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Hamilton's tough decision

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Andrew Benson | 10:00 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

Since BBC Sport chief analyst Eddie Jordan reported on this website last week that Lewis Hamilton was on the verge of switching to Mercedes from McLaren next year, Formula 1 has been awash with speculation about the 2008 world champion's future.

McLaren did their best at last weekend's Italian Grand Prix to dismiss the story - team boss Martin Whitmarsh even joked: "Any sentence that begins, 'Eddie Jordan understands' is immediately questionable, isn't it?"

But it was noticeable that not only did McLaren not deny the story was true, they said very little to suggest Hamilton was staying with them.

From Whitmarsh, it was: "Lewis and his management have made their position clear to us", "my understanding is we're talking to him" and "I'm pretty convinced we will have a very good, competitive driving line-up next year."

None of which translates as "Hamilton is staying".

From second left - Lewis Hamilton, Martin Whitmarsh, Jenson Button

Hamilton was triumphant at Monza, but how many more races will he win with McLaren? Photo: Getty

As for the doubts cast on the veracity of the story, the source is strong and credible, and the core information - that Hamilton has agreed terms on a contract with Mercedes for next year - is based in fact.

That does not necessarily mean Hamilton will move but it does mean he is thinking about it seriously. And you can make what you will of his downbeat behaviour throughout the Monza weekend - even after he won the race.

In the paddock, the general view was that a move would be a mistake - but it is a much more complicated decision than that.

Firstly, McLaren have undoubtedly been more competitive than Mercedes in the last three years. Between them, Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button have won 16 races since the start of 2010; Mercedes only one, with Nico Rosberg in China this season.

Over an extended period, McLaren have a winning pedigree beyond that of any other team. Only Ferrari have won more grands prix, and they have been in F1 for 16 years longer.

Hamilton, who has been nurtured by the team since he was 13, says: "I want to win." On pure performance, there's only one choice, right?

In F1, things are rarely that simple.

Yes, McLaren usually have a good car, but until this year it had been a long time since they had unquestionably the best.

It was close with Ferrari in 2007-8, although hindsight would suggest now that the McLaren was probably not quite as good then. In which case, you probably have to go back to 2005 to find the last time McLaren had conclusively the fastest car in F1.

This is known to have irked Hamilton in 2010-11, and played some part in the cocktail of issues that led to his difficult season last year, when his frustration at the car's inability to compete for the title and problems with his family and his girlfriend led to what he admitted was his worst season in the sport.

That all changed this season. The McLaren is again setting the pace. But a series of operational problems in the opening races badly affected Hamilton, costing him 40 points. Add those points to his current total and he would be leading Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, not trailing him by a win and a fourth place.

Hamilton has done well to disguise his disappointment publicly, but it was around this time that his management started approaching McLaren's rivals about job opportunities.

On top of that, McLaren are entering an uncertain period. For the first time next year, they will have to pay for their Mercedes engines - that's in the region of eight million euros they cannot spend on the performance of the car unless they find it from other sources.

Tied in with this is the question of salary. McLaren have made it clear they cannot afford Hamilton at any price. The word is they have offered him a cut in money for next season, on the basis that they cannot afford anything more. This might be offset by other compromises, such as over PR appearances, flights and so on.

Already on about half of what Alonso earns at Ferrari, one can imagine how that has gone down with Hamilton - especially as McLaren's portfolio of sponsors makes it very difficult for a driver to do personal deals elsewhere to top up his earnings. That's because almost anywhere he looks there's a clash with a company that has links with McLaren.

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Meanwhile, Mercedes are by definition a "works" team with factory engines, have the might of an automotive giant behind them. They can pay Hamilton a lot more than his current salary - believed to be about £13m - if they want to. And at Mercedes there is also a lot more freedom for a driver to do personal sponsorship deals.

The funding for Mercedes' F1 team comes entirely from external sponsors - and the budget is reputedly significantly less than enjoyed by Red Bull and Ferrari. But it is underwritten by the parent company so even if there is a sponsorship shortfall it doesn't affect the team.

Performance-wise, the team that is now Mercedes actually won the world title more recently than McLaren, when they were Brawn in 2009. Ironically, the man who won it was Button. His success - and what he interpreted as the team's ambivalence about him staying - led to him moving to McLaren.

Admittedly, Brawn's success in 2009 was tainted by the row over double-diffusers that clouded that season. Once everyone had them, the car was no longer as competitive as it had been.

Mercedes have certainly been under-performing since then, but that can at least partly be explained by the fact that Brawn, facing serious financial problems, slashed their staff by 40% in 2009. As Mercedes, they have been slowly building levels up again.

The pressure on the team to up their game is massive - hence the huge investment in terms of staffing and resources in the last 18 months or so.

And while they are a long way behind McLaren this season, they are on an upward trend, even if it is significantly slower than either the team or the Mercedes board would like.

Equally, few in F1 would disagree that Hamilton is one of the three best drivers in the world, alongside Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes don't have any of them.

It's impossible to know how much faster the car would go in their hands than it has done so far in those of Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Some might argue not at all. But, that's not how Hamilton, who raced and beat Rosberg in their formative years, will look at it.

Add all that up, and the decision doesn't seem so easy after all.


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Tough choice? Hamiltons decision will be based on greed. Greed for success or greed for cash. Now is not the right time to move IMO. Why break up a good family. Or is it because they no longer get on? Only Lewis knows.

  • Comment number 2.

    well obviously, at the end of the day the decision is down to hamilton. andrew points out that in 2011 he was frustrated with the car, which may be true but he also lost his cool because over the course of that season jenson did a better job. i understand that external problems will affect you subconsciously, but then you have to ask the question that why are these drivers paid so much? its so that they win races and deal with such things that would otherwise affect their driving. moving on to his options, i remember watching a press conference in monza where schumi denied this retirement talk. so if he doesnt retire what other option is there? will they pay him out as ferrari did to kimi?
    Lotus doesnt seem like a viable option in the long term- they have a very competitive car now but I don't see them somewhere up there in the future. Ferrari? well goodluck trying to tell mr alonso that.
    So his options are limited really, I would suggest that he stays with mclaren for a year and stick it out and then wait to see other options or openings elsewhere the year after. by the end of 2014 red bull might have two available vacancies (with the rumour that vettel is going to ferrari and webber might not be retained). and to be honest i think lewis is more informed than us and what we see from the media. for now i think he should just focus on the championship, reel in alonso and hey if he wins the WDC again this year that will increase his market value even more. Time will tell

  • Comment number 3.

    Not sure an opinion piece should really have pushed the genuine news story about Professor Sid Watkins off the top spot so quickly. Comment is fine, but it shouldn't be valued over actual news.

  • Comment number 4.

    It would be madness for Lewis to leave McLaren. They are a great match. I think he will win the title this year and hopefully future ones too with McLaren.

  • Comment number 5.

    Andrew Benson | 10:12 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

    "few in F1 would disagree that Hamilton is one of the three best drivers in the world, alongside Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Mercedes don't have any of them"

    Oh yes they have. Rosberg is considered to have performed better throughout his F1 career than Hamilton, in fact he has been almost flawless, and if the latter moved alongside him I would be delighted to find out the outcome.

    It would be quite close but I know whom I would put my money on to prevail.


  • Comment number 6.

    ""Already on about half of what Alonso earns at Ferrari .." No wonder he is considering to move. I think he would do well with Mercedes

  • Comment number 7.

    Thank you so much Andrew Benson for this article, I have been very disappointed by all the media coverage concerning Hamilton since Eddie Jordan started this rumour circus.

    Looking deeply into the facts it does seem a move to Mercedes could be the long term choice to best benefit Hamilton's career. Many fans talk about "loyalty" and hint that because McLaren nurtured him (Hamilton) since he was 13 he should stay.

    Surely Hamilton should be free to race for whom ever he feels will give him the best chance of being World Champion. And his true fans should support his decisions.

  • Comment number 8.

    At 11:11 13th Sep 2012, KrisFoster wrote:

    Not sure an opinion piece should really have pushed the genuine news story about Professor Sid Watkins off the top spot so quickly. Comment is fine, but it shouldn't be valued over actual news."""

    Indeed, shows how disconnected Andrew Benson really is. This tabloid piece could have waited....well forever to be honest. But certainly a day.

  • Comment number 9.

    Surely this is all just a case of LH managment trying to justify their fees from LH by going through the cycle of seeing who else is potentially interested in getting him. . .not sure that its anything other than a marketing exercise myself.

    It make little sense for anyone to switch from a winning team to at best a 'potential winning team'

    Lewis i would like to think has titles and wins in his mind rather than money. . .but as Murray says anything can happen in F1 and usually does !

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm not convinced Mercedes are on an upward trend on current evidence, being currently well behind the top four and under pressure from Sauber in the standings, while they were 4th in 2009 and 2010. Yes, Rosberg won in China but they have seriously tailed off in the second half. I still think if Hamilton goes to Mercedes, it would be a massive risk. Perhaps with the car giant behind them they will be better for 2013 but I doubt they'll better McLAren for a while yet. More likely Hamilton is fed up with McLaren and the relationship with Button gone sour, so looks to Mercedes as a temporary place until for a place in RBR/Ferrari (or he'll inevitably return to McLaren).
    My best guess is this Mercedes talk is a tactical thing to improve his lot with McLaren, probably thinks they are taking him for granted...

  • Comment number 11.

    Good article, however in my opinion Raikkonen is as good as Vettel, to take a year out and come back as strong and consistent as he has is impressive. One thing I have been thinking about is out of the current world champions, arguably Alonso, Hamilton and Raikkonen are the only ones to have won a world championship without having a dominant car.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think Hamilton is being a bit churlish about things. He can be the F1 champ this season and potentially the next ones post that with McLaren. He made a bad call with his tweeting, which showed him to be immature next to Button. All this seems to me is a posturing by Hamilton so he is seen to be feted and "wanted". At Mercedes it will be a development situation before they have a world beating car and by then it may be too late for Hamilton.
    McLaren could well do a deal here. Give them Hamilton for 2013, in exchange for free engines, which they will currently have to pay for. In return they remove their offer as well from the table and the amount Mercedes would have to pay Hamilton could be dropped with no other offer available from a challenging team. Win/win for both teams. Not so for Hamilton as there is nowhere else to go.
    McLaren could then concentrate on 2012, win the championship and constructors, use Button as the main man and bring in say Di Resta to develop.
    Overall Hamilton could be the main loser in all this. He is a fast driver, but immature and petulant sometimes.

  • Comment number 13.

    Lewis should leave Mclaren asap and join merc where he can slowly bring them success and trophies with his raw speed and pure racing ability. Whitmarsh has conspired to treat him like a second class citizen to button to the point of now offering to pay him less than Button, what an insult. It would be very interesting to see where Button can take Mclaren if Lewis leaves. I can easily picture Hamilton winning a race next season with merc before Button does with the latter complaining of oversteer, understeer, no grip and how can this car be so bad at the moment.

  • Comment number 14.

    Yet another article based on what. Give us some hard evidence. Are you and JA trying to out speculate each other. Why don't you just wait till you have some facts.
    Meanwhile Michael Schumacher was the only F1 driver who bothered to turn up at Magny Cours yesterday to oversee progress with upgrades on the Merc. Not the actions surely of a man who potentially has been shown the door.
    So Hamilton his on the verge of signing a deal that gives him all he craves for. To look at him you'd never know.

  • Comment number 15.

    To the people who are saying that Lewis' decision will be based on greed (Bursaspor16) - you clearly haven't read the article and considered all the facts.
    Lewis currently earns HALF of what Alonso gets but is widely considered (even by Alonso himself) as the best driver in F1. But now McLaren are offering a pay cut to stay with them. How can you consider that as greed????

    Would you take a pay cut to stay in your job next year when someone else doing the same job as you elsewhere gets twice as much?


    I rest my case..

  • Comment number 16.

    Sorry, but this is secondary to the main story of the day. Formula 1 have lost a great friend of the sport in Sid Watkins. Thanks for the ride Sid - RIP.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    @nibs comment 5, you say: "Rosberg is considered to have performed better throughout his F1 career than Hamilton, in fact he has been almost flawless, and if the latter moved alongside him I would be delighted to find out the outcome."

    When I read comments like this I wonder if there is another universal dimension on Earth that I am unaware of. Please look at their stats. Podiums, pole positions, and points... I agree it would be good to see them both in the same team.

  • Comment number 19.

    Thank God Benson wrote an article about Hamilton. We didnt have enough of them.

  • Comment number 20.

    None of us knows how Lewis Hamilton 'feels' about anything - other than his obvious desire to be the best in F1 and win races and titles. Why accuse him of things like 'greed' if you haven't actually sat down and spoken to him? Why speculate and then put words in his mouth and interpret things like body language when we don't know all the facts or the man himself personally?

    If he looked irked at Monza, surely that was because all the media questions were about his contract when the man was there to race. Other drivers have recently negotiated contracts and talked to other teams without causing this OTT reaction. Lewis, McLaren or anyone else involved can't say anything, obviously, until the deal is signed. So hush please media numpties and can we talk about real F1 matters?

  • Comment number 21.

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

  • Comment number 22.

    What is arguably hamstringing Hamilton's decision is the timing of having to decide if he stays or goes now. He's at a very significant moment in his career. He won't get significantly better than he already is as a driver (and that is undoubtedly one of the fastest drivers, in my opinion even with Alonso and faster than Vettel in terms of raw pace)

  • Comment number 23.

    A well ballanced Blog by Andrew Benson. Food for thought about what Lewis and his management team will decide upon :)

  • Comment number 24.

    15.At 11:24 13th Sep 2012, IYoung wrote:

    "but is widely considered (even by Alonso himself) as the best driver in F1"

    Do you know the word "courtesy"?

    I will explain to you what it means. Manchester United travel to Uzbekistan for a Champions League group stage match. Alex Ferguson is asked by the local press "what is your opinion of Uzbekistan FC?". Ferguson responds: "They are a most dangerous opponent, they can cause problems to any team in the world, maybe it's the most difficult place to come and play". Back pages the following morning read "Ferguson afraid of Uzbekistan FC".


  • Comment number 25.

    #21 Sorry Bazza, but you can't be a true F1 fan if you've never heard of Sid! He has been one of the most influential characters of the sport since Bernie appointed him as F1's medical officer. F1 wouldn't be F1 as it is today without Sid.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hamilton is already known globally for what he has done on the track as well as high profile relationship with Nicole Scherzinger. While Mercedes will offer him a much bigger salary, McLaren will probably still give him a better car next season. They have the best car at the moment while Mercedes started with fast machinery over one lap but have struggled at some races. Their inconsistency makes them the big disappointment of the year. In the end, I think Hamilton will stay from a competitive point of view but I wouldn't be surprised if he goes to Mercedes if Schumacher announces his retirement.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm sure the fanbois will find a racist slant or some anti-Hamilton bias in this one somewhere. For the life of me though, I can't. But then, perhaps I am not evangelical...

    In the final analysis it has to be what feels right for Lewis. But I can't help feeling that XIX (under Lewis's instruction?) are pushing this one from purely the image rights angle and have no thought at all about Lewis the driver, and his desire to win more WDC's. I am not convinced Mercedes F1 is the right place to pursue a successful driving career. I may be proved wrong of course but three seasons on and not a lot has changed, apart from what appears to be a one-off result at China. They are still near the top of the mid-field, still dragging on the coat tails of the top 3 (McLaren, Red Bull, Ferrari) and fighting with Force India and Sauber.

    If Lewis could secure a drive at Ferrari or Red Bull there could be no argument, they are two top teams and the move would make perfect sense. But Mercedes says more about image rights than driving passion to me. I know that Mercedes have a glittering past in motorsport but in F1 at this time they don't, nor have they threatened to show it. A smattering of podiums and one win in three years is not WDC/WCC form. Unless 2014's engine regs shake things up as fundamentally as 2009's regs, or they have something up their sleeve for 2013 then I don't buy it.

    Money or titles. Make your choice.

  • Comment number 28.

    He should do it. McLaren have a history of messind up relationships with their drivers. Kimi, Fernando and now Lewis, were not happy there. Better pay, better position. Time for a change.

    I will quote

    "McLaren hamper their drivers by refusing to put in place team orders where they are clearly called for. F1 is a TEAM sport and I have no idea why we all seem to find this so hard to grasp and slam the teams for using every piece they have on the board to win. There is no question in my mind that Ferrari have it right. Massa let Alonso by at Monza because Alonso is their best chance of winning the wdc. It’s simple isn’t it? If I owned a team I would let the drivers race until half way through and then back one or the other of them – seems fair to me? Want the backing? Outperform your team mate.

    Then there is the car, how many time in the last 4 years have McLaren given their drivers the best car in the field? Once, never – depends on your own bias how you answer this.

    Also, said it before and say it again despite all the detractors – Hamilton’s insecurities mean that he needs to be overtly loved and his ego means that he needs a certain status in a team (no different from Alonso). Had I invested £50 million in Hamilton like McLaren did I would have ensured I got a return on that investment by flattering him and adoring him all he bloody-well wanted. It’s simple business. Hamilton would have thrived at Ferrari due to the overflowing passion and adoration."

    ps. The profile picture of the post could be a more positive/neutral one.
    You always give Hamilton such grumpy pictures, that is biased journalism.

  • Comment number 29.

    Schumacher is going to ferrari for a 2013 and is then retiring. Hamilton has signed to Mercedes for 3 years as of 2013 F1 season

  • Comment number 30.

    Sory,I don´t understand. The article says Lewis has agree with Mercedes but at the same time it says Lewis may not move now. Why wait? Why sign with McLaren for one more year knowing he is already out? What kind of season he will have with McLaren? I know Schumacher is still with Mercedes but if they are so desperate about having Lewis then Mercedes should tell Schumacher to quit now.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 24 nibs - Don't try to say that Alonso never said that by blaming the media for changing or misinterpreting what he said.

    Here's the story, take a look for yourself - and accept the FACTS. Lewis is the best F1 driver.

  • Comment number 32.

    either he stays or goes its of no importance due infact to McLaren being bigger than one person.
    since Ron Dennis removed himslf the team has been going through changes, the curret leader mr Whitmarsh has a different style of leadership to captain Ron and this may be the problem some are seeing Mr Whitmarsh has the apearance of a car dealer who will make the deal as he sees fit where Captain Ron was more the blunt instrument but you knew where you stood, Hamilton may be suffering the change of team management more than others and his change of personal management team to publicity seeker group who as it seems gets beckham to jump around like a clown might be a very bad choice unless its all for the money? sad realy and stories of this team being rejected by Ferrari and Red Bull on there aproach does make one think its only a matter of time beore something blows i just hope it doesnt damage the teams. some times it spoils formula one when a driver and or his management team thinks they are bigger tha teams or the sport.
    well for some there is always indy car etc if there management teams annoy all the race teams, you never know in todays financial climate.

  • Comment number 33.

    Hmmm... Pressed comment there slightly prematurely!

    What is arguably hamstringing Hamilton's decision is the timing of having to decide if he stays or goes now. He's at a very significant moment in his career. He won't get significantly better than he already is as a driver (and that is undoubtedly one of the fastest drivers, in my opinion even with Alonso and faster than Vettel in terms of raw pace) but still has years ahead of him.

    If he is ever going to leave McLaren, it seems now is a natural moment. Hamilton, after years of saying he would stay for life, looks willing (in principle) to leave and whilst McLaren clearly want him to stay, they are resigned to the fact they may lose him. Hamilton is clearly still a long term prospect for any team, but at the same time he comes in at the absolute peak of his game.

    However, the only seemingly viable move open to Hamilton (financially and competitively), namely to Mercedes just doesn't look quite good enough. Hamilton is undoubtedly a better driver than Rosberg and Schumacher (now), but is he better than them to an extent that he can make that Mercedes go faster to the point where they're winning races? In my humble opinion, Hamilton, Alonso, no-one is quote good enough to bridge that gap. I think Hamilton will deliver a race win or two, he'll certainly improve where they qualify. But all I can see him achieving overall would be helping Mercedes leapfrog Lotus and become the fourth best team. If Hamilton's primary concern is winning another World Title then surely Mercedes is a poorer option that McLaren. I would be genuinely interested to hear from anyone who believes Mercedes makes Hamilton more likely to win a World Title?

    Of course if it's simply about who pays him more, then he's almost certainly already made his decision. There seems little doubt that Mercedes will pay him the best part of double what McLaren will. And let's be fair, how many of us would not consider moving jobs (even if we're settled and like our job) for double the money? Accusations of greed are unfair to say the least. This is ultimately, his job, his living.

    If Hamilton wants to win another World Title AND wants to earn more money then the only destination for him would be Ferrari or Red Bull. Next year both of them are ruled out. But if Hamilton is willing to be patient then it's hard to imagine one of those doors won't open in due course. As unimaginable as it was two years ago, Alonso and Hamilton as a pairing, whilst I admit still unlikely, doesn't seem outright impossible anymore. And Vettel, being so young and successful already is surely at some point going to give in to the temptation that eventually pulls all 'great' drivers in... Ferrari. Winning a World Title with Ferrari, for no rational reason really, seems to hold an allure that outshines World Titles with other constructors .

    If Hamilton simply wants money... Go to Mercedes now.
    If he is more concerned about World Titles... Stick with McLaren
    If it's somewhere in the middle... Stay with McLaren but give yourself a get-out clause and go to Ferrari or Red Bull in a year.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Gregsterh 11:40 Excellent, if these comments had a "like" button, I would have clicked it.

  • Comment number 35.

    Was another article really required?, especially when there is no new facts about this 'rumour' story.

    The BBC F1 'Chiefs' need to give its rest, like a bunch of school children stirring things up between them.

  • Comment number 36.

    My concern over a move to Merc is their long term commitment. On a single Board vote they can suddenly pull the plug on the team at any time if the results do not meet their shareholders' expectations. F1 is purely a very expensive marketing excercise for a carmaker and being beaten by a customer team (McLaren) on a consistent basis is an embarrassment and not a good investment of precious marketing cash. This is what happened with all the other carmakers BMW, Toyota, Renault & Ford (Jaguar) that have entered F1. If they can manage what Audi (VW) have done in Sportscar and build a dominant team, this would be a good move, but it would be a huge gamble for Lewis IMO.

  • Comment number 37.

    Far too many red-herrings in here. Keeping trophies, PR appearances, sponsorship etc. Most of these are add-ons which may or may not swing a finely balanced decision one way or the other but at the heart of it all, and at this moment in time (2012 season, seven races to go) the main decision is black & white surely.

    If it's money you're after, go to Mercedes. If it's wins, stay with McLaren.

    Sure, you can 'enhance the brand' by exploiting the greater sponsorship freedom at Mercedes but if you don't win a single race next season, or the season after, what happens to your 'stock' then? Even if it's the teams' fault (bad car) then all that happens is you both fall from grace.

    I say he should stay, but then like everyone else, I'm not privy to the 'atmosphere' at McLaren.

  • Comment number 38.

    I used to really admire LH but lately I've found myself not liking his silly schoolboy tantrums and sulkiness. He's a bit of a manchild! I know he's a better driver than his team mate but at least JB is the consumate professional through good and bad times . LH should stick where he is. The grass it not greener at Mercedes there just must be lots of promises and money!!

  • Comment number 39.

    I know the BBC has to stick to their man by the way, but the BBC in their coverage of the Monza GP and in this article seem blindly unwilling to even partially acknowledge they ran a story about Hamilton signing for Mercedes that has, at best, been proven to be premature, and at worst has been shown to be wrong/misleading/ill-informed.

    Let's not delude ourselves here, the BBC, with full 'news-flash' effect said that Hamilton had SIGNED for Mercedes next season. They allowed this to be quoted by other news sources and run wild on Twitter. However as the story unfolded it went from "Hamilton has signed for Mercedes", to "The BBC understands Hamilton has signed for Mercedes" to "Eddie Jordan advises the BBC he understands Hamilton has signed for Mercedes" to "Eddie Jordan: I think Hamilton may go to Mercedes next season".

    So in the end it all turned out to be Eddie Jordan had that comment from Ecclestone that suggested MS had decided to leave Mercedes, he's added this to the fact Hamilton is out of contract at season end and then effectively manufactured that into a story clearly suggesting Hamilton has actually signed a contract.

    That little montage at Monza Eddie Jordan did was presented in the format that no-one would talk to him because they didn't want to discuss the 'truth' he'd brought out into the open.

    Was it perhaps no-one wanted to talk to a man who (in the eyes of some) had turned rumour and supposition into a story that could be seen to grossly misrepresent what had actually happened?

    BBC needs to stop treating Eddie Jordan as a journalist as he seemingly has a very poor grasp of the distinction between rumour and fact.

    This whole story has frankly been a bit of a screw up from the BBC.

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with some comments on here, and before I add my own I would like to express my deepest symathies for Sid Watkins family and friends. R.I.P Sid and thanks for everything you did for this sport.

    Most people in their ordianry lives move Jobs for 1 of 2 reasons:-

    1: They receive more money and benefits for doing the same Job
    2: Promotional prospects

    So, I do not see LH's desire to race for another team for money a "greedy" option, merely a "I want to be paid at least somewhere near other top drivers earnings". However, that is also tainted by his stating "I want to win WDC's". He has a better chance of winning WDC's at MacLaren than Mercedes, currently, in my opinion.

    This takes me back to the "Senna", "Mansell", "Prost" decisions from the early 90's surrounding Williams. Mansell left because Prost came on Board and Prost left because Senna said he would be willing to drive for Williams for nothing. Now, Senna did this because:-

    a: He had enough money in the bank already
    b: A racing driver wants to win and he knew Williams was the better option

    So, bearing this in mind, if Lewis really wants Wins and WDC's, no matter what the cost, he should stay with MacLaren. If he wishes to be likened to Senna, then let him behave as such and race for nothing.

    Decisions are never easy in life, but if I had enough money in my bank account I would work for the company that would give me what I wanted, even if that meant working for very little. (Naturally if I had a few million I wouldnt be working at all, I would be following F1 live around the world (lol)).

  • Comment number 41.

    With cost-cutting mesures being introduced slowly but surely, the gap between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari and the likes of Mercedes, Sauber and Force India will reduce. Each of the 'top' teams (whoever they may be) will most likely need to have distinct number one and number two drivers if the gap reduces anymore since Alonso is finding himself in two title races in three years partly as a result of this.

    McLaren are not backing Lewis because he is burning bridges and so Lewis needs to be somewhere where he is the clear numero uno. That is not Red Bull or Ferrari either so where else can he go? A move to Mercedes looks like one step forward, two steps back but it might work out entirely different.

    Or car performance might not even be a factor. What I heard on the radio from Lewis' cockpit on Sunday was regret but the kid is too stubborn to change his mind if a decision is made. He is not maturing in the same way Mercedes are not improving. Maybe they can get the best out of each other? Maybe that's the thinking behind it?

  • Comment number 42.

    18.At 11:27 13th Sep 2012, Pablo_G wrote:

    "Please look at their stats. Podiums, pole positions, and points..."

    One has been driving a McLaren -multiple race-winner year in year out- the other has been driving a..whatever. How on earth is the other going to claim these podiums poles and big points in a "whatever". How old are you to have made a comment like this?


  • Comment number 43.

    If Lewis wants to win races and WDCs, his best chance at the moment is with McLaren. If he moves, it must be for other reasons.

    Apparently McLaren are preparing to fill the vacant position with Kovalainen. Nothing against the guy, but I don't think he's WDC material. They would do better to take on Perez if possible, who I think is a rising star and is the most likely to become the next new WDC.

    PS. RIP Sid Watkins

  • Comment number 44.

    I think this year raises doubt about Mercedes, from where they stand now it will take them at least 2 years to challenge for the title - even then only if everything goes well.

    I can understand Hamilton being frustrated, since 2008 McLaren has under-performed. However it might be better to sit and wait another year. Then either Red Bull or Mercedes depending on relative perfomance.

  • Comment number 45.

    Joe G makes all the good points...

    I dont think anyone should beat up on Lewis for considering his position. Its a very tough decision for a guy still only 27 to make under the spotlight...he has not been in this position before...

    There is a reasonable argument to leave McLaren...however they would look a much less potent team without him. Button as lead driver? I know everyone likes him - for good reason - but personally I dont see him as one of the top raw talents when it comes to driving. I love to see Jenson doing well tho.

    Lewis can be a hot head-and has some time still to mature. The thing is - I think he is so damn fast that he gets frustrated when he is not winning - which I can understand. I dont think people should knock him for not being the fully rounded package that Alonso is just yet...anyway - its possible McLaren would do equally well with a quick new young driver like DiResta...

    I dont think Lewis would win world titles at Mercedes - not at least for a couple of years if they can develop the car - but he would bring the coin in and have an old friend as a team mate. I think if he went there for a few years - matured a bit more - then returned to McLaren - that might be nice. Sometimes relationships need a break and refresh.

    There is the question of loyalty - and I think a lot of people feel uncomfortable about Lewis leaving McLaren which is understandable. How loyalty fits in is to an issue like this is always complicated - but lets not forget that Lewis has given back a lot to McLaren also through his performance. THAT is why they nurtured him - they didnt pick him up off the street because he was just a nice guy...he showed a incredible talent from a young age...

    Things can change dramatically over time - but the idea that Lewis will drive for Ferarri in the near future seem very odd....I mean as far as I can tell - he is not popular in that domain...As for Red Bull - perhaps if/when Vettel leaves - that might be an option...but Im not convinced Vettel will leave for Ferrari...being on the same team as Alonso Im not sure is a good idea if you are a top driver...

    But who knows how this will turn out. Good thing is - there are several upcoming drivers and plenty of top drivers around...F1 is not boring at all at the moment...

  • Comment number 46.

    Having a significant ego is a prerequisite for a F1 driver. It helps them win. And for drivers like Hamilton and Alonso, their understanding of the team's 'respect' for them is measured in how much they are paid. It will be unbearable for Hamilton to accept that Ferrari value Alonso twice as highly as McLaren appear to value him. Winning races just makes it worse! If Mercedes can pay him the same as Alonso, then not winning as often as he has done will not be so important. It's all about 'respect.'

  • Comment number 47.


    Can you give me some stats to back up your 'Rosberg has performed better than Hamilton in F1' claim please? Seems surprising, but maybe I'm missing something. I'm talking facts rather than subjective comments about Lewis having a better car etc etc.

  • Comment number 48.

    If the offer from McLaren is less than JB is on then I can't see Lewis staying. Personally I think Lewis will leave, not purely for the money but for the status in team and a need to show the world that he can perform outside of the McLaren safety net.

  • Comment number 49.

    IF hamilton does move it will NOT be for greed. I can see him joining Mercedes if he has a performance related contract - which will open the door to Red Bull, if Mercedes do not perform, and Vettel heads to Ferrari (like is rumoured) in 2014.

    The real issue for Hamilton is that Ferrari have a No.1 and 2 driver, Red Bull have the same (no matter what anyone says) but Mclaren do not. I'm not saying this is wrong, but this helps Vettel and Alonso as they do not have to compete that hard with their team mates. Massa will just move aside for Alonso - and Red Bull always change Webbers pit stops to ensure Vettel gets past. Lewis on the other hand (as well as Button) have to fight each other a lot more and, in turn, take points off of each other harming each others title hopes. I would think that if Lewis does go to Mercedes then he would be the No.1 driver.

    I personal think Hamilton will stay and it will not be surprise to me if/when he does stay. The BBC seem to be turning into Tabloid press over this with speculation and rumour fuelling something that is probably no there, adding pressure to all the drivers involved. I would prefer question about the race and review of performance rather than rattle off questions to drivers that they will never answer in front of the cameras.

    RIP Professor Watkins - truly a great of F1

  • Comment number 50.

    'Rosberg is considered to have performed better throughout his F1 career than Hamilton'

    Considered by who? You and you alone?
    If Rosberg was that good, he'd have a load of pole positions and wins and a seat in a front-running car. He hasn't, so what exactly do you base this outrageous opinion on?

  • Comment number 51.

    If Lewis went to Mercedes next year, would he be allowed back to Mclaren?

    Probably, with another pay cut. Lewis has shown that he is able to win race when he doesnt have the best car (2009), so if he is at Mercedes next year, beats Rosberg, wins a few races then he will improve his chances of a drive at Red Bull. He will never be allowed at Ferrari while Alonso is there and im sure Ferrari cant afford both on equal salaries.

    Does Lewis think he can beat Rosberg and drag the Merc onto the podium? Does Lewis think he is the best driver if F1?

    Also 2014 F1 regs could mean another lottery field. Hamilton has a bigger picture to think about than just next year. Mclaren want a 3 year deal. If Merc offer a 1 or 2 year deal, then that could tempt him to then be able to move to the best team in 2015!

  • Comment number 52.

    Non story. Even Brawns interview this week was telling in that he was saying to the press (Hamilton), that when engine changes take place, normally the best place to be is with the manufacturer [who has a lot of knowledge about the packaging, gearbox, etc, etc], which, to me, suggests he's still selling the package to Hamilton

    Nothing has been decided. What XIX have done, is do what all good management companies do, and what his dad would have done, and that is secure the best deals for their client, then put them to the client to make the ultimate decision, maybe with some additional guidance.

    Personally, if I were Hamilton, and was offered less than what Button is commanding at the moment, I wouldn't use the contract offer as even toilet roll.

    For me, this is all just commercial posturing. Why were all the sponsors in Monza last weekend? Why was the other owner there? Maybe they're all there to pursuade MW to get Ham to stay. Whatever all of his detractors say (and I am no fan of his histrionics), he is box office, he dines at F1's top table, with one or two (maybe) others, and can drag a dog around the track, which few can do (Alonso being the only other one imo). Mclaren will kow tow, unless Mercedes really do have a seriously good bit of kit next year. I would, however, expect some new performance caveats in the contract.

    Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....

  • Comment number 53.

    I think Hamiton will stay with McLaren, however he/XIX will leave it as late as is possible to sign anything. I think Hamilton wants just a one year deal with them or a get out clause because it is rumoured that Vettel will join Ferrari in 2014, so Lewis can go to Rebull. I have a feeling Christian Horner is a big fan of Lewis plus I think his image would go well with a company like Redbull.

    However, McLaren as stated by Whitmarsh want commitment, not someone who will leave after one year. The probem with the Mercedes move is it is a risk for Lewis, and he may not be able to move on after a year with the same options if he goes down that route.

    I think the Mercedes thing is just to put pressure on McLaren.

    Lewis is looking glum as he does not like his options...

  • Comment number 54.

    All this talk about looking to move and being paid half as much as alonso etc could just be a ploy to put mclaren under pressure to offer him more money. If it doesnt work then he could move but i suspect they will come to some sort of midway agreement on contract!

  • Comment number 55.

    Hamilton is a cry baby prima donna who pouts and is petulant when he isn't winning and needs to grow up and be a bit more grcious in defeat like his team-mate.

    He'll go off to whoever pays him the most.

  • Comment number 56.

    This isn't about greed at all, it's about worth. It's easy for the majority of us to sit back and say "he's on £13m a year, what's he moaning about the greedy....blah" but that misses the point and what's greedy to one isn't to another, depends on perspective. When he looks down the paddock and he sees a guy he beat to the championship 4 years ago (and who he should be leading now if it wasn't for his own team's cock-ups) earning twice as much in salary alone then it's going to irk him. McLaren need to show that they value him and pay him what he's worth, which is at least the same as Alonso.

  • Comment number 57.

    Firstly; I would like to pay my respects to the late great Professor Sid Watkins who contributed so much to the sport and safety of F1. Without his intervention God knows how many other drivers we would have lost. R.I.P.

    Secondly, this articles does raise some interesting points in regards to Hamilton's predicament. It appears from recent events and news that Lewis’s relationship with McLaren appears to be dwindling. I believe there is more to the ‘tweetgate’ situation than meets the eyes. I also believe McLaren made a decision to favour Jenson despite publically stating both drivers are to be treated equally. Finally, I believe Lewis has become frustrated with McLaren and in particular Whitmarsh who should bear the blame for the operational errors which have cost him 40 points this season. Obviously in a world where true loyalty exists this could be overlooked with the ‘rough with the smooth’ philosophy, however, it appears things arte going on behind the scenes that the media and the viewers are not privy to and I believe that unless McLaren extend the ‘hand of peace’ to Lewis, he will leave.

    Money will be a factor but I truly believe that Lewis’s primary motivation is to be in a team that wins. He wants to be in a scenario where he is valued and treated as the number one driver and it appears that he won’t get this status at McLaren. If he moves to Mercedes he will have to do what some of the great champions (Schumacher and Alonso) have done and that is to build a car and a team around them and once this reaches fruition he will be in a position to win.

    This represents a much harder challenge than Lewis has faced in his F1 career so far and considering the crossroads he is currently at I believe he must decide whether he is willing to sacrifice a title charge next season to build the Mercedes around him and go on the assault in 2014.

  • Comment number 58.

    It probably depends on LH perception of the relative merits of the Mclaren and mercedes cars next year (you can't speculate further out than that in F1). LH wants to win, he is not short of a few pennies, so I don't see money being the main issue. As has been pointed out, he probably will not get better as a driver than he is now (gosh over the hill at 27). If he sees Mercedes as the best car next year he should jump ship. One issue which he might consider is that a German team might not be so tolerant of his tantrums as Mclaren, and for the sack of gold they might pay him, they might want him to actually win. Mercedes might be more inclined to blame the driver than the car.

    Other thing is the unknown quantity of Schumacher. If he hangs on, all this might be academic

  • Comment number 59.

    Mclaren is hands down the better car.... Fact
    So it's all about the money then......
    Hamilton..... Possible footballer in disguise?

  • Comment number 60.

    A very hard decision for Lewis to make, particularly as he will be criticised for joining Mercedes if they don't win and lauded for his shrewdness if they do.
    With the introduction of new rules in 2014 who is to say Mclaren will remain the fastest team in F1? Lets also not forget how few championship titles Mclaren have won in the last 20 years.

  • Comment number 61.

    Its a really tricky decision for Lewis. Personally I've followed every step of his McLaren career and really can't see him anywhere else, but there's no doubt Ron Dennis's departure as Principal (and the immediate supplantment by Christian Horner as a superb Principal at Red Bull) has stunted Lewis's passion.

    I will always support Lewis regardless of the colour on the exterior of his vehicle, because I admire his style and attitude as a pure racing machine. I just hope that wherever he goes the primary motivation is where the strongest possibility of more Championships occurs, not the best deal.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think a couple of people are slightly short-selling Jenson Button a bit here.

    Sure, Lewis Hamilton is the marginally superior driver, but that's hardly an insult.

    Sure, he won his WC with a supremely fast car. But that's something you could level at Schumacher for many of his WC wins.

    Give Button a competitive car and throw the team fully behind him and he can win a WC. He has two definite qualities that have shown to be more significant in recent years. He's very good at looking after tyres, and he's good in the rain.

  • Comment number 63.

    Mark my words, Lewis Hamilton is the new Nigel Mansell - within twenty years time I fully expect to see him in the paddock with a flat cap & bushy tache blaming everybody else for his shortcomings.

    If he spent more time focusing on his driving instead of filling his garage with celebrties he might actually win a world title again!

  • Comment number 64.

    Nigel Mansell - The David Icke of F1

  • Comment number 65.

    Enjoyed the article, Mr B.

    This whole charade smacks of 'Rooney-ism' - flirt with rivals in order to increase one's bargaining position with your current team. I am absolutely confident that Lewis will be at McLaren next year - and I certainly hope so.

    Thank goodness for LH - he is spectacular to watch, an his off-track antics keep us all (seemingly) hugely entertained. What else would we talk about?

    Cap tip in the direction of SW's memory.

  • Comment number 66.

    McLaren is a great team, a competitive team with enormous experience but, so is Lewis. With Lewis u just know he is about to commit 110% every time his out there competing. I really think he should move if he is no longer happy, he does not necessarily have to spend his entire career with McLaren, besides the best guys in the sport have worked with different teams at different stages of their career i.e Senna, Michael, Alonso... they've all had to prove themselves time and time again with different teams, that's what makes them great.

    Hamilton wants to win and if he feels McLaren aren't giving him the best in terms of performance and a pay rise who are we to judge him.

  • Comment number 67.

    Interesting comments but there have been several key losses/Changes at Mclaren since Hamilton made his F1 debut: Adrian Newey (to Red Bull), Pat Fry (to Ferrari) the loss of Mercedes part ownership, Ron Dennis's reduced role in F1... So why wouldn't he consider a change.

  • Comment number 68.

    A good piece Andrew, covers all the key issues and is, in my opinion, a spot on assessment. For me, the word "faith" is very relevant here, and as much as money I think it is the key behind a decision that I believe Lewis has already made, that being the decision to leave McLaren. Over the last two seasons at least I think Lewis, like a lot of the fans, have lost faith in Martin Whitmarsh and McLaren. Forever 'nearly' there, or asking what could have been, the clock on Lewis's career continues ticking, and i'm sure he wants to take more than a lot of hard luck stories with him when his F1 career finally ends. On the other side, whilst Mercedes need to do a lot of work to become more competitive, there is certainly an argument to say that with continued investment and Ross Brawn at the helm, his 'faith' may not be too badly placed in backing that particular horse, should he make the move. A lot of if's, but's and maybe's remain, I can certainly see why Lewis would be inclined to make the switch though. Too many hard luck stories combined with the current restriction on his earning potential must have created a good deal of frustration.

  • Comment number 69.

    @21 and @25

    I completely agree with 25.
    Bazza, you dont have a clue about F1 if you've not heard of Prof. Sid watkins.
    Either your a sunday man or just watch F1 because your a Hamilton boy.

  • Comment number 70.

    "Can you give me some stats to back up your 'Rosberg has performed better than Hamilton in F1' claim please?"

    "Stats" only make sense if it's equal against equal, you can't put say Bolt & Pistorius one on real legs one on carbon legs side by side and compare PBs it would be absurd.

    "Considered by who? You and you alone?"

    No, by loads, but it doesn't matter anyway.

    "this outrageous opinion"

    It's not outrageous trust me, but I understand why forums of this level would find it outrageous.

    Don't forget this is the same blog where the "writer in chief" had claimed MS would no doubt be crushing Rosberg on his return in 2010.

    "he'd have a load of pole positions and wins and a seat in a front-running car"

    You've got it the wrong way round there, if he were in a front-running car he'd have loads of pole positions and wins (and probably WDCs)

    And I'm not buying the notion that top drivers always end up in top cars; first there are very few top seats and "windows" when contracts run out anyway and so many other factors involved salaries terms sponsors PR teammates etc.

    And second, what about the scenario that Rosberg CHOSE to put faith in an underperforming but up & coming team -not what Lewis/Jenson have done in the past- and trusted Ross Brawn to build a winning car (a la MS 96), and Ross Brawn let him down spectacularly for 2 years running?


  • Comment number 71.

    Have to say I am a little disgusted by how this piece is the main story on the BBC's Formula 1 page, ahead of the Sid Watkins death, which should clearly be the leading piece.

    As for Hamilton, let him go to Mercedes I say, then we will see finally that Rosberg and Schumacher have been having to drag a worthless car round the track each week. Rosberg proved it already and Schumacher to some extent proved it in Monaco (in qualifying) - give either of them a race winning car and they will deliver. I just wish Mercedes would get their act together as they are tarnishing the careers of both excellent drivers they currently have.

    I should say as well, for those who think it is madness - many will have no doubt said the same when Schumacher joined Ferrari all those years ago - perhaps Lewis sees himself doing a Schumi and taking a team in the doldrums to the World Championship.

    Or far more likely, its about the money!!

  • Comment number 72.

    What will make Lewis to move out of mcLaren? Money, title or relationship. In a team sport like f1, who is going to help Lewis at mclaren with a strained relationship. Lewis should take a quick decision.

  • Comment number 73.

    Lewis has won a title for McLaren and given them great performances. Let him move on!

  • Comment number 74.

    RIP Sid. I was lucky enough to meet the great man at the Senna movie premier last year. Kind, gentle - very humble and always had time for people. Thanks for all your hard work - F1 owes you a huge debt of gratitiude.

    Benson - this article shouldn't have been published given the circumstances

  • Comment number 75.

    Might be worth looking at this from McLaren's point of view as well. The funding problems at the team due to the new engine contract can't be understated, hence the reduced contract offer for Lewis. Also his under-performance and moodiness last year, and his PR 'gaffes' and criticisms this year will not have gone unnoticed, and you wonder whether trust between the garage and Lewis has broken down.

    All that said, McLaren would still like to keep Lewis as he is a great talent and one of the best drivers in F1, but would not want to pay more than they can afford for someone they perceive as a bit of a loose cannon, and who has the potential to disrupt the team. I think they are ambivalent about keeping hold of him, and are unlikely to increase their offer.

    It could also be that McLaren are cutting their cloth to suit their budget - maybe they're happy for Jensen to lead the team next year as they know they're going to struggle with to compete with the top 2/3 teams?

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    @70 - Nibs.

    No, no - it does matter. Please give your considered opinion on how Nico Rosberg has performed better than Lewis Hamilton in their F1 careers, and please name others that share your opinion.

    I have never come across this ludicrous opinion before, be it in F1 magazines, Autosport forums, commentators or by fellow fans at the track. Please elaborate.

  • Comment number 78.

    I think the main question is does Lewis see F1 racing as his job or his passion?

    If he sees it as his job then its perfectly understandable that he'd seek a drive that enabled him to maximise his earnings - either through a bigger contract or increased flexibility in terms of sponsors. That's his perogative.

    If he sees it as his passion then i expect that he'll have better chance of winning races/championships with McLaren than Mercedes - there's no way of knowing that though, we're just guessing.

    From a purely racing point of view, i'd understand a move to Red bull or Ferrari but not Mercedes.

  • Comment number 79.

    Move on Lewis. McLaren will be fine and so will you. Based on this article at least I think the best long term partner for Lewis is Mercedes. And why shouldn't he be free to make that choice?

  • Comment number 80.

    @21. Disgraceful comment, shame on you.

  • Comment number 81.

    I have to say fair play to Mr Benson, as a Button fan even i can see his little gameplan snidey little posts to get all the all LH haters/fanboys out of their stones shouting the odds and then blaming anyone with different opinion of being a fan boy of some sort. Its all become a bit tedious. I can just imagine Mr Benson and Mr Jordan sniggering with each other, like 2 school children behind the bike shed

  • Comment number 82.

    if schumacher hasn't been able to build a championship winning team around him in his time at mercedes, i don' think Hamilton is going to have much of a chance.

  • Comment number 83.

    "they will have to pay for their Mercedes engines - that's in the region of eight million euros they cannot spend on the performance of the car unless they find it from other sources"

    I'd have thought the maths on that is pretty simple. Ditch Hamilton's inflated wages and bring someone in who's a lot cheaper - and there are plenty of those around. Personally I'd have chucked him out the door the moment he leaked the telemetry data - but then McLaren were rather lax on the offending drivers following the spy scandal.

    Hamilton went up in my estimation until the telemetry leak and the drawn-out contract issues, which the BBC seem very keen to bang on about even with other talking points available. But he's in bed with his management company, who frankly are an abhorrent bunch, and the whole situation smacks of greed and a sense of entitlement.

  • Comment number 84.

    Firstly RIP Sid Watkins.. A prime mover in F1 safety and the actual person who saved several drivers lives .. barrichello and Hakkinnen included.

    As for this article, then this is just more of the same rumour stuff with no basis in fact as yet.

    Time will tell what he decides but my view is that if Lewis wants to win WDCs then he needs to be in Mclaren, Ferrari or Red Bull. The relative competitiveness of each swings back and forth but one thing is certain, it is impossible to predict who will be top team and who will have the fastest car next year. What is sure is Mclaren will be in the mix. If I were LH I would use all this rumour as negotiating leverage then stay put.
    @nibs ... As usual talking sense! LH has ALL possible performance and results stats in his favour including a WDC and thrashed Rosberg as teammates in lower formulae. I rest my case.

  • Comment number 85.

    @21 shame on you the man changed the face of safety in F1 today.

    Regarding Lewis a move to Mercedes will be regarding money, but may also be looking to 2014. Maybe he thinks they will get a benefit from the regulation changes. But then again Mclaren haven't won a WDC since 2008. Red Bull would've made more sense if he hadn't made the silly drinks comment.

  • Comment number 86.

    Great, nothing has changed and you do another article about Hamilton...

    1) McLaren pay Hammy the fee his 'Superstar God Creator Management Team' want, probably 5x Butt's and Vett's salary.
    2) McLaren don't spend enough on their car after they buy engines and Hammy.
    3) 2013 McLaren is an under developed, under researched dog of a car.
    4) They don't have a driver like Alonso who can take a car like this to the top.
    5) Brawn rocks up with a fast Merc in 2013.
    Ha ha ha ha.

    Right, forget that, ...

    On Sid, he was some guy. Would be amazing in life to be half as kind, humble, knowlegable, and so happy with his job and his medical work in F1. Met him at Silverstone in 2001, he signed his book for me to give to my dad, F1 nut and admirer of Sids work. I have not read any F1 books that are better than his, go and get them and enjoy the stories, happy and extremely sad. Hope you enjoyed some good fishing before you signed off Sid. Respect.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think Lewis will stay at McLaren. I don't believe he would take money over success and unless he has some inside information to the contrary, McLaren are much more likely to deliver a championship car than Mercedes.

    If he does go and it really is about money then it will be very disappointing.

  • Comment number 88.

    Hamilton should just go away to Nascar or Indycar. There he can fulfil his greed by earning more than he currently does and can leave the proper racing to people who want to race.

  • Comment number 89.

    @21. You must be an F1 fan of the younger generation if you haven't heard of Sid. Watch the Senna movie. His interview is the most poignant part of the film. Now back to the post. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes. Who knows what Mercedes have planned for the future. Lewis, in my opinion, is interested in titles as well as money. Whatever he chooses I will support him. Only time will tell if the decision he makes is right or wrong.

  • Comment number 90.

    Im sorry but it seems the BBC and Eddie Jordan have some issues with Hamilton, firstly why on Eddie Jordan speak about hamilton's position and what team he will drive for. You could have done a piece on Perez on what team he could driver for or go and all that, this the 2nd blog on Hamilton in the last week or so. Why does Hamilton wants to leave? He could have many reasons, maybe its because his not treated as the number 1 at Maclaren which he is, look at Ferrari everyone there knows Alonso the number and treat him that way. When Eddie Jordan talks about Mr Nice guy Jensen Button it seems like his talking about his son and his achievements. MW always talks favorably about Button how his the mature one in formula 1 his a winner and all that BS.

    Lewis Hamilton is the 2nd best driver on the grid after Alonso, its either Lewis or Alonso could be debatable and Lewis in his rookie years challenged Alonso. As someone mentioned Lewis is on half the salary of Alonso which is quite surprising. Maclaren need Hamilton to win races i don't think there's another drive out there who would go to maclaren, another top driver. vettel is staying put or heading to ferrari Alonso is staying put, you have Perez and Di resta who I don't rate, but someone could occupy the seat before Kubica comes back and takes the seat

  • Comment number 91.

    Couldn't agree more with the posters who feel this drivel should be ahead of the death of Prof Watkins. It doesn't add anything at all to the argument either. Benson, you should know better. Show some respect for goodness sake.

  • Comment number 92.

    Vote for whether or not you think he will leave Mclaren

  • Comment number 93.

    R.I.P Sid Watkins you will be sorely missed. Mr Benson your reporting is about as factual as the Sun Newspaper was with the Hillsborough tragedy. Shame on you man.

  • Comment number 94.

    Nibs - You really need to start reading some F1 publications and stats rather than just looking at the pictures.
    You seem to have the most 'interesting' view of fact and statistics, no doubt formed through your own comprehensive research and study into F1.
    What is it about Rosberg that you like, is it the colour of his helmet making him easy to spot during a race?

  • Comment number 95.

    Why would MacLaren want to keep LH? He is termpermental, distracted by celebrity and prone to errors. Commercially he is indifferent and i would imagine the team's sponsors aren't overly enamoured with his body language and how he conducts himself. Moody and indiiferent after winning a race!! Unacceptable to MacLaren and their sponsors - time to get rid. His relationship with the team is damaged and he has too much baggage. Ron Dennis is too wiley to allow a driver to think he is bigger than the team, which LH clearly does. Alex Ferguson and Beckham spring to mind.

    Equally a fresh start with a new team may be the best thing for LH, who undoubtedly is extremely talented. Being with MacLaren for 13 years (?) is a long time and is probably stale - new environment, new impetus and the opportunity to build a team around him will give LH the opportunity to unlock that potential, like Schuey and Alonso have done at Ferrari.

    The decision is more MacLaren's than LH's in my mind - with the best car and proven track record attacting a top driver would not be difficult.

  • Comment number 96.

    When Hamilton beat Rosberg at karting they were both 15 years old! That's even more meaningless than the story that keeps going around of Di Resta beating Vettel in their formative years.

  • Comment number 97.

    @94 and Jamie ... nibs has serious form on these blogs and lives in another dimension to the rest of us. Dont encourage him/her.
    @88 ... On what basis do you judge LH as not wanting to race? Bensons article?
    Did you watch Monza where he got pole and won and is now 2nd in the title race and closing fast on Alonso? Love him or loathe him as a personality, on track he is a great racer for sure.

  • Comment number 98.

    Ayrton Senna once said he would drive for Williams 'for nothing' in order to win at a time when the Williams car was dominant. Such was the man. I wonder if it is Hamilton himself chasing the bucks or his management company? Would he be happy with a pile of money and potentially few wins?

  • Comment number 99.

    This story just doesn’t add up to me.

    At the age of 27, why would Hamilton choose to remove himself from what is currently the best car in Formula 1 and sign a multi-year deal with Mercedes, a team that currently lies fifth in the Constructor’s championship? With no significant change in regulations until 2014, it is hard to see Mercedes producing a faster car than McLaren until at least then, if at all.

    McLaren have consistently provided Hamilton with a race-winning car since his debut, but on the occasions when they have not been challenging for the race win, he has become extremely frustrated. One can only assume how he might handle this situation should he join Mercedes and they continue to fail to produce a top car.

    There is also Schumacher and Rosberg to consider. Rosberg has always been considered to be an excellent qualifier and has this season also achieved a race win. Schumacher has shown continual improvement since returning to the sport and has out-qualified Rosberg this season, including some excellent performances in wet conditions and ‘pole’ at Monaco. His race pace also remains good, beating his teammate in all but one race on the occasions when they have both finished.

    I was at Monza at the weekend and both Mercedes drivers were on top of their game, extracting the best possible performance from the car they had available. Ross Brawn knows that the reason his team aren’t winning isn’t because of their drivers. Signing Hamilton is not going to win them a Championship, but developing the car will. This is something the Schumacher is renowned for, having been through the process already at Benetton and, particularly, Ferrari.

    It could be that Mercedes are purely exploring the Hamilton option in the event that Schumacher decides to retire. Given the 7-times World Champion’s presence at Magny-Cours yesterday, I suspect that he may not be ready to put his feet up just yet.

  • Comment number 100.

    For those moaning about this article not being about Professor Watkins perhaps they might want to post on the other piece Andrew wrote today which is about the late lamented Sid.


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