Whitmarsh: Hamilton’s Mercedes move “a mistake”

F1 Fanatic round-up

Martin Whitmarsh, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2012In the round-up: Martin Whitamrsh says Lewis Hamilton has made a “mistake” by leaving the team for Mercedes.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Hamilton warned quitting McLaren is ‘mistake’ (The Telegraph)

“Mercedes-Benz is a great partner of ours and they are a great team. But anyone leaving McLaren, who wants to win, I think that?s a mistake because I have faith and belief in this team.”

Brawn: Lewis wants new challenge (Sky)

“There is a competitive market for drivers and Lewis is as competitive as anyone else in that respect. But Lewis didn’t come here because we offered more money – because we didn’t.”

Schumacher ‘undecided on future’ (BBC)

“His manager Sabine Kehm said: ‘Michael didn’t stay at Mercedes because he wasn’t sure he wanted to drive and that didn’t change over time.’ Asked whether he had now made that decision, Kehm said: ‘No.'”

Lewis Hamilton is making a huge mistake, say McLaren (The Sun)

Whitmarsh added: “Sergio is ready, otherwise we would not be signing him. In 2006, I was getting a lot of criticism about putting a young Lewis into Formula One. People said there was no way he could be ready.”

Rosberg and Hamilton get equal status (Autosport)

“It has been made clear to both the Briton and Rosberg that they will be treated equally – and both will have the same chance of gunning for glory.”

Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes renews links with British drivers (The Guardian)

“Hamilton is not exactly stepping into unknown territory. Every one of his 20 grand prix victories has been achieved with a Mercedes engine in his car. He knows the company and is well aware of the quality of their engineering. He and his manager, Simon Fuller, will also have been influenced by the power of their marketing department to enhance his image around the world.”

Mercedes move to raise Hamilton’s global profile (Reuters)

“Hamilton, the first black driver to win a Grand Prix, features regularly in the gossip pages because of his relationship with U.S. singer Nicole Scherzinger. His looks and image, clean cut yet moody, make him a natural for brands wishing to connect with a youthful audience.”

New engines set to be scrapped (Hindustan Times)

“‘I listened to the noise of the engines in (Ferrari’s headquarters at) Maranello the other day, the new engine and the old engine, and even (Ferrari chairman) Luca di Montezemolo said it sounded terrible and didn’t like it,’ says Ecclestone. He feels FIA president, Jean Todt, ‘will get rid of it. I think Luca is also saying we should suspend it for two or three years’.”

F1: Promoter ‘Proud’ Of New Jersey?s Place On Calendar… (Speed)

“[Grand Prix of America promoter Leo Hindery Jnr] made no comment on the ‘to be confirmed’ status on the 2013 Formula One schedule or Bernie Ecclestone?s claim that no contract exists at present.”

Chris Economaki 1921-2012 (Joe Saward)

“Long-time racing journalist Chris Economaki has died at the age of 91.”


Comment of the day

No prizes for guessing what today’s Comment of the Day is about. Here’s @PJA:

Despite all the speculation part of me felt that Hamilton would stay at McLaren, or at the very least the decision would drag on for a few weeks, so reading the headline when I logged this morning was bit of a surprise.

Having said that I can see why Hamilton decided to sign for Mercedes. And I don?t think money was the main factor.

While it hasn?t gone as far as Alonso and McLaren it seemed that Hamilton was not on as good terms with McLaren as he used to be, and the Spa tweets wouldn?t have helped.

Also on the performance side of things I don?t think it as big a gamble as some make out. He probably would only have been offered a multi year contract. So he couldn?t have signed a one year deal at McLaren and waited to see if Vettel goes to Ferrari in 2014 as some have suggested.

Although McLaren challenge for victories almost every season in the last decade they have only won one drivers’ championship and no constructors’ championship, they have to start paying for engines from next year so that means less money on the rest of the car and then there is the big rule changes in 2014.

I would have thought this deal should silence those rumours suggesting Mercedes may quit F1, and considering some of the people at the team, mainly Ross Brawn, in the medium term Mercedes could be the better bet.

2012 has been the first season while Hamilton has been at McLaren that they have had the overall fastest car, for me 2007 and 2008 Ferrari and McLaren were about the same and if I had to pick I would have said Ferrari, yet through various operational mistakes and reliability problems it looks as though they won?t win the drivers’ championship and if they win the constructors’ championship a large part of it will be down to Red Bull?s reliability problems.

I think Hamilton has almost as good a chance of winning a title in the next three years at Mercedes as he does at McLaren, whether he does win one or not will be hard to say as I think it will be hard to predict which drivers and teams will be on top in the next three years.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Ten years ago today the 2002 United Grand Prix ended in farce as Michael Schumacher’s attempt to engineer a Ferrari ‘dead heat’ resulted in him handing victory to team mate Rubens Barrichello.

At least they didn’t crash into each other as the Williams pair did – Ralf Schumacher spinning into Juan Pablo Montoya earlier in the race. Montoya recovered to finish fourth behind David Coulthard.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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121 comments on Whitmarsh: Hamilton’s Mercedes move “a mistake”

  1. And the Hamilton bashing continues.

  2. leotef (@leotef) said on 29th September 2012, 3:53

    Oh that Bernie, WTH? So you come to not like the new engine sound and the planned 2014 change to be scrapped? Disgusting.

  3. Rocky (@rocky) said on 29th September 2012, 6:04

    Two drivers in new teams each with a 3 year contracts I will wager that Perez will win a WDC and Hamilton will not!

  4. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 29th September 2012, 6:46

    I am not sure how reliable the story is about scraping the 2014 Engine regulations. I doubt it will happen, but there is no doubt that there will indeed be a substantial difference in sound to existing engines.

    Sound explained:

    For a four stroke internal combustion engine to complete a firing sequence on “all cylinders” concerned, it must rotate a total of 720°, which is 2 revolutions. This is the same in all 4 stroke engines whether it be a 4 cylinder, straight 6 cylinder, V6, V8, V10 or V12.

    During “two” revolutions, a 6 cylinder engine completes 6 firing sequences. Expanding gasses yield “sound pressure” to exhaust. The “sound pressure level” (measured in dB) will depend on the absolute maximum sound pressure amplitude (directly related to power) released by any one of the 6 cylinders to exhaust.
    At 15,000rpm, when the proposed 2014 V6 revs at max rpm, a total of (15000 / 2)*6 = 45,000 firing sequences will be released per minute. This means sound frequency of ~45,000/60 = “750 Hz” (or 750 sequences per sec) will be released from the exhaust. Whereas the current engines emit (18,000 rpm/2)*8/60 = “1200 Hz”!

    1) Sound power and sound intensity (which is the product of the sound pressure and the particle velocity level) will be less in the 6 cylinder, since particle velocity, given as PVL = d*(2*pi*f) is a direct function of the sound frequency.

    2) During acceleration, the majority of the energy from the sound pressure level (dB) will be transferred to spin the turbine (due to turbo). This will yield reduced sound pressure level to exhaust during acceleration periods. In fact, the car may sound louder in the braking zone rather than acceleration zone.


    The 2014 engine regulations will definitely yield reduced sound power, intensity and pressure levels by approximately 40% if not more.

    • Great post, interesting read. Iwonder why people are getting upset over how the engines sound, I just don’t get it. Not that I like quiet engines, but its not going to effect the racing, so why kick up a fuss. Most people watch F1 on TV, and have a number of different sounds coming at them from the Tv screen, engine noise is a small part of the sport and strikes me as just a toy being thrown from the prams of Bernie & LdM.

      The 3 biggest, most popular eras of motor racing was Group B rallying, Group C Endurance racing and the ‘Turbo era of F1. All used turbos, most were small engines but you don’t read about people complaining how they sounded back then.

      • +1. Each time I’ve been to a grand prix it’s occurred to me that the experience would have been slightly enhanced if I hadn’t have needed earplugs to stop my eardrums exploding! I agree with S.J.M- the 2014 cars aren’t going to suddenly start sounding like Dacia Sanderos and as long as the racing is still exciting I’m not going to be too concerned.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 30th September 2012, 9:59

      I read an article on Autosport and a Renault man said current engine is actually 600hz from 2 exhaust which means not necessarily 1200hz because each 4 cylinders go out through seperate 2 exhaust. While new engine would have one exhaust with 750hz.

      • Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 1st October 2012, 12:46

        I don’t know where you read that. But that information is totally false.
        It doesn’t matter if there are two exhaust outlets or friggin one outlet per cylinder. It is still 1200Hz unless two cylinders are firing at the same.

  5. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 29th September 2012, 7:14

    Was yesterday one of the biggest day for comments, ever, @keithcollantine? So many comments to read, and so little time!

    From the Telegraph piece:

    I know Paul very well and the true answer is that I rate him but it would probably have been continuing a little bit too much with the British theme to have gone that route

    Interesting that nationality played a role in driver selection after all, just not in the way many people expected.

  6. Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 29th September 2012, 9:28

    The one who made the mistake is Whitmarsh. Or ultimately Ron Dennis for appointing the guy.

  7. Dane. (@dane-1) said on 29th September 2012, 10:17

    With Hamilton & Rosberg both having yellow helmets, I wonder which driver will change their colour?

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 29th September 2012, 10:44

      That’s actually a very good question. Perhaps Rosberg will switch to one similar to his dad’s?

      Was there ever a similar situation to this in the past? I definitely don’t recall it, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

    • @dane-1 I thought the same thing last week. There is some chance they may both keep their helmet colours with nico’s being more of a fluorescent colour anyway

    • William Brierty said on 29th September 2012, 14:55

      Hamilton won’t change his helmet, no way. Rosberg will probably revert to the blue that he had at Williams, or perhaps some Schumacher-tribute red.

    • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 29th September 2012, 18:36

      Why would they have to change? Jenson and Rubens both had fluorescent yellow/white/black helmets for a period at Brawn… the graphic design was different enough (as it is for Lewis and Nico) that we could easily tell them apart. Failing that, there’s always the car camera!

  8. DelendaEstAmbulando said on 29th September 2012, 10:52

    Checo, you made a dreadful mistake. I just hope you can leave Macca sane before it’s too late.

  9. UnitedKingdomRacing (@unitedkingdomracing) said on 29th September 2012, 11:29

    I can still see Hamilton making an Alonso and trying to return to his old team after one year. Because he surely will notice that MGP isn’t the team to win the tiltle with. But the question is if there is space anymore for him at McLaren in 2014.

  10. I wonder how much of an effect Ron Dennis’ clumsy post race Sky interview in Canada had on Hamilton’s decision? It should have been an atmosphere of euphoria, with Lewis finally getting his first win of the year after the previous races’ numerous difficulties, but in stepped Ron (looking like he’d won the lottery and lost his ticket) to burst the balloon and talk about the need for Lewis to be realistic and accept a pay cut. That, followed by two underwhelming McLaren races at Valencia and Silverstone may have been the trigger for Hamilton’s thought process. It does seem that Dennis is Admiral Awkward and, somehow or another, has managed to fall out with a considerable section of the F1 drivers hall of fame (Lauda, Prost, Alonso and now possibly Hamilton- even Senna found Ron difficult to get on with during their negotiations for the 1993 season).

  11. Jason (@jason12) said on 29th September 2012, 11:52

    ” be realistic and accept a pay cut”
    It must be an insult to them that Lewis ended up leaving for less at MGP.

  12. William Brierty said on 29th September 2012, 14:05

    I’m gonna jump off the fence, this a great day in Lewis Hamilton’s career and a equally great day for Lewis’ fans. In the last ten years, when the cars’ performance has been so close, only teams that have had a clear number 1 driver have had any degree of sucess, such as McLaren ’98, ’99, ’08, Renault ’05, ’06, Brawn’09, Red Bull ’10, ’11 and of course Ferrari during the Schmui years. Line-ups glazed with the fake vinear of equality have never worked, McLaren ’07, ’10, ’11, ’12, serve as a good example. Lewis doesn’t need to be fighting his teamate when he has the might of McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull to topple if he wants the championship. I think this will go down as one of the truly great moves of F1, because now he has the formula, a great team principle, a solidish teamate, great designer Aldo Costa, a number 1 status (ignore the article) and the money and might of Mercedes-Benz. Sounds like a winning combo to me, in fact it sounds better than Alonso and Briatore or Vettel and Newey, in fact it sounds nearly as good as Schumacher, Ferrari, Ross Brawn, Bridgestone…

  13. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 29th September 2012, 16:07

    Hamilton should now set about sabotaging McLaren in every way possible. From tweeting more important telemetry and setup info to inserting bananas up Jenson’s exhaust, or substituting Whitmarsh’s favourite bubble bath product with cooking oil, he should really go town on McLaren!

  14. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 29th September 2012, 16:08

    Alonso only needs 316 points, and Red Bull only need 520 points for them to win their respective championships…

  15. Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 30th September 2012, 6:05

    I have a feeling that next season Mercedes might do a Red Bull and make a big leap, with Schumi playing the part of DC, bringing the team on but then getting the boot just before they become one of the top dogs. I wonder what the odds on Lewis for the title are right now…

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