BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson
« Previous | Main | Next »

Hamilton saga nearing endgame

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 10:56 UK time, Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Only Lewis Hamilton truly knows where he wants to drive next season - and perhaps not even he does just yet. But the signs are that the saga that has been occupying Formula 1 for months is nearing its endgame.

Hamilton has two competing offers on the table for his future - one to stay at McLaren and one to move to Mercedes.

The word at the Singapore Grand Prix - for what it's worth - was that he is leaning towards staying where he is; one McLaren insider even suggested that a deal could be inked within days.

At the same time, there may be a complication. There are suggestions that earlier this year Hamilton signed something with Mercedes - a letter of intent, a memorandum of understanding, perhaps - that he would need to get out of before he could commit to McLaren. His current team have heard talk of this, too. Hamilton's management deny this.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.



The conventional wisdom is that Mercedes are offering Hamilton more money and that the deal is sweetened further by greater freedom over personal sponsorship deals. Those are highly restricted at McLaren because of the team's breadth of marketing tie-ups.

But BBC Sport understands it is not quite as simple as that.

For one thing, some sources say the figures quoted for the Mercedes offer in the media so far - of £60m over three years - are significantly larger than what is actually on the table.

Of course, in theory, as one of the largest car companies in the world, Mercedes can afford to pay almost any figure it wants.

But the board's commitment to Formula 1 has been in question all year. While it is understood that the company has now reached an agreement with the sport's commercial rights holders defining the financial terms under which they have committed for the next few years, F1 is not a money-no-object exercise for them.

McLaren believe their offer to Hamilton is broadly similar to Mercedes', and that in terms of total remuneration he could actually end up earning more money if he stays where is.

How so? Well, it seems the headline salary figures may not differ that much - although I understand Mercedes' offer is larger.

Mercedes offer greater freedom in terms of new sponsorship deals with which Hamilton can top up his income, and out of which his management group - music industry mogul Simon Fuller's XIX - would take a cut that some sources say is as great as 50%, a figure XIX say is wildly exaggerated.

McLaren, by contrast, have strict rules around their driver contracts - they do not allow any personal sponsorship deal that clashes with any brand owned by a company on their car.

So deals with mobile, fashion, household products, perfumes, oil and so on are all out. Jenson Button is allowed to have his deal to endorse shampoo because it was signed before McLaren had GlaxoSmithKline as a partner.

McLaren, I'm told, have loosened some of their restrictions in an attempt to give Hamilton more freedom.

And in their favour is that all contracts contain clauses that define bonuses for success; in McLaren's case for wins and championships. These amount to significant amounts of money and on current form Hamilton would earn more in bonuses with McLaren than with Mercedes.

Financially, it is in XIX's interests for Hamilton to move to Mercedes - that is where they will earn most money.

But that may not be the case for Hamilton, which of course begs the question of whether the driver and his management group actually have conflicting interests.

While Hamilton has steadfastly refused to discuss his future with the media, he has been consistent in one thing. As he put it at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month: "I want to win."

He knows exactly how good he is and it rankles with him that he has so far won only one world title.

In which case, the last few races will have given him pause for thought.

McLaren started this season with the fastest car in F1, the first time they have done that since at least 2008 and arguably 2005.

But Hamilton's title bid was hampered by a series of early season operational problems that prevented him winning until the seventh race of the season in Canada. Was it during this period that he signed that "something" with Mercedes?

After a slight mid-season wobble through the European and British Grands Prix in late June and early July, though, McLaren have come on strongly.

Upgrades introduced at the German Grand Prix gave them a big step forward, making the McLaren once again the fastest car.

Progress was disguised in Hockenheim by a wet qualifying session, which allowed Alonso to take the pole position from which he controlled the race.

Even then, though, with Hamilton out of the reckoning after an early puncture, Button ran the Spaniard close.

Since then, it has been all McLaren. Hamilton won from pole in Hungary and Italy; Button the same in Belgium. Then in Singapore Hamilton lost an almost certain victory, also from pole, with a gearbox failure.

Meanwhile, Mercedes have floundered. And while rival teams agreed that a big upgrade to the silver cars in Singapore did move them forward a little, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher only just scraped into the top 10 in qualifying and were anonymous in the race until Schumacher's embarrassing crash with Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne.

Undoubtedly, Mercedes will have given Hamilton the hard sell.

They'll have pointed out that they have won the world title more recently than McLaren - in their previous guise of Brawn in 2009.

They'll have said they are a true works team backed by a huge car company, whereas McLaren are from next year paying for their "customer" Mercedes engines.

They'll have argued that, in team boss Ross Brawn, Mercedes have the architect of the most dominant dynasty in F1 history - the Ferrari team of the early 2000s - who is determined to do it again. Triple world champion Niki Lauda, who is expected to be given a senior management role at the Mercedes team, has also been involved in trying to persuade Hamilton to join the team.

And they'll have said Hamilton has relative commercial freedom with them to make as much money as he wants.

What they won't have said is that the 2009 world title came about in rather exceptional circumstances and that at no other time has the team looked remotely like consistently challenging the best - whether as BAR, Honda or Mercedes.

And they won't have said that McLaren - for all Hamilton's frustrations over the cars he has had since 2009 and the mistakes that have been made in 2012 - have a winning record over the past 30 years that is the envy of every team in F1.

Of course, the past does not define the future, but the future is built on the past.

It's possible that the near future of F1 is one of Mercedes hegemony, but it would be a hell of a gamble to take for a man who professes he just "wants to win".

If the latest indications about his mind-set are correct, perhaps that is what Hamilton has now realised.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

    Im not naive enough to think that sponsors dont have a factor in contracts but it would be a sad state of affairs if he moves to Mercedes for sponsorship freedom. Move/Stay at the best team if you truly want to win.

  • Comment number 3.

    You change your tune week-by-week sir. I don't really see any point following your blog any more.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hamilton's decision will be the big talking point of the driver market but if it is going to be decided in the next few days, surely he is staying with McLaren. Mercedes know that if Schumacher is to leave F1, it will be down to him rather than the team. He is loved in Germany and it would be bad PR if Mercedes would replace Schumacher before he announces his decision. Secretly though, they want to replace Schumacher with Hamilton as he will give them a more competitve edge. As for Hamilton, if he wants to win, than McLaren is by far the more likely option. It will give him stability, he knows the team extremely well and he knows that more often than not, he will outperform teammate Button and therefore will be challenging for wins and titles. I think he will stay at McLaren, the only question is how long the deal is going to be.

  • Comment number 5.

    The other question is, if Merc don't get Hamilton even with Bernie's influence, will their board "do a BMW" and pull out of F1?

  • Comment number 6.

    It's a no-brainer is he's actually serious about winning. Choose a team with 1 race victory or one with 180.

  • Comment number 7.

    Mercedes haven't even made him an offer, why would they, Schumi is better than Lewis.

  • Comment number 8.

    Janner, that story is old news, from July.

    Personally I dislike Hamilton and I dislike McLaren so I'd be happy to see him stay there. I'd prefer Michael to stay with Mercedes for another season and get a decent car at last.

  • Comment number 9.

    @7, I think Jean Eric Vergne would disagree with you on that one. Surely you mean Schumi 'was' better than Lewis.

  • Comment number 10.

    i think Hamilton should juts stay put in maclaren for a year and than move to red bull is vettel decides to join Ferrari. If Lewis decides to join Mercedes than he knows he will only be looking at p4 and downwards given their performance this year, and may nick a win. Hamilton's 27 these are his prime years in 27-31.

    If lewis has a chance to move to red bull he should, ferrari are in love with Alonso and his the golden boy right now i cannot see ferrari and Lewis co-existing in the same team. But webber has been more poor, his just a average driver, he was p10th in Singapore and qualified p7th or 8th. Horner might be looking for a replacement, who knows where hamilton will end up driving.

  • Comment number 11.

    Another article and another thousand posts about Hamilton?

    Are you guys by any chance obsessed?


    .

  • Comment number 12.

    Andrew can you recommend an intelligent, well researched, impartial, and most importantly a highly respected blog I might read to get good insight on Formula 1? Thanks

  • Comment number 13.

    So the big news is that there is no news. Okay. They're having a similar field day over the Kevin Pietersen saga in the cricket dept. You people do love to write blogs about nothing happening dont you?!

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't see how Hamilton has 2 offers on the table, as far as I can see Mercedes have 2 drivers and until Schumacher or Rosberg decides they want to leave (or told they are going) there is no seat available.

  • Comment number 15.

    The BBC should ban links to any tabloid as a violation of the house rules.

  • Comment number 16.

    Its getting a bit tedious with Hamilton. I dont know why I bother reading the latest guesswork on where will drive. He is clearly a great driver, but he is definately not very likeable. Thats OK when he is in the car, but once out of the car is body language and supercilious smile are really beginning to grate!...and I'm a Hamilton fan!

  • Comment number 17.

    From Hamiltons point of view, stay with McLaren. Utter no brainer. *IF* they can iron out the operational frustrations.

    For the spectators? I'd love to see Hamilton in a less than great car bashing its gears out to score well - rather than constantly dropping out of podium positions in a far too fragile McLaren, even if it is the fastest this year.

    Consistency will win out in the end, look at Maldonado compared to Raikkonnen - Maldonado wins a GP, Kimi doesn't yet, but outscores him by 120 points anyway.

  • Comment number 18.

    If Lewis moves or not depends entirely on what motivates him the most, money or winning.

    If the former, then Mercedes have their man, if the later, then McLaren will once again have the best driver pairing in F1 for next year.

    There may be greater sponsorship freedom on the table at Mercedes, but Lewis will not want to give up to 50% of that away to his management.
    Lewis WILL stay at McLaren, having known Lewis since karting days he wants nothing more than to win, that's never a given in F1, but he has a fair greater chance of winning with McLaren than Mercedes.

  • Comment number 19.

    @16 is right, it really is getting tedious with Hamilton. It irritates me that he's so quick to criticize McLaren for their mistakes, but when the mistake is his he blames other people - even the people he just crashed into. As Brundle said of him last year, it's never Lewis's fault.

    I used to be a Hamilton fan, but 5 years of his moaning, miserable attitude have changed that.

  • Comment number 20.

    if he goes, then he is a bit of an idiot. Either way, i think PDR will fill the gap at either Merc or McL.
    When does F1 go to the smaller turbo engine? that is going o be a huge shake-up and im sure some teams will adapt better than others. I would sign with McL until then, and see if you can jump ships to whoever looks to be the early winners

  • Comment number 21.

    @1....you are joking aren't you? Surely you don't believe a word that rag prints in its Showbiz pages and online edition!?!?!? It's as big a comic as the Sun or the Star!

  • Comment number 22.

    Benson, are you writing a book about the Hamilton contract saga? If so, you are giving away far too much material.

  • Comment number 23.

    @20. On first reading I thought PDR stood for Pedro de la Rosa to move to Merc or McLaren!

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm a Lewis fan have been from day one.
    I love the fact he's a racer and can really do things that only Alonso can do (see the control on gravel at Monza!!) they are the best two drivers but that's why he was so frustrated last year and made mistakes by pushing a car that was way off the Red Bulls pace. He "wants to win"!
    That is why I am sorry for him this year he really hasn't put a foot wrong; no stupid moves, no tantrums, just focus and great qualification/race execution. Yet time and again he has been let down by the team (pit sops, strategy, reliability) and I would now include Jensen as he proclaims the title to be btween Alonso and Vettel!! He should try and help Lewis win the championship because he certainly won't.
    So the future: Lewis stay at McLaren, keep winning and don't go for the XIX trick to only get them more money

  • Comment number 25.

    "Only Lewis Hamilton truly knows where he wants to drive next season - and perhaps not even he does just yet" - in what way does this make any sense??

  • Comment number 26.

    @11. A british website likes to write and discuss a British driver. Are we obsessed? Yes.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have tried my hardest to warm to Lewis Hamilton. He is clearly a very talented driver, perhaps the most talented, but that is not always enough in F1.

    The truly great drivers are able to motivate their team and lead them when the going is not so good. If Hamilton wants to be rated up alongside Senna, Prost, Schumacher, Piquet and Alonso he really needs to start demonstrating this quality a little more consistently.

    I include Alonso, and I know some will disagree citing 2007 season, but I think that was a very unusual set of circumstances. He should have handled it better, but he has gone on from there to show he truly is the class of the field at this time.

    To those in the know, I wish you well over the fast.

  • Comment number 28.

    @sportsmad19
    "I think he will stay at McLaren, the only question is how long the deal is going to be"
    Preceisely. With 2014 on the horizon that for me is what's been the real sticking point as opposed to just money. Mclaren will no doubt be demanding long term commitment. Hamilton who 'just wants to win' will want to be allowed to jump ship if needed.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hamilton has simply been racing too aggressively with his F1 car last season and this season. This is why he has not been a constant threat in the F1 title race this and last season. He keeps making silly mistakes during the race that costs both him and his team points. If he wants to have a regular chance to win the F1 title each season, he must stay at McLaren and sort out his driving approach and be less aggressive during the races or move to Ferrari or Red Bull instead who have equally competitive F1 cars as McLaren.

  • Comment number 30.

    Another fantastically creative article that simply churns the speculation and retoric.

    Well done on repeating what we didn't all ready know.

    Can BBC journalists not write some interesting analysis or perhaps some thought provoking article about Formula One?

    Here's a few ideas for you:

    • Compare drivers these days with drivers of yesterday?
    • Are the current safety car rules spoiling F1 races?
    • How inconsistent are the stewards findings?
    • Progress on the American GP, will it change the outlook of F1 in the US?

    I'm sure using your wealth of experience, talent and inside information Mr Benson, you could write some fantastic feature on these three subjects alone - not withstanding the other ample subjects that could be talked about each week from the F1 circus.

    Or would they not get you your reader targets for the boss?

    Please feel free to pilfer my ideas...just stop writing this tabloid rubbish! have a bit more style.

  • Comment number 31.

    @12

    Google for Joe Saward.

  • Comment number 32.

    Agree entirely with @16 and @19. I was also a Hamilton fan, followed him through all the levels of motorsport and was very excited to see him in F1. Whilst his driving talent and ability is unquestionable, his demeanour and attitude at races just seem to get worse and worse.

    Any other team member would've been fired on the spot for the telemetry fiasco - an incident which surely raises questions about his judgement, whilst my personal feelings towards him soured after his 'monkeys down the back' comment (referring to the slower drivers) during 2007 at Monaco.

    If there was ever a driver who needs to take a long look at himself, it's Lewis. I think he needs to take a look again at what he wants to get out of his career, and whether the people he surrounds himself with are quite the right people he needs to extract the peak of his abilities in the future.

    As for where he goes, personally I think the change of Mercedes will do him good, but if goes there it's quite obvious he's following the money initially rather than performance.

  • Comment number 33.

    Logicians everywhere died a little when the first sentence of this blog was written.

  • Comment number 34.

    Hopefully this Saga's conclusion is in sight! Mercedes may be a works team, but McLaren have shown over the last three decades that winning is in their DNA. Lewis may know more than me but I have not seen anything over the last three years to suggest that he has a better opportunity of winning with Mercedes rather than staying at McLaren.

    And if his decision is based around winning, surely what happens next year with Vettel must be taken into account. If there is the possibility of him going to Ferrari you would have to assume a seat at red bull would more than appeal to Hamilton, but if he is locked into a three year deal with Mercedes this opportunity would undoubtedly pass him by.

  • Comment number 35.

    I want to see Lewis move to Mercedes. Hamilton has had a privileged time in F1 driving for a brilliant team. Of the current crop of WDC in 2012 F1 he stands alone as the only one who's not driven for anything other than an outstanding team. Lets see him in a poor Mercedes, and you know, if he does well it'll enhance his reputation far more than scrapeing in the best car on the grid. Just look at Buttons reputation now, because he's proven himself against Lewis his stock has gone up - with Lewis' dropping it has to be said. Back in 2010 people questioned Jensons talent, even with a WDC in his pocket, that's not the case now. If Hamilton goes to Mercedes and can perform (e.g. get semi regular podiums and out perform the car) it'll say two things: 1.) He's matured and is not scared of a challenge and 2.) He's a top top quality driver.

    If he stays at McLaren the question marks about his ability to only win when the car is excellent will remain, and he's unlikely to get the same level of respect given to the likes of Alonso (who has proven 1 & 2!).

  • Comment number 36.

    @bengate

    I think you are confused. Any sincere person even with a slight prejudice knows full well that Jenson Button is the one who complains more that Lewis Hamilton. I shudder to think what would have happened if last year LH made a dangerous move like Grosjean did at Spa. His case would have made all the UN supreme council all agree for once. Strange the Nikki lauda and others have not been talking too much about Grosjean and Maldanado. Lewis Hamilton barring death is going to be in F1 for a long time.

    Andrew why not write something that has facts and not the usual "this person", "that person", so called "reliable insider source" etc. You are not Lewis Hamilton so it is stupid to try to guess. Why don't you just wait until the time comes. Also what has "saga" got to do with this. One will think Lewis was on a life support system with a daft title.

  • Comment number 37.

    Message to lewis hamilton ; You are a young man with precious talent , and god willing you will still be around in 50 to 60 years , but you wont have the ability of today. Your income , earning power , deals ect ect will still be around in 50 or 60 years time ,so the time is now lewis , demonstrate to the world your hunger to prove you are the best ! Wealth and comfort should never be a problem for you and you now know it.The best driver ? prove it . Mclaren is the obvious choice and you know it. Problems ? who dosent have problems. Please be in no doubt how badly a nation wants you to win and keep winning.

  • Comment number 38.

    i personally want him to leave,just to show mclaren if the have a fast car next year why they will be in 5th in the constructors and jenson will be 6th in the drivers.but if he stays at mclaren i hope whitmarsh is gone just for failing in general and not having sown up the constructors title.

  • Comment number 39.

    The saga, as you call it Mr, Benson, has been mainly created by you and Eddie Jordan with the rest of the gutter press following in your footsteps and adding their own spin as it suits them.

    Your latest blog is as poorly written as anything you have done before (and that is saying something) and tells us nothing of any fact, just more bluster, opinion and conjecture.

    Why oh why can the BBC not get commission more articles from the like of Gary Anderson rather than this drivel we are subjected to every week?

  • Comment number 40.

    Yawn....
    Yawn....

    Same old rhetoric. Perhaps an intriguing article into the physical challenges of Singapore, going into detail about fluid loss and effect on the driver would have been more appropriate.

    Any more LH contract talks and i'm going to scream!!!!!!

  • Comment number 41.

    I find myself admiring Alonso more and more. Not only is he a skilled polyglot, he is clearly the best driver in F1.

  • Comment number 42.

    @29.

    "Hamilton has simply been racing too aggressively with his F1 car last season and this season"

    Last season maybe but this year I really can't agree, other than not being more circumspect with the reckless Maldonado in Valencia his WDC challenge has mainly been damaged by the team poor pitstops etc.

    As for next year McLaren is the safe bet but there's some attraction in seeing him doing a Schumacher (by replacing him as it turns out) and building a team up especially with the 2014 regs.

    It may turn out that being in the works Mercedes might have an advantage, especially when you consider how badly McLaren dropped the ball in 2009, the last time there was a major regs change, ok this partly down to helping Lewis win the WDC in '08.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm cracking up - in that I got here, b/c Schumi just tweeted this link literally seconds ago... Guess he's 'watching' too LOL :) Glad I'm a JB fan...

  • Comment number 44.

    Complete boring drivel, which is what we have come to expect from Mr Benson.

  • Comment number 45.

    39. At 14:05 25th Sep 2012, tiggers65 wrote:

    .....Why oh why can the BBC not get commission more articles from the like of Gary Anderson rather than this drivel we are subjected to every week?

    ======

    Indeed tiggers, like this excellent analysis after Spa:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/19465187

    BUTTON AND HAMILTON

    It was a fantastic weekend for Jenson Button. He was faultless in qualifying and was just as good in the race. All praise to him, because it is great to see him pull it back from his dip in form in the early part of the summer.Button's pole position was his first for McLaren since joining them in 2010.

    It was the first time a McLaren driven by someone other than Lewis Hamilton has been on pole since the 2008 British Grand Prix, when Heikki Kovalainen finished top of the standings. That is a lot of races. As for Hamilton, if your team-mate is on pole and you are second and pretty close, it is not too bad. But when the gap is 0.8 seconds and you are eighth, that is something else.Hamilton blamed the time difference on the fact that the two McLaren cars were running different wings, but that was not the problem according to the speed-trap data. With a higher downforce car, Hamilton should have been able to match Button's time.

    I believe Button's incredible lap in the second part of qualifying, which was 0.909secs quicker than Hamilton's, freaked Lewis out. It looks as if Hamilton could not cope with that, messed up the top 10 shoot-out and then started tweeting stupid stuff.Hamilton is not a kid any more. He is 27, he is a leading grand prix driver and an ex-world champion.

    He has credibility, so to tweet some of the stuff he did on Saturday night, with the language contained in it, was not befitting of his status. I would say it was childish.
    If he was my driver, he would have got a ticking-off after the first tweet, but that does not happen these days. As for the tweet on Sunday morning, when he posted a picture of a telemetry sheet containing data from his and Button's qualifying laps, that is completely unacceptable.

    I have had a good look at that sheet now and, while it does not reveal anything too significant, to open up that cupboard of information just shows how naive Hamilton is, how little he understands the big picture.

  • Comment number 46.

    Interesting statistic from the BBC as to who is the in-form driver among the title challengers:

    Top six drivers and their points from the past five races

    1- Alonso - 194 (65)
    2- Vettel - 165 (65)
    3- Raikkonen - 149 (66)
    4- Hamilton - 142 (50)
    5- Webber - 133 (16)
    6- Button - 119 (69)

  • Comment number 47.

    I do not care anymore.

    When a driver can't make his mind up over whether he "wants to win" or to "make more money" it is time to pack in.

    BTW It would have done his image a world of good if Lewis had acknowledged the crowd at Singasnore, no matter how disappointed he felt.

  • Comment number 48.

    @8 Sorry, picked it up from another blog, didn't see the date and I missed the story at the time in among the multitude of nonsense LH stories. The point wasn't really the story, more annoyance at the non stop appearance of LH breaking news (or rather non-news).

    @30 agree, at least make every 2nd blog about some topic other than Ham speculation.

    How about Webber's poor race performances and RB's poor strategy calls on Webber which have taken him out of the championship.

    How about proper analysis of the amount of recent car failures with followups on what improvements the teams have made to stop them happening again. Sebs alternator overheats, Jensons Monza failure, Alonsos rear suspension problem in Q3, Hams gearbox etc.

    Unbelievable how many retirements recently considering the season stats so far:

    Rosberg, completed 100% laps
    Raikkonen 100%
    Webber 99%
    Massa 98%
    Ricciardo 98%
    Vettel 96%
    Button 96%
    Kovalainen 96%
    Alonso 95%
    Di Resta 94%
    Hulkenberg 93%
    B Senna 92%
    Hamilton 89%
    ...
    Schumacher 74%
    ---
    Grosjean 68% ;)

  • Comment number 49.

    @11 nibs! We're not "obsessed" just passionate about the sport - Huge Difference now isn't there?! ;)

    Besides, AB's blogs have seemingly taken a less prejudicial approach in its appraisal of Lewis in the last 2 recent races. I see only minimal references of his usual embarrassing n blinkered remarks about JB's divinity over all drivers, regardless of the fact that LH outperforms him to the majority. Im not saying JB's bad, just that I welcome factual n balanced blogs as opposed to fantasy ones.

    AB's posts of late are like a breath of fresh air. Im not saying he's completely impartial yet-but he's getting there ;)

  • Comment number 50.

    Jeeeeez
    Why does eeryone hit on Benson so much? He's a journalist whose remit is presumably to provide coverage of a particular story... not pander to the petty whims of narrowminded keyboard warriors!

    YES detailed technical articles are welcomed, but thats presumably what Gary Anderson is for. Andrew Benson's role is to provide a wider scope of the F1 world, be that Hamiltons contract, accidents, or Bernie's financial activities throughout Bavaria :roll:

    And, specifically @1 - Janner_
    I would hardly say that July's Daily Mail is relevant

  • Comment number 51.

    I just love all these armchair x-box jockeys' comments on what Lewis/Jenson/Maclaren/Merc et al should or shouldn't be doing. After a strenuous 5 minutes with their joy-sticks they retire to the kitchen with a rich tea biscuit to dunk in their weak tea while they tap out some juvenile missive based on their extensive knowledge and experience of the infinite variables of racing at the absolute zenith of motor sport. And I thought only football fans were intellectually challenged.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think a lot of people are missing the point with Hamiltons potential move. It's NOT all down to money. He has been hesitant to sign a new contract with maclaren as they have asked him to take a pay cut. That's fine on the face if it but what that wage drop represents is a big no confidence vote from maclaren. Lewis has consistently won races and is widely regarded as the fastest driver on the grid.... I don't thinly its the money he has an issue with its what that cut in wages says about maclarens view of him as a driver. I fully back him and undersyand that is a bit of a kick in the teeth, however maclaren is where his best chances of success lie.... At the MOMENT!

  • Comment number 54.

    @52 theJudgeNOT13 Try studying the concepts of philosophy before you start hitting on LH about his references to it. People always try to ridicule what they don't understand - Scholars have always been aware of that well known fact.

    So Well Done to you for qualifying yourself to that category of the uniformed populace. :)

  • Comment number 55.

    In this what media is these days - rhetoric, speculation, making things up?

    Stop de-stabilising, stirring etc, let the guys race and sort out their futures behind closed doors in their own time. Im utterly fed up and bewlidered that you can get away with making so much up in the name of 'journalism' and then when Hamilton kicks back or says something out of turn, you will write 'Hamilton has a meltdown' or something similar.

    You're better than that Benson, you can actually write (which is more than most of your colleagues), so use it sensibly.

  • Comment number 56.

    @54 It is the "Damascus Road" like conversion Lewis appears to have undergone since 2011 that is quite remarkable. A cynic might think XIX needed him to appear less petulant and abrasive - hence Lewis' love of "every new day" in 2012.
    PS I've got a post grad degree in Philosophy of Religion

  • Comment number 57.

    @56 Objection Judge! You can't purport that latter statement as fact without tangible evidence. Overruled! ;0)

  • Comment number 58.

    @57 CoolKev

    Approach the bench please. I can purport what I wish as I'm the judge - not counsel for the prosecution nor the defence :)

    Further, whether Lewis has crossed the "Red Sea" into the "Promised Land" or whether he's freely enjoying the pleasures of "Sodom and Gomorrah"; whether he is Monotheist, Polytheist or plain Atheist is of absolutely no concern to me. That which does concern me is....

    Who the H%$l is he going to drive for next year?????????????????????

  • Comment number 59.

    @54 "category of the uniformed populace. :)"

    As in the police uniform? Watch out what you're infering, we could be on the way to another 'pleb-gate' here ;)

  • Comment number 60.

    The Benson bashing is way out of hand. It smacks of plain nastiness.

  • Comment number 61.

    Mmm.... Ham.

  • Comment number 62.

    @1 janner

    Your post is about as accurate as some of Mr Benson's research and reporting skills... next time, check the date of your beloved daily mail article! Can imagine how hysterically excited you were to make sure your got that link (knock) in.... prfft!!

  • Comment number 63.

    @36 zatknight

    I don't believe I'm confused. I don't think McLaren are either, and they prefer Button by the looks of it - at least, they re-signed him last year when Ferrari and Red Bull were said to be sniffing around, but McLaren haven't shown the same urgency in re-signing Hamilton. Button works well with the team, is calm and trustworthy - all the things Hamilton fails at, despite his speed.

    Which might be partly why Ferrari and Red Bull aren't sniffing around Hamilton.

  • Comment number 64.

    mercedes are gonna need to sell a lot of cars to make up that 60 million!!

  • Comment number 65.

    Meat-based enjoyment aside, my main irritation is the relentless criticism of these blogs. There is simple reason for this post, and that is because people want to know. People put in Q&As to the BBC all the time, so BBC gives all the answers it can (Sky deal excepted). Sure there are instances in which there are rather drab blogs produced, but they are all in response to something.
    And quite frankly, with no race weekend for another ten days, something needs to fill the space. Sure, another article might be be preferable to some, but this is currently the big development, the in-story as it were, and yes, for how long it has gone on for, it has arguably become a saga. The point is that it would be wiser to suggest a new blog to the BBC, rather than whining about it in response to another blog.

    To the issue itself, there are many factors, but in order to win trophies, it has to come down to McLaren over Mercedes. Even in years where they have lacked pace, they have shown extraordinary skills in developing the car throughout the season (Hamilton technically won the second half of the 2009 WDC) and as we saw with Button's increased form in 2011. Developments from Germany have also shown that McLaren can really pull out a strong car at any stage of the season. Mercedes have nothing to show for themselves since they created their own banner in 2010. While Schumacher is indeed arguable, I refuse to accept that Rosberg is a poor driver; it must be something with the car. Whatever the case, Mercedes have certainly not yet proved that they are capable of providing a championship-winning machine. Therefore, if he is the natural-born passionate racer that I thought I saw when he arrived in 2007, he will stay with McLaren.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think Hamilton will leave. I would prefer him to stay at McLaren but the team have been terrible this year with pit stop debacles, demotions from pole and now two retirements in as many races. I think its a poor effort and they should have the championship all but tied up by now, they have had by far the most superior car but the team just hasnt had the directorship that is needed to be clinical in the critical moments of the season.

  • Comment number 67.

    Boring, boring, boring. He's rich. Nothing matters. Let's get interested in the lives that we can positively affect.

  • Comment number 68.

    Sounds a little crazy and most of you here will actually think i am bonkers, but what about the possible move to Ferrari in years to come. Wait I know what most of you will say, he will never race with and alongside Alonso, but I think he(Alonso) realises just how good Lewis is and would for all intensive purposes actually enjoy having him as a team mate. Would he go straight away to Ferrari probably not, but at the begining of the year everyone was laughing (hand over mouth) at how bad their car was.

    Differences aside the two of them would both catapult Ferrari back into their former glory days of the Shumi era. With a little bit of time and of course dialogue regarding their feelings toward each other I would say Hamiltons best bet would be to sit tight and go to the red team. They are of course the name of Formula 1.

  • Comment number 69.

    Quote from AB's blog: "Then in Singapore Hamilton lost an almost certain victory, also from pole, with a gearbox failure"

    He retired on lap 23 of a 60 odd lap race, the longest and possibly hardest on the calendar, with SV 2 secs behind and JB a further 3 behind. Yet still fb's accuse AB of conducting a campaign agains LH & favouring LH!

    FB's I will have a pint of what you are drinking please!

  • Comment number 70.

    ooops meant favouring JB @69

  • Comment number 71.

    Well McLaren have one champion on board so if Hamilton's mulling over money and sponsorship then they should let him go and bring someone else in - save some cash! There are enough guys on the grid showing well in weaker cars and it's about time seats in the top teams opened up (poisoned chalice of being Alonso's teammate excepted).

  • Comment number 72.

    @58 Judge13

    Judge13: "Approach the bench please."

    CoolKev(Councel): Yes Judge?

    Judge13: "I can purport what I wish as I'm the judge - not counsel for the prosecution nor the defence :)"

    CoolKevl(whispering): Granted your honour, but do you really have to press your nose against mine as your telling me this? lol! ;)

    @59Janner. Ahem!! Thank you for that correction kind sir! Erm? No offense to any uniformed audience members on here - luv you guys. Gulp!!!

    :D

  • Comment number 73.

    @68 nonameneeded

    Vettel has a pre-contract to go to Ferrari in 2014. That leaves a seat spare at Red Bull for 2014.

  • Comment number 74.

    Lewis should definitely have a shampoo contract like Jensen's. No wonder he's hacked off with McLaren

  • Comment number 75.

    informed, balanced and sensible summery. Suggest Lewis, Martin, Ross and even maybe Simon read before putting pen to paper.

  • Comment number 76.

    "Only Lewis Hamilton truly knows where he wants to drive next season - and perhaps not even he does just yet."

    This is right up there with Benson's previous logical masterpiece of "it would be a shock but not a surprise" from a couple of weeks ago.

    No insight, no new information and poorly written. Please save my license fee and just get rid of this blog.

  • Comment number 77.

    Another non-news, speculative, factless, uninteresting, gossip-ridden article from AB... complete with his 'can't miss an opportunity' pop at schumacher. Doesn't the editor expect more from a chief subject columnist???

    Agree with 39 & 45... ( many ) more column inches to Mr. Anderson please.

  • Comment number 78.

    Whats the odds that Jenson is already being groomed by the BBC for the exclusive slot of either main F1 BBC commentator/ Head Sky F1 Commentator upon retirement?

    It wouldn't surprise if a juicy contract, in principle, was already being drafted waiting in the wings to be rubber stamped by JB's signature in the next 7 years or so - such is his extraordinary pally, pally relationship with the beeb et al.

    Just some food for thought. Nothing against the guy, but just MHO. Which is why I believe Lewis has to be xtra savvy with future contract deals from here on in - as its very unlikely indeed that he'd be offered such a deal with the beeb after his career retires.

    Not that he would necessarily want anything to do with a BBC deal opportunity in the 1st place mind you. Considering the unprofessional, shameless, and completely unfounded disparaging remarks continually voiced upon him by none other than JH, DC, and MB at every available opportunity. They dont even interview LH on the grid pre-race anymore - have you noticed?? I wouldn't say EJ so much, as these days I quite like his fair and more balanced appraisal of BOTH Mclaren drivers. Im Quite impressed actually.

    Anyway, I do sincerely hope LH does take that historical step, and walk into the more promising hands of Mercedes, as I can see 2014 being a whole new ball game in F1 with Mercedes and Lewis taking the upper hand and calling the shots especially as Mclaren will be coming to his new turf at £8Mil a time for engines - sweet! :)

    He just has to watch his back cos wherever success settles - the Hawks will always follow. And by that I mean the pending promotion of Mr Lauda (the guy who slated him all last season) to an exec position in Mercedes should LH give his consent to join Merc!

    The young and naturally talented racer Lewis, is the ONLY pivotal step in the way of Mr Lauda & Merc Execs realising their much coveted Concord project at Brackley HQ!

    Watch this space. But be careful Lewis. I wish him every good fortune for 2013 and beyond amongst his ever growing surrounding throng.

  • Comment number 79.

    Hamilton's future all depends on if schumacher retires or not. If he does there is all the reason for Lewis to move to mercedes. If schumacher stayes on another year, i cant see mercedes getting rid of him.

  • Comment number 80.

    UURRRRGGGHHHH when will this nothing story end!! Far too much time and more annoyingly blogs/write ups/interviews popping up all over the show! We all know its either mercedes or mclaren and have done for weeks. We also know that his management will push for mercedes =more money for them, but there not necessarily going to have a more competitive car than if he stays at mclaren. So until a decision is made either way can we stop with the regurgitation of this story every week, PLEASE!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    @78 Coolkev

    Wow, Kev, not that cool are you? What's your beef with Jenson?

  • Comment number 82.

    @79 Not so sure about that? As apparently contract deals from both camps are on the table for Lewis. So maybe Mercedes already know something we don't regarding Schumy. Lets wait n see :)

  • Comment number 83.

    @81 Wow, Yellowbelly not so studious are we? Take a look at what I said a little closer regarding your man JB. Heres an extract to help ya along a litlle : " Nothing against the guy...".

  • Comment number 84.

    There's a great piece on the Lewis Hamilton saga here - http://www.netcars.com/blogs/f1-petrol-head/the-lewis-hamilton-complex/928/ - I personally think he should stay loyal to the team that have supported him since a youngster and the team has so much potential to bring him more championships. Arrogance could well be Lewis' downfall though. I think he's an ultra talented individual but some of his recent behaviour has been preposterous and some offences would have meant lesser drivers would have been out the door "so to speak".

    Money is always a factor in these dealings and i've heard on the grapevine that Mercedes already have a deal in waiting and as they are more of a global brand they can offer more money. But surely when it all comes down to it and when Lewis looks back on his career he'll want race wins and championships - not money (that he already has).

  • Comment number 85.

    Just thought I would throw a different perspective on things, after reading many of these blogs/comments it seems apparent that Hamilton will never go down in history as one of the greats whilst driving for Mclaren.

    Where as if he were to go to Mercedes and then perform, he would be attributed for their success, turning around a lacklustre team he'd be seen as a more complete driver like Alonso rather than just a fast driver who has landed on his feet at Mclaren.

  • Comment number 86.

    @78. Can you please clarify your comment "Considering the unprofessional, shameless, and completely unfounded disparaging remarks continually voiced upon him by none other than JH, DC, and MB at every available opportunity"
    I thought I heard Martin B call Lewis "the fastest driver on the grid at the moment" or words to that effect on Sky's coverage of Singapore. How can that be disparaging?
    Also, Martin doesn't work for the BBC anymore. Can you provide some examples of the other disparaging remarks from DC et al please.
    Martin gave up interviewing Lewis on the grid as he always says no. I think even Ferdy will give an interview every now and then.

    I think Lewis is one hell of a driver, but please don't try to raise him to the status of a "Driving God" and perfect in every way. He is as flawed as all of us!
    Also, what is the "Concord project" you refer to?

  • Comment number 87.

    Enough regarding Lewis Hamilton, let him go to Mercedes & bring in Paul Di resta as his replacement. He is a talent for sure in his less competitive Force India car.

  • Comment number 88.

    Well... I just have this crazy idea. What if Lewis takes a year off? I mean if he is unsure about his future and what´s the right thing to do. Maybe to take a year off is going to help him to think clearly and recharge the batteries. All I´m saying is that perhaps he needs time on his own in order to avoid to take a step he might regret later. I´m not saying he should be out there having a party everyday and wasting his time. He can still talk and negotiate to different teams besides McLaren if wants to. He can go to any F1 race as visitor if he wishes to.And spend time with teams and drivers. Maybe if he looks at the whole picture from the outside he could make up his mind and be more sure about what to do.

    What do you people think?

  • Comment number 89.

    You obviously have not been listening to any BBC's F1 coverage last season, much less this present season's coverage. I encourage you to pay closer attention to the numerous replays available on the web. It's a common joke now that whenever an incident happens on track, the automatic reaction is "Its Lewis' fault". And that my friend is precisely the tendency you get from our beloved BBC commentators. Go do some research on the web, as im sure you are capable of performing your own due dilligence/research but this time pay attention to the commentary. Okay

    As for you latter question do check out the following link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/motorsport/formulaone/9563299/Lewis-Hamilton-urged-by-Niki-Lauda-to-leave-McLaren-to-join-Mercedes-Formula-One-super-team.html

  • Comment number 90.

    #88 - What about the Pirelli test role when Jaime moves on?

  • Comment number 91.

    @88 I dunno, sometimes when you take time out someone is always waiting in the shadows trying to take your place. You take a year out you are old news, Perez and Hulkenberg step it up maybe win a couple of races they cost less and maybe have less personal issues (2011 hamilton) I'm just saying I think a year out is a backward step not a side step in my opinion

  • Comment number 92.

    @89. Please don't try to patronise me - I watched every session F1 shown last year on the Beeb or online and at no time did I think that Lewis got a hard time. When he made a mistake that was his fault, that was the way it was called. Spa was a howler, I'm afraid and the commentary team got it right. I watched Lewis race in GP2, F3 Euro and Formula Renault and he like all drivers makes mistakes. It is the job of the commentary team to offer their opions. I think they might know a little more about the job that you or I - unless you've spent the last 20 years racing.

  • Comment number 93.

    @72 CoolKev

    "CoolKevl(whispering): Granted your honour, but do you really have to press your nose against mine as your telling me this? lol! ;)"

    I was checking out the aroma of your shampoo - before I decide on which shampoo brand to contract with.

  • Comment number 94.

    @92 Im not patronising you - far from it. Just want you to keep your cool and follow up on my suggestions whilst keeping an open mind - thats all. You don't need to be a psychologist to read the obvious vacillating sentiments in the BBCs commentary as the camera pans between either of the two Mclaren stars.

    Its so plain - even a 5year old can pick up on it.

  • Comment number 95.

    @95 Ahahaha!! There always seems to be some form of "contractual" motive involved in your actions/thinking judge?! lol!!

    Im so sure your dreams would involve an outcome concluded in some form of commitment to contract too! hehehe! ;)

  • Comment number 96.

    Oops! I meant @93 :)

  • Comment number 97.

    @82. Mercedes obviously know some thing we don't and Bernie hinted at that. Schumy has probably told mercedes that he's retiring.

  • Comment number 98.

    @97 Yeah, I'd second that.

  • Comment number 99.

    "...What they won't have said is that the 2009 world title came about in rather EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES and that at NO OTHER TIME has the team looked REMOTELY like consistently challenging the best - whether as BAR, Honda or Mercedes."

    I just about love this segment... please, enlighten us as to these "... rather exceptional circumstances". More probable than not the author, being a "fanboy" of JB, knows exactly what these "exceptional circumstances" were. He says exceptional... I say miraculous. (And please, don’t say it was down to JB’s supreme skills as a driver ... it took him 8 years! LH could have done it in his 1st, but for “exceptional” car failure in a penultimate lap – then did it in his second.)

    Was the Button/Honda win in 2008 something gifted by Bernie, coincidentally a year after Lewis, the first Brit of colour/"not a true gentleman in the eyes of Bernie" (after all, he listens to rap music), won. It appeared to me it was too bitter a pill for Eccelstone to swallow. It was obvious Ecclestone was not fan of LH back then (nor David Coulthard)... still aren't. And if it wasn't for some "miraculous intervention" (some would say, exceptional circumstances), why did Honda immediately shut up shop after finally winning an F1 Championship? Curious.

    Is this the reason that, for once, AB appears to be neutral in an article on Lewis Hamilton?

    Bernie still seems to be in the habit of gifting, for example, the Williams/Maldanado win; one, it was FW's birthday after all - the other, for some financially/politically motivated reason supporting its "I've got nothing to lose, so I'll ruin anyone else's race I see fit... because I can" driver that is Maldonado. Can Williams afford to lose Maldonado? Doubt it, and he know it. Also, the "miraculous" Rosberg/Mercedes win in what is probably the most financially valuable market to Mercedes, the brand. Rosberg is unlikely win with Mercedes again, for the same reason JB is unlikely to win an F1 title again (unless he employs last season's skullduggery mindset).

  • Comment number 100.

    @94 Hang on - you said earlier that the BBC commentary team were guilty of and I qoute "Considering the unprofessional, shameless, and completely unfounded disparaging remarks continually voiced upon him by none other than JH, DC, and MB at every available opportunity"
    Now you say they are vacillating? Which is it? Are they continually disparinging about him or are the changing their mind all the time? As for you comment about a 5 year old being able to pick it up? Pick what up?
    I'd like to ask you a couple of questions. I am a fan of motor sport. Than means more than F1. I have huge respect for any driver who gets to the pinnacle of a sport I love - F1. Have you ever been to any race outside of F1? F3? BTCC? FR 3.5? CART? Sportcars? Historics? How about a clubby race meet at Mallory? I have. Have you? You seem to be so set in your opinions, it blinds you to the truth. Get out to your local track and pay your £10 to get in and support the future of motorsport.

 

Page 1 of 3

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.