Champions disagree over Hamilton’s Mercedes switch

F1 Fanatic round-up

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Singapore, 2012In the round-up: Three-times champion Niki Lauda says he understands Lewis Hamilton’s desire to change teams but fellow thrice-champion Jackie Stewart says he would not have made the same move.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Lewis Hamilton needed a new challenge, says Mercedes’s Niki Lauda (The Guardian)

“I understand him because if you drive six years for same the team and for the same people you get used to each other. It works for him because he won one championship and he is winning races, but nevertheless a new challenge with new people … you learn different things and different approaches ?ǣ it’s something that for a competitive guy like Lewis was very interesting.”

Sir Jackie Stewart: Lewis Hamilton is a Merc berk (Daily Star)

“McLaren have the resources, the money, the long-term commitment and huge experience. If I were Lewis I would have stayed with them. He would not be where he is today without them ?ǣ and there is a degree of loyalty which you should always have.”

Is this the final lap for Nurburgring? (The Independent)

“Concern for the Nurburgring?s future is not limited to the locals. In motoring history, this is a place of international importance, scene of some of the most historic Formula One races.”

Prost tests modern Red Bull F1 car (Autosport)

“I’ve had many opportunities with other teams in the past and I never wanted to do it. But recently I thought maybe it would not be too bad to know what modern Formula 1 is like.”

Kimi can be champion – Grosjean (ESPN)

“We were very evenly matched on pace but he is fighting to be world champion, and has a very good chance of achieving that. He is still a very, very good driver.”

McLaren still backing Lewis (Sky)

“We have a competitive car at the minute and we have six races left. We can win all of those six races and in my view we can win the championship. So starting next week in Japan we will be focussing on that.”

Bianchi wins at Paul Ricard and is back in the lead (Ferrari)

“Jules Bianchi?s pursuit of the top slot in the World Series 3.5 was given a boost today when he took a great win in the second race at Paul Ricard. This result, along with a fourth place in Race 1 sees the Frenchman leap to the top of the leaderboard, five points ahead of second placed Robin Frijns.”


Comment of the day

Bernie Ecclestone expects the 2014 engine change to be scrapped but @Bosyber isn’t so sure it will be:

It is not as if changing plans (delaying?) now would be cheaper, the engines are already designed and on the test banks since at least a month we have heard.

If they scrap them now the engine guys have spent a lot of the required money already, and for nothing. They will ask for compensation, or just change plans to leave (Renault if they can?t get the smaller turbo they really want?)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

After 108 laps of Watkins Glen Jim Clark came home first to win the United States Grand Prix 45 years ago today.

The only other driver on the lead lap was team mate Graham Hill, making it a one-two finish for Lotus. Denny Hulme moved closer to clinching the title with third place.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Advert | Go Ad-free


124 comments on Champions disagree over Hamilton’s Mercedes switch

  1. vjanik said on 1st October 2012, 16:37

    Greece unblocks 30M for F1 curcuit

    WOW. Cant be an April fools joke. Its October. I mean dont get me wrong, i love F1 but where are their priorities?

  2. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 1st October 2012, 16:46

    More former F1 WDC should become test drivers and help current teams to improve and develop their cars. Surely a former WDC (like Villeneuve or Hakkinen) would extract more info from the car and have a better understanding of how to perfect and resolve any flaws they come across?

    Or is it the case that F1 evolves and progresses at such a relentless rate, that the experience that these former greats have is quickly rendered obsolete within a few years of their departure. Either way, I would love to see these guys in modern machines thrashing the hell out of them, and if Schumi can’t get a seat for next year, maybe this could be an option for him.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 1st October 2012, 23:59

      Putting Villeneuve next to Hakkinen is just wrong imho….

      • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 2nd October 2012, 15:24

        I quickly realised my mistake just after hitting the “Post Comment” button, but opted not to amend it. You are right though, I wrongly attributed the words “former great” to Villeneuve.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd October 2012, 16:36

          When would these former WDC’s get a chance to test the cars? There’s barely enough testing now for the existing drivers, let alone former ones or new up and comers. Sure their knowledge is vast, but I think even great proven WDC level drivers like MH and JV would need time since even drivers who are out of F1 for just a few years need time to catch up to the evolutions that have gone on. And MS is actually in today’s F1 car and what has he done in 3 years to advance their package? They’re still a distant 5th in the WCC.

          • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 2nd October 2012, 18:23

            You’ve identified the issue, there isn’t enough testing. The big problem I have with Formula 1 is the out-of-reach elitist culture that pervades the sport, and the absence of more test sessions only compounds the situation. Increased testing would result in opportunities for young drivers, and you could also include former WDC’s as a crowd pleaser and to add value to the event (or to help attract an audience). You could charge fans a small fee and in return they could witness their favourite WDC’s in modern kit, pulling some serious G-force and as a bonus you could even have autograph, book signing and photo sessions. This would improve the image of the sport whilst simultaneously giving the next generation of driver a well deserved chance to showcase their talent, or lack thereof.

            Although, I do concede that the knowledge and experience former WDC’s have probably wouldn’t be applicable or beneficial to a modern F1 team. I guess I’m approaching the issue through a door marked selfish, as (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) I would love to have the opportunity to see Hakkinen in a MP4-27 Vs Mansell in a Ferrari F2012.

  3. sonia luff (@sonia54) said on 1st October 2012, 18:49

    So Nikki Lauda says they’ve got the best driver in F1, really is this the same man who last year was saying that Lewis was a danger on the race track. How people change their minds when it suits them

  4. Lothario said on 1st October 2012, 19:48

    Call me paranoid, but it was rather conspiracy-like for Bernie to come out with that quote on the same day as Lewis’ signing with Merc, I am going as far as to day that Bernie and the FiA deliberatley wait for Lewis’ decision to see if they can disadvantage him in any way shape or form.

    We know obviously that Mercedes and Ferrari design their own engines so that has given them much of a disadvantage compared to the rest of the field, and we know how much that the FiA and Bernie favour Ferrari so to do this once the engines have already been designed and made is somewhat obvious.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 1st October 2012, 23:41

      I also assumed that the Merc connection would be a benefit, but these days all engines are the same. There are no “works engines” and “customer engines”, they are all one spec. At least from what I understood, Mercedes, McLaren and Force India all get the exact same spec Merc engine. Same for Ferrari and Renault.

      Obviously the Mercedes engine contract with McLaren runs out after 2014

  5. Paul-2013 said on 1st October 2012, 20:34

    Lewis Hamilton’s ego is too big to fit on a single McLaren. He always needed two cars just for him, Alonso realized it quickly and left, I’m happy for Button, that’s the best could happen for him, he will finally be part of team instead of Lewis’ circus.

  6. Fisha695 (@fisha695) said on 2nd October 2012, 1:32

    Didn’t read the comments to see if this was pointed out already or not but it was only 2 weeks ago when Bernie said he loved the sound of the Ferrari V6.

  7. It`s time for Hamilton to move on and take on a challenge. McLaren was always a safe bet as it is one of if not the most consistent team for the last 30 years. They have not won too many championships the last decade, but then again what team except Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull has. These three teams have won 8 of the last 10 seasons. But McLaren has always been in contention except for a couple of bad seasons.

    Hamilton is leaving a top team to join a team aspiring to be a top team. If he and Mercedes can pull it off credit should be given to both parties.

    But if they don`t succeed I suspect Hamilton is in for a rough ride, both with his new team and his ego. McLaren has taken very good care of Hamilton and protected him from a lot of adversity. Probably because he`s been with them for so long and he really was their favourite son of whom much was ecpected. He grew up in that organisation and everyone wished the best for Hamilton.
    When Hamilton arrives at Mercedes now it`s in a totally different context. He`s been drafted in as a proven driver of whom much is expected from the get-go. He will not be their favourite son, he`s a hired driver expected to bring World Championships to Mercedes. He`ll have to bring with him a Schumacher-esque work ethic to boot. If he starts bad-mouthing his team and then go on holiday with his girlfriend I suspect the boffins at Mercedes will have a word or two for him.

    For years now I`ve been told that Hamilton is one of the greatest drivers that ever lived. In my opinion the jury`s still out on that one. Taking into consideration the opportunities he`s been given I think he should have been a three time Champion now if he really was one of the greatest drivers that ever lived. He should have won i 2007, he should have won in 2008 (easy) and he should have won in 2010 when he pretty much crashed himself out of contention while having a pretty decent car at his disposal. I think for instant Vettel, Perez, diResta, Hulkenberg and Rosberg would have won at least one world title if they had been driving for McLaren since 2007.

    To be honest I think Hamilton is very talented, and he could be the best of his generation if he`s able to get it right. I do doubt his work ethic and attention to detail can rival Michael Schumacher, and he really has to show those qualities if Mercedes is struggling in 2013. Otherwise he will not be able to build the team around him that he needs to win WC`s.
    Futhermore I always doubted Hamiltons mental strenght when the pressure is on. He cracked in 2007, he almost cracked in 2008 (was saved by the bell) and came unhinged when he was in with a shot in 2010. Every time Hamilton is in with a chance of winning the Championship either something strange happens or he seems to shut down and barge into somebody. I don`t know why this happens but it seems like his will to win relegates common sense to the back seat from time to time.
    For the last couple of years I think his ego has played a part in this as well. Hamilton`s ego could never really cope with Vettel coming along in that Red Bull. Here`s a younger driver that comes along and wins more races and championships than Hamilton. For a man used to being told by everybody around him that he`s the greatest and most promising ever that must be hard, and it might trigger some desperation on his part.

    I think Hamiltons move to Mercedes might come from some desparation on his part. He wants to be one of the greatest drivers of all time, and to be able to be seen as such he really needs to win several championships soon. But he also needs to beat Vettel, if Vettel is a three time World Champion at this year it will be very difficult for Hamilton to be considered as “the greatest of his generation”. And if Alonso wins his third Championship this year, Hamilton will struggle to match him as well. That`s not what either Hamilton or his fans were expecting back in 2007, of course he feels the pressure..

  8. the limit said on 2nd October 2012, 16:43

    I see no reason why McLaren would not support Hamilton in his bid to be champion this year, although that bid’s chances of success are slim. The irony here is that, if rumours are to be believed, if McLaren had supported Hamilton more often recently maybe he would not be leaving for pastures new. The bottom line is that only a select few know the real reasons for what has happened, and I doubt that includes Jackie Stewart.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 2nd October 2012, 17:38

      “if rumours are to be believed, if McLaren had supported Hamilton more often recently maybe he would not be leaving for pastures new”

      Can’t help once again pointing out what came out last year…LH admitted that he let off-track distractions hurt his racing on Sundays. I have said it several times since that admission by LH, and will repeat my opinion again…that must have been terrible for the team and it’s sponsors to hear…all that time and money and resources and he was squandering it for reasons that should not have been brought to the race weekend by LH. ie. in terms of your comment I can only think there are two sides to every street and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mac was questioning LH’s dedication to the team going back to last year. In other words, I’m not convinced there has ever been a time when Mac wasn’t supporting LH. It has been up to LH all this time as to what to do with this support.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.