Hamilton becomes focus of 2013 F1 driver market

2013 F1 season

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

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203 comments on Hamilton becomes focus of 2013 F1 driver market

  1. Douglas (@mwahahaha) said on 12th September 2012, 14:06

    I think the person who will benefit the most from Lewis leaving McLaren has to be JB. Assuming McLaren don’t sign another world champion as his team-mate – Kimi or MSC – then Jenson will surely get the no.1 status. With that he can have the car built around him and we know how quick he is when the car has a set-up that suits him! He will be a real title contender in a very quick car.

    Jenson and Lewis might well have a good working relationship, but they drive completely differently so the car is never going to suit either of them perfectly. I think they are actually slowing each other down in the long run, and therefore drivers and constructors points as well.

    Mercedes will get a new star driver, Lewis will get a huge paycheck and can get a fresh start, McLaren don’t have to spend so much on their drivers and, most importantly, JB can fight on his own for another championship!

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 12th September 2012, 15:08

      I agree to a degree with you, however Mclaren will have already started on next years car. So if Lewis did leave, after all his input, I feel that Jenson wont really benefit next year, but only in 2014, perhaps, if his contract extension is applied.

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 12th September 2012, 20:55

      But if the car fails to perform as intended – e.g. due to unknown tyre wear/management – is it really prudent to rest all their hopes on a driver who was pretty much no-where for a good chunk of this season?

      • Douglas (@mwahahaha) said on 12th September 2012, 21:42

        I guess not, if his loss of form this year is anything serious to go by. I would add though, that his loss of form might not have been so severe if the McLaren car was as quick as it is now or at the start of the season. Also for the rest of the season he has been driving at or near the front of the field, so we’re not exactly talking about Felipe Massa here.

        Having said that in Canada Lewis won and lapped Jenson in the process, so you may be right

  2. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 12th September 2012, 14:08

    I’m struggling to see the advantage of being in “a manufacturer team”. Ross Brawn’s team had more success as a customer… Will the new turbo engines no longer be “frozen”? Will McLaren be at a disadvantage as a Mercedes customer – stuck with older engines and fewer updates?

    Even if that happened, it shouldn’t be like the early 90s when only one team had the outstanding engine, such as the Honda or Renault. Even if one engine is stronger than the others, there’ll still be three or four teams using it.

  3. AmirAnuar (@amiranuar) said on 12th September 2012, 14:09

    Senna for the seat anyone…

    • Assuming the Williams line-up is Maldonado/Bottas… which I think we can, i’m struggling to see Senna fit anywhere. I’d imagine he wouldn’t want to return to a backmarker, so that’s HRT and Marussia out.

      Caterham will probably want to aim a bit higher than Senna (with no disrespect intended!).

      Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Lotus and the top teams are all sorted or are looking at the real big boys.

      Sauber and Force India will be looking to pick up the pieces from the top teams after their musical chairs has finished.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th September 2012, 14:22

      No. Senna doesn’t deserve to be in Formula 1. He’s too slow, too inconsistent, and Williams already have enough liabilities in Pastor Maldonado. The sooner they drop Senna, the better for all involved.

      • Unfortunately I agree with you. I’m hopelessly nostalgic and was hoping he’d do well in the Williams. I could make excuses for him, but the fact is that he is just not good enough.

      • @prisoner-monkeys My opinion on Senna is not as scathing as yours but I also believe that he does not really belong to F1.

        I think this is one of the cases where we, fans, sometimes mix likeability with performance. Senna is a nice, good-looking guy with a famous surname and it’s true that he could have had more luck in his career so far but nothing has ever suggested that he’s a better driver than, let’s say, d’Ambrosio or Chandhok.

      • James (@jamesf1) said on 12th September 2012, 15:07

        Inconsistent? Senna seems to be consistently qualifying reasonably well and appears to be consistently scoring points, unlike his liability of a team mate. Senna is more deserving of a seat in F1 based on capability than Maldonado

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 12th September 2012, 16:56

        No. Senna doesn’t deserve to be in Formula 1. He’s too slow, too inconsistent, and Williams already have enough liabilities in Pastor Maldonado. The sooner they drop Senna, the better for all involved.

        I know there are some Senna supporters here (and i feel for you), but i have to agree with this comment.

    • If someone (anyone) gives Senna a FOURTH chance in F1, I’m gonna stop watching…

  4. tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 12th September 2012, 14:18

    I hope he leaves, because I don’t think he and Whitmarsh get along. I believe their relationship has poisoned the entire McLaren team. Neither need the other for future success so divorce and go your separate way. I don’t see any healing behavior on either party’s part so why stick with all this drama. At some point this get’s sickening.
    They (McLaren and Hamilton) are professional enough and have a shared interest in making this a successful year on the track so get on with it. However, next year pursue your goals with different partners.
    Personally I am tired of this soap opera.

  5. I just hope something happens. This is the third year where the 4 biggest teams have the same driver line-ups. If it happens again, the midfield talents will stay where they are, and there’ll pretty much be no rookies entering F1.

    As I’ve said many times before, F1 should only have drivers capable of fighting for the world championship and young talents on their way to becoming capable of that. That’s why I think Massa, possibly Kobayashi, possibly Senna, Petrov and Karthikeyan need to go.

    That would free up the Ferrari seat as well as allow some young drivers to debut and some to return (Alguersuari).

    I really hope we get to see Perez, Hulkenberg or di Resta tested against a world champion (Alonso or Button), as well as the likes of Bianchi, Bottas, Bird, Wickens and Frijns get a chance in Formula 1.

    • @Enigma Agreed! I think there should even be an official rule, which would say that, if a driver cannot score a certain proportion (50%?) of his team mate’s points over a certain period of time (2 years?), then he, as a minimum, must not stay with the same team.

      • James (@jamesf1) said on 12th September 2012, 15:04

        I dont, and this idea wouldnt work. Money talks.

      • Making rules which dictate how teams run their driver line ups is asking for trouble.

        I remember John Surtees saying that there should be a promotion and relegation system with the drivers in F1 where the top GP2 drivers in one year, automatically get F1 seats the following year. But this just wouldn’t work, sometimes there would be years (such as this year) where none of the GP2 drivers deserve a seat in F1.

  6. Nickpkr said on 12th September 2012, 14:34

    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.

    • Nickpkr said on 12th September 2012, 14:39

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

    • Hallard (@hallard) said on 12th September 2012, 16:50

      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.

  7. James (@jamesf1) said on 12th September 2012, 15:02

    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…

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 12th September 2012, 15:42

      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.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 12th September 2012, 15:43

      @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.

    • @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.

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 12th September 2012, 17:10

      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.

  8. nivek252 (@nivek252) said on 12th September 2012, 15:15

    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.

  9. graigchq (@graigchq) said on 12th September 2012, 15:22

    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…

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 12th September 2012, 15:47

      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.

    • auto_freak (@auto_freak) said on 12th September 2012, 17:52

      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.

    • tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 12th September 2012, 18:51

      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.

      • graigchq (@graigchq) said on 12th September 2012, 20:41

        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

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 12th September 2012, 23:19

      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.

  10. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 12th September 2012, 15:25

    This is so exciting. So much can happen.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 12th September 2012, 16:02

      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.

  11. raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 12th September 2012, 15:39

    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

  12. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 12th September 2012, 15:50

    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?

  13. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 12th September 2012, 15:53

    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!

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 12th September 2012, 19:53

      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…

  14. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 12th September 2012, 15:53

    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.

  15. 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.

    • 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

    • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 12th September 2012, 17:27

      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.

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 12th September 2012, 19:54

      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.

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