Martin Whitmarsh, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2012

Whitmarsh: Hamilton’s Mercedes move “a mistake”

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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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

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

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

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

    1. 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.

      1. Yes, Barrichello and Schumacher in 2000, that’s when Schumi changed his to red.

        1. Hamilton is hard yellow and Rosberg is “let’s go disco!” yellow, they are not so alike even on bad TV coverage. It would be a shame any of them would have to change.

    2. @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

    3. William Brierty
      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.

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        29th September 2012, 15:22

        Your comment actually made me lol…for some reason.

    4. 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!

  3. DelendaEstAmbulando
    29th September 2012, 10:52

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

  4. 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.

    1. He could choose Red Bull instead.

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        29th September 2012, 16:09

        Or Williams.

  5. 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).

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

  7. William Brierty
    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…

    1. Wow, there are some truly astounding leaps of logic in that comment!

  8. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
    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!

    1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      29th September 2012, 16:11

      *go to town
      Or pass as much info onto Mercedes as possible.

      1. …but presumably without a repeat of the spygate scandal that kind of spoiled things for his team for a while. I doubt he’d want that a Merc as well, it’s probably quite distracting

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

  10. 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…

  11. So on the one hand we have FOM and the FIA trying to cut F1 costs by throwing up some rubbish about how the new engines sound terrible and should be scrapped…yet, we have plans proposed for substantially increasing the entry costs?

    Answers on a postcard, please.

  12. Interesting article by Benson on the BBC featururing some interesting comments by Lauda – (is it ok to post a link?).
    On the issue of equality with Rosberg, the BBC’s initial report on the move specifically stated
    I think it would be good to cover Laudas’s comments on Lewis in one of the round-ups, Keith.

  13. Didn’t finish my comment on the original BBC breaking news article regarding Lewis’s move to Mercedes above. It specifically stated that Hamilton had been assured of No.1 status before signing.

  14. Interesting comments from Martin Whitmarsh but not unexpected. I sense a little relief from both parties that, finally, a conclusion has been reached. I said around the Monza grands prix that if McLaren and Hamilton were that unhappy in each others company, better to split now. Deep down however, I think Whitmarsh will have more pressure on his shoulders than Hamilton in the years to come.
    By that I am not bad mouthing Sergio Perez’s abilities, he has shown great promise, but he is still learning his trade. Alot for McLaren will depend on Jenson Button, and that means he needs to have a better season next year than he has had in 2012. As good as he is, he suffered an horrendous mid season slump which all but destroyed any hopes he had for the championship. If both drivers at McLaren fail to deliver the goods, fast car or not, questions will be asked and like it or not, Hamilton’s name will be mentioned. The axe will fall neatly on Martin Whitmarsh’s neck I feel if this driver lineup turns out to be a lemon.
    As others have mentioned over the last two days, if Mercedes are competitive, then Whitmarsh will be under even more pressure. The fact remains that McLaren are one of the three big teams in F1 built to win championships along with Ferrari and Red Bull. If people believe that such big teams can not slide into obscurity you only have to look at Williams to see that anything is possible.
    For all their greatness, McLaren have had so many great drivers in their team and yet recently so few championships. Others have already mentioned this. Of those drivers the most infamous case in recent years was Kimi Raikkonen. Five seasons at McLaren he fought for two titles and lost both times largely due to team errors. His first season at Ferrari in 2007 he was crowned the champion, at the expense of his former team.
    Its been fourteen years since McLaren last won both championships in a single season with Mika Hakkinen in 1998. They went nine years before Lewis Hamilton won them their most recent drivers title, which pretty much sums things up. Whitmarsh, in his own mind, may still believe that McLaren is the be all and end all team in F1 but recent statistics in terms of championships prove otherwise.
    Red Bull, through pouring money into the former Jaguar team and selecting the right people, have crafted one of the strongest current teams in F1. The recipe for success is there for the likes of Mercedes to succeed where the likes of Honda and Toyota did not. Its about selecting to right men and women to run the team, racing people, and not corporate monkeys who only strive to have the poshiest motorhome in the paddock. Let the team run itself, and have faith in those you have chosen.

  15. I don’t see how Martin can have a bigger problem than Lewis? He now has the fastest car, a promising rookie and a former champion. No matter how much I dislike Jenson’s in-aggressive style I have to admit that it matches perfectly with the current anti-racing regulations: cruise around protecting your tires and press the overtake button on the straight so you avoid getting into anything “wild”!

    Lewis on the other hand has moved down to the number five team in the championship to a car that is terrible on the tires and arguably slower also than the Sauber. On top of that I should remind you that McLaren didn’t lose two championships with Kimi due to team errors but due to disastrous Mercedes engines!

  16. Whitmarsh should forget about Lewis and focus on sorting out the operational that has cost the team so dearly this year. Has it not been their pit stop c*ck ups, Jenson and Lewis, in particular, would have been ahead in the points and the team would have been in the lead in the constructors. In the last 10 years Mclaren has only managed to produced a car cable of winning the championship 3 times, 2007, 2008 and 2012. The fact that the team hasn’t worn the constructors in the last 10 years and only one one drivers championship (won by Hamilton) clearly gives indication of their performance level. I’m sure this statistics is one of the factors Hamliton advisors took into consideration on advising him to go with Mercedes. If i was on the board of Mclaren, I will be pushing for Whitmarsh to go!

  17. So I take it that Raikkonen losing the race win to Alonso at the Nurburgring in 2005 was due to a blown Mercedes engine? All McLaren’s problems during Kimi’s time there were engine related. What hogwash! And also you hit the nail on the head with the fact that Whitmarsh has traded one of the top three drivers in F1 for a ‘promising rookie’. Anyway you slice it is a gamble and a brave one but a gamble non the less. So I think Whitmarsh has reason, deep down, to be concerned. Maybe we will have this conversation in three years time when McLaren have still won bugger all but I suppose people like you will still be blaming Mercedes ‘engines’! What a plonker.

  18. UH…. so you found a race with a different cause? It’s just funny that you had to point to 2005 which saw Kimi with two ten place penalties and two DNF’s because of engine failures.

    Or how about 2004 with just one point in the first seven rounds mostly due to engine failures? Or maybe you also forgot the official apology to Kimi from Mercedes?

    “People like me”…. hmm! No, I am not blaming any current McLaren problems on Mercedes but my point is that since it took them several years to sort out the engine reliability it may well take them several years to achieve a competitive car – despite Lauda’s nonsense about Lewis being fast in a slow car.

    Surely McLaren have made mistakes of their own but can you say that Lewis hasn’t? In 2011 he was way behind Jenson mainly on his own account. This year at least he is well ahead so let’s use it as reference. If he doesn’t get well ahead of Niko next year he certainly has a problem. On the other hand I’ll admit that Whitmarsh has a problem if Sergio cannot outperform Jenson.


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