Hamilton “won’t be happy with barren year” – Horner

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Christian Horner says Lewis Hamilton will be unhappy “having another barren year”.


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Team principal Christian Horner hints at McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton joining Red Bull

“Any driver-manager doing his job at the moment has been banging on the door. Lewis is a great driver. You would think he’s not going to be happy having another barren year.”

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Jenson Button on Twitter

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CNBC becomes Business Media Partner with Marussia Virgin Racing (Virgin)

“Marussia Virgin Racing and CNBC, the leading global broadcaster of live business and financial news and information, have joined forces in an exclusive global partnership that sees CNBC becoming the team’s official ‘Business Media Partner’ for the 2011 Formula One season, which gets underway on 27 March in Melbourne, Australia.”

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Ray Matts 1941-2011: The Daily Mail bids farewell to a legend of the press box (Daily Mail)

“In a nod to how highly he was regarded, Ray was presented on his retirement with a lifetime press pass for the F1 paddock by Bernie Ecclestone in Shanghai.”

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Comment of the day

Yesterday’s news that Lewis Hamilton will be managed by Simon Fuller offered plenty of comic potential. Here’s jonnyw360f1:

Does this mean that Lewis will be reaching for the stars and climbing every mountain high?

From the forum

LAK, our F1 Fanatic in Bahrain, updates us on the situation there.

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On this day in F1

Alan Jones got his world championship title defence off to a good start by winning the Long Beach Grand Prix 30 years ago today.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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119 comments on “Hamilton “won’t be happy with barren year” – Horner”

  1. “Any driver-manager doing his job at the moment has been banging on the door. Lewis is a great driver. You would think he’s not going to be happy having another barren year.” – Christian Horner

    And so the mind games begin, although the truth must hurt!

    1. And with that, it has been all but confirmed that Mark Webber won’t be driving for Red Bull next season. Personally, I think Red Bull should farewell Webber at the end of the year and promote Ricciardo straight into the vacant seat. He and Vettel would have some extraordinary battles I should imagine!

      1. Why would they take Ricciardo though if they could get Kubica, or even Hamilton? Any top driver that didn’t seriously consider going to Adrian Newey’s team, would be doing themselves a disservice.

        1. Of course they’d be better with those guys, but I can’t see Hamilton ever leaving McLaren and Massa will surely be replaced by Kubica in 2012. I don’t want Massa to be replaced, as he is capable of winning championships, as we saw in 2008, but I doubt Ferrari will be patient enough. Rubens’ spring still hasn’t finished being cruel to Felipe, unfortunately. I hope he proves us all wrong this year, as there are few things I’d enjoy more than seeing Felipe outclass Fernando. If Massa shows pace this year and Ferrari hold on to him, I’d be surprised if Red Bull didn’t snatch Kubica. But Hamilton at Red Bull just seems so unlikely to me for some reason!

          1. With Newey now confirmed through 2014 as well, it’d be a mistake for Hamilton not to at least consider it.

            …there are few things I’d enjoy more than seeing Felipe outclass Fernando.

            You’re not the only one. As much as I’d love to see it though, I just don’t see it happening.

          2. he is capable of winning championships, as we saw in 2008

            He’s capable of not winning championships, as we saw in 2008…

          3. Here here! Nothing would delight me more this season than Massa beating Alonso.

          4. massa capable of winning championships lol. I think not.

        2. At the same time, almost nothing is a certainty in F1 for very long. There’s nothing to say that McLaren won’t be back on top in short order or that RedBull will continue be there.

          1. i agree with you, we don’t even know if Mercedes will be top flight by next year.

        3. I would be apprehensive to get Kubica.

          Firstly, we don’t know whether he’ll return at all. Secondly, if he does, who is to say he’ll be the same? His hand has nearly been ripped off for crying out loud… And I’m pretty sure in order to perform at 101% one needs them in F1.

          This just shows how much the accident really hurt Kubica’s career. Never mind not driving the R31 and fighting for regular podiums and a few victories if the car turns out to be as good as it is made out. The real problem, provided he fully recovers of course, is that 2012 is a year of major reshuffles at possibly all top tier teams. Kubica was always set to join one of them sooner or later, but which team boss would really opt for someone who hasn’t driven for a year and has had an accident which might completely have changed him? At that point it doesn’t really matter how great he was prior to the accident – picking Kubica would be a massive gamble, especially with the lack of testing to check his pace.

          1. I have to agree, unfortunately. One can only hope he’ll be able to come back before the season ends to prove that he still has what it takes.

    2. mind games to put Hamilton at unease for the rest of the championship…

    3. the words said what Horner said.. yet the meaning said what you said ;)

    4. But the barren year is this year, and now it’s too late to change team, he can do that from next year, but once the barren year is over.

  2. I really hope Lewis stays on at McLaren.. :\
    I’ve always been a McLaren fan and always will be, weather he goes or not but to me his is McLaren through and through

    1. He owes a lot to them (well, more Ron Dennis I guess) after they groomed h im for his talents from such an early age. That said, loyality means nothing nowadays!

      1. He has delivered them a championship and plenty of great drives. Remember, this was a partnership from the beginning, had he not performed from the outset, they would’ve dropped him.
        It now seems that McLaren is not holding up their end of the bargain by providing him with a competitive car…I say its just business if he jumps ship. Nothing personal.

        1. True. It seems people expect drivers to be loyal to teams, but think it’s par for the course when teams drop drivers at the first sign of an uncompetitive performance.

        2. Absolutely agree, and I’m a fan of McL.

          As a driver he has an obligation to drive to the best of his abilities, and as a team they have an obligation to provide him with the best machinery.

          If either side lets that go, I don’t personally see anything wrong with drivers moving on.

          F1 drivers have only a short period of time in F1 usually, and no top echelon driver wants to spend their time chasing to catchup.

          That said, I have faith in McLaren and their ability to bounce back.

          Lets hope this was the biggest practical joke, and the car is the class of the field ;-)

      2. If Lewis Hamilton consistently failed to perform, exactly how long do you think that McLaren management would honour that ‘loyalty’.
        Did Juan Pablo, or Heikki not deserve any of this loyalty thing?

        In fact no, all parties are required only to fulfil their contracts. Anything beyond that is for them to work out as they see fit … only fans talk about ‘loyalty’, but fans blindly believe anyone kissing the team badge, and fans boo when once-cheered employees return in other teams’ uniforms, so for the most part, probably best not to much bother what fans say.

        At any point in Hamilton’s ‘grooming’ if he had failed to deliver results, he would have been dropped to the kerb like all the other drivers out there that never made it. He doesn’t owe them anything now, the account was squared and reset at each stage of his progression through the ranks.

        Anyhow, either way, painfully transparent bit of amateur-night pot-stirring by ol’ Horner, he’ll absolutely need to raise his game and be a bit more subtle if he wants to get much change out of this particular angle.

        1. What Horner is essentially saying is what everyone in F1 knows. Hamilton is loyal to McLaren, would like to stay there, but won’t stay if he looses faith in the teams ability to provide him with cars capable of competing for championships. Obvious and requiring little intelligence to spell out but usefull stick to poke McLaren with and Redbull enjoy biting Whitmarsh’s team it seems, I’d guess because of the way they waste their recources.

          Any f1 team going would love to have Hamilton on their books, Redbull seem to have given up the whole development thing and as a non-team orders team would have an absolutley fearsome pairing if they could capture Hamilton. What they’d do about Vettle if he couldn’t compete is an interesting question.

          Essentially it comes down to this, Hamilton must feel that McLaren are title contenders within what’ll probably be about 1 to 2 years, if not he’ll explore other options and his status will almost guarentee him the best seat going. However, like Alonso, other drivers contracts could well keep him at McLaren even if he doesn’t want to be their so he’ll think about jumping early just in case, his new agent might be the unpleasant ear-whisperey type as well.

      3. Sure enough we are going to see lots of people coming forward with the usual argument that Hamilton owes everything to McLaren and that to leave them would be ungrateful. Rubbish. McLaren did not fund Lewis’ career out of compassion, they funded it because they had a pretty strong inkling that he might one day win them a world championship. There were no favours; Lewis held his end of the deal with performance, McLaren held theirs with funding and nurturing. At present, McLaren are beginning to let their end of the deal slip, so why should Lewis be expected to sit around and watch title after title slip by just so that onlookers can look and nod approvingly and say what a loyal little driver he is? A driver’s career is short, and i see no reason why Lewis should risk wasting what could be a truly great career to avoid upsetting McLaren by jumping ship- i cant imagine they would have paid him the same favour had he not performed to expectations. At the end of this season, if it proves to be as uncompetitive as feared, he will have given McLaren 5 years with 3 of those spent in a car trailing (with varying degrees) behind the leaders. For a driver which even the most cynical of critics could not place outside the top three in formula 1, it has to be said that that is time enough to repay any imagined debts to Ron Dennis and his team. It is often said that Formula 1 is business, and in business you have to look after number 1.

        1. All very good points.

          I guess we can see from the 2009 season McLaren CAN turn things around when they really need to, you really do get the impression from the team that they give 110%.

          Lets just hope this season they do it sooner rather than later..

          also.. Lewis has an on-going promise with Ron. Ron PROMISED to give him the Orange McLaren F1 GT if Lewis was to ever win 3 World Championships at McLaren..

          Oooh decisions decisions ;)

          1. …was ever to win 3 World Championships at McLaren

            Might as well have said 300

          2. Yeah, don’t you think there might be forces in McLaren who would not want him to own that car?

            As has been said, I think Horner is just playing mind-games(to his own detriment), as it shows that RBR is unsettled atm. Why would he start so early with the mind games?

            As Ross Brawn said; if you have a winning car you are bound to be cautious and conservative and that will in effect, bring you down. But if you have nothing to lose, you take more risks. Most teams are doing the later while Ferrari and Redbull are evolving their old cars.

          3. He will get that car. ;)

        2. McLaren seem to be obsessed with straight line speed gimmicks in the car design, when they need to give Hamilton a fast, edgy car with good mechanical grip and handling so he can do his stuff. If Red Bull or Ferrari would have him, he should go and McLaren can sign Heidfeld.

          1. Good call there David. I thought last year if they had focussed more on the blown diffuser and less on the second version of the F duct theyd have been better placed.

      4. Oh please, loyalty shmoyalty. Loyalty is only a rare exception in sports, not the norm – and there was never a golden age where loyalty counted for more, so please spare us this “nowadays” stuff. It always gets under my skin how easily people revert to this kind of stance of saying “ah, you know these days people just aren’t as [insert favorite mythical quality] as they used to be”. People have actually been saying that sort of thing since at least ancient Rome and yet the world keeps on going.

        More to the point, it’s just mind games from Horner, so why bring up what Hamilton supposedly owes to McLaren?

        1. The Red Bull wont stay at the top for ever. In fact, I rate that by next year they wont be in the no.1 spot. Its a trend that repeats itself over and over.

          If Lewis moves, he will be walking out of a slow car and into a new slow car.

          1. Possibly right.. Maybe the trend is Mercedes will dominate the field!? in 1-3 yrs… Better fot him to stay…IMO

      5. He owes them nothing , while they backed him and gave him opportunity to win , he rose up to the challenge , and won a WDC , not just for himself , but the whole team. So their investment in him has not been without return. His raw driving talent may even equal Schumacher’s , but whether he has the patience and ability to build something like Schu. did with Ferrari , is yet to be seen , I believe McLaren have what it takes to make it possible.

        1. Since 2009 Hamilton has tended to publicly portray himself as valiantly ‘driving his heart out’ in a car that is not worthy of his talent. I notice many of his fans echo that sentiment as their calls for him to leave Mclaren increase.

          Perhaps they should consider whether his influence within the team has been entirely positive. Hamilton has been involved in controversies which have seen Alonso, Ron Dennis and Dave Ryan all leave the team in order to appease him and his father. I would also argue that his lobbying for Button as his team mate has left Mclaren without their strongest possible driver line up.

          The fact is that since 2007 Mclaren has evolved into a team built around Hamilton so if the car is not competetive he needs to stay the course and take his share of the responsibility.

          1. not an awful lot of fact in that comment…

          2. To think that Hamilton being hired had absolutely anything to do with the Dave Ryan case is beyond absurd.

          3. @ NJb. I completely agree. It astonished me that more people cannot see the direct role that Hamilton and his father have played in the shaping of the ‘new’ McLaren.

            The team of pre-2008 was a fantastic operation – it has been in terminal decline ever since.

            @ John H – I’m not sure I understand your comment.

  3. Just downloaded my copy of the chain from amazon! I hope it makes it!

  4. Yesterday’s news that Lewis Hamilton will be managed by Simon Fuller offered plenty of comic potential.

    Who is Simon Fuller? Never heard of him. ‘Googling‘ right now!

    1. Don’t worry, I somehow missed Keith’s article from yesterday! Although this Fuller guy seems like he’d be too busy to be attending all of Hamilton’s races…

      1. LOL, he might just send Becks and Posh over, they could have a nice chat with Lewis GF.

  5. A move to Red Bull would make sense as long as Newey stays there. But what if he teamed up with Ross Brawn at Mercedes?

    1. Staying at Mclaren is probably the best option for him. Mclaren is a solid team, it has racing pedigree, and it will be around as a front runner for as long as it exists. Red Bull is one of those one off teams thats have had a few years in front, but will soon return to chasing the front runners and battling with midfield teams. Look at Renault for example, I do not think they were the most sought after team at then end of 206 in spite of them winning back to back titles. Similarly with Red Bull, once Newey leaves Red Bull, this team will be back to midfield status.

      1. Good point Todfod, but Eric B. is saying they are already in front of McLaren and Mercedes GP, that RBR and Ferrari are their main opponent.

        Can you imagine that?…. I hope he eats his words :-(

    2. I think getting himself a Newey car would be a draw to most if not all drivers on the grid.

      But I think Red Bull as a team is too reliant on having that awsomely fast car. They just make to many mistakes in tactics and stuff to be the perfect team.
      And Lewis would not be the management favourite Vettel is.
      Ross Brawn might be very good at his job, he has Schumi and Rosberg, while the team spends quite a big amount less than McLaren. And their car might have improved wiht the new bits, but is still is not a championship car.
      Going to Ferrari would be out of the question for quite some years
      That makes it just as good a guess to stay wit McLaren for now, give them the chance to improve. Or see how Renault and the rest do the next couple of years.

  6. I hope that Red Bull do eventually manage to sign Lewis…just before Adrian Newey decides to head to McLaren…or Williams..or even Lotus!…but not Ferrari!

    Nice to see that the mind games have started early this season.

    1. just before Adrian Newey decides to head to McLaren…or Williams..or even Lotus!…but not Ferrari!

      Haha, interesting comment. I am very surprised that Ferrari have not yet bought Adrian Newey. Something tells me that this is still very possible!

      1. I think Newey likes where he’s at at this point in his career. He said after winning the championships last year how much more it meant to him than his previous championships, since he’d helped build the team up from virtually nothing. He wouldn’t have that at Ferrari.

      2. Ferrari can win titles without Newey. Mclaren either though they had great moment with him. Newey for them is just a man who make it easier. But Redbull simply cannot win without him. He achieved many things in some established team, so it’s time to win with younger team(Redbull). It’s very simillar to what Ross Brawn have done. Or maybe he would make his own team.

  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12729786

    glad we didn’t go to Bahrain over the weekend!!!

    1. Fully agree with that. It might have escalated even more.

      I gather the surrounding countries are afraid of this spreading even more in the region. And take their chances with the onlookers turned to Libya and Japan right now.

  8. …won’t be happy with barren year

    In compensation, it will make many others happy enough

  9. Sign him up Christian!

  10. Nice to see that Button is trying to help the people of Japan. Seems like he is the only F1 driver so far working on the disaster.

    As far as Bahrain is concerned then I have to say that a good decision have been made by the management of FIA ,FOTA & FOm not to go there now.

    1. Don’t get carried away WasiF1, Ms. Michibata must have been twisting his arms. So, he is the only F1 driver with a Nippon gf, he must do it or lose her love.

      1. I think he would be wanting to help anyway. He seems to be pretty much interested in such kind of things, remember he was amongst the first in F1 to tweet about the NZ earthquake as well.

    2. Although we don’t need an F1 driver to tell us to help. It always irks me somewhat and leaves me wondering how many of his millions of pounds of earnings he’s pumped into the cause.

      1. While I’ll agree with the assumption that most fabulously wealthy people are total jerks, I don’t believe that to be the case with Button. In fact, the more I learn about him, the more I like him.

        The truth is, you just never know how much such people donate to good causes and that is how it should be. No one is going around asking you and I how much we give to charity.

        Look at Schumacher, he donated $10,000,000 to help after the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. Sometimes rich people know just what to do with their money, and in Michael’s case then, and I’m sure in many people’s now, they will do a good thing and help out the grief stricken people of Japan.

        I hope that when the F1 circus returns to Suzuka in the fall, we see a rebuilt and jubilant nation, which we can all celebrate with a fantastic race.

        1. Now it is not just Button,many F1 people are coming together.


  11. Hamilton “won’t be happy with barren year”

    All I can say to that is “join the club”. 21 other drivers are in the same boat. Hamilton is without a doubt a great driver but he did go straight into one of the best teams as a rookie. He was highly supported in this team and is what gave him the opportunity to win and/or have a wining car, and it is only last year and perhaps now that his team is struggling a little. In my opinion McLaren is one of the best teams. If he leaves he will never get the same treatment. He needs to stick with this team through good and difficult times, just like MS did in a Ferrari through the 90’s. One thing I dislike slightly about Hamilton is that as soon as he is not competitive for the pole or for the “win”, he complains about the car. That is a little devaluing for the team and disrespectful. Perhaps its his defensive instinct to let the “audience” know that he will be slow as a result of the car, who knows. Either-way i say, stick with it and stop complaining.

    1. @Matsukov, Hamilton hardly complains about the car. And right now he isn’t even complaining, rather others are complaining for him. Even Horner is complaining on his behalf. Or are you suggesting Hamilton complained to Redbull?

    2. Last thing reported to come straight from Lewis was along the lines of “I am not worried, just know its a bit of a bigger challenge and I am looking forward to making the best of it”

      And I like McLaren let them talk openly about not being satisfied. Mercedes let their guys say the car was OK as a basis at first, while they knew it stinks.

  12. Does Horner like ******* off his own drivers? Or just bad at managing… Why make this pointless comment at the start of a championship, any driver won’t be happy with a ‘barren’ year. Why invoke that sort drama within his own drivers minds from the outset, Webber and Vettel are both extremely capable of winning races and championships, so why make comments like this about other drivers, insinuating that they’d be welcomed to the team at the cost of one of the drivers they already have… my two cents, anyhoo can’t wait for the lights to go out at melbourne! will be a cracker of a year.

    1. Horner on Vettel and Hamilton at RBR: “You would certainly envisage it being quite a busy partnership, but you can never rule it out. From my perspective you always want to have the best two drivers.”

      Ouch. Horner clearly means dumping Webber.

      1. If I was Webber, I’d be getting seriously tired of RBR’s *******.

  13. Keith C in NY
    15th March 2011, 2:58

    Back to the video… I think this nicely makes the point about the “passing topic”. No, it never was NASCAR (and we don’t want it to be). But a faster car / driver actually could pass another rather than following lap after lap after lap.

    I saw the first two LBGPs. If you note the left-right-left etc after the hairpin – I somehow wandered a little closer to the track in 1977 (first year; little idiot control) and have never been as amazed before or since as to how fast these cars / drivers go through the corners. Great video to remember. Not to disparage current amazing capabilities… I once stood legally this time) at the end of the Montreal track right before the Welcome to Quebec half-chicane and could not believe that they braked / changed down / turned so fast that it seemed like one constant (loud) movement. In awe!

  14. Christian Horner says Lewis Hamilton will be unhappy “having another barren year”.

    I wonder if this could be the first steps in Red Bull courting Hamilton … after all, a Vettel-Hamilton lineup would be very appealing. No doubt Hamilton has some kind of performance clause in his contract that would allow him an early exit from McLaren if they don’t deliver, and with Alonso staying at Ferrari, it’s unlikely Maranello would risk partnering them up again, even if they say they’re fine and the air is clear.

    1. I could see Hamilton at Red Bull before I could see him at Ferrari. Many people seem to think he’ll never leave McLaren, and while I doubt that’s the case, I really just can’t ever imagine him going to Ferrari.

      1. Well, there was a rumour that Ferrari had been told to do whateer they had to in order to sign Hamilton at the end of 2007, but that largely seemed to be born out of the collective desires of the British tabloids.

        1. Don’t think so, more likely that Hamilton Sr. had been preparing an escape route out of McLaren if the team decided to back Alonso after FA made them choose, basically. I’d imagine that both Mosley and Ecclestone would have gladly smoothed his transfer to Ferrari too at the time, for different reasons (revenge on McLaren/keeping the F1 bubble caused by Hamilton’s arrival expanding).

          I think Vettel and Hamilton at RBR would simply wipe the floor with everyone, presuming the car retains its current advantage. But then most of the attention would be on the competition between these two drivers rather than the star drivers in 2, 3 or 4 different teams. So I’d rather see him stay at McLaren and the latter sort themselves out. But since that doesn’t seem to be happening, who could blame him for leaving if he gets the chance. McLaren should have built a car around Hamilton’s qualities, not compromised between two very different drivers. That’s not meant as a criticism of Button btw, just that a half-way car isn’t going to win anything. And that’s what they seem to have produced.

  15. I don’t think Ferrari would bring Hamilton unless they give up Alonso. But Redbull could bring him while keeping Vettel. Two most aggresive drivers in one team should be very intersting, tough I think Hamilton is more complete driver than Vettel.

    1. I agree – I doubt Alonso would accept it without a fuss unless the team told him that he would still be number 1, and even if they did he would still find it hard to accept that Hamilton agreed to be number 2.

  16. Is Horner really saying this? or is Simon Fuller just doing his job?

    1. He’s really saying it. A manager of Fuller’s talents wouldn’t do something so stupid as put words in Horner’s mouth like that – it would likely cost Hamilton whatever chance he had at a Red Bull seat in the future.

      1. Lewis Hamilton. The new Kimi Raikonnen?

  17. My first comment of the day! :D But also the cheesiest one ever…

    1. I enjoyed it.

  18. As much as it would be nice to see Hamilton be successful with McLaren for the next decade, if they’re not going to deliver, he should leave.

    1. Of course he should. What driver in the right mind would chose to stay?

  19. hang on, why did that author say that money may be an issue for Hamilton going to Red Bull? I remember an article last year that ranked the drivers salaries and both Red Bull drivers were near the bottom, but they also receive hefty incentives for winning races which the other drivers don’t which evens things up.

    1. I don’t seem to see that part?

      In any case, drivers usually take the guaranteed money over pay-for-points. One very good example of this was Damon Hill – turned down a Jordan drive in 1997 because Arrows had a higher offer. The following year, he turned down McLaren’s offer based mostly around pay-for-points because Jordan offered a higher guaranteed salary.

  20. So Horner’s become a master of spin as well now, eh? It’s been interesting to watch how he’s evolved from the principal of a midfield team, to title contenders to world champions.

    The fact that Webber lives on annual contracts says to me that if they’re pushed, he’s not averse to leaving the team and the team aren’t against letting him go. And with Newey on board till 2014, RBR should be able to consolidate their place at the top of the field. Unless Newey comes up with another disaster like the MP4-18/19A.

    As long as he’s still going for glory and doesn’t want to get involved in building up a team, Hamilton should keep an eye on an RBR seat. Especially if McLaren keep shooting in the dark without yielding results.

    Also, Jenson did not actually say all that on twitter did he? It’s much more that 140 characters!

    1. You are allowed to send more than one tweet, you know…

      1. I know, I know. I was just kidding :D

        1. Ah, sorry – it can be hard to tell in the comments sometimes!

  21. If Horner is really concerned about Hamilton’s results, he should encourage the red bull drivers to stop running into HAM.

    1. +1 that made me smile

    2. LOL, yeah, especially Mark Webber :D

  22. I don’t see Hamilton at RBR at least not for a while. He has a Mclaren contract, they built his career pretty much (although when if Mclaren gave him a really rubbish car I doubt loyalty would mean so much) and so far all of his years there bar one they provided him with a car to challenge for the title.

    There are always rumours about Webber retiring but that he wants to go out on the top of his game and RBR should be among the top cars until at least 2013 when there are some new regulations (unless they take a disasterous wrong turn) so in theory he could stay on for quite a while yet.

    1. Actually if he wants to retire at the top and RBR at the top of their game too, it’s more likely he’ll go sooner, say if he won the world championship.

      1. If he won the title I think that would be it but I could see him staying until 2013 and then leave. I think he could give F1 a couple more years but I doubt he’ll be there much longer.

  23. Hamilton’s contract runs out at the end of 2012 and if he does move he won’t do that before then which means he has two seasons to decide. Firstly, who’s to say that he won’t do well this year? McLaren might have done relatively badly in testing but that’s not to say it will be the same throughout the year, or even 2012.

    He ain’t moving.

  24. Love how those early 80s (and before) races started in such a relatively disorganised manner!

  25. All of the talk around 2014 is productive, but don’t we have an engine regulation change? What if Renault get that wrong and Mclaren build their own super unit….

  26. I wonder what clauses Vettel has in his new contract with regard to who the other driver should be? Similar ones to Alonso, maybe?

  27. I think that Mclaren could end up going downhill in terms of perfromance in the next few years.

    They have lost their Mercedes technical partnership and an important technical member in Pat Fry.

    Hamilton has said that he would like to stay with Mclaren for the rest of his carrer but I think its unlikely.

  28. Back to the video US GP, great move from Carlos Reuteman!

  29. Nice bold statement from Mr. Horner!

    There is alot of truth in it though. Lewis has to look after himself and he clearly has the talent to bring WDC’s to teams.

  30. Am I the only surviving Mclaren fan who simply says wait & see, there is no doubt in my mind that Mclaren will turn up in Oz with a car that is extremely quick that will allow both JB & LH the chance to drive up at the business end of the field. Once we see the race pace is good then sudden;ly everyone will expect LH to stay and deliver a championship, although I personally believe that JB has a better chance over the season, particularly as the car seems more designed for his style and is not edgy enough ( nor are the tyres) for Hamilton

    1. No you’re not.

  31. I agree that no driver would be happy with a barren year, and in fact I’m sure to some drivers even finishing a close second but not winning the WDC might just as well have been a barren year. So the remark seems kind of redundant. However, I think it is more a compliment to LH with a small shot at Mac. Mac seems to be struggling this year so far in testing and their very drivers have said so, so it’s not like Horner is pulling something out of his hat. He’s saying that LH is a driver many teams would like to have so LH needn’t sit ad infinitum with barren years.

    I think the drivers with the best attitude know that it’s about a journey, and one that carries no guarantees…and Mac ain’t a bad place to be…they have as much potential of coming up with a WDC car, or rectifying a bad car as any team, so it’s not like LH is a WDC stuck with a dog of a team and he needs to move this minute…

    But it does sure sound like Horner is putting out the feelers for a sub for MW when the time comes. And if that’s the case, I’m just glad Horner would entertain a quality driver like LH to partner SV rather than a rookie who would not make waves for SV. I want to see drivers equally treated on their teams, beat their teammates fair and square on their way to their WDC’s.

    1. Argh, two Robbies. I’ll change mine for the future.

  32. I don’t blame Christian Horner for testing the water. The facts are that Lewis Hamilton and McLaren have struggled since their success back in 2008, which seems a long time ago now. Secondly, despite claims that Hamilton is McLaren through and through, recently he hasn’t exactly been that complimentary of the team.
    At times last year Hamilton was openly critical of the team that made him world champion, especially at Melbourne and Istanbul. Within the last week he has told the media in very blunt fashion that the 2011 McLaren is not good enough to win the championship. The question being, is this just frustration from Hamilton or something more?
    Personally, I think that Hamilton preferred the Ron Dennis led McLaren race team to the one now led by Martin Whitmarsh. The team is simply not the same as the one Lewis joined in 2007 as a rookie F1 driver, nor do I believe he has as strong a working relationship with Whitmarsh as he did Dennis. After all, it was Ron Dennis who discovered Hamilton back in 1995, and helped his career for all those years. Jenson Button coming to the team may also have fanned the flames.
    When it was announced the other week that Hamilton was going to drive a Stewart-Haas NASCAR stockcar later this year at Watkins Glen, I was felt a little bit of deja vu coming on. Back in 2004, then Williams drive Juan Montoya did the same thing by driving Jeff Gordan’s car. Two years later, the Columbian was driving in NASCAR full time, never to race in F1 again.
    The nay-sayers will accuse me of being too far fetched, but is it, is it really?

  33. @ The Limit…I agree that LH’s team is not what it was when he joined as a bright-eyed newby under RD’s wing…RD is gone…there was spygate in which Mac was found to have Ferrari technical info which cost Mac a bundle and was embarassing…there was liegate in which LH lied to the FIA, more embarassment…before that there was the rough LH vs. FA year…and he lost a WDC when it was his to lose, and when he won one it was by a squeak and thanks to Glock’s stupidly slow lap that allowed LH to catch up…methinks LH has had to learn that being coddled from a young age by an icon in F1 like RD, with Daddy at his side too, who is no longer his manager, is no guarantee to multiple WDC’s and WDC potential winning cars with no other stresses in racing or in life to worry about. ie. if the F1 shine is a little off the apple for LH these days, I would understand, but then it’s up to him to look for the positives and try his best to move forward and progress…

    As to your suggestion of LH going to Nascar ala JPM…the only reason I think it is far-fetched is because he has no roots in North America whereas JPM had already raced Indycars in NA before F1, and thus developed a strong winning bond with Chip Ganassi and Target stores, so when he was done in F1 he had a huge door open to him for Nascar…LH has none of that and a one-off ride in a Stewart-Haas car won’t change that.

  34. @Robbie.

    All of what you say is true and I couldn’t agree more. You are quite right about Chip Ganassi and Montoya and Hamilton not having any American connections, but think of it another way.
    Like him or not, Hamilton is one of the biggest stars F1 has at this moment in time. Could you imagine what a fuss it would create ‘if’ he defected to NASCAR, the publicity NASCAR would gain by pinching one of F1’s brightest stars would be huge. Don’t tell me Lewis will jump off the plane, do a few laps, and then go home without being tapped up by the likes of Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush for instance. You also neglected to mention that Tony Stewart, the man whose stockcar Lewis will drive, is himself a multi-million dollar team owner.
    Its food for thought, and you cannot dismiss the fact that F1 is not the ‘only’ attraction in town for young millionaire racers who just want to compete at the highest level.
    As you said, it may come to nothing. However when a driver uses lines like ‘not exciting anymore’ and ‘we cannot race flat out’, one has to wonder whether or not Hamilton has his heart firmly into F1 racing.

    1. Lewis would become completely bored with going around in circles. There isn’t a single NASCAR track here in the U.S. that could hold Hamilton’s interest, and he probably would miss too much the Parabolica and Eau Rouge.

  35. I wonder, could this be revenge for Whitmarsh saying he would want Vettel in his team?

    Personally I feel great drivers make their mark by winning with different teams, then again if they move to blatantly dominant teams all the time it kinda wipes that out.

    All Hamilton wants is a competitive car. Though the thought of him in a dominant car scares and excites me, I would prefer if he won in a straight fight rather than walking all over everyone. Tbh even if he smashed Vettel in the same car I wouldn’t consider it nearly as great an achievement as beating Alonso in a similarly good car.

    1. He’s already beaten Alonso in the same car.

      1. Wobblebottom
        15th March 2011, 22:44

        That wouldn’t happen again

        1. That’s probably true because they will never be again teamed together, but on opposing teams I wouldn’t make that bet.

          1. Only reason he beat (tied points I must add) alonso, is because of Macca favouring him ;)

  36. Thanks for the birthday wish, Keith!!!!!!!!

  37. @ The Limit…oh I agree with the concept ‘never say never’ but I just think LH has no ties to North America whatsoever, other than to race in Montreal once a year. Would a move by him to Nascar make waves? Of course you are right that it would be a coup for Nascar. But I think it would be career suicide for LH, even though financially the top Nascar drivers can easily match the income F1 drivers make. He is a WDC with a ton of F1 career left in him and for the time being is on a team that should always be able to keep him within a shout of wins and WDC’s, and as one of the more highly rated drivers on the grid he is sitting pretty for a good long career, even if he somehow never wins another WDC.

    Throw him into the Nascar mix and he’ll be eaten alive until such a time as he can learn the ropes and then perhaps after 5 years or so he might enjoy some success amongst a very tight field of drivers who are very engrained in the discipline, and that’s if all the stars are lined up properly for LH. JPM got in with very solid footing with Ganassi and has yet to get anywhere near a championship, and he already had a lot of experience living the North American lifestyle, and dealing with NA racing and media.

    I also think that for every complaint LH may have about F1 these days, he would find one about how Nascar works too. So while I agree with you that anything is possible and that the concept of LH going to Nascar is intriguing and will no doubt be talked about when he does drive the car, I put the odds at slim to none, and slim just left town. In one foul swoop he would be shunned by the F1 community and by his own country for ‘defecting’ to ‘that redneck NA only series that goes around in circles’ thus ending his life as he knows it, only to be relegated to mediocrity in NA where he knows practically nobody and would struggle for a number of years before he might accomplish anything.

    Now if he were near the end of his career, and perhaps by then had developed some ties to NA, then perhaps different story…

  38. @Robbie.

    LOL. Very well said. Going back to Christian Horner’s remarks about Hamilton, could it be more of a motivational move towards Mark Webber also? Afterall, Webber is thirty five years old which as we know is quite old for Formula One. If Horner were to replace Webber in the next couple of years, would he really have the balls to put a man like Hamilton alongside Sebastien Vettel, now that Vettel has signed a new longterm contract? Your thoughts guys!

  39. Imho I think Horner is primarily just stating a fact. LH is a WDC. I for one still think he squeaked into that WDC and proved two years in a row that he can make mistakes when the pressure is at it’s greatest…he almost let two WDC’s slip through his hands. So I personally think LH still has something to prove, yet have to give him his props that he is in fact a WDC in the history books.

    I don’t think MW needs any extra motivation in that he lost the WDC last year and will be hell bent on correcting that while he will still have the best car on the grid with which to do that. His days are numbered in terms of opportunity.

    The SV/MW pairing stirred a lot of debate last year as to whether Red Bull treats it’s drivers equally, and even though most suspect they favour SV, MW did have a legitimate WDC shot too, so hard to argue SV was favoured. Now that he is WDC it would be understandable to consider SV as the team’s favourite, but MW is not going to put up with secondary treatment, and if he senses his car is not getting the newer goodies and only SV is, or any other element that might hint at favouritism then we will all hear about it, as will LH who will then, if opportunity arises and he wants to leave Mac for Red Bull, will have to decide the risk of being treated secondarily to SV, if in fact evidence arises that that is going on…

    Bottom line for me…for F1 to call itself the pinnacle of racing I want to see the Horners of the world having no fear of taking on two great drivers and letting them duke it out with equal opportunity until such time the math may dictate as the season winds down that one should not rob points from the other, or that both drivers still have legitimate shots and need to be allowed to see it through to the end. That’s why it is called racing. I want my WDC’s to want to earn it on their own, not because they had a ‘blocker’ out there, and prefer that if a team does emphasize one driver over another it is only because it makes mathematical sense near the end of the season and said ‘secondary’ driver is not a blocker but just someone who won’t rob points from the one with the WDC shot on the team. And one who can accept that role because he knows deep down he had an equal shot and it just didn’t work out for him that year.

    I also want the SV’s of the world to say ‘LH? Bring him on…I fear nobody’

  40. Vettel and Hamilton together!

    Did anyone watch them in the pitlane in China. It would be Turkey 2010 throughout the whole season.

    If Red Bull were smart they would leave Webber there, as he is as good as Vettel, but will play along with their bull$%@# and take the title if Vettel can’t mathematically win any more. Hamilton or any other driver would expect to have a fair carck and not start giving up front wings like in Britain 2010 or take the brunt of an accident that was caused by the favoured spoilt child of red bull.

    Maybe Red Bull getting a little cocky now they’re on top. They should be happy to keep Webber but Webber should really leave and find a team where he has support when he’s leading the championship for most of the year.

    Looks like Ferrari may be a good bet as he’s good mates with Alonso, wouldn’t be disapointed if was getting beaten by him, even if they favoured Alonso (what’s changed from red bull) and would have mutual respect for each other.

    oh… and webber doesn’t take out team mates.
    it’s interseting to note that most drivers that have taken webber out have been german:
    Michael Schumacher – pit lane
    Ralf Schumacher – Malaysia 2004
    Nico Rosberg – Brazil 2006
    Vettel – Fuji 2007 & Turkey 2010 (and almost Britain 2010).

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