Button doubts wisdom of Hamilton’s Mercedes move

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: Jenson Button says he think Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes, who he drove for from 2003-9 as BAR, Honda and Brawn, isn’t the right decision.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Jenson Button: Lewis Hamilton has made wrong decision to leave McLaren (The Guardian)

“He has chosen to go his own way at the end of the year. It is his decision, although I personally don’t think it is the right decision.”

SIC to negotiate with FOM for reduction of fees to host F1 (The Malaysian Reserve)

“Sepang International Circuit Sdn Bhd (SIC) will seek for a reduction in the payment to host the Formula One (F1) race which first came to Malaysia in 1999, following a similar successful move by its Singapore counterpart.”

The Horse Whisperer – From one extreme to the other (Ferrari)

“It?s a pity that Montezemolo had simply stated a principle, nothing more, nothing less. At Ferrari there will be room for anyone who demonstrates they have the talent to drive a scarlet car and to work in harmony both with and for the team.”

Massa decision set for Tuesday (Sky)

“Luca di Montezemolo has revealed he will sit down with Felipe Massa at Ferrari’s headquarters on Tuesday to discuss the Brazilian’s future before making a final decision on a contract for 2013.”

‘Massa kerb’ for Indian Grand Prix (The Times of India)

“The Ferrari driver, who was quickest in the practice sessions for the Indian Grand Prix, retired midway through the race with a broken left suspension after kissing too much of the kerb on turn eight of the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater Noida. That kerb has now been christened as the ‘Massa kerb’.”

NBC Sports Group gets US Formula One Rights (NBC Sport)

“The deal that begins next season will air four races on NBC. The remaining 16 races, and all practices and qualifying sessions will be on cable NBC Sports Network in what’s expected to total more than 100 hours of annual programming.”

Whitmarsh glad to leave Korea (The Telegraph)

“This economy, this culture, we can make a success of it here but we probably need to think of the formula and how to do that because the location of the circuit does not make it easy.”

McLaren want Hamilton to feel the love (Reuters)

Lewis Hamilton: “I have not been distracted once this year… I am still 100% a part of this team, right until the last minute. People will continue to say there’s a rift between me and Jenson and there honestly are no issues between us. We’ve been fantastic team mates really.”

Mixed emotions for Mark in South Korea (Mark Webber)

“I didn?t have enough clutch at Suzuka last weekend and here I had too much. The initial launch wasn?t good and that resulted in me having a mediocre run to the first corner.”

Analysis: Red Bull DDRS (ScarbsF1)

“Red Bull’s adoption of DDRS is also surprising; as it?s the first time a team have exploited this technology since Mercedes introduced it for the start of 2012. This might be in part due to the system being banned for 2013 and teams are looking at the passive Drag Reduction Device (DRD) as tested by Lotus\Mercedes.”

Tweets

http://twitter.com/PaulHembery/statuses/257671167559749633

Comment of the day

@TimothyKatz kept an eagle eye on the development of BBC’s “Vettel to Ferrari” story yesterday:

I’ve been watching that story ?ǣ the headline has changed three times this morning. From the original, definite position to “might” and now it?s back to “set to”.

[...]

Now they?ve changed the headline to “Ferrari plan for arrival of Sebastian Vettel, but Massa stays for 2013″.
@TimothyKatz

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On this day in F1

One year ago today Dan Wheldon lost his life following an appalling crash at the IndyCar season finale in Las Vegas.

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110 comments on Button doubts wisdom of Hamilton’s Mercedes move

  1. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 16th October 2012, 9:37

    I have to agree with Button that it’s a mistake for Hamilton to go to Mercedes. We can speculate endlessly about the competitiveness of Mercedes in the coming years, but I think he’s going for the wrong reasons. The whole ‘building a team around you’ is a fine romantic idea, but I don’t see how it got into Hamilton’s head (or who talked it into him) that Lewis would be the person to do that. In my view, that would amount to rallying people in a team to your cause, perhaps enticing key personnel from other teams to join your organisation (the way Schumacher got the key people from Benetton to join him at Ferrari), but I don’t consider these people skills to be Hamilton’s forte.

    Perhaps it’s as good a time as any to leave McLaren. They’ve had good times together over the years, but there have also been frictions, most recently the contract negotiations themselves, I think, for which I blame both Hamilton and McLaren; Hamilton for caring about stupid notions like branding, and McLaren for not making him a decent offer intially. I’m very disappointed that Red Bull and Ferrari, both of which had driver decisions to make for 2013, showed no interest. I would have loved to see Alonso vs. Hamilton in red, or Vettel taking on Hamilton at Red Bull. I can understand that Red Bull have owe a degree of loyalty towards Webber, but Massa should have been fired a long time ago, his recent return to form notwithstanding. Cowardice, I say, of Ferrari and their ‘one-rooster-policy’. Don’t forget that for all the trouble Hamilton vs. Alonso caused in their first encounter, they did win the constructors championship for McLaren in 2007, before the FIA took it away. Pairing Hamilton and Alonso may create frictions occasionally, but it could also bring out the best in both. After all, they would do everything in their power to improve their performance, in order to beat the other guy.

    • sumedh said on 16th October 2012, 9:58

      Cowardice, I say, of Ferrari and their ‘one-rooster-policy’.

      Smartness, I say, of Ferrari and their ‘one-rooster-policy’.

      • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 16th October 2012, 10:42

        I tend to agree. At least they have a clear policy and some form of rationale behind it. Any driver joining Ferrari now – even Vettel – should be aware that he will be a number 2 to Alonso – and perhaps the only way to overcome the number 2 problem is to hit the ground running and absolutely blitz the beginning of the first season.

        • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 16th October 2012, 11:17

          @dirgegirl, McLaren also have a policy: to get the best two drivers available to them, and I find the rationale behind that policy much easier to understand.

          Luca di Montezemelo has often championed the idea of allowing three cars per team, but what would be the point if you don’t get good drivers to drive them? For almost three years of fielding Massa’s car, all they have to show for it is a handful of podiums.

          • dirgegirl (@dirgegirl) said on 16th October 2012, 11:30

            @adrianmorse – I’m not saying that I think Ferrari’s driver policy is optimal. I prefer McLaren’s philosophy myself. But I do think that it’s wise of Ferrari to be open about their policy and reasoning, simply because any driver who goes in knows what they’re getting.

            And let’s not forget – Ferrari have underperformed in WDC and WCC recently, but they’re leading McLaren in the WCC at the moment, despite Massa… obviously it’s debatable how much of that is down to driver policy rather than reliability / astroturf / first lap incidents…

    • Jason (@jason12) said on 16th October 2012, 10:45

      A Lewis/Vettel or Alonso/Vettel pairing would be much more interesting to me than a repeat of Lewis/Alonso.
      We’ve already seen that one before.

    • “I have to agree with Button that it’s a mistake for Hamilton to go to Mercedes”

      How can it be a mistake to leave a team that has literally thrown your championship out of the window for you?

      This season should/could have been wrapped up by now for Lewis, he could have been double, if not triple champion by now (if they didnt ruin his 2007 chances) And i can totally see why hes leaving. To win a title you need all ingregients to be right. Quick car, reliable car, good pit crew, good strat, it all needs to come together, and Mclaren have proven that they actually cannot get this combination right on a race by race basis.

      Bang on all you want about building the quickest car, but when you make countless operational errors, and cost YOURSELF the title, its entirly pointless having a quick car.

      • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 16th October 2012, 11:09

        How can it be a mistake to leave a team that has literally thrown your championship out of the window for you?

        First of all, McLaren’s operational mistakes and reliability issues remind me of the motor racing adage that it’s easier to make a quick car reliable, than to make a reliable car quick. Also, judging by Schumacher’s poor reliability run at the start of this season, Mercedes are hardly a beacon of consistency.

        Second, if he goes to Mercedes because in his assessment Mercedes have a better chance of providing him with a chance to win the title than McLaren over the next three years, then it’s the right decision to move. If he decides to go to Mercedes for the challenge of building a team, and the opportunity to develop his brand, then it’s the wrong decision, in my opinion.

        • “First of all, McLaren’s operational mistakes and reliability issues remind me of the motor racing adage that it’s easier to make a quick car reliable, than to make a reliable car quick.”

          Yes, its a cute saying, but is it actually true? particularly in Mclarens case.

          Did they tell Raikkonen that during his stint there when they cost him titles too?

        • Jason (@jason12) said on 16th October 2012, 12:15

          Just being out of McLaren is great decision by Lewis.
          Merc has promise; McLaren will certainly continue to disappoint:
          1. If the car is fast – poor pit stops
          2. Improved pit stops – poor reliability
          3. Improved reliability – poor pace, strategy, etc, etc, etc…

        • Ogurka said on 16th October 2012, 12:20

          @adrianmorse Don’t discount $$ as a major factor in these decisions

          Hamilton for caring about stupid notions like branding

          It was brand development and licensing that got Schumacher to double his $40 million annual salary and become a half-billionaire:
          http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2012/03/09/billionaires-in-the-making/2/

          Also McLaren lost the 2007 WCC to Ferrari by 1 point (204-203) “before the FIA took it away”.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th October 2012, 12:57

            Also McLaren lost the 2007 WCC to Ferrari by 1 point (204-203) “before the FIA took it away”.

            Had McLaren not had any constructors’ points confiscated by the FIA in 2007 – for both ‘Spygate’ and what happened at the Hungaroring – they would have out-scored Ferrari.

            If you take ‘Spygate’ out of the equation but keep the Hungaroring points confiscation, then Ferrari would have scored more.

          • Ogurka said on 16th October 2012, 13:39

            Yes they lost 15 Constructor points for the Qualifying shennanigans in Hungary which McLaren chose not to appeal. If they had appealed and won it would have been McLaren 218 – Ferrari 204 before the FIA struck all their points post Spygate.

  2. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 16th October 2012, 12:57

    RIP Dan Wheldon. You are not and will not be forgotten.

  3. The Limit said on 16th October 2012, 13:25

    I think the notion of Hamilton having the Mercedes team ‘rally around him’ is one of the main reasons he has parted with McLaren. He has, for several different reasons, lost the support and possibly the respect of the McLaren team. For Ron Dennis himself, the man who was pivotal in Lewis joining McLaren, to not be on speaking terms anymore with him tells it all. Alot has gone on there that we do not know about nor are we ever to know about. When we look back at history, one fact is undeniable. No driver, no matter how talented, can win championships without the full support of the team.
    For those that scoff at this suggestion, I remind you of the situation Alonso found himself in five years ago. He had an opportunity to win the championship with McLaren, but the team sided with Hamilton instead, with Ron Dennis almost admitting as much at the 2007 Chinese Grands Prix with his ‘we were racing Fernando’ jibe. McLaren is Jenson Button’s team, and has been for awhile.
    Deep down this is why Lewis is moving on, this is why he opened his mouth on Twitter in Belgium, and possibly for his mood swings last season and this. He is not the top man at Woking anymore and he knows it. By going to Mercedes, he has taken a massive gamble. If it pays off or not, he must garner the full support of that team even when times are hard. He has to dominate and be professional, no more crap on Twitter, he must be focused.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 17th October 2012, 5:02

      I agree quite a bit. But I’m not sure it’s that massive a gamble. The Macs last year and this have not been Red Bull beaters in the end anyway (other than occasionally of course but not for the crown), and it just feels like he had to go for enough reasons such that he won’t be looking at it as a gamble, but a refreshing change and a new challenge and a chance to zero the scales. He couldn’t zero the scales at Mac anymore. Too much baggage perhaps. Internal pressures and hard feelings that shouldn’t be clouding the goal but perhaps did. It wasn’t nearly enough to be just about the hope that the coming years’ Macs are good enough. And Brawn might be right that in 2014 you want to be with a manufacturer based team.

      And I can’t see LH doing otherwise than what you suggest, because I think the change itself will do him a world of good. And Mac. Maybe even JB. I think it’s going to be plenty fun to watch next year. If LH squanders this chance for more silly reasons, then he will have painted himself thus. But surely that won’t happen. Tell me he wouldn’t let that happen.

      I hope and trust LH and NR both work well together and have a healthy co-operative effort, and a healthy rivalry that sees them push each other, fully supported by the team, and thus advance the team and their standing to eventually challenge at the top. Sitting a distant 5th in the WCC, they’ll all need to be pulling together with focus.

  4. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 16th October 2012, 17:15

    Gosh. CotD, and I’ve only just noticed.

  5. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 16th October 2012, 17:28

    . . . and Andrew Benson’s story now has yet another headline “Ferrari plan for arrival of Sebastian Vettel, but Massa stays for 2013″.
    It must be really difficult keeping a developing story relevant, particularly when one of the central characters, Horner, insists it’s untrue. “Sebastian Vettel, without a shadow of doubt, will be part of the Red Bull Racing team in 2014.” But I suppose that’s the difference between online and print media, where a journalist or editor would think long and hard before sending a story to print, just in case it could be out of date by the time it hit the streets.

  6. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th October 2012, 20:00

    I love how much time Scarbs puts into his blog, his articles are easy to understand and structured well.

    I guess it’s easy to think that Hamilton is making a mistake, but ultimately it depends on what HE wants. It’s only up to him to decide if it’s a mistake. If he’s trying to make a success of a new team but he fails I will respect him more for trying than deciding to go with the easy option by staying with McLaren.

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