McLaren “closer” to new Hamilton deal

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale expects to get a new deal with Lewis Hamilton signed soon.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Neale: Hamilton deal close (Sky)

“We are closer and of course we are in dialogue. For obvious reasons I can’t speculate more at the moment. We are working very hard to find a common ground.”

Bottas wants ‘long career’ with Williams (Autosport)

“It’s a team with a great history and it’s already my third year with the team and I feel like it’s home here so the ideal would be to stay here and I would hope for a long career with Williams.”

F1 – 2014: Mercedes se d??sengage (Auto Hebdo, French)

This article in Auto Hebdo, suggesting Mercedes may downscale their F1 operation in 2014 and rename their team, did the rounds of a few websites yesterday. Looking at the original with my less than perfect French it doesn’t seem to cite any sources – anonymous or otherwise – for these claims.

Defendant in F1 land lawsuit files counterclaim (Austin-American Statesman)

“A defendant in a lawsuit over the sale of a 78-acre tract of land near a racetrack under construction in southeastern Travis County [the Circuit of the Americas] has filed a response and counterclaim, denying the accusations and saying his accuser reneged on a contract.”

F1 Race Stars (Game Trailers)

An early look at Codemasters’ cartoon-style F1 game.

In memory of Enzo Ferrari (Ferrari)

Stefano Domenicali: “I am sure he would be proud of those who represent Ferrari in the twenty first century, a major force in industry and motor racing which produces dream cars and is still at the pinnacle of motor sport, bringing joy to millions of fans of the marque, in all four corners of the world.”


Comment of the day

Vjanik doesn’t think F1 should court the interest of car manufacturers:

I think the intention to attract the likes of Honda, Toyota and BMW back into formula one by introducing these V6s will fail. I think formula 1 has to face the fact that its no longer as road relevant as before. In its early years, F1 innovations used to trickle down to road cars all the time (seat belts, ABS, traction control, etc…)

Nowadays with most of the innovation happening with aerodynamics, the relevance to everyday road cars is next to nothing. Its much more attractive and cost efficient for car manufacturers to invest in Touring cars, rallying or GT racing to develop their ideas and promote their brands with racing pedigree. Why spend ten times more on F1 to do the same thing?

I don’t believe this is necessarily a bad thing though. The important thing is for the FIA to recognize that and promote F1 as a high performance sport with the best drivers and the most competitive formula in motor racing (rather than road-relevant environmentally-friendly cars). People are not watching F1 for its relevance to their Honda Civic or Mercedes E-Class.

Some people say that this would be a disaster because if F1 loses its touch with everyday cars, manufacturers will leave and F1 will decline. But in the last three years we had excellent racing, and viewership in F1 is at its peak (despite BBC losing ten races) so i don’t really miss the manufacturers that left. I don’t understand the expensive experiment with the V6s to bring them back.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Lin1876!

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On this day in F1

Elio de Angelis and Keke Rosberg crossed the finishing line side-by-side at the end of the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix.

The Lotus driver hung on to claim his first win by just 0.05s. Second place for Rosberg moved him up to second in the world championship – but points leader Didier Pironi has been gravely injured following his crash in Hockenheim.

Here are highlights from the race. Keep an eye out for Riccardo Patrese making one of the first refuelling stops of this era at the 2’07 mark:

Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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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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50 comments on “McLaren “closer” to new Hamilton deal”

  1. Neale: Hamilton deal close (Sky)

    that means, Michael will stay with Mercedes for 2013

    F1 – 2014: Mercedes se désengage (Auto Hebdo, French)

    face palm !

    1. that means, Michael will stay with Mercedes for 2013

      No, it doesn’t.

      1) Mercedes have never given any indication that they favour Hamilton over Schumacher (and there has never been anything linking Hamilton to Mercedes other than speculation once the Red Bull seats were taken).

      2) Schumacher could choose to re-retire irrespective of what Hamilton decides to do. His continued presence at Mercedes does not depend solely on Lewis Hamilton staying at McLaren.

      3) McLaren have not yet finalised a deal with Hamilton, so there is still the possibility that Hamilton will leave the team, even if that seems less and less likely with each passing day.

      If Schumacher were to retire and Hamilton were to remain at Mercedes, the team still has plenty of options – like Kovalainen, who is highly-rated at the moment, but has made it clear that Caterham need to deliver something this year.

      face palm !

      The report actually suggests that Mercedes will not exit the sport, but take a step backwards. They would become an engine supplier, with the team that currently carries the Mercedes name reimagined as “AMG F1” and styled as a semi-official Mercedes factory team, like McLaren was up until 2010.

      1. Very good insight PM

    2. “We are working very hard to find common ground”! and that is supposed to be closer ! How far apart must they have been before ?

      1. After all McLaren will let Lewis take few of his trophies home and I reckon that is one of his demands. I guess he might have locked horns with both Ron Dennis and Martin W certainly regarding his contract and the car’s competitvenes. LINK
        Honestly, from McLaren’s standpoint from this years performance… they need Lewis in their line up. I don’t think they have got anyone else in their radar who is less expensive; will co-exist with JB and yet challenge Fernando ~damage control ~

        1. I believe Hamilton has said that being allowed to keep his trophies (rather than the copies commissioned by the team) is one of the big things he wants from a new contract.

          1. Personally I am not that sure it really is the core point though. I can imagine saying the same publicly (pushing an issue that is unlikely the team will accept) if that helps getting them to agree with more favourable conditions elsewhere (private sponsors, more money, duration of the deal, exit clauses, etc.)

          2. I think that might be the one thing they REALLY don’t want to do. Finding more money is more likely than changing the only constant in any McLaren drivers contract. But if Hamilton really wanted them just take a smaller wage – negotiation is supposed to be a two-way street.

    3. What that means is Lewis leaves Mclaren and Mclaren is forced to join forces with Mercedes once again, satisfying both teams financial issues.

  2. davidnotcoulthard
    15th August 2012, 2:38


    I think to bring the manufacturers back F1 should stop relying on aerodynamics. Only then can F1 teams make innovations that has at least a less remote chance of trikling down to road cars than they do now.

    1. Exactly, reduce the dependence on aerodynamics ( smaller wings-bigger tyres ) and bring back competition in the engines, it need not cost any more than the aerodynamics, just keep the engine longevity rules and the restrictions on exotic materials but let the engineers play with the power/rpm versus fuel efficiency and see who gets it right. Remember having more power and a higher top speed usually means a heavier fuel load so don’t expect an all-out power race like we had in the re-fuelling years.

      1. I would also like it if teams and suppliers could have more differences in their approach. Let Renault go for a tiny powerpack with low fuel consumption, Ferrari do a big beast, BMW could do something hyper dynamic with lots of hybrid tech, VW-group get into turbo efficiency, Toyota can bring all they learnt from electrical and hybrid cars, etc. If they still limit the amount of engines+hybrid systems per year and maybe limit it to 2-4 updates per season that could work.
        And then fix the rules for at least 4-5 years.
        That would give races a new dynamic. Off course there is a risk that one of these packages will be dominant and it takes a while for others to get up to speed, and it might be a bit harder to police money spent.

  3. A tangent to the COTD, but it’s something I’ve always wondered.
    Considering that F1 is now all about the aerodynamics, KERS and DRS, as well as a myriad of other technologies that have no immediate practical relevance to average road cars, can it not be said that this divergence in interests actually makes F1 more unique and worthy of preservation?
    I have seen the engineers of F1 cars as scientists, people that despite their artificial constraints constantly improve and expand on their own knowledge. F1 is a sport, but also the greatest technical and engineering race that the world sees, every day. Always striving for faster, stronger and more efficient machinery. The days of immediate, tangible effects that F1 has had on road cars may have long since passed, but who knows what the endeavours of people committed to this sport may bring about to the world through sheer engineering genius?
    Just because you can’t show the direct correlation between an innovation in one field and progress in another doesn’t mean that either fields are independent of one another. Formula One may still be as useful to the motor industry as any other motorsport.

    1. A few months ago there was an article about the new regulations and the urge to bring back the brands, at that time i made a comment with almost exactly the same words as the COTD and with a bit of what you’ve just said, guess i just get ignored.

      1. I guess it was by the time of the 24 Heurs du Mans

      2. @ukfanatic I’m sorry your previous comment on this aspect of the sport got ignored! I’m curious, what do you think is irrelevant to manufacturers/consumers in today’s F1, and what is of use to the larger world? Also, does F1 need to be that tied to everyday road cars in the first place?

        1. Man there’s no need to cheer me up. i just read your comment and i totally agreed with it, i have the same opinion as yourself. I felt i was getting ignore but perhaps i was just ignored that time, i had no replies, no nothing, but i’m sure i was being a bit paranoid, in the end i’m not trying to get COTD.

      3. @ukfanatic I do try to read every comment but there are hundreds, even thousands a day at times (though not so many in the middle of the August break). There is often a lot of competition for Comment of the Day so don’t take it personally if you haven’t had one.

        1. No hard feelings, i understand.

        2. well in that case I’m honored. thanks

    2. @colossal-squid I agree. The road relevance probably isn’t that high but that’s the reason for the change. Few things are as important as the engine so it does make sense to pursue that avenue in F1, I do think that the new engine will make a few waves in the industry.

    3. Personally I don’t think that manufacturers departing has anything to do with the technical rules, and everything to do with the extremely restrictive political and financial landscape of F1 thanks to the commercial rights holder. It makes F1 a very expensive sport to compete in, since the returns for success are really not very generous, and a significant amount of money invested into the sport is simply lining some guy’s pockets. That’s unattractive in itself, and then you combine that with the fact that sponsors get very little for their money, because Bernie doesn’t allow any significant sponsor presence for team sponsors. There’s very little in the way of corporate hospitality (for team sponsors, this is) which means that F1 fails to ‘woo’ potential investors. Really, in order for a manufacturer to really have any kind of impact in F1, the need to be prepared to front hundreds of thousands of euros out of their own pockets, just to run the team year on year. And that’s not counting the initial setup cost if they want to create their own team from scratch rather than buy into an existing one.

      Then of course on top of all of this you do have the problem of technical restrictions which make it impossible for manufacturers to develop any kind of technology which would feed back into their road cars, and can’t exist as a showcase for their own technology when all of the F1 cars are effectively identical.

      Then you need to consider that in the World Endurance Championship you have a much better political landscape, and far greater technical freedom. The cars are more high tech than F1, there’s more opportunity for sponsor presence at races, and the cars are all unique showcases for the technology of the teams. And it’s way cheaper thanks to commercial rights holders who operate in a far fairer way, and a governing body who are prepared to make more concessions in the interests of getting competitors into the sport. If WEC didn’t exist then maybe you would see more manufacturer teams in F1, but at the moment F1 is seen as a bad place to be and WEC is all too happy to take the spoils instead.

  4. COTD is an interesting take.

    Its is absolutely right, there is no more relevance. The fact is that even the technology that is relevant, like KERS, has been deemed primitive by Toyota, who are the best at the Hybrid game. The comment also goes on to highlight that F1 needs to be rebranded, and that is exactly what it needs. If its get rebranded as suggested, to a high performance racing series, I think it call still draw manufacturers, the niche.

    For companies like Ferrari and Mclaren, even Williams to a certain extent, F1 is the ultimate marketing platform for their products. Ferrari and Mclaren make high performance super cars, Williams provides high technical products and engineering to various companies. So instead of looking to get the likes of Toyota and Honda back into F1, perhaps Bernie should looking to get the likes of Porche and Lamborghini (Audi) and maybe even American car makers like GM to show off their Chevrolet brand?

    1. I agree that its an interesting take @jaymenon10 and I would even go further than what you say about the irellevance.
      Even to Williams, their products outside F1 (i.e. with relevance to more than just the sport) are better advertised by Audi winning at LeMans with a Williams hybrid system, and Porsche joining the same soon as well as having it in their GT cars used in sportscar racing (not a chance VW will enter F1 with either Porsche or Lamborghini, or Audi for that matter) anytime soon.

    2. F1 was never really intended to be relevant anyway, it just happened to be at times because a breeding ground of technology such as that was bound to produce things that road cars could use. Sportscar racing was traditionally a more appropriate field for such technologies.

    I know this isn’t the right place, but my net connection is poor and I can’t seem to access my forums.
    Here’s Barrichello with another dose of self-referential talk. I wonder why it didn’t make the round-up.

    1. In place of “my forums” it should be “the forum”.

    2. @chicanef1 I have no problem with people posting other news stories in the round-up as long as they’re relevant.

      I saw the Barrichello story, obviously the original quotes are from Auto Motor und Sport, I didn’t consider it sufficiently interesting to spend time trying to understand the original for the round-up (unlike, for example, the Auto Hebdo piece on Mercedes). And I’m not going to trust some dodgy-looking site with unbylined articles to get it right.

      1. Understood.

    3. I’m sick of hearing what Rubens has to say. He is always talking himself up, but when he’s on the race track he’s mediocre at best. He values his eperience, but no one else in the paddock does, which is why he is out of a seat

  6. Happy birthday @ Lin1876!

    1. Cheers @bascb. Only now managed to find time to read this.

      1. Thats good, shows you had enough fun not to spend the whole day on the internet @lin1876!

  7. Not completely sure what to make of that Mercedes tuning down their F1 effort piece. For one it sounds a lot like similar articles (mostly from German sources) we read a couple of months ago (although @bosyber metioned a later changed Autosport article about Mercedes last week). The only new bit seems to be the part about AMG-F1, but that could well be tought up as making more or less sense.
    On the other hand, why have it surface in France? The main language of Todt and the FIA.
    That leads me to feel this is just part of the ongoing negotiations between teams+FIA and Bernie. The FIA won’t want to be left out and Mercedes does not like getting a lot less than the top teams as well as Lotus and possibly Williams, and they have that Gribowsky trial thing in hand as a bit of a stick / scapegoat to sell it to the public.

    1. @bascb @bosyber What was this about the article Autosport changed? I missed that one.

      1. It was in a discussion about the engines and who would supply where @boyber linked to one article, that had a link to a different article about how Mercedes was hinting at wanting to cut back on supplying engines to others (that linked article was changed to only report about how Cosworth and PURE were unlikely to be supplying engines). I will have a look to try and find the post.

      2. This was the post I mentioned , hard to tell really whether there is substance to it, when that article is not available :-(

      3. @keithcollantine, @bascb, it was an ESPN article which now says about the same as the Autosport one about Sauber probably sticking with Ferrari for 201, but before it claimed that Mercedes was only interested in providing their own team with engines. And then continued to say that Renault would be happy to provide more teams, which would be a worry for Ferrari, but also Mercedes.

        That might all have been speculation which some editor thought insufficiently backed and then removed, but it was weird to read an article then have comments it said no such thing and seeing it completely curbed when checking.

        On your post here @bascb, I do agree that it might be some bit of negotiation, and even that ESPN thing could be part of it, with Mercedes saying they might want to reduce involvement if they don’t get what they want, FIA/Bernie leaking that to further their interests, and thus not being easily verifiable …

        1. @bosyber

          it was weird to read an article then have comments it said no such thing and seeing it completely curbed when checking.

          This seems to be happening more and more. We’ve noted it a few times in the forum:

          Missing Frank Williams quotes on
          McLaren claim they had fastest car towards end of 2011

          I’m going to start taking screenshots of everything I read!

          For the record, should it ever be necessary to change the meaning in an F1 Fanatic article in this way I will draw attention to it as I think others in the same position should.

          1. @keithcollantine, that’s one of those things that makes F1fanatic stand out, the editorial practices where you always note when and what you changed, it’s very much appreciated!

          2. Thanks very much :-)

          3. For the record, should it ever be necessary to change the meaning in an F1 Fanatic article in this way I will draw attention to it as I think others in the same position should.

            Good journalistic ethics @keithcollantine, one of the things i value about your site.

            Its curious how its been happening to relatively big publications, maybe a sign how hard it really is to get a story confirmed vs. feeling the need to publish first?

  8. Partly agree with COTD by @vjanik. I agree that F1 shouldn’t tag itself as environmentally friendly road-relevant tech developing field as the eco-mentalists won’t care and the rest as you’ve rightly pointed out don’t watch F1 for that.

    I disagree however about the V6’s. You see I’m not a technologically inclined man, and yet I very much care that F1 remains the pinnacle of motor-racing, otherwise it’ll lose all of its credibility, not only from the manufacturers. You say that F1 is exciting now. The BTCC was in the 90’s also very exciting, so?.why a team principal should maintain a team in F1 when he can participate in some other exciting series for a fraction of a cost?

    The current F1 V8’s are a 20year old technology that inspires no one. As it stands now Indycar has more advanced engine technology than F1. The V6’s of 2014 will be much more exciting and will cement F1’s place as a pinnacle of motor racing. And being V6 turbos with extremely powerful Energy Recovery Systems(not just kinetic) they will indeed be relevant to road-going cars again as such technologies will have to be used on all car engines from small cars to super-cars in the years to come. And while, road-relevance is not a core value of modern F1, it can’t hurt to be road relevant, can it?

    1. i dont think we disagree that much. i love everything F1 and am also in a way looking forward to the new engines. I never liked the fact that engine development was frozen for 10 years. I believe F1 should always be pushing the limits of what is possible, not stick with unchanged engines for so long. so in that sense i agree with you.

      my point was that the reasoning behind the new engines is flawed. they should be developing new engines for performance sake. this includes efficiency, improving fuel consumption, making them lighter yet maintaining rigidity and power, etc. this is what should be driving the development. (not the intention to attract car makers)

      And as a previous poster said, Honda, Toyota and BMW didn’t leave because of the technical rules or engine freeze, they left because of the credit crunch. So a change to the technical regulations (which will require huge investments) is not likely to attract them back.

  9. tick tock tick tock… sigh…
    Five whole weeks between Grand Prixs and we’re only half way through… :(

  10. I do wonder what can take so long in these negotiations at times. Nothing much has changed. He’s still a single-time world champion, it’s not like he can be realistically be asking for much more money.

    1. @AndrewTanner It looks like McLaren want to pay him less than he has been receiving so far. Moreover, I think that McLaren want to bind him for many years, while Lewis prefers a short-term deal at the moment, for which McLaren would pay yet less. Maybe some escape clauses are being discussed, too. I don’t think that Lewis really cares about getting the original trophies himself that much, I see it rather as a part of the negotiation tactics.

      I think that it’s basically about finding the optimum balance between Hamilton’s salary and his freedom.

  11. Just read about that ’82 win for Lotus in the Jabby Crombac biography of Colin Chapman. Apparently made a huge difference to his spirits after the torrid time they had trying to prove the legality of the twin chassis car, on-going losses for Lotus Cars, protracted financial problems from a £5m loan from American Express. The FOCA/FISA war had taken its toll too, with Chapman nearly ousting Ecclestone as leader of FOCA (after a meeting with Balestre at the Le Mans 24hrs), but later deciding he’d rather concentrate on his own work. He was also closing up his boat businesses (after pioneering new vacuum-moulding techniques) and beginning to look at building microlights.

    Of course, at this time he was developing his next technical advancement: active suspension. What a busy little pioneer.

  12. who's better who's best
    15th August 2012, 21:22

    Actually @vjanic abs and seatbelts were both invented/introduced by the aircraft industry and computer controlled traction control was already in use in road cars before being introduced in F1 (invented by Buick in 1971)

    How can you say aerodynamics are not relevent to the car industry – the closer you get to zero drag the more fuel efficent a car becomes which is more than self explanitry

    Even if you have bigger tyers and smaller wings you can not write rules to prevent aerodynamics being the biggest factor in performance, after all, producing a wing is probably the easiest part of aerodynamics to understand (look up boundary layers and laminer flow if you don’t believe me). The only way to stop aero development would be to use uniformed bodywork like the lower serises and I can’t imagine anybody, not even ferrari going for that idea

    That aside I agree with you that the swap to V6’s probably won’t encourage any new car manurfacturers into F1 but f1 has to try and the current formula clearly isn’t working and the rest of the world already use turbo engines so it does make sense to give it ago

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