Hamilton ignoring contract “rubbish”

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Monza, 2012In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton shrugs off ongoing speculation over his future.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Hamilton not distracted by contract ‘rubbish’ (Reuters)

“I’ve been with the team since I was 13 and we’ve worked so hard since 2009 to try and win this championship and hopefully, finally, we’re in the position where we can. So the most important thing is that I do not get distracted by all the rubbish that’s been around.”

McLaren legend Ramirez on what Lewis still has to learn and life with Prost and Senna (James Allen on F1)

“Obviously that decision of who?s going to have the rear wing between Hamilton and Button was discussed among everybody. It?s not that there was only one rear wing, there were two, they were for both. But he decided that he was going to race with that. So he couldn?t live with that and shut up, no, he had to show the world why he?s lost, why his team-mate beat him.”

Whitmarsh stays cautious for Singapore (Sky)

“People will probably acknowledge that [Fernando Alonso] hasn’t had the quickest car on very many occasions yet he’s established a great points lead. He’s a driver who just when you think he’s had a penalty, or he’s uncompetitive, towards the end of the race you think ‘damn it, he’s there again and he’s scoring points’ and that’s the quality of the guy.”

The Biggest Decision of Lewis Hamilton’s Career (Daily Express)

“The Stuttgart outfit have dangled a deal of a potential ??100m over the next five years ?ǣ far more than McLaren?s offer of around ??40m over the same period.”

Hamilton not ‘pushed’ to join Mercedes (The Telegraph)

“A source close to XIX described such talk as ‘nonsense’, arguing that Hamilton?s and Fuller?s interests were aligned. ‘There is absolutely no way XIX would push Lewis to make a decision which would be to the detriment of his career.’”

F1 car arrival (Imgur)

Pictures of cars being unloaded in Singapore ahead of this weekend’s race.

Comment of the day

After Robert Kubica’s latest rally crash, should he stop? @Victor says no:

Rallying is a perfect way to regain his mojo back. Single-seater cockpits are too cramped for him to move his elbow. If it turns out he won?t be able to drive single-seaters again his future might be in rallying.

If it doesn?t, he?ll have several competitive performances under his belt. Crashing in rallying is no big deal, what happened last year was utterly unlucky. He?s not scared of it and I applaud that.
@Victor

From the forum

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We also wish happy birthdays to a pair of British F1 greats: Stirling Moss, 83 today, and 1996 world champion Damon Hill, who’s 52.

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147 comments on Hamilton ignoring contract “rubbish”

  1. hamster said on 17th September 2012, 0:15

    It does feel like the whole Hamilton thing is going absolutley mad at the moment. It reads from the various reports (and not being involved in it we wouldn’t know anyway) that XIX seem to be making a lot of noise around the whole thing, is it gamesmanship, or inexpereince in the F1 sector?

    Or is it the start of a new trend as more drivers decide to maximise their potential beyond just driving and its the F1 teams who have been used to being very autocratic in their approach to the driver are now having to catch up with a new paradigm of engaging with their drivers as a brand not just as a driver?

    I don’t know, but I can’t imagine its going to help Hamilton or McLaren at Singapore this week. We’ll see on Sunday afternoon what the effect is, or not.

    • Novotny (@novotny) said on 17th September 2012, 3:26

      I think it’s a pity that being a highly competitive, multi-millionaire F1 driver doesn’t seem to be enough for him.

    • Maciek (@maciek) said on 17th September 2012, 9:03

      a new paradigm of engaging with their drivers as a brand

      Teams having to deal with talent that gets steered in wrong directions by parasitic agents is likely as old as organized sport – and no amount of marketing jargon makes that a ‘new paradigm’.

      • The teams have an advantage in that there are not very many places in F1, and of those only some of them are highly sort after, so they can, to a certain extent, pick and choose between the drivers.

    • rantingmrp (@rantingmrp) said on 17th September 2012, 11:39

      That’s exactly what they said before Monza. Then he won.
      Now it’s started again?

      • Blackmamba (@blackmamba) said on 17th September 2012, 18:03

        It seems to me MacLaren and Hamilton are in exactly the same situation as they were in Canada where we got the comments from Ron about the Economy.
        Otherwise the rest of it was Eddie Jordan and his wig making mischief as I cannot fathom anyone inviting him along for contract talks.
        We all know what the media are like with a story as reading through them you would get the impression that every journalist was present at some type of media conference to listen to contract negotiations.
        Hamilton will still be at MacLaren after all this hoo ha no doubt!

    • Wooolfy said on 17th September 2012, 22:08

      Didn’t we all think that it couldn’t possibly help him the last time out? I believe he’s very focused and it’s basically his decision to stay or leave McLaren. Despite what we heard in the media and blogs, it seems like he is staying to make McLaren a successful brand.

  2. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 17th September 2012, 0:23

    Lewis hasn’t been too good at keeping the rubbish “noise” out of his head over the last couple of years so this will be interesting. Hopefully it’s all gameplaying and won’t impair his end-of-season run at the title.

  3. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 17th September 2012, 0:48

    Quite the insight there from Jo Ramirez, a really good morning read! Interesting to see the comparison coming from a man who worked so closely with the original McLaren dream team, and the way I see it, Lewis would do well to listen.

    • OOliver said on 17th September 2012, 0:57

      Well Ramirez worked with Senna and Prost, and not with Hamilton and Button. I can’t understand the venom behind his statements about Hamilton.
      Mclaren says the cars were setup to different downforce levels hence also, different performance levels. But Ramirez speaks like the cars were setup identically.
      I know Hamilton doesn’t necessarily endear himself to people, but this attack is just too vicious from someone with so many years of experience.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th September 2012, 9:24

        May I ask where this “venom” is? Because I don’t see anything remotely spiteful in there.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th September 2012, 9:45

          @keithcollantine – I agree. I see absolutely no malice whatsoever in Ramirez’s comments. I’d say it’s just Lewisteria (“lewis” + “hysteria”). We saw it all last year when Hamilton’s die-hard fans were denying that anything was wrong, and that if he wasn’t performing, it was all the team’s fault. Now those same fans are suggesting that the team are conspiring to squeeze Hamilton out of hsi seat.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th September 2012, 9:48

            I suppose we’re all guilty of it in our own way. After all, I’m the guy who vehemently defended Vitaly Petrov in 2010. If I’ve backed off, it’s only because he hasn’t done anything that needs defending.

      • Ooliver, maybe you should read the article from JA, or even better listen to he podcast where Ramirez says it himself - JA podcast download, at about 31 to 38 minutes is Ramirez. Its a man talking who loves the sport, looks fondly and intimately back on many years of first hand experience and who offers his view about the drivers (mostly talking Senna-Prost memories). A view that seems to be well based on his experience.

        • OOliver said on 17th September 2012, 10:42

          You know I read the JA article first. And I know exactly what I am talking about.
          Mclaren and Withmarsh said they ran 2 different downforce levels, they cars are not identical. Ramirez is claiming Button blew Hamilton away, which is truth, but in context of the different setting on the car, it is to be expected. He now went on to use Senna vs Prost to describe the Hamilton vs Button Situation.
          He also said Hamilton must have accepted to use the setup he was given.
          I mean, those are assumptions Ramirez is making.
          Mclaren tried 2 different setups because they were not sure which would be the best as it had rained all weekend. Button, by design or accident, got to use the better setup and was a lot faster. Is he now also claiming Button arrived at that setup for the car?
          So his comments about Senna vs Prost I can’t argue with.
          But trying to relate Senna vs Prost, and the perculiar situation at Spa, is clearly distorting truth.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th September 2012, 11:21

            Button, by design or accident, got to use the better setup

            No, Button used the lower downforce wing because he chose it with his engineers.

            Just as Hamilton used the higher downforce wing because he chose it with his engineers.

            When even Hamilton himself admits his share of the responsibility for deciding what set-up he used, I fail to see why you can’t accept it:

            Hamilton says wing switch was join decision

          • As @keithcollantine writes OOliver, both Hamilton himself, and the team made it perfectly clear that Hamilton was part of the decision to use the older wing on his car.
            That is why Ramirez comes to the conclusion, that Hamilton was having trouble that Button beat him (on track because of the wing, but as a driver by making the right choice) and continues to say that Button already showed Hamilton there is more to winning than being the faster driver perse.

          • tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 17th September 2012, 14:27

            It was Hamilton and his engineers decision to use the high down force rear wing. It was not mandated by the team.
            I think his decision to post it on Twitter was to show why there was a 0.8 difference in speed. He admitted it was a bad decision and apologized to all parties affect by his poor judgement then went on and won at Monza.

          • OOliver said on 17th September 2012, 15:37

            Keith, we are talking 2 different things.
            You are talking about the wings, I am talking about the base configuration.
            Mclaren said they chose 2 different routes. LOW DOWNFORCE and HIGH DOWNFORCE. The issue of the rear wing has no relation to the route they had chosen. The new rear wing can not work with a high downforce setup because it is designed specifically for Spa and low downforce settings.
            Don’t misread what I am saying.
            They had already decided to set the cars up differently because they were not sure about the right setup, the issue of the rear wing came up much later after that decision had been made.
            Did I complain about Hamilton accepting or not accepting blame. We are talking about the statement Ramirez made and not Hamilton.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th September 2012, 15:39

            Quibble about semantics all you want, it doesn’t change the fact Hamilton had a say in the choice that was made and trying to shift responsibility for it away from him when he has admitted to it himself is illogical.

          • The story goes actually like this (this is inside information). Hamilton really, really wanted the same wing as Button. And it was strange how pushy he was about it. He was overruled. When he saw 1 sec difference he was furious and he went on Twitter. Actually, a great move from Hamilton to stick it to them. Because at this point all the moves were negotiating tactics and who was more important, so somebody would back down. Two weeks later in Monza Hamilton was as sure as hell already in Mercedes, but then panic started at Mclaren and they backed down in negotiations because they want /need Hamilton. Now, again, he is closer to Mclaren then to Mercedes. But who knows what will happen.

          • I don’t suppose you have a source for this?

      • Can someone clear this up for me. If the telemetry from FP3 was available to both Hamilton and Button, why wasn’t Hamilton’s car then fitted with the new wing before qualifying? It must have been obvious to Hamilton’s side of the garage to go with the Button wing option after analysing the dry FP3 comparison, unless information was not shared between each side of the garage.

        Something tells me that ‘team’ McLaren isn’t working quite as a team anymore, and this probably led to the tweet (which was of course idiotic to say the least).

        • BTW, I remember the Hamilton ‘joint decision’ comments but read on a bit and you get to this interesting quote:

          “I was told or we believed that the gap between those two wings wasn’t so big”

          It just doesn’t sound right to me. Rightly or wrongly there appears to be a breakdown in trust between each garage at McLaren – almost 2007 like!

          • OOliver said on 17th September 2012, 13:32

            It is a futile argument. Hamilton is the “petulant child”, and Withmarsh just loves him to bits.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th September 2012, 13:54

            Are you implying that you think McLaren deliberately advised Hamilton to have a part on his car which they knew would serious affect his performance relative to his teammate?

            Genuinely asking, as i can’t see any logical reason why they would want to do that. If both cars had been equal then it looks like it would have been a good 1-2 finish for McLaren, edging themselves up the constructors’ table. Constructors’ points are everything in F1. It’s why theories about teams deliberately hobbling one or both of their drivers are invariably complete nonsense.

          • @mazdachris I’m implying that maybe, just maybe each side of the garage isn’t sharing data as honestly as they once did. The sharing of data between team mates is always a sensitive issue, even if they are part of the same ‘team’.

            The gap just seems way too big, something that Hamilton may have been trying to highlight in his tweet, albeit rather foolishly.

          • Its possible, that Button and Hamilton have stopped being best of buddies in the last year and a halve and are not as open anymore on all aspects @john-h. The fact Hamilton struggles to admit that it was his mistake (together with his side of the garage) is only logical, after all who would like to admit that to himself!

            But the funny thing is (as far as I gathered from some people who know how to read those), that what the Data Hamilton tweeted actually proved was, that he is losing not just where the wing helps Button but also in the parts where his own car configuration should have made him go faster. Pointing to how the problem might have been more to do with Button just getting everything spot on and Hamilton not making the most of his car there than with the wing as such.

          • The sharing of data between team mates is always a sensitive issue, even if they are part of the same ‘team’.

            At McLaren. I’m sure Ferrari or Red Bull don’t really have that issue at the moment. And that brings up the question again: Should McLaren finally instate the policy of a first/second driver and embrace team orders? A lot of this Hamilton non-sense has its roots in the answer to this particular question, in my opinion.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th September 2012, 14:52

            Data sharing is irrelevant. Even if you were in a situation like in 2007 where you’re effectively running two teams with no data sharing, the fact is that Hamilton actually ran the updated wing in testing and so had enough data of his own without having to rely on Button to tell him what wing to put on his car.

            The only reason you might look for an explanation like this is through a slightly misplaced desire to find a way of absolving Hamilton of responsibility. But logic dictates that the simplest explanation is the most likely. And in this instance the simplest explanation is that Hamilton and his engineers looked at the data together, and decided collectively to go in a direction which ultimately proved to be sub-optimal. If there were an explanation along the lines of what you’re suggesting, then I’d expect two things; firstly that he’d have said so publically (after all, his ego was sufficiently bruised for him to post pictures of his telemetry by way of explaining his poor performance!), and secondly that he’d probably already have jumped ship to Mercedes and would be waving his new contract right in Whitmarsh’s face. It also doesn’t bear out since Button had actually struggled somewhat for pace and only seemed to get it properly together on the Saturday. So unless this was a Moriarty-esque bluff on his part, it seems unlikely that there was anything in the telemetry coming off JB’s car to suggest that the updated wing was likely to be a significant performance advantage.

            Your explanation doesn’t exactly absolve him of responsibility anyway. It implies that he needs Button and his engineers to tell him how to set up his car. If that’s the case then all I can say is good luck getting that kind of help out of Nico Rosberg!

          • I’m inclined to agree. When Jenson was lost at sea all year, the tram had no trouble reverting to Lewis’ setup on his car (which makes me chuckle @ Ramirez’ suggestion that JB is better @ setting a car up than Hamilton… when, & in what universe?). I was under the impression that they shared data @ McLaren, but come Spa & there’s a massive difference between rear wing performance, but apparently Hamilton was lead to believe there wasn’t… & the result is Button on pole by almost a second over Hamilton @ Spa. Something very fishy went on in the McLaren garage that weekend.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th September 2012, 15:14

            What are you implying was going on at McLaren? Even if you totally remove Button from the equation, what do you think happened that convinced Hamilton and his engineers that the way they set the car up was better than the way Button set his up? They would have run both configurations for themselves during testing. If they didn’t then it’s their own stupid fault.

            To me, it seems blindingly obvious; during the Friday, due to slightly different track conditions, it seemed like there wasn’t a big difference between the two wings. Hamilton decided he wanted downforce for the faster corners, while Button went for the lower downforce configuration to get speed on the straights. Now somewhere between Friday testing and Q1 on Saturday, something about the track conditions changed in a way which meant that the lower downforce configuration became more of an advantage.

            And if we just think about it for a second, it’s entirely possible that Button was just, like.. faster. I know it seems like a pretty outrageous supposition, but it is entirely possible that Button just got better in the groove and was faster than Hamilton. To the point where he would have beaten Hamilton even if the cars were totally equal.

            After all, one driver is always going to be faster than the other. It’s hardly an enormous leap to suggest that it’s not always going to be Hamilton coming out on top in a straight fight!

          • Ok, where do I start… here goes…

            Data sharing is irrelevant

            Due to the wet FP1 and FP2, data sharing in FP3 was the best way to compare the two different setups in the time available.

            The only reason you might look for an explanation like this is through a slightly misplaced desire to find a way of absolving Hamilton of responsibility

            I am trying to look at this as objectively as possible and certainly think that Hamilton to blame – I have never absolved him of any responsibility. My comment is to highlight that perhaps the two team mates and associated garages are no longer sharing data, and that might explain why Lewis is feeling like he should leave.

            It also doesn’t bear out since Button had actually struggled somewhat for pace and only seemed to get it properly together on the Saturday

            FP1 and FP2 were both wet sessions.

            Your explanation doesn’t exactly absolve him of responsibility anyway

            I know, I never said that it did.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th September 2012, 16:25

            Ah, indeed, forgot that FP1 and FP2 were wet. I should have checked. So basically they had very limited access to data, which kinda gives rise to situations where it may be difficult to make a call either way.

            What I’m saying is that just because in the end the Hamilton setup proved considerably slower than the Button setup, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Button had access to information which Hamilton didn’t. If information wasn’t being shared between the two sets of engineers, then both sets of engineers need to account for that and test all the parts themselves. ergo if JB managed to find the right setup without the help of his teammate, then LH should have been able to do the same.

            So basically Hamilton chose the wrong setup. This was either because he didn’t have the information that the other setup was faster, or that the data itself didn’t show that there was a difference, and the fact that he chose wrong was more just random chance. If it’s the former, then it’s hamilton’s own fault for not identifying the correct setup path during testing. After all, both drivers (it can be reasonably assumed, barring any conspiracy theories) had access to the same parts and were on the same track at the same time with the same car. They should have been able to generate the same data for themselves.

            Apologies for thinking that you were trying to clear Hamilton of responsibility. Most posts of this sort seem to be doing just that.

            I’m saying that the fact one driver got it wrong while the other got it right supports the notion that both drivers had the same data and that the data seemed to show that the difference was marginal. Rather than something being deliberately withheld from hamilton. After all, if it was obvious that the Button wing was faster then hamilton should have been equally able to identify that during FP3.

            And after all, I find it highly highly unlikely that there’s a breakdown of communication between each side of the garage in the way there was in 2007. Firstly because they’d be stupid not to have learned from their mistakes. And secondly because I feel that if there is a breakdown in communication it begins and ends with Hamilton himself.

          • After all, if it was obvious that the Button wing was faster then hamilton should have been equally able to identify that during FP3.

            I think you make a good point here @mazdachris . There probably was time to do it if Hamilton really knew what he was doing. Perhaps they were so used to a particular system thinking on their feet was beyond them.

            I think I actually agree with you now…. apart from

            And secondly because I feel that if there is a breakdown in communication it begins and ends with Hamilton himself.

            I think this actually does Jenson a disservice!! I think his nature has probably got more of the team to back him over the last years, and that combined with the Hamilton attitude problem (read this) means the division has grown. I think probably both drivers have something to do with it – Jenson is just as driven to win at all costs I think.

            Perhaps they’ll collide at Singapore!!

        • @johnm if my memory serves me right button was handling the new wing better and it was as simple as that.

          but it wasnt plain sailing for jenson, he was initially struggling with understear.

          also how many times have we heard button say he had grip in FP3 then nothing in qualy. on this occasion it seemed to work the other way round.

          Lewis was part of the decision and needs to accept that. it was an error in hindsight, but at the time seemed like a safe option

          • Yes you’re probably right.

            I guess I took issue with the Ramirez comments when the full facts behind the sharing of data are not out there, hence the Hamilton tweet. Either way Hamilton should have figured it out for himself in FP3 if he knew what he was doing.

      • Let that Ramirez guy remind me how many points Hamilton gained in that race. Was it not a DNF. So shall we compare team-mates even at worst occurrences like accidents? Okay, I get it. Hamilton’s higher downforce made him drive onto grass at Spa courtesy of Grosjean.

        • I think the main point here is not who chose what wing…who was in on the decision with LH to go with the rear wing he used vs. JB’s side of the garage. Ramirez’s point is the observation that LH’s reaction afterwards with his graphic tweet was to say in essence ‘see…it wasn’t me…it was the wing. JB is not better than me.’ Ramirez is bothered when he sees drivers not owning their situation. I think Ramirez would say to LH…’you and your team picked this wing and it didn’t work out for you like it did for JB and his side’s decision. Just accept that you got bested that day and move on. Don’t tweet excuses that embarass the team and reveal info to the world that they would rather you hadn’t.’

          Personally I continue to doubt LH’s ability to handle pressure when it is at it’s greatest. It’s not about the driving, it’s about the mental game. When I recall last year and LH admitting he let off-track non-F1 distractions harm his performance on the track, I thought that must have been a terrible thing for the team and it’s sponsors to hear…all that money and resources squandered. I wonder how they must feel now with LH’s tweeting behaviour. Probably no better. Makes me think it is time for LH to have a change in teams for the better of himself and of Mac. I now think he SHOULD go to Merc, since I believe Brawn will need somebody, and I believe him when he says manufacturer based teams for 2014 are the way to go, and I believe Mac might be tired of this high-maintanence driver. And I think it would be good and exciting for the F1 audience to see him change teams.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th September 2012, 15:51

            I agree with this, and it’s why I said on another comments thread that I think the best thing for Hamilton (assuming he’s not able to get his act together at McLaren) would be to go to Mercedes and get some mentoring from Schumacher. If he could work on his mind management he would become very formidable indeed. I’m sure if the key to unlocking that potential existed at McLaren they would have found it by now.

          • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 17th September 2012, 20:07

            Is seems there is enough evidence to say that LH has cracks in his mental game. Last season and even his first season showed signs them. There are may justifications and excuses, but at this stage they might be wearing thin. This is often the case with gifted people, it seems we only get so much, and if all eggs are in one basket (in this case, fantastic driving skill) then other baskets suffer (Bad living, overly emotional, etc).

            That said, I feel there is significant reason to believe that this whole political gamesmanship. LH is trying to secure a new contract maybe with, maybe without McM. I know enough to know that I (nor anyone else outside of the conversation) dont know enough to say whats really going on here.

            In the end, I am confident that LH will remain in the top escelon of F1 for a long time, he will probably win WDC again, and I will continue to mock him because I like to :-)

  4. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 17th September 2012, 0:57

    McLaren really are caught between a rock and a hard place here. On the one hand, they’re surely looking at their bank balance, knowing Perez or Rosberg won’t impact on it anywhere near as much as Hamilton, yet if they lose Hamilton they lose a great talent. An expensive and petulant talent, yes, but a talent nevertheless. I don’t see them showing Hamilton the door, but I doubt they’ll be bending over backwards to keep him either — Button/Perez or Button/Rosberg could still get the job done in the right environment.

    I find it hard to believe all this isn’t a distraction. His foreseeable future is at stake here, and he has to choose between being confident of challenging and the opportunity for more freedom. I would personally stay, but choosing the latter would be a very Lewis Hamilton thing to do…

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 17th September 2012, 6:23

      Button/Perez or Button/Rosberg could still get the job done in the right environment.

      I dont know about that. Perez has put in strong performances this year, but still has to prove himself in a top team. He could very easily have the ‘Kovalainen’ syndrome of performing well in a mid field team and underperforming in a top team. So I would put Perez as a bit of question mark for now.

      Rosberg really hasn’t impressed me enough. He has looked sub par to his teammate this year on way too many occassions, I do not think he is a good replacement for Lewis.

      Honestly, Mclaren needs Lewis more than they think. As the team has shown this year, that even with the fastest car, they need a driver who can deliver consistently. Button has shown on numerous occassions that he isn’t any faster than a backmarker when his car isn’t working for him, while Lewis still makes the most out of any situation.

      • Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 17th September 2012, 9:25

        I get that, it would be a massive gamble to replace Hamtilon for the reasons you said. Button’s just too sensitive to lead a team, and you can see that from how his title challenge almost unravelled in 2009. Still, if they really can’t afford Hamilton and/or he’s got his heart set on Mercedes, it would be worth the risk in my opinion.

        • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 17th September 2012, 10:47

          I’m not sure Button has ever had the luxury of a team developing a car around his requirements. The Brawn moved away from him and more towards Barrichello in 2009 but generally speaking during his career Jenson has been able to get results out of some awful machinery. I’m sure if Hamilton walked they’d be thinking about making sure the car suited Jenson a bit better and he could thrive once again. Also, don’t forget that Jenson beat Lewis fair and square last year and has only struggled for technical reasons. Jenson applied himself to solving the problem in a very professional manner, I’m not sure Lewis would be capable of the same analysis should he ever struggle with a particular car/tyre combination. A bit like last year I guess.

          • tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 17th September 2012, 17:56

            According to Button, this car is completely developed to his liking. He boasted as much during winter testing. Whitmarsh said that they both preferred a neutral car and that is the direction they (Mclaren) chose go in the development of the MP-27. Each driver then set their car up to their specific driving needs at any given track.
            This is not a compromised car, if it were they would not have won five races this year.

        • Button wasn’t a bad team leader at BAR and Honda, and Brawn too for about half of the season.

          • @matt90, I agree, I also think the reason Button lost so many places in the latter half of 09 was that he had so much to lose and Barrichello had so much to gain, remember how many people blamed Hamilton for defending against Maldonado.

      • What Mercedes really needs, and where they should put their money in, is developing a car that is faster, has more flexibility and scope for development over the year. We know Brawn can do that masterfully, he’s got the people to do it on board during last year and this year and he has one of the most experienced car developers in Schumacher (remember the gazillion miles ran on Ferrari’s test tracks?) and a driver he rates very highly in Rosberg.

        I would say instead of offering Hamilton a 100 million $ to drive now, they can put part of that money to build a car, and then Hamilton, or even Vettel and Alonso, or whoever they want will be the ones pushing to be in their seat for far less! I bet that if Hamilton could have gotten a drive in the RB6, he would have happily settled for some 6-12 million a year (+bonuses?) just like Vettel does, for being with Newey in the team.
        If Mercedes manage to build up as strong a team with Brawn, then they can rake in the rewards from winning multiple championships with a top notch championship driver.

        • I take your point about developing a good tweekable car first, and then the top drivers will want to drive it for less, but I’m not sure that is a reality today for Merc. The fact is, MS and NR have had 3 years and the car is in no better place amongst the teams than last year. They are far short of what their goals were for this year. The fact is MS doesn’t have a gazillion miles of testing to rely on to help him appear like a good car developer, and NR doesn’t yet have the experience, but is getting it by the day. Imho, everything for MS since his return has been a big step down from the way he had it. His experience has only helped in that perhaps without it the car would be even worse.

          In terms of your point about the money…it’s not like they would be cutting LH a cheque for $100 mill immediately, and whoever they have in the seats for 2013 and onward, they will be paying that somebody some money, so I think it is splitting hairs a bit to suggest that there is money there that could suddenly help them develope a better car. I think it will take some time, especially without the gazillion testing miles, and I think, depending on what MS is up to for next year, LH needs the change…as in, a change is as good as a rest. More and more I feel like LH is the kid who is now an adult and should leave the nest in order to truly thrive. He needs a life of his own and has stayed home too long. Leaving at this point would be better for both him and his ‘parents.’ I also think it would be great for the viewing audience to see that change.

        • @bascb, that is Frank Williams strategy, is it working for him? Remember that that the share of the $750 +-million paid to the teams increases with points won, a good driver can earn the team a lot more than his salary.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th September 2012, 6:38

            I do think it was working for him, until he ran into manufacturers not content with supplying engines but getting into team management and not agreeing on that.
            I do think every team needs good drivers, but if you are not able to fight for the world championship, why sign a driver for a lot of money who’s goal and capacity is to win that? I think that for Mercedes Rosberg and Schumi are fine, although Schumi is getting a lot of money too, because of his value to the Mercedes brand.

    • I don’t think McLaren have a hard time at all. They know full well, that they want Hamilton to stay. And I would guess Hamilton wants to stay as well (does anyone seriously believe he would have a winning car, or can develop one at Mercedes better than Schumi can, and do it for next year or even 2014?).

      The only thing probably not settled are things like how much (pay, sponsorship freedom, time spent with sponsors) and possibly how long (2 years, 3 years, or just one year with options based on performance). And that is something they can send mails and have talks over all they want during the races, until they find common ground.

      • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 11:03

        I think he could have a winning car but i don’t think he could develop one, however i don’t think any driver can (these days). Lets face it if they could fernando should have won every championship from 2005-2010 and then battled msc for 2011 and 12. Does anyone think vettel won in 2010 and 11 due to his development skills and everyone elses lack of it? it’s down to these puppys and mercedes have more than anyone else now so maybe he’s not as foolish as we all thought at first.

        • ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 17th September 2012, 12:45

          Uh, developing a car is a job just about every driver does, that’s the only way teams stay competitive. How else did this year’s Ferrari get competitive?

          • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 13:38

            The driver gives input on what they think they need to go faster or feel more comfortable. E.g downforce on the front or better rear traction but most drivers would ask for the same thing if you gave them all the same car and that’s it. They don’t sit in the design office thinking up new aerodynamic devices or power trains.

            As for ferrari how did they get faster? the engineers and mechanics made better and more refined parts.

          • @scuderiavincero In that case, Hamilton did an amazing job in 2009 developing that McLaren!!!

            Come on, the driver isn’t sitting in the office when he’s not driving, optimising parts using CFD to help blow the diffuser more efficiently to balance the car.

            Those days are gone. Sure, the driver can have a big effect in setting up the car come race day (something no doubt Alonso has done to good effect this season), but in terms of overall car development I doubt he can have much impact.

        • ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 17th September 2012, 19:05

          The driver gives input on what they think they need to go faster or feel more comfortable.

          Isn’t that how designers decide which direction to go? :)
          They need to know exactly how the car feels and they can’t figure that out from anywhere but the cockpit. Tiny input yeah, but pretty vital.

          To put it this way, designers develop the car, with instructions from the drivers.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 17th September 2012, 14:35

        I agree with you in that both parties want the same thing. I’d be shocked if Hamilton left considering with McLaren he’s won at least 2 races a season (and even that season was a terrible one by their standards). Giving that up for so many unknowable factors at Mercedes, solely for more freedom or a better contract would be a terrible waste of talent. Conversely, maybe he genuinely sees Mercedes becoming the more competitive team in the long term, but there’s no evidence to suggest that other than Ross Brawn being there. Safe bet for a competitive seat surely has to be at McLaren?

    • javlinsharp (@javlinsharp) said on 17th September 2012, 20:17

      Your comment sparked a thought…

      Perhaps, what is worse than keeping LH, would be facing off against him in a capable car.
      Though we cant see any way it might ever happen, but imagine if a rejuvinated LH got to RBR, SF, or even a better Merc. Scary thought if you’re Mclaren. They might just put up with a great deal to “…keep their enemies closer”. There is no surplus of drivers in LHs catagory, do they really want to let their guy go, just to deal with him as a competitor later?

  5. lubhz (@lubhz) said on 17th September 2012, 1:37

    Seems that people stopped talking about Massa and turned into Hamilton.

    • Yes, indeed.

      • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 11:15

        What is there to say? he isn’t good enough anymore i wish i could say otherwise. Massa will either keep his seat to keep fernando happy, or they will replace him with heikki because they are fed up being 3rd in the constructors. Neither eventuality would be a surprise.

    • A 5th place, a 4th place, no stupid tweets, an admission that he is happy to be Fernando’s no.2 after the Monza race – he has not given the rumormongers too much of fodder. Good for him, I say.

  6. xeroxpt (@) said on 17th September 2012, 2:20

    More and more signs that the deal is about to be physically signed, when they start saying things like

    “I’ve been with the team since I was 13 and we’ve worked so hard since 2009 to try and win this championship and hopefully, finally, we’re in the position where we can. So the most important thing is that I do not get distracted by all the rubbish that’s been around.”

    its because its done and dusted, also Keith made a great job highlighting this news just to give the impression about what’s really in between the lines, yet still not public. Valentino Rossi did the same this year and uncountable other sportsman have done it, it’s the move excitement just make them forget all the rubbish and move on.
    It’s surreal, i’m so excited, some people hoped for some exciting changes, you know just to break the monotony and this might be it.

  7. PaulT (@pault) said on 17th September 2012, 2:55

    As soon as I read that Hamilton had tweeted the telemetry, it was clear to me that he was trying to blame someone else (ie the team) for the fact that he had been beaten by Button. Ramirez is right – the egos are too big and there’s a lot of growing up still to happen for some of the younger drivers – Hamilton included.

    • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 11:31

      Very few drivers do keep their ego in check or at least out of view of the public, msc jenson pdlr and heikki are the only drivers i can think of to not have at least a small tantrum in the past few years. fernando and vettel are at the other end of the scale and maldonado has left the scale entirely and is angrily orbiting betelgeuse.

    • Like you can drive better than those “younger drivers” on a motor-way let alone a circuit.

    • xeroxpt (@) said on 17th September 2012, 23:35

      Above all it’s so childish, if he had said that he was drunk, I would apologize but he didnt say that you get the impression that he thought he had made something right, I say this cause public statements are often fake.

  8. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 17th September 2012, 4:10

    The best way to stop “rubbish” from spreading is to clean it up, or not drop any it in the first place.

  9. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 17th September 2012, 4:22

    @COTD

    Crashing in rallying is no big deal, …

    Qué !?

    I don’t understand how you deduce that crashing in rallying is no big deal. Tell that to Kubica who ended his F1 carrier (and almost his life) when he crashed.

    But I agree that given Kubica is now partially disabled, i.e. “Single-seater cockpits are too cramped for him to move his elbow”, then he might as well do rallying. But I hope he doesn’t crash again.

    • I think it meant that for the most-part, crashing in rallying is fairly typical, and not usually a big deal.

      • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 11:38

        I don’t know where you people get this from at least 3 people have died at rally events around the world this year. It’s the only motorsport i can think of that has a consistent fatality rate.

        • Andrew81 (@andrew81) said on 17th September 2012, 12:03

          That’s out of thousands of crashes. The majority of crashes are the result of pushing to the limit of a course you hardly know. It is fairly common to crash in rallying and most of the time it is minor with no serious injury, hence why it’s not a big deal.

          • Sadly I have to agree with what Jimmy…. writes. This year in the Czech Republic alone there have already been 3 fatals from rallying (a navigator, a driver and a viewer died) which led the Czech federation to cancel the national championship rounds and reconsider track planning, driver licensing and other safetymeasures.

        • As I said, not usually a big deal. As Andrew says.

        • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 14:23

          Andrew81 and matt90

          There are many many crashes in all single seater series every year as well but we have only lost. (2 my knowledge) 2 people in the past 5 years Henry Surtees and Dan Wheldon 2009 and 2011 respectively both in bizarre circumstances. Foreseeable but non the less bizarre.

          This year alone in rallying we have lost at least 3 in “normal” circumstances.

          I realise that the dakar is considered dangerous even in the rally world which is why i have not counted this years fatalitys to those above but as another seperate example. 29 people have lost their lives drivers and spectators alike since the last death in f1. 29 people from 18 events (and that’s only the recorded number) compared to 1 in 18 *seasons* of f1.

          It might be considered safe by most these days, I’m not saying robert shouldn’t do it he’s his own man, what i am saying is that rallying is still dangerous far more so than any circuit racing series.

          • It was you who jumped on my comment originally. I never claimed rallying was safe, or tried to draw any comparison to single seater racing. I just pointed out there are lots of crashes and most are minor, and that was the point COTD was making. So I don’t know what your point here is.

          • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 16:04

            well if your going to get uppity about it…as i have noticed you tend to do then i will simplify it for you.

            You said crashing in rallying is no big deal, I and the statistics say it is.

          • I didn’t get uppity, I just wondered why you went off on a tangent after all I did was re-emphasize my original point. I said not usually a big deal. I made that very clear. I never said it wasn’t a big deal at all. You’re trying to prove something wrong which I never said in the first place.

            I will get uppity now though, as I don’t appreciate being told that I tend to do so, or that I need something simplified when it is you mis-interpreting my words.

          • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 17th September 2012, 23:02

            What tangent did i go off on? I started saying rallying is dangerous and i finished saying rallying is dangerous. If you’re referring to my comment on single seaters, that was because andrew suggested the reason there are more deaths in rallying is because there are more crashes. I believe that to be incorrect so as is the way of blogs i voiced my opinion. You said “. as andrew says” which implys you agreed with his comment so my reply went to you both. It’s pretty simple english when you think about it.

            If you are referring to my comment on dakar it is rallying so it is relevant even if it is a specialist event.

            Lastly yes, you do get uppity if someone replys to your comment in a way that is not unequivocally positive i have observed you to take it as a personal attack. Thus i would generally not even bother commenting after you because i am not interested in having a sniping match. This is a blog people voice opinions and some opinions are different from others deal with it. I’ve been reading keiths blog for years and i have read many posts by you and all the regulars so i know where of i speak.

  10. For years I’ve ignored the haters and really respected and liked Lewis Hamilton, not only as a superbly talented driver, but as a decent guy who has a huge passion for life and racing, but if he takes that massive Mercedes contract I fear that this will only show him up as more interested in money and fame than racing and I think he will lose a lot of respect from his fans.

    Either that or Mercedes will win both titles next year. Not likely.

    • I’m not a big LH fan, nor am I a ‘hater’ (I ‘hate’ that term lol) but I sure wouldn’t default to a move to Merc by him being only about money and not the racing. I am of the opinion that what he needs is a change, a move out of the nest, and a move to Merc could signify a maturing of LH and a new challenge that is ALL about the racing and looking toward the future with a new outllook.

    • artificial racer said on 17th September 2012, 17:41

      merc may just get it all right next year, you never know. They have people and resources to do it and next years car I think will be the first with all their latest tech team on board.

  11. Dave (@davea86) said on 17th September 2012, 5:08

    If Hamilton has a bad race or a DNF in Singapore then no matter who’s fault it is, there are going to be plenty of people who blame his contract situation.

    Also with the rumours that McLaren are talking about Perez as a potential replacement for Hamilton, I wonder how much Ferrari can influence things. Having the option on his services gives Ferrari the potential to really throw a spanner in the works.

    So far LdM has said that Perez isn’t ready for a Ferrari drive yet and putting his support behind Massa so everything’s pointing toward Massa being retained. I just have this feeling that Ferrari have already sorted something out with Perez and they’re just keeping it quiet to keep Massa motivated for the rest of the season. Surely Ferrari wouldn’t let a talent like Perez get away, especially when they have the advantage of an option on signing him and the potential to take him away from one of their biggest rivals.

    Then again the Vettel to Ferrari in 2014 rumours would complicate things plus Ferrari have made some bad decisions before.

  12. MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 17th September 2012, 5:58

    I don’t see why Hamilton would want a Mercedes contract. Car to car the McLaren is way ahead of the Mercedes who are behind Lotus with Sauber hot on their heels. For the money? It would be very difficult to understand his choice then. I don’t think Lewis must be earning all that less and even if he was atleast the McLaren is a car where he has a chance of winning the WDC again. McLaren might be a little reluctant to let Lewis go but they still have a WDC in Jenson and there some other young and current drivers out there who are pretty decent. Di Resta becomes a very agreeable alternative as well I think. Regardless, why would Schumi want to leave, especially with the W03 starting to perform?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th September 2012, 7:01

      As has been mentioned in several articles, it might be that after seeing McLaren fail to really make everything work, Hamilton would put his eggs in the basket with a Brawn developed Mercedes for 2014, inclusive the outfit being part of the manufacturer, something that might be an advantage with the new engines. And the money/freedom too develop his own “brand” will be part of it as well.

      • MahavirShah (@mahavirshah) said on 17th September 2012, 11:20

        @bascb That is what I find baffling, that some of the articles very early on seemed to get at the fact that Lewis was unhappy with what he was being paid at McLaren. I feel that McLaren has potential to develop a winning car. Mercedes has shown some promise but nothing as special as the Brawn car. However, you make a valid point with the fact that once engine regulations come into play, Mercedes will be in a far stronger position.

        • I’m not sure, as I haven’t studied it that closely, but at Mac do they not frown upon drivers having ‘side-sponsorship’? Perhaps if LH has been unhappy about money it is not about strictly his salary to drive, but his inability to garner extra money, which can be huge, from personal sponsorship that isn’t ‘team’ sponsorship.

  13. OOliver said on 17th September 2012, 9:22

    At least Hamilton has said a lot of the news going on is just plain rubbish.
    Who is deliberately manufacturing these stories. Because if Hamilton eventually signs a contract with Mercedes for $1 a year, many will have decided that he moved there because of money.
    A lot of negative press is being generated to affect his performance.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th September 2012, 9:56

      At least Hamilton has said a lot of the news going on is just plain rubbish.

      Of course he’s going to say that. The first rule of negotiating a new contract is that you never, ever commit to anything one way or the other when asked. You don’t want to say something that you can’t take back, because then then the other side can use it to their advantage. If you read the article in question, you will see this:

      “There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of stories that aren’t true.”

      Notice that he doesn’t actually say which stories are true and which are not, and there are plenty out there. He could be referring to Eddie Jordan’s comments that he has already agreed to a deal. He could be talking about the Der Spiegel article that claims he isn’t getting along with his engineers, which is why tensions are so high and he is looking elsewhere. He could be thinking of the article in The Daily Mail that suggested McLaren has approached Sergio Perez and will sign him if Hamilton doesn’t commit one way or the other very soon. He could mean the article published by Crash.net claiming that a decision will be made before Singapore (even if it isn’t announced by then). He could even be talking about a story that appeared in The Guardian that suggested McLaren has made a new offer with a marginal pay rise. That’s five different stories from five different sources. All of them are speculative. When Hamilton called the speculation “rubbish”, he could have been referring to any one of those five. Maybe he could have been referring to all of them. Maybe none. But the only thing we can extrapolate from his comments is that he isn’t giving away anything McLaren could use to their advantage. The only person who really knows what Hamilton is thinking is Lewis Hamilton. And until a decision is made and a new contract announced, all we can do is speculate. But if we can’t take any of thsoe stories that I listed seriously, then we can’t take Hamilton at his word.

      • rantingmrp (@rantingmrp) said on 17th September 2012, 11:47

        So, if he says it’s rubbish, then “of course he’s going to say that – he will be lying”. If he says nothing, then likely he’s being uncommunicative. If he confirms it, he’s betrayed his team.
        He really cannot win, can he?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th September 2012, 10:05

      A lot of negative press is being generated to affect his performance.

      And who, exactly, is responsible for this vast conspiracy against Lewis Hamilton? How does it work? How has someone hoodwinked the entire motorsport media and most of the paddock into undermining Hamilton in the press?

      • OOliver said on 17th September 2012, 10:33

        I notice you must have come with a prepared speech here, because I am talking about negative press, and you are talking about conspiracy.
        What has negative press got to do with conspiracy?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th September 2012, 11:28

          It’s clearly implied in this comment:

          A lot of negative press is being generated to affect his performance.

          You suggest that negative reports are being written for the sole purpose of distracting Hamilton so that he under-performs. Given the sheer number of news outlets reporting on this and the many journalists and pundits who have offered an opinion on the matter, it would be a conspiracy if it was true.

          • Not necessarily, with the way the news travels in f1 a story would only have to be mentioned and somebody would post it as fact, it would then travel on to someone else.

            Some journalists will go out and look for accurate sources, but others will just follow what has already been said (including the mainstream newspapers).

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

        And who, exactly, is responsible for this vast conspiracy against Lewis Hamilton? How does it work? How has someone hoodwinked the entire motorsport media and most of the paddock into undermining Hamilton in the press?

        Now, ^ that is what I call COTD!

    • I am pretty sure, that Hamilton’s own management team helped some of these stories surface OOliver, its the thing both sides use to do during these kind of negotiations (others probably by sources aligned with McLaren, and undoubtedly the likes of Horner, Brawn and Alonso were happy to add their views, as they do not mind having a bit of negatives surrounding their championship competitors).

  14. Ah guys, let us all calm down and enjoy the rest of the season and the engaging title fight, instead of fighting over speculations regarding the stupid “silly season” which clouds our love for the sport.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th September 2012, 10:59

      But the silly season is always entertaining!

      Just was it was looking pretty boring, what with Webber staying at Red Bull, it’s suddenly come alive in the past month or so.

      • Indeed, it seemed we are pretty much set for 2013 with only minor changes at the lower end of the grid, and perhaps none at all in the top teams, but by the looks of it, we might get quite a lot of changes for next year, and probably some more for 2014. Good times.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 18th September 2012, 0:00

        I wonder if Webber is now regretting re-signing early, or if on the other hand, he is relaxing in a comfortable chair and having a quite chuckle.

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