkonen pairing at McLaren would work. Raikkonen was never one for politics or conversation, just driving. I could see that working! The problem with Hamilton now is that he has gone too long without a championship and has now got itchy feet. We must remember that when he became champion four years ago he was only in his second season and the world was his oyster. The press were suggesting that he would be a multiple champion and he would dominate and that for varying reasons has not happened.
    On top of that, he has a team mate in Jenson Button who has not been as ‘easy’ to beat as many assumed back in 2010. And worse than that, he has become popular at McLaren and that in itself is a problem. But in all honesty, five years is an eternity in F1 and for me the time is right for a change at McLaren.
    If rumours are to be believed that Mercedes are considering jacking it in then Hamilton’s signing could prove vital for the teams future, and I for one do not want to see another F1 team go down the pan. Whatever happens it is going to be exciting, and its only fair that at some stage another driver should be given a shot at McLaren as they are one of the best teams.

  19. Well as per my perception, I think that Hamilton may move to Mercedes. Another big transfer will be Kimi to Ferrari and Massa probably driving for Sauber while Sergio moves to Lotus. 2012 season may also be the final one for the seven time world champion. For the smaller teams, some alterations and they will enhance the mid-field battle(hopefully). All in all a 2013 will be a better prospect!

  20. Or maybe Sergio may move to Mc Laren as Ron Dennis is always searching for a driver with speed and intellect(hope Sergio has those attributes) and Paul Di Resta moving to Lotus. Robert Kubica comes back in F1( prob. with Force India), the rest remains the same as posted earlier.

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