Dennis admits McLaren could have kept Hamilton

2013 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Ron Dennis, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010Ron Dennis says McLaren could have kept Lewis Hamilton in its team for 2013.

Hamilton left McLaren to join Mercedes for the 2013 season.

Speaking to the magazine of the Confederation of British Industry in December, Dennis said: “Did we have the ability to create a situation where we could have stayed together? Categorically, yes.”

“Would that have been the right thing to do? We didn?t think so.”

Dennis added: “Whatever people choose to do at the end of a contractual period, the professional thing to do is to be supportive of the other side.

“We don?t wish him every success at Mercedes ?ǣ that?s understandable, as he?s obviously going to be a competitor ?ǣ but we don?t wish him anything negative.”

“I think it?s wrong to portray that Lewis left this team. At the end of the day, you end up with a situation where you?re going to separate if the circumstances aren?t right.”

2013 F1 season


Browse all 2013 F1 season articles

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Advert | Go Ad-free

94 comments on Dennis admits McLaren could have kept Hamilton

  1. Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 4th January 2013, 11:25

    This is why I don’t like Ron Dennis. For all his many talents, not holding grudges isn’t one of them.

  2. “Did we have the ability to create a situation where we could have stayed together? Categorically, yes.”

    “Would that have been the right thing to do? We didn’t think so.”

    Typical RonSpeak! …. therefore HE LEFT!! not that McLaren told him to go.

  3. MattB (@mattb) said on 4th January 2013, 11:27

    Equally, McLaren could have fired him earlier in the season for tweeting confidential information. As another commentator said, if he had stayed it would have felt like they were keeping it together for the kids. I think he’ll return to McLaren once he’s realised the error of going to Mercedes, but I also think he needs the shock of that to realise what a good thing he had.

    • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 4th January 2013, 12:00

      Alonso did exactly the same in India after Pat Fry said that Alonso should have done a better job but i bet you don’t know that

      • Gill (@gill) said on 4th January 2013, 13:19

        Alonso did exactly the same in India after Pat Fry said that Alonso should have done a better job but i bet you don’t know that

        When did Alonso do the same ? He criticised him without taking any name.. Both are completely different scenarios.

      • Yet he didnt clearly. its not on twitter. rumours suggest he was going to, but nothing more than rumours. so it probably didnt happen.

        Could alonso of got annoyed and lost his temper behind closed doors? you bet, and rightly so.

        Ferrari shouldnt allow Pat near an interviewer. it isnt his strong point

      • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 4th January 2013, 17:59

        @concalvez00 Almost, but not quite. And almost doesn’t count.

        @mattb Given the state of Ron’s relationship with Lewis (i.e. in tatters), I’m not so sure Lewis will go back to McLaren if it doesn’t work out. It just won’t look good on Lewis. There’s also too many other options he can and probably would explore before deciding to go back. If Vettel is indeed heading to Ferrari, he’d need a replacement at Red Bull. And I can easily see Kimi moving out of Lotus (or even F1 altogether) 2-3 years from now.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 5th January 2013, 6:43

          Given the state of Ron’s relationship with Lewis (i.e. in tatters), I’m not so sure Lewis will go back to McLaren if it doesn’t work out.

          I dont know if their relationship is destroyed. In fact out of all the drivers who have left Mclaren, it seems like this one ended with a feeling of mutual respect towards each other.

          I woulod be surprised if Lewis doesn’t return to Mclaren again sometime later in his career.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 6th January 2013, 10:36

          After Mercedes, Lewis is going into hip hop and fashion, that’s why he left McLaren, for more freedom.

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 4th January 2013, 11:41

    you’re going to separate if the circumstances aren’t right.”

    And there it is…
    Proof that Lewis and Ron’s relationship has gone sour.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 4th January 2013, 16:14

      Or simply McL were not prepared to loosen their control over drivers sponsorship deals or allow them to keep their trophies
      and
      Lewis was not prepared to continue under those stipulations.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 4th January 2013, 11:50

    Move on, they’ve been talking and crying about it for months already…

    You failed to keep him, your fault or not, end of story.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 4th January 2013, 15:44

      It’s not like they’re sending out press releases about Hamilton’s departure. Dennis was asked about the matter in an interview and he answered, that’s it.

  6. Brace (@brace) said on 4th January 2013, 11:50

    “Did we have the ability to create a situation where we could have stayed together? Categorically, yes.”
    “Would that have been the right thing to do? We didn’t think so.”

    **** Sounds like David Brent! :)

  7. maxthecat said on 4th January 2013, 11:51

    I like the way Ron Dennis is trying to imply Lewis left for money and not for the fact they’ve messed up 4 easily winnable WDC’s.

    Sadly McLaren haven’t been consistent since the early 90′s and i doubt they ever will be.

  8. Marcus (@jadedwriter) said on 4th January 2013, 11:56

    Every time I read an interview from Ron Dennis regarding Lewis’ move I get the feeling that he just finished eating a bowl full of sour grapes.

  9. Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 4th January 2013, 12:03

    McLaren certainly will feel it loosing the best driver on the grid, and with a average driver line up for this year it does not look to bright for McLaren honestly

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 4th January 2013, 15:35

      @Concalvez00 – Yeah, it’s not like they have a World Champion, and a promising young talent driving for them next year…

      …Oh wait…

      • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 4th January 2013, 15:51

        @JamieFranKlinF1, not many people rate Button high besides his fans

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 4th January 2013, 16:31

        @jamiefranklinf1 – Maybe they do have button and Perez, but even with the best car, they will need better form than displayed at the middle and end of the season respectively. Otherwise they still won’t beat Vettel or Alonso.

      • Kodongo (@kodongo) said on 4th January 2013, 16:35

        It’s not like they’ve lost the only one to deliver them a championship this century; the only person to have beaten two reigning world champions; the one who is responsible for approximately one out of every six of the pole positions of McLaren; the one who has recorded one of every nine McLaren victories, the one who outpaced his world champion team mate in 17 of the 20 qualifications this season; the one who is the 3rd most succesful McLaren driver of all time in terms of wins (Senna, Prost); the one who is the equal 2nd most succesful McLaren driver of all time in terms of pole positions (Senna, =Häkkinen)…

        …Oh wait …

        • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 4th January 2013, 18:02

          @kodongo This would be the guy Jenson Button outscored from 2010-2012, right? ;)

          • PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend) said on 4th January 2013, 22:33

            No matter what its fans say, for Jenson to win the championship again his car has to be considerably faster than the rest, the tires suit his driving style, a massive dose of luck and all stars must be aligned throughout the year. Then and just then, will he stand a chance of bringing it home. Basically he needs another freak year, like he had in 2009.

          • Nick.UK (@) said on 4th January 2013, 23:02

            @journeyer I hope that is a joke?

            Stats on paper and reality are two different things. How many times did Jenson outqualify Lewis over their 3 years as team mates…? How many retirements did Jenson suffer from failures? How mant races did Jenson win?… Exactly!

          • Kodongo (@kodongo) said on 5th January 2013, 5:32

            …by virtue of Lewis Hamilton’s woeful 2011 season right? The one who, even in his successful 2011 season was outqualified two thirds of the time and spent around 60% of the laps in all the 2011 races behind his team mate. Yeah, that guy.

          • Mortimer (@brookem) said on 5th January 2013, 7:12

            er, your wrong. he only outscored him in one year – 2011.

          • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 5th January 2013, 9:06

            @kodongo Last I saw, you don’t score points in qualifying. ;)

            You seem to imply Lewis is irreplaceable. He’s not – no one is indispensable, not Fernando, not Seb, and definitely not Lewis. McLaren were winning before Lewis came, and they’ll continue winning even after he’s left.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 4th January 2013, 17:40

      *losing one of the 3 best drivers on the grid.

    • Girts (@girts) said on 4th January 2013, 19:26

      It’s possible that Perez exceeds the expectations and delivers a series of strong results and that Button gets his perfect car, beats everyone else and ultimately wins the championship in 2013. McLaren would be foolish to aim for anything less. At the same time, I believe they are concerned about their 2013 chances and understand that the loss of Hamilton is a huge one, no matter what Dennis tells the press.

  10. MilleniumBug (@milleniumbug) said on 4th January 2013, 12:06

    The irony that Lewis is pointing at the Mercedes logo :p

  11. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 4th January 2013, 12:13

    When you have the fastest car over the course of a season but can’t do any better than fourth in the WDC and third in the constructors’ championship, questions have to be asked. Clearly something wasn’t working at McLaren – we didn’t need Ron Dennis to tell us that. What remains to be seen is whether the separation will benefit either party in the medium to long term.

  12. Hunt the Shunt (@hunt-the-shunt) said on 4th January 2013, 12:14

    Zero Constructors Championships since 2000 Or something ? Ron, Lewis left because he was sick of driving for a screw up of a team! Look at all the failures he had since Singapore! Hardly bulletproof! He left because he WANTED to leave!

    I wish Lewis well at Mercedes I really do and I’m no Lewis fan. I’m a bit surprised that, as early as the end of the last season before the final race, Lewis said he may return to McLaren one day. Bit premature no ? Surely if Lewis makes a successful career at Merc and utimately turns around the teams fortunes (like Schumi did with Ferrari) then Lewis would not need to return would he ?

    I always thought it was Lewis I didn’t like while he was at McLaren. Now I realise I just don’t like McLaren! I look forward to seeing him battling with the car and I well think he may surprise a lot of people this year!

    I say, Go Lewis! And thats from an Alonso fan!!!

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 4th January 2013, 15:41

      1998. Mind you, this was when people considered the likes of Panis, Trulli, Fisichella, Barrichello, Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher as future world champions and Lewis Hamilton was 13 years old.

      McLaren have also categorically either messed up the beginning of the season to the point where they couldn’t catch up, or like 2012, messed up during the season, losing their competitive edge. I’m not even getting started on their reliability issues or Mercedes blowouts before.

      I think McLaren is the best organized team in F1. As a life-long Ferrari fan, it’s a hard thing to say. On the bright side, however, Ferrari have somehow kept their stuff together for longer than McLaren has since I’ve been watching F1 (ironically also in 1998).

  13. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 4th January 2013, 12:38

    That’s the first time I’ve ever seem Ham with a halo!

  14. AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 4th January 2013, 13:02

    i don’t think we know much about the atmosphere at McLaren, or the relation between Hamilton and Dennis and Whitmarsh, all we see is some distilled version of their reality packed especially for the media and the public, but it doesn’t really matter anyways.

    the question is that which sides needs the other more. McLaren won 2 drivers titles and 1 constructor title in the last 20 years, which is exactly one less than Red Bulls achievement in the last 3 years. the first of those titles happened, when Red Bulls pre-predecessor, Stewart Grand Prix was barely 2 years old. they had the aerodynamics genie Adrian Newey, the same guy that designs basically the winning Red Bull cars. they wasted a brutal amount of quality drivers. Juan-Pablo Montoya, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso and now Lewis Hamilton. of course the massive ego and attitude of these drivers must have played a significant role in the chemistry as well, but basically the team could not really handle them and could not exploit them to their advantage, additionally could not equip them with a technique both fast and reliable, which led to the separation.

    in an ideal world noone should be forced doing, acting or driving against his will. Hamilton had every reason aiming for separate ways, because their relationship looked like disiproving, the car was either fast or reliable, but not very often both, and his career is basically stucked (his best seasons, resultwise are far behind him).

    of course it’s a gamble, more for Hamilton, less for Mercedes. we might see Lewis rushing back to his former team after one year as Alonso did in 2008, or we might see Schumacher+Ferrari like long run evolution which could prove the real worth of him. whatever happens, i’m just curious to see him driving again.

    • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 4th January 2013, 18:37

      hey wasted a brutal amount of quality drivers. Juan-Pablo Montoya, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso and now Lewis Hamilton.

      …as well as Prost and Senna…

      I see what you’re saying but this does also highlight what a magnet for the absolute best McLaren is. The only significant name missing from recent times is of course Schuey. Maybe he had worked it out for himself…

      • AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 5th January 2013, 13:31

        I can’t really consider those two “wasted”, as they brought 3-3 titels for the team. JPM, Kimi, Alonso and Hamilton had the potential to do the same with the team, but insted of a half dozen titles, these 4 were only able to win once.

        The Schuey question is really interesting. As far as I know, Dennis tried to sign him quite a few times, especially in 96-98, but of course he was aiming for different kind of treating, and found it somewhere else.

  15. Peter_H said on 4th January 2013, 13:24

    Something which should be pointed out is that something that cost Mclaren some championships they probably should have won with Kimi was the Mercedes engine.
    Kimi Raikkonen likely would have won the title in 2003 had he not had the engine failure at Nurburgring & it was engine problems again which cost Kimi in 2005 (How many grid penalty’s did he suffer that year due to engine failures?).

    Looking at Lewis’ time at McLaren, Its not always been a team/car problem that’s cost him. He’s had more than a few screw ups of his own, From the stupid error entering the pits at China ’07 to the numerous mistakes he made in 2010 & 2011.

    Even looking back at 2008 when he won the Championship there were several mistakes made by Lewis which nearly cost him the championship & resulted in it ending a lot closer than it should have.

    Anyway if it was frustration with performance/reliability which swayed Lewis’ decision to move, Mercedes have a much poorer record with both, Not just the past 3 years but for a long time over there many forms. The stand out season was 2009 but outside of that what have that team done in terms of performance & reliability?

    • Guccio (@concalvez00) said on 4th January 2013, 16:03

      @Peter_H

      From the stupid error entering the pits at China ’07 to the numerous mistakes he made in 2010 & 2011

      Your whole comment is mostly bias. In China Lewis called to come in but he had to wait so how is that his fault ? in 2010 he made one mistake in Monza, Lewis win the 2010 WDC was it not for the car problems in Hungry, Valencia and Japan and not to mention being taken out by Webber in Australia (was hit and needed to pit again) and Singapore. IN 2011 he made some mistakes so what ?. in Malaysia the team messed up his strategy, in Silverstone his qualify and race where he had to safe fuel and not to mention Hungry where the team put Lewis on the wrong tires

      • Peter_H said on 5th January 2013, 18:17

        In China Lewis called to come in but he had to wait so how is that his fault ?

        Because he should have been more cautious entering the pit lane knowing he was on worn tyres & that the pit entry was wetter than the racetrack.
        The team may have kept him out too long but going off on pit entry was 100% Lewis’ mistake.

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.