Whitmarsh: Hamilton wants to stay at McLaren

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Martin Whitmarsh gives the strongest indication yet that Lewis Hamilton will remain at McLaren.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Hamilton ‘wants McLaren contract’ (BBC)

Martin Whitmarsh: “If Lewis wants to stay in the team, which he has told me he does, then he should do”.

Alonso happy to ignore critics (ESPN)

“When you’re fighting other drivers from that country, it’s normal that this sort of thing would happen. It happened in Germany, too. Everything was fine until I was competitive and fighting Michael [Schumacher].”

Nico Hulkenberg Q&A: Happy but not satisfied (F1)

“I made some small mistakes in the first few races and felt occasionally that a little more could have been possible. This was especially the case in qualifying, when Paul (di Resta) finished ahead of me several times. But now that’s changed and I am fully comfortable. Of course I am not perfect. But I would say that I have definitely improved my personal performance when I compare now to the first few races.”

Brawn: F1 must not become ‘random’ (Autosport)

“What we cannot have in motorsport is a randomness where you don’t know who is going to win, and that you could work really hard to improve the car but your car doesn’t suit the conditions and you are not competitive. That is not where we want to be.”

James Allison on the 2012 F1 World Championship Race (Lotus via YouTube)

City of Austin again moving to annex Circuit of the Americas (Austin-American Statesman)

“Annexation extends the city’s regulatory authority on the site and will add the track to its tax rolls.”

Hewland Engineering founder dies aged 89 (Maidenhead Advertiser)

“The business continued to grow and moved from North Town Road to Boyn Valley Road, where Hewland Engineering had well over 100 employees in the 1970s. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, Hewland gearboxes became synonymous with motorsport and Formula One.”

Fun Clip: Tit-for-Tat – Sauber F1 Team (Sauber via YouTube)

Govt to decide on demo drive today (The Times of India)

“The revised proposal submitted by the organizers will make the event cheaper by Rs30 lakh and will involve two lower calibre cars instead of one F1 car. Arjun Balu will drive MRF’s Formula 1600cc Ford car and Narain [Karthikeyan] will be behind the wheels of MRF’s brand-new Formula 2000cc car with a Renault engine and Dallara chassis, which is likely to be unveiled in Chennai on August 25.”

Comment of the day

Yesterday’s piece on closed cockpits and covered wheels provoked strongly-held and well-argued views from both sides of the safety debate. Here’s two of them:

The right to be safe can only be extended so far. Up to a certain point you have to decide if you’re comfortable taking part, be it crossing the road on your way to work or driving a Formula 1 car.

The drivers may not want to race in these cars but the public want to see them race these cars. They have a choice to make, and it should be a choice. I don’t demand to be wrapped in cotton wool everywhere I go, neither should they. There simply has to be risk or it’s not sport and it’s definitely not life.

I don’t think you can ever say that they are ‘safe enough’. Henry Surtees, Felipe Massa, Dan Wheldon, and Maria de Villota are all examples from the fast few years of drivers being seriously injured or killed because of their exposed heads. Two deaths and one near fatal injury don’t constitute ‘rare’ or ‘safe enough’ to me.

Of course it would be impossible to pre-empt every single dangerous situation and take action against it, but when there is a glaringly obvious safety problem which is causing injuries on a fairly regular basis, I think that common sense suggests that it needs addressing. We haven’t seen a fatality in a long time in F1, but it’s clear that the danger remains.
Chris Goldsmith (@mazdachris)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Innim and Tomas!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Didier Pironi died in a powerboat accident 25 years ago today.

The three-times Grand Prix winner had been forced to quit the sport in 1982 after suffering serious leg injuries in a crash at the Hockenheimring.

Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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55 comments on “Whitmarsh: Hamilton wants to stay at McLaren”

  1. Ehem, Hamilton wants only choice is to stay at McLaren

    1. Only sane choice

      1. he could take a sabbatical like mansell or kimi

        1. And work on his music. Jamie can do the club remix’s.

          1. Who knows, Jaime might be busy racing cars by then :-)

    2. McLaren won’t find a better driver than him, so they need him, too

    3. That BBC article now reads:

      A drive is expected to become available at Ferrari at the end of the season, with speculation also surrounding Michael Schumacher’s future at Mercedes.

      When I first saw it yesterday, it said “Drives are expected to become available at Red Bull and Ferrari at the end of the season”, so it’s been edited since then. It makes all the difference – I think Hamilton would go to Red Bull for next season if Vettel were to leave. As it stands, he’s basically got no choice but to stay at McLaren. That plays into the team’s hands, as they can get a two- or three-year contract out of him when he might only want to sign for one year.

      1. How funny would it be when everybody expects it is massa’s drive but suddenly Ferrari issues a statement Alonso quits at the end of the season.

    4. agree. Mclaren the only competitive team other than Red Bull and Ferrari. Merc. have problems with continuing with F1 due to lack of success and the new Concorde Agreement which will start next year.

  2. Mclaren have had a competive car most of the season long, and Hamilton should’ve been much closer to Alonso if it wasn’t for all the mistakes from the team. Look at how few points Ferrari lost due team mistakes, now compare than to all the points Mclaren lost due their own stupidity. Lewis is ruining the prime years of his career at Mclaren, just like Kimi did from 2003-06.

  3. Chris Goldsmith went on to postulate an awful onscreen tragedy that really made me wonder about the point of motosport at all. I then expostulted a political knee-jerk reactiion that would cause the complete sutdown of the sport we love.
    I really do not think this reality is far away.

    1. I really do not think this reality is far away.

      How about a fifteen-car pile-up that results in the death of a driver and injuries to several others?

      1. Can you imagine the screams for a ban on racing after something like that? Every populist politician and pundit would be foaming at the mouth.

        1. I think that as you wrote in your post, if a large accident happened with several viewers involved it would certainly get that kind of responses.

  4. I just love how Brawn let his tongue slip.

    because that weekend they got the tyres right

    Aside from that, I do agree with him, it was a good experience in the first few races, than it became a pain in the ….
    I dont want to see one team dominating, but a clear order among the teams. If a “lower” team can get better places by hard work, good driving or good strategy, it is a joy to see, but it would be very boring if only weather and tyre temperatures decide who wins the WCC.

    1. I agree it shouldn’t be random as in teams just lucking into the tyre window, but it’s great if the field is very close and every update can mean a few places, and the drivers can really make the difference.

    2. Well it doesn’t look like total randomness to me, its not like we’re seeing HRT/Caterham etc getting a win due to the tyre’s small operating window. There’s still some fair amount of order, with the Mclarens, Lotuses, Red Bulls and Ferraris in the front-running mix.

      1. Ofcourse, but you cant expect a Ford Fiesta to be better than an Audi R8 just because it using its tyres better. But if you look at Saubers and Williams’ pace you can clearly see that if a team lucks into the operating window they can have a great potential, and we can see them fighting for podiums one week, but then crusing at P10 at another race.

  5. Ross Brawn makes total sense once again.

    1. I don’t there is any substance to what he is saying, which is a first coming from him.

      The usual suspects are fighting it out at the front Ferrari, Mclaren, Lotus (Team Enstone) etc. Mercedes are where I expected them to be, Williams have returned to the midfield fray and all the other teams are i pretty much performing as expected.

      The freak Sauber podiums will not likely happen again this season so this unpredictability Ross speaks of has long since started to disipate.

      I think he may possibly be speaking from a somewhat surprised perspective that the W03 is as far away from the fight as it has been since Mercedes bought Brawn, despite all his hard work to turn the team around.

      It is what it is Ross, scratching round for excuses won’t help you go any quicker. Tyres are black and round and appear at each corner of the car. All teams use them, just get on with it and do a better job.

  6. Sauber prank is kind of lame. They should stick to cutting stuff in half.

    1. I thought it was quite cute. But then, I think Perez is hot, so I’m easily pleased…

      1. Lol! Now its funny

      2. You mean Checo My Teeth Perez?

        1. They are insanely white! And he looks like a Mexican teddy bear. That is all :)

  7. Joe Saward reports that James Key will start working for Toro Rosso next week, after Ascanelli leaving them.

    Seems like he’s the best guy for Toro Rosso – he seems to be capable of getting a small team with low budget to achieve good results, just like he did with Sauber. Will be interesting to see what he can do.

    1. Can’t wait to see Ricciardo and Vergne prove themselves next year in a James Key-enabled STR.

      1. @oblong_cheese Good points. They’re inexperienced and the car is in no-man’s land, very hard to impress at the moment.

  8. fourwheeldrift
    23rd August 2012, 2:22

    Right on Ross, I couldn’t have put it better myself, I’m just suprised to be hearing it form one of only 2 teams to have actually benefited from his so called ‘randomness’

    Has any body read the article about Pirelli on GPUpdate.com saying the tyres are behaving very differently from how they expected due to different forces in play from their 2010 test car?

    it goes a long way to explain whats gone wrong this year

    1. I would not say anything has “gone wrong” this year.

      I don’t see how an added layer of challenge for teams and drivers can be a bad thing.

      1. fourwheeldrift
        23rd August 2012, 11:19

        Well it would take a wiser man then me to disagree over F1 tyres with men like Ross Brawn and Paul Hembery

      2. @prisoner-monkeys

        if it was an added layer of challenge for teams and drivers then it would be great, but are you seriously trying to tell me williams and maldonado and mercedes and rosberg won through rising to the challange AND THEN FORGOT HOW THEY DID IT FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON, I think not….they just got lucky, thats not F1 is it

        1. Mercedes have been plagued by car troubles all season long. Even when they can get their tyres working, they have bigger problems to deal with.

          As for Maldonado, he has shown a competitive streak on several occasions, with good qualifying performances – which he then proceeds to ruin by driving into someone else.

        2. It isn’t luck- their car just has a narrow operating window. This is nothing new. Neither is drivers having one or two great performances and no other significant results.

  9. I 100% agree with what Nico Hulkenberg said, I followed him closely this year and it seems to me that he is fully aware of his situation.

    He’s such a promising talent.

  10. Is it just me, or is this whole Hamilton-McLaren situation starting to seem a lot like the Button-Brawn contract talks in 2009? A lot of talk, a lot of reassurance. But when push came to shove, Jenson left (ironically, to McLaren). Their optimism is all good and well, but unless a contract is signed, sealed, and delivered, it doesn’t really mean anything.

    1. Until now we did not hear from Lewis that he definetively want’s to stay.
      It all comes from McLaren about Lewis wantS to stay, sign a new long time contract etc. It’s really a bot curious

      1. Nothing unusual about it seeing as it happens with every high profile driver. I heard that Button is going to Ferrari. Also Kimi is going to Ferrari. Oh, and yes… Di Resta is going to Ferrari. They can’t all be right unless the Ferrari cars have been converted into 2-seaters. We shouldn’t put too much stock in what the press reports as they are never there when these deals are being thrashed out!

      2. I thought it was a bit curious too. So is Lewis playing hard-ball, waiting until further into tohe season to add pressure to get the car improved or a better deal, or waiting for a decision at Mercedes perhaps? Maybe connected, i.e. until Schumacher is a definite, the potential vacancy provides contract leverage.

      3. I think it’s curious. I don’t think Hamilton is signing with Mclaren.

        1. @dot_com – you can’t just say a statement like you have just made and leave it at that. You have to give a reason!!!

          1. @Blackmamba – Seems like we only seem to be hearing talk from Mclarens end, not Hamiltons. I think deep down LH wants a fresh challenge but is caught up between feelings of loyalty to the team that gave him his career, and also the fear of being in an uncompetitive car. I personally hope he moves to another team, it would really make for interesting viewing – I would love to see him in a Williams next year :)

  11. Just think, If Sauber spent more time developing their car and less time on jokes like that, they could be leading the championship!

    1. yes its that easy….I stopped having fun last week and created world peace

  12. I do agree with Brawn in the long term but I don’t think a season of total unpredictability (which we don’t have now) is the worst thing in the world. It has the potential to shake the order up a bit which makes it all the more interesting when it comes to having some predictability.

    There is a lot to be said for ensuring that the best engineers, team and driver are at the sharp end all the time and at times it could be frustrating if external factors, such as tyres, started to dictate the pace. However, that said, a lot of what was said earlier this year by the biggest fans of the sport surprised me. They turned against it and they did it very quickly. It’s like they didn’t factor in the complete polar opposite 2011 season we had.

    Everything in moderation, but at least give things a chance. Don’t shoot situations down immediately and just enjoy it.

    1. However, that said, a lot of what was said earlier this year by the biggest fans of the sport surprised me. They turned against it and they did it very quickly.

      I think the thing that a lot of people didn’t like is the way tyres were the dominant factor of the weekend & the way drivers were all saying they were having to drive well under the limits to get the tyres to last.

      I also think people got turned off by situations where the narrow operating window of the tyres was randomly badly harming teams/drivers with both team & driver completely confused as to why they were suffering the problems & been left with zero idea on how to go about solving the problems.

      Then there was situations like Raikkonen at Shanghai where he drove a good race to get into a podium only to then have the tyres fall completely off the cliff & subsequently drop about 13 places in 1 lap with him been able to do nothing at all to even atempt to defend his position.

      In my case I disliked a bit of all the above. I want to see drivers pushing harder, Don’t like passing to be made stupidly easy because of too great a difference in tyres (Or because of the stupid DRS) & I wasn’t keen on the narrow operating window meaning one weekend a team/driver looked great only to then be nowhere the next weekend due to missing the setup window & been outside the tyres optimum working range.

      Im a long time F1 fan, Been watching since 1971 & I watch for the thrill of the cars been on track & the excitement of watching them been driven hard.
      The whole concept of constant entertainment, a hundred passes a race (95% of which are dead boring to watch due to been far too easy), Total unpredictability, As many different winners as possible & the show been more important than the sport is totally alien to me & has done nothing but turn me off the past few years.
      I personally enjoyed things far more when F1 was a bit more pure without all the stupid artificial nonsence we now have.

  13. This round to Mazdachris on the COTDs. No one is claiming that F1, or air travel, or crossing the street, should be made risk-free. The question is whether there are marginal improvements in safety available at appropriate marginal costs, financially or in terms of disruption to other valuable aspects of the activity. We should measure the balance of benefit and cost, and implement the solution if it comes out on the right side. Throwing up our hands is not a valid response.

  14. Good to see some F1 drivers follow the Paralympics: https://twitter.com/nico_rosberg/status/238703708400132096

  15. What we cannot have in motorsport is a randomness where you don’t know who is going to win

    Completely disagree with Brawn’s statement. The essence is sport is have a certain degree of unpredictability. If we were to know what to expect in every race it kills the purpose of actually watching it. It’s like watching amovie where you know what is going to happen every step of the way. Who would actually pay to see that?

    F1 as a sport is unique as it depends primarily on the machine over the man. A lot of people do not like the sport because of this very reason. A degree of randomness lets the drivers shine and puts the emphasis back on the man controlling the machine, which imho, is great for the sport.

    People support the underdog because they want to see surprise outcome, and also because everyone on the competitive field has a chance of going for the gold. This is what makes all sports in general, great.

    Sounds to me like Brawn has a case of the sour grapes. Looks like he is missing the 2000-2004 and 2009 seasons where everything was ridiculously boring for the spectators, but incredibly successful for him

  16. In my opinion, the debate should not be about McLaren’s drivers but about McLaren’s leadership of lack of since Ron Dennis stepped aside three years ago. I have been unimpressed by Martin Whitmarsh and the direction, or lack of, since 2009 is more to do with Whitmarsh than it is with Hamilton of Button. You can have the best drivers in the world at your team but if the team is led by idiots you are not going to win anything!

  17. Hamilton is not getting his trophies yet it seems so he maybe thinking on some other team nowadays or eat his pride get copy trophies and tons of money for being 4-5 driver since 2009 in a top car

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