Martin Whitmarsh, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2012

Whitmarsh: Hamilton’s Mercedes move “a mistake”

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Martin Whitmarsh, Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2012In the round-up: Martin Whitamrsh says Lewis Hamilton has made a “mistake” by leaving the team for Mercedes.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Hamilton warned quitting McLaren is ‘mistake’ (The Telegraph)

“Mercedes-Benz is a great partner of ours and they are a great team. But anyone leaving McLaren, who wants to win, I think that?s a mistake because I have faith and belief in this team.”

Brawn: Lewis wants new challenge (Sky)

“There is a competitive market for drivers and Lewis is as competitive as anyone else in that respect. But Lewis didn’t come here because we offered more money – because we didn’t.”

Schumacher ‘undecided on future’ (BBC)

“His manager Sabine Kehm said: ‘Michael didn’t stay at Mercedes because he wasn’t sure he wanted to drive and that didn’t change over time.’ Asked whether he had now made that decision, Kehm said: ‘No.'”

Lewis Hamilton is making a huge mistake, say McLaren (The Sun)

Whitmarsh added: “Sergio is ready, otherwise we would not be signing him. In 2006, I was getting a lot of criticism about putting a young Lewis into Formula One. People said there was no way he could be ready.”

Rosberg and Hamilton get equal status (Autosport)

“It has been made clear to both the Briton and Rosberg that they will be treated equally – and both will have the same chance of gunning for glory.”

Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes renews links with British drivers (The Guardian)

“Hamilton is not exactly stepping into unknown territory. Every one of his 20 grand prix victories has been achieved with a Mercedes engine in his car. He knows the company and is well aware of the quality of their engineering. He and his manager, Simon Fuller, will also have been influenced by the power of their marketing department to enhance his image around the world.”

Mercedes move to raise Hamilton’s global profile (Reuters)

“Hamilton, the first black driver to win a Grand Prix, features regularly in the gossip pages because of his relationship with U.S. singer Nicole Scherzinger. His looks and image, clean cut yet moody, make him a natural for brands wishing to connect with a youthful audience.”

New engines set to be scrapped (Hindustan Times)

“‘I listened to the noise of the engines in (Ferrari’s headquarters at) Maranello the other day, the new engine and the old engine, and even (Ferrari chairman) Luca di Montezemolo said it sounded terrible and didn’t like it,’ says Ecclestone. He feels FIA president, Jean Todt, ‘will get rid of it. I think Luca is also saying we should suspend it for two or three years’.”

F1: Promoter ‘Proud’ Of New Jersey?s Place On Calendar… (Speed)

“[Grand Prix of America promoter Leo Hindery Jnr] made no comment on the ‘to be confirmed’ status on the 2013 Formula One schedule or Bernie Ecclestone?s claim that no contract exists at present.”

Chris Economaki 1921-2012 (Joe Saward)

“Long-time racing journalist Chris Economaki has died at the age of 91.”


Comment of the day

No prizes for guessing what today’s Comment of the Day is about. Here’s @PJA:

Despite all the speculation part of me felt that Hamilton would stay at McLaren, or at the very least the decision would drag on for a few weeks, so reading the headline when I logged this morning was bit of a surprise.

Having said that I can see why Hamilton decided to sign for Mercedes. And I don?t think money was the main factor.

While it hasn?t gone as far as Alonso and McLaren it seemed that Hamilton was not on as good terms with McLaren as he used to be, and the Spa tweets wouldn?t have helped.

Also on the performance side of things I don?t think it as big a gamble as some make out. He probably would only have been offered a multi year contract. So he couldn?t have signed a one year deal at McLaren and waited to see if Vettel goes to Ferrari in 2014 as some have suggested.

Although McLaren challenge for victories almost every season in the last decade they have only won one drivers’ championship and no constructors’ championship, they have to start paying for engines from next year so that means less money on the rest of the car and then there is the big rule changes in 2014.

I would have thought this deal should silence those rumours suggesting Mercedes may quit F1, and considering some of the people at the team, mainly Ross Brawn, in the medium term Mercedes could be the better bet.

2012 has been the first season while Hamilton has been at McLaren that they have had the overall fastest car, for me 2007 and 2008 Ferrari and McLaren were about the same and if I had to pick I would have said Ferrari, yet through various operational mistakes and reliability problems it looks as though they won?t win the drivers’ championship and if they win the constructors’ championship a large part of it will be down to Red Bull?s reliability problems.

I think Hamilton has almost as good a chance of winning a title in the next three years at Mercedes as he does at McLaren, whether he does win one or not will be hard to say as I think it will be hard to predict which drivers and teams will be on top in the next three years.

From the forum

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On this day in F1

Ten years ago today the 2002 United Grand Prix ended in farce as Michael Schumacher’s attempt to engineer a Ferrari ‘dead heat’ resulted in him handing victory to team mate Rubens Barrichello.

At least they didn’t crash into each other as the Williams pair did – Ralf Schumacher spinning into Juan Pablo Montoya earlier in the race. Montoya recovered to finish fourth behind David Coulthard.

Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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  • 121 comments on “Whitmarsh: Hamilton’s Mercedes move “a mistake””

    1. Um, now that they’ve designed, developed and build the first of the next-gen of engines, they are not going to scrap it, are they?

      I wonder how “ugly” this new engines sound…

      1. Much of the engine controversy goes back to the original proposal for a 4 cyl. 10,000 rpm engine. I suspect that nothing new is being reported in this article.

        1. I guess its Bernie beating the drum of how teams don’t need extra money from CVC if they don’t make things more expensive from new engines.
          That also fits with the part of the article telling how the FIA wants to raise its share only to move into a new HQ.

      2. No, now that Lewis is transferred and made Mercedes sign Concorde, Bernie’s up to his old tricks of smoke n mirrors.

        But I wonder if it’ll help: either he gets indicted or not (bribe scandal). And Mercedes either signed Concorde with a possible bail out, or with the gurantee that CVC will oust Bernie if needed – did they get their board member?

        Looking behind the Bribe case, there are issues with those engines, which are costs. So maybe Bernie’s now negotiating down on behalve of the non manufacturing teams, to make sure he keeps a full grid, instead of bankrupt teams leaving.

      3. For me, the engine noise died when they got rid of the V10s, so I don’t particularly care about the new V6s.

        1. @brickles that, and the rev limit at just 18,000 rpm. If teams were able to develop engines further, it’d be better.

          Hearing an engine hitting the limiter it’s never a good sound.

      4. Hamilton will be 100% remembered as fallen champion of all time, 100% remembered as looser sportsman, 100% known as money interest man and not sports interest man anymore.

        1. “be remembered”? What? He died? Come on, why is such a drama that Hamilton leaves Mclaren? In a more than a decade Mclaren won one championship. Do you think this is a top team?

        2. Yes fan the flames, dont actually add anything of use to the comments. How about we let Hamilton and Merc GP do the talking on the track next season before we cast such big stones.

    2. I can’t say I’m a big fan of V6 turbo but I don’t think new engine would be scrapped because just Bernie and LDM don’t like it.

      1. Bernie has been a critic of the engines ever since they were announced. He’s just trying to get some leverage over Jean Todt by saying they sound horrible.

        1. @eggry @prisoner-monkeys If that’s the best argument that LdM and Ecclestone can muster then I don’t think we have much to worry about. I don’t want the future of F1 decided on the aural preferences of two big political big wigs.

      2. It would be scrapped because of cost-related reasons. But it is a good sign if the most influential members of the sport in terms of politics already rose their voices.

        I watched ALMS and Le Mans racing the other day on YouTube and quite frankly I was astonished by their speed both straight line and cornering. I think F1 could do with a bit more speed and power with respect for being hailed the pinnacle of motor sports. The evident argument would be ‘the best is the fastest’, right? Probably, but competition also plays a huge part, i. e. not to have only 1-2 main teams fighting it out at the front, and innovation this huge (e. g. new formula) in this economic environment would be suicidal for competition, I think. As far as competition is concerned, I think nothing beats F1 currently, not even MotoGP.

        Besides, the new engine will likely not make racing quicker in straight line speeds, not to mention cornering speeds.

        1. Arguably, comparing open-wheel to covered-wheel race cars is apples & oranges.

      3. Like Bernie I fear we’re going to lose the wonderful sound of current engines but I don’t think it justifies scrapping new engines. We will adapt Bernie.

    3. Much respect for Martin Whitmarsh’s honesty.
      Being honest how great a driver Lewis is and no kicking around.

      I can understand why Lewis signed for Mercedes, it’s exciting for us and I hope it becomes a succes!

      1. Reportedly money was not a factor so some detractors will need to eat they words. I wish both Whitmarsh and Hamilton good luck.

    4. I can never get past my sense of distaste for Martin Whitmarsh. I can’t put my finger on it, beyond a sense that he has this inspid “second place, good job” attitude. It might just be me conflating it with the similar attitude I sense from Jenson. His ‘mistake’ comments are irritating, no Martin, YOU failed to retain one of your star drivers.

      Anyway I say good for Lewis. Undoubtedly next year will disappoint, possibly every year thereafter. But sometimes you just have to fly the nest and forge your own path for better or worse.

      1. Yes, next year may disappoint, that’s the norm in F1, and the norm for McLaren, it was the norm for Stewart-Ford-Jaguar-Red Bull until 2010 and the norm for Ferrari in the 90’s.
        With Lotus, Sauber, Williams and Force India all potential race-winning cars this season who is to say that Mercedes cannot be the next success story a la RBR or Ferrari during the Brawn-Schumacher years ? One wonders, as I imagine does he, where Lewis would be in the standings this year had he been driving a Williams or Sauber.

        On another train of thought, Lewis joining Mercedes might do wonders for Maybach sales.

        1. I know that, who leaves Mclaren(for money/for no car failure anymore/for fresh air) and get the seat of Schumacher, he will be world champion next year. Remember Raikkonen?

      2. You dont like him because he smiles when they lose, win, crash, implode. He’s always smiling.

        You cant see past that expression cant and understand that all it is, is a poker face. For you to believe he is trying hard enough or cares enough, you need to physically see him get angry.

        All these faults are your own, and unfortunately the result is you blaming him.

        The truth is we dont know how he is behind closed doors. I suspect he’s a completely different person. Behind closed doors he’s probably the meanest mother F*&#er around.

        But you want him fired because he’s a good actor…

        1. Lets just forget that he’s produced the fastest car in one of the most competitive seasons ever.

          1. Thanks for pointing out my ‘faults’, but as a fan I want to see the drivers and the team win championships. Producing the fastest car is worthless, utterly worthless if you cannot convert that into a result. Unfortunately I cannot make assumptions about the real Whitmarsh until he communicates past that facade. Oh and I dont want him fired. I want him to do his job and rag mclaren back to the top, which is not 2nd place.

    5. Now I’m not in any way a McLaren fan, and I don’t particularly ‘like’ any of their personnel, but to replace Whitmarsh with Ron Dennis would be a massive step backwards – literally. Martin Whitmarsh has done a really good job of changing the face of McLaren from a boring team with no emotion, to a boring team that sometimes shows emotion!

      In all seriousness though, Ron Dennis would ruin all the hard PR work that McLaren have done in the past few years. The Tooned thing is just the latest example of that.

      1. Whitmarsh strikes me as a likeable person, but as a McLaren fan, I have to say I’ve found his tenure as team principal extremely frustrating. For a team as well established and experienced as McLaren, the past few years have featured mistake after mistake after mistake by the team. He said it himself at the beginning of the year, that every team will expect to have X amount of errors in a season (I can’t dig up the link with the exact quote). Once again, McLaren have gone well beyond that amount under his leadership.

        At the end of the day, if you aren’t winning in F1 because you have a fundamentally slower car, that’s one thing. But when you have great drivers and arguably the fastest car but lose because you haven’t been clinical during the race weekend then you’ve got to look at management and make changes.

    6. Whitmarsh added: “Sergio is ready, otherwise we would not be signing him. In 2006, I was getting a lot of criticism about putting a young Lewis into Formula One. People said there was no way he could be ready.”

      Ah, Withmarsh steals Ron’s thunder.

      1. Haha so true! MW: Oh, well it was my idea to put him in the car originally anyway ;)

    7. Scrap the 2014 engines? Oh Bernie…you know how they say: when you become senile, you wont know it.

    8. Look at McLaren’s drivers this century:
      Mika Häkkinen
      David Coulthard
      Kimi Räikkönen
      Juan Pablo Montoya
      Fernando Alonso
      Jenson Button
      Lewis Hamilton

      That is a pleiad of amazing top level drivers and all they have to show for it is one solitary world championship and no constructors. These drivers have had cumulatively over 20 years behind the wheel of a McLaren and have achieved one WDC and no WCC.

      This century they are behind Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull and Brawn GP in terms of WDC’s and WCC’s combined.

      This season, like 2005, when they had the outright fastest car, they have been felled by their reliability or lack thereof. This year more than most, the operational failures have been unacceptable. My summation of the first third of the season was: “Lewis gives McLaren shot in the arm; McLaren gives Lewis shot in the foot”. They have given their rivals enough presents to put Santa’s raison d’être in question.

      McLaren have proven to be inflexible to a fault. They failed to properly accommodate Alonso and Hamilton leading to one of the most explosive ends to a season in which they ending up with nothing (except a $100m fine). They outright refuse to use the rules to the full extent. Whether they acknowledge it or not, team orders are a part of Formula One. It’s like a driver refusing to overtake using DRS because in his eyes, it’s not legitimate. That driver would be rightly castigated, yet for some reason, not exploiting every last iota of the rule book is seen as a badge of honour for them.

      They are letting go someone who has contested 14% of the races in the history of McLaren, recorded 11% of their total victories and 16% of their pole positions. A top three driver who is the only person in history to have defeated two reigning world champions as team mates. In 2012, with a helmet on, Lewis has been almost fautless.

      I think Lewis has made the decision to succeed or fail on his terms, and time will reveal how prescient he has been. I think he has one season leeway, then he is on an equal footing with Alonso and Vettel who both have teams oriented (to different degrees) in their direction. McLaren, on the other hand, have lost one of three get-out-of-jail-free drivers on the grid. The drivers who can be the difference between mediocrity and success.
      I feel that both McLaren and Lewis will suffer a bit in the short to mid-term (i.e. 2013) but it will be interesting to see who flourishes first in the future.

      1. @kodongo I think your comment captures Hamilton’s reasons (and probably his mindset) really well.

      2. Comment of the day. Perfectly encapsulates how Mclaren have managed to achieve the seemingly impossible, extracting mediocrity from success. 2nd in the WCC 7 times since 1998….

      3. Hakkinen is a double world champion with McLaren, and Lewis is a one time world champion with McLaren.

        Doesn’t that count as 3 WDC titles?

      4. You mean a “Decade” (10 years) not a Century = 100 years ???

        1. They’re talking about “this century” as in 2000 onwards…

      5. +1

        All the Hamilton haters only want to believe he is going to Mercedes for the $$$ and start a second careers on the sideline as a founding member of the Spice Boys. Who is that clown technical guy Lewis is gonna work with by the way? Yes, that Ross Brawn who knows nothing and only wins slot-car championships. He and Lewis will make a dream comedy pairing or so the haters will tell you.

        Lewis is top quality. Just like Kimi was. Both eventually got frustrated by having unreliable cars scupper any championship hopes over and over again.

        Whitmarsh and McLaren did the big mistake . The McLaren policy is Awful . Could Barcelone let Messi go to another team?? For a young driver? . 2013 will be horrible for McLaren

      7. They are letting go someone who has contested 14% of the races in the history of McLaren, recorded 11% of their total victories and 16% of their pole positions. A top three driver who is the only person in history to have defeated two reigning world champions as team mates. In 2012, with a helmet on, Lewis has been almost fautless.

        Because money is not the issue, it certainly is more painful to McLaren isn’t it? It shows that Hamilton does not feel comfortable there.

      8. People always point to the lack of a constructors’ championship in over a decade, and yes, of course the record books show that. But frankly they did win one, in Hamilton’s very first season, and it was taken away from them. Right or wrong is a different argument, but the reason they don’t have that against their name is not because the team failed in any sporting way* – on the contrary they had a great car and two of the hottest drivers – and they would have had a WDC to their name too that year had things not fallen apart in such a fashion. Some might argue that this is why they should have team orders, but of course that would not have helped Lewis because if they had chosen a lead driver in 2007 there’s no way that they could have chosen him over Alonso. The problem for a team that goes the team order way is that they can never put two premium drivers together (though I am happy to eat my words if Vettel and Alonso really do end up side by side at Ferrari). Which of the drivers you listed would you have made lead driver in any given year? Kimi over DC or JPM? ALO over HAM? HAM over newly-crowned BUT? Perhaps not having a lead driver motivates both to do better?
        On the other hand I recognise that this perhaps begs the question still more strongly of why they don’t have a recent WCC to show for it. Equally one might say that 7 2nd places in the WCC sine 1998 is quite respectable. In years where Williams, Ferrari, BAR, Red Bull, Brawn drivers dominated the WDC they still got 2nd in the constructors – in a way that’s impressive, not mediocre. Only 1 disallowed WCC is disappointing but I guess what I’m saying is that there’s no way of knowing whether actually their policy of respecting both drivers might have enabled them to over-perform – with another policy they’d have attracted weaker drivers and perhaps brought home far fewer points.
        Ultimately I’m a fan of teams allowing their drivers to race, because I care about races more than championships – who watches a championship? It means two excellent drivers can be in a front-running machine at the same time, rather than a favourite son and a wingman. And I’m not persuaded that this is not using the rules to the full extent, I believe that this is playing the long game to get the most out of people through a compact of trust. It just doesn’t always work out…
        I agree that operational errors at races have cost them dearly this year (last year too, in truth), as they have at various other teams in previous years. I hope they sort their **** out. Grabbing Perez is great though – they still have a few years before he turns 26 (the age Alonso was when he was such a grumpy sod at McLaren, and likewise Hamilton at his nadir last year) so he should be good for a while ;-)

        * though some may argue they failed for unsporting behaviour but I mean it in a different sense

        1. @picasso-19d-ftw Well technically without the exclusion from the constructors in 2007 McLaren would still have finished 2nd to Ferrari because of the 15 points they lost in Hungary after the pit lane blocking incident.

          At first I thought I was just nitpicking when I was going to post that but I think part of the reason the incident occurred was because there was no clear number one at McLaren.

          I guess it proves your point that there’s a fine line between having the drivers as equals to spur each other on and having too much tension between the drivers because there’s no clear pecking order. Get it right and you don’t have one demoralised driver dropping points. Get it wrong and your drivers end up blocking each other in the pit lane to screw over their qualifying.

          1. :D yeah I went and checked my facts after posting (always the correct order ;)) and realised that they’d have missed out by 1 point anyway. I also realised that whilst Wiliams, BAR/Honda and so on had high placing drivers some years they weren’t actually the years when McLaren came second, so that point was also shot down. Flaky memory. I figured it wasn’t worth correcting myself but you’re absolutely right to do so – all in all that was one hell of a lost year for McLaren!
            The only thing I’d add is that some of the WDCs have gone to teams that state there is equality in their team – as indeed Mercedes are saying there will be between HAM/ROS. At Red Bull and Brawn this is ostensibly the case and it does generally look like it, at least until there’s nothing left for one driver to fight for. As for Renault when Alonso was in his championship-winning time there, from what I remember he stamped his authority very clearly and was also obviously Briatore’s favourite. Whether he always had preference I don’t know, although in his second Renault career we know only too well how that favouritism played out. But certainly not all the WDCs have gone to teams that favour team orders and lead drivers, and the picture is somewhat biased by the 5 year streak of form Ferrari/Schumacher had, which it would be unwise to attribute directly to that policy.

      9. who has contested 14% of the races in the history of McLaren, recorded 11% of their total victories

        So what you’re saying is, he wins races at a lower rate than average for McLaren drivers?

      10. Interesting indeed! It’s correct that it has only been one championship this century since Mika won both of his before the turn of the century. Of course the statistics would look quite different if you didn’t start counting right after two back to back championships by Mika.

        That aside; there is a major flaw in you comment when it is meant as an argument for Lewis replacing McLaren with Mercedes: There is ONE single reason for McLaren not to have at least two more championships in this period, and that is the poor reliability of the Mercedes engines while Kimi was the pilot.

    9. I still fail to see any logic whatsoever in Hamilton going to Mercedes, and Perez to McLaren, for ANY party.

      1. I know many people will think it’s too early to predict, but I firmly believe this whole driver transfer is a win for Perez, but a fail for Hamilton.

        1. Looking at how things are currently I agree with you. If McLaren builds a competitve car for 2013 it will not be a surprise but if Mercedes makes a car capable of winning races from Melbourne onward it will be a (good) surprise.

      2. @craig-o I certainly see the logic for Perez’s move, on his side, and even on Mclaren’s. Perez, quite simply is best of the drivers available.

        Hamilton to mercedes – When Alonso left Renualt for Ferrari, the Ferrari was not a quick car at all. ALO signed the contract in 2009 when Ferrari finished the season with one win, and three podiums. Craziness, some people would say. But, Alonso left in order to fully develop and build a team around him. I see this Hamilton situation being a sort of deja-vu of Alonso’s move. Only time will tell I suppose.
        And of course I see Mercedes’ logic in the move. MSC, crash prone, generally mediocre. LH one of the fastest drivers around.Simples.

        1. @kingshark @timi I fail to see many outstanding performances by Perez though. He’s mediocre in qualifying and he’s only up there when the strategy works for him. Only 2 drivers in the field are on par with Hamilton in terms of potential and outright speed and they are Alonso and Vettel.

          I cannot see Lewis having the same levels of commitment, nor the patience to developing the team like Alonso or Schumacher have, and to a degree, Vettel. He’s only going to be dangling around the midfield for the next few years, before leaving for NASCAR or something it seems.

          I can only see this as a very poor marketing scheme by Simon Fuller to make more money for himself, which will backfire. The frontrunning drivers, or the legends of the sport are the ones who are best for marketing, not ones who will slowly drift away into nothing.

          1. @craig-o So if you were in MW’s position, who would you have attempted to sign?

            I’m not so sure about the commitment and patience. Let’s just agree to disagree, and see where we are in a few years!

            1. Simple. They should have done everything possible to keep Lewis Hamilton.

            2. They did.

            3. @prisoner-monkeys no they didn’t. He left.

          2. @craig-o
            All champions start of as being a bit of a hit-or-miss type of drivers. Alonso was often out-qualified by Trulli back in 2003 with Renault, and he was genuinely inconsistent – But look at him now.

            Perez is a future champion. You can quote me on this and I’ll bring it back in pride 10 years later.

            1. @kingshark The qualifying back then was fairly insignificant given different cars ran different fuel levels.

              I can’t see Perez being a future champion. He is far from being the complete package, and losing Hamilton will only mean downhill from here for McLaren, as was the case with Lotus and McLaren when they lost Senna, Benetton when they lost Schumacher, Renault when they lost Alonso… The list goes on.

            2. Trulli out-performed Alonso in 2004, he won a race while Fernando didn’t, and scored 47 points against Fred’s 46 in the 15 races they did drive together.

              I remember Vettel making a lot of mistakes in 2008-09, Alonso making a lot of mistakes in 2003-04, and Schumacher in 1992-93. As I said before, a lot of future champions start off as being hit-or-miss type of drivers.

              and losing Hamilton will only mean downhill from here for McLaren, as was the case with Lotus and McLaren when they lost Senna, Benetton when they lost Schumacher, Renault when they lost Alonso… The list goes on.

              Lotus, Benetton and Renault were teams with short-term success. I can’t see Mclaren falling like that. It’ll be Hamilton who denies his choice. Jacques Villeneuve could’ve been champion in 2003 had he been more patient and stayed with Williams.

            3. @kingshark Benetton and Renault are basically the same team so hardly short-term success. Same with Lotus. Also happened to Ferrari with G. Villeneuve and to a degree, when they lost Schumacher.

              So, by that assumption, Maldonado will be a champion in a year or two?

            4. No, because I think Perez has the talent to be champion, Maldonado doesn’t, but I can see him being another Montoya.

        2. @timi Interesting comparison to Alonso’s move to Ferrari. However, Alonso moved from Renault, who were at the time not a fantastic team. Alonso only finished 9th in the WDC that year, and moved to Ferrari to replace Kimi Raikkonen who finished 6th. However, Hamilton is moving from McLaren, who have arguably the best car on the grid at the moment, and he is going to finish a lot higher than 9th (and could still, however unlikely, potentially win). I think Alonso’s move was never a step backwards (even though Ferrari weren’t performing as well as they should have been), but Hamilton’s move is definitely considered a step backwards, and McLaren undeniably have a quicker car than Mercedes at the moment. I’m not saying it’s a bad move for Hamilton, I’m going to wait a few years to decide! But I’m not sure about the comparison to Alonso’s move in 2009/10. But I hope you’re right about it being a déja vu of Alonso’s move, and we see Lewis winning championships again in the future!

    10. In a harrowing new episode of Tooned, Jenson and Professor M teach Lewis that no one leaves…

      Good one, though that does beg the question, have they done all their voice work for the series?

      1. Yeah, everything would have been recorded as soon as every script was written.

      2. They do the voice work between the races, because the themes are done one at a time too.

    11. Hamilton’s career has truly been Jacques Villeneuve’d.

      On a more serious note, I honestly do not understand why Lewis has left Mclaren. Ever since he joined them in 2007, for the past 104 GP’s Mclaren, with 32 wins, have won more than any other team. Red Bull have won 31 and Ferrari 27, Mercedes/Brawn 9, which all but one came from 2009.

      Mercedes do have an incredible technical department though, arguably even stronger than Mclaren, with Brawn / Bell / Costa / Willis, although they seem to lack the right stuff to provide a finish. Whether Hamilton is that, is remained to be seen.

      I also firmly believe that Hamilton vs Rosberg will be closer than many people predict.

      1. @kingshark The problem is, wins do not equal WCCs. If you asked Hamilton, or in fact any driver, would you like a season where you win half the races, but do not win the WCC, or a season whith no wins but the WCC… I’m pretty sure which one they’d choose.
        I always remember “we may have lost the battle, but the war is not over”

        1. If you asked that about the WDC I’d be more confident of the answer. The WCC? I’m not too sure many drivers would take that over half a season of race wins

      2. +1 to that. It’s going to be a bit like Piquet to Lotus to replace Senna really. He just slowly disappeared with minor successes towards the end of his career before some German bloke eventually came in and basically forced him to retire. Ironically, this German bloke may be forced to retire as a result of Hamilton replacing him.

      3. I also firmly believe that Hamilton vs Rosberg will be closer than many people predict

        I rate Nico as a driver, and I would be very surprised if he wasn’t close to Hamilton’s final standing next season.

        Mercedes have possibly got the strongest driver line up of all the teams next season, it’s just a case of given the drivers a car capable of decent performances!

      4. Roseberg finds it hard to beat a forty-something… expect Lewis outqulifying and outpacing him

    12. Michael Brown (@)
      29th September 2012, 1:52

      So Hamilton signs for Mercedes, hoping to benefit from the 2014 engine regs, and then they might get scrapped? If they do, Hamilton will end up as the next Jacques Villeneuve.

      Let the conspiracy theories begin.

      1. Mercedes’ current problems have nothing to do with their engines. In fact, the Mercedes engine being used right now is widely-accepted as the best available. If the 2014 regulations are scrapped, the sport would have to continue using the current engines, which would work out in Mercedes’ favour.

      2. He has a 3 years contract and I guess that was calculated. Mercedes has three years to build a good car if they fail Hamilton leaves.

        1. But if Mercedes has a bad year next year how long will that team stay funded?

          1. ah, I understand that Merc has that covered now. Well that’s good news…

    13. Interesting how Jenson Button’s allegedly risky move to McLaren (risky as in joining Lewis Hamilton’s team) leaves him as an effective number one in a proven top team, whereas his old team now has become Mercedes and Lewis is going there. Seat swap. The performance of Honda/Brawn/Mercedes has been very down/up/down. The futire is unpredictable, maybe Mercedes will dominate after 2014, but Jenson’s transition to Woking now looks to have been a Good Move.

      In addition, McLaren now have two drivers with a reputation for being gentle on their tyres. Should make designing and developing a consistently performing car significantly easier next year, where they won’t be needing to accomodate two very different driving styles.

      1. “…McLaren now have two drivers with a reputation for being gentle on their tyres….”

        Agreed, but McLaren fans should be really worried about qualifying pace, something very important these days. Button is weak on this area and Perez didn´t show anything special so far.

        1. they would have to build a car that is amazing at switching on the tyres for qualifying and then hope the drivers can get it to the finish without stopping one more than the rest. Not something McLaren has been much good at in the past few years though

    14. Ah, Indianapolis 2002, classic good old’ Ferrari. Well, at least Schumi payed back what he owed Barrichello for what happened in Austria earlier that year.

    15. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      29th September 2012, 3:17

      Hamilton definitely made the right choice. He knows firsthand that McLaren’s equal driver approach just doesn’t work, as the inevitable outcome of their equal policy is both drivers end up taking points from each other, thus greatly hindering their chances of winning the WDC. Just look at the 2007 season, if they had a clear No.1 driver and supported him from the start (much like Ferrari have with Alonso), they would have all but guaranteed either Ham or Alonso the Championship.
      Besides everything else, Hamilton clearly wasn’t happy at McLaren and a move is just what he needed to clear his head. I think that he felt suffocated by the staunch regime that McLaren impose on their drivers, the fact that he appeared to have no real input in vital team decisions despite being not only their best driver but also their main bread winner. We all need rejuvenating from time to time and a change of scenery can be the perfect remedy, I’m sure that we’ve all been in a position akin to Hamilton’s, where you’ve worked at the same place for far too long and can’t stand seeing the same faces again and again, day in day out.
      As for not having a competitive car from the get go, let’s not forget Formula 1 is Chess NOT Checkers. A smart driver plays the long game and doesn’t just jump from bed to bed looking for a quickie, you have to formulate a long term plan which both the team and driver(s) adhere to, in doing so you will never feel alone or unwanted, nor out of the loop as all parties would be privy to what’s going on.

      1. @tmcs88 I love the Kirby avatar!

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          29th September 2012, 15:20

          Everyone loves a bit of Kirby (that’s not a euphemism btw). :-)

    16. And the Hamilton bashing continues.

    17. Oh that Bernie, WTH? So you come to not like the new engine sound and the planned 2014 change to be scrapped? Disgusting.

    18. Two drivers in new teams each with a 3 year contracts I will wager that Perez will win a WDC and Hamilton will not!

    19. I am not sure how reliable the story is about scraping the 2014 Engine regulations. I doubt it will happen, but there is no doubt that there will indeed be a substantial difference in sound to existing engines.

      Sound explained:

      For a four stroke internal combustion engine to complete a firing sequence on “all cylinders” concerned, it must rotate a total of 720°, which is 2 revolutions. This is the same in all 4 stroke engines whether it be a 4 cylinder, straight 6 cylinder, V6, V8, V10 or V12.

      During “two” revolutions, a 6 cylinder engine completes 6 firing sequences. Expanding gasses yield “sound pressure” to exhaust. The “sound pressure level” (measured in dB) will depend on the absolute maximum sound pressure amplitude (directly related to power) released by any one of the 6 cylinders to exhaust.
      At 15,000rpm, when the proposed 2014 V6 revs at max rpm, a total of (15000 / 2)*6 = 45,000 firing sequences will be released per minute. This means sound frequency of ~45,000/60 = “750 Hz” (or 750 sequences per sec) will be released from the exhaust. Whereas the current engines emit (18,000 rpm/2)*8/60 = “1200 Hz”!

      1) Sound power and sound intensity (which is the product of the sound pressure and the particle velocity level) will be less in the 6 cylinder, since particle velocity, given as PVL = d*(2*pi*f) is a direct function of the sound frequency.

      2) During acceleration, the majority of the energy from the sound pressure level (dB) will be transferred to spin the turbine (due to turbo). This will yield reduced sound pressure level to exhaust during acceleration periods. In fact, the car may sound louder in the braking zone rather than acceleration zone.


      The 2014 engine regulations will definitely yield reduced sound power, intensity and pressure levels by approximately 40% if not more.

      1. Great post, interesting read. Iwonder why people are getting upset over how the engines sound, I just don’t get it. Not that I like quiet engines, but its not going to effect the racing, so why kick up a fuss. Most people watch F1 on TV, and have a number of different sounds coming at them from the Tv screen, engine noise is a small part of the sport and strikes me as just a toy being thrown from the prams of Bernie & LdM.

        The 3 biggest, most popular eras of motor racing was Group B rallying, Group C Endurance racing and the ‘Turbo era of F1. All used turbos, most were small engines but you don’t read about people complaining how they sounded back then.

        1. +1. Each time I’ve been to a grand prix it’s occurred to me that the experience would have been slightly enhanced if I hadn’t have needed earplugs to stop my eardrums exploding! I agree with S.J.M- the 2014 cars aren’t going to suddenly start sounding like Dacia Sanderos and as long as the racing is still exciting I’m not going to be too concerned.

      2. I read an article on Autosport and a Renault man said current engine is actually 600hz from 2 exhaust which means not necessarily 1200hz because each 4 cylinders go out through seperate 2 exhaust. While new engine would have one exhaust with 750hz.

        1. I don’t know where you read that. But that information is totally false.
          It doesn’t matter if there are two exhaust outlets or friggin one outlet per cylinder. It is still 1200Hz unless two cylinders are firing at the same.

    20. Was yesterday one of the biggest day for comments, ever, @keithcollantine? So many comments to read, and so little time!

      From the Telegraph piece:

      I know Paul very well and the true answer is that I rate him but it would probably have been continuing a little bit too much with the British theme to have gone that route

      Interesting that nationality played a role in driver selection after all, just not in the way many people expected.

      1. My take is it’s just a naive excuse concocted after decision to Perez

    21. The one who made the mistake is Whitmarsh. Or ultimately Ron Dennis for appointing the guy.

    22. With Hamilton & Rosberg both having yellow helmets, I wonder which driver will change their colour?

      1. That’s actually a very good question. Perhaps Rosberg will switch to one similar to his dad’s?

        Was there ever a similar situation to this in the past? I definitely don’t recall it, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

        1. Yes, Barrichello and Schumacher in 2000, that’s when Schumi changed his to red.

          1. Hamilton is hard yellow and Rosberg is “let’s go disco!” yellow, they are not so alike even on bad TV coverage. It would be a shame any of them would have to change.

      2. @dane-1 I thought the same thing last week. There is some chance they may both keep their helmet colours with nico’s being more of a fluorescent colour anyway

      3. Hamilton won’t change his helmet, no way. Rosberg will probably revert to the blue that he had at Williams, or perhaps some Schumacher-tribute red.

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          29th September 2012, 15:22

          Your comment actually made me lol…for some reason.

      4. Why would they have to change? Jenson and Rubens both had fluorescent yellow/white/black helmets for a period at Brawn… the graphic design was different enough (as it is for Lewis and Nico) that we could easily tell them apart. Failing that, there’s always the car camera!

    23. DelendaEstAmbulando
      29th September 2012, 10:52

      Checo, you made a dreadful mistake. I just hope you can leave Macca sane before it’s too late.

    24. I can still see Hamilton making an Alonso and trying to return to his old team after one year. Because he surely will notice that MGP isn’t the team to win the tiltle with. But the question is if there is space anymore for him at McLaren in 2014.

      1. He could choose Red Bull instead.

        1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
          29th September 2012, 16:09

          Or Williams.

      2. Well, lol.

    25. I wonder how much of an effect Ron Dennis’ clumsy post race Sky interview in Canada had on Hamilton’s decision? It should have been an atmosphere of euphoria, with Lewis finally getting his first win of the year after the previous races’ numerous difficulties, but in stepped Ron (looking like he’d won the lottery and lost his ticket) to burst the balloon and talk about the need for Lewis to be realistic and accept a pay cut. That, followed by two underwhelming McLaren races at Valencia and Silverstone may have been the trigger for Hamilton’s thought process. It does seem that Dennis is Admiral Awkward and, somehow or another, has managed to fall out with a considerable section of the F1 drivers hall of fame (Lauda, Prost, Alonso and now possibly Hamilton- even Senna found Ron difficult to get on with during their negotiations for the 1993 season).

    26. ” be realistic and accept a pay cut”
      It must be an insult to them that Lewis ended up leaving for less at MGP.

    27. I’m gonna jump off the fence, this a great day in Lewis Hamilton’s career and a equally great day for Lewis’ fans. In the last ten years, when the cars’ performance has been so close, only teams that have had a clear number 1 driver have had any degree of sucess, such as McLaren ’98, ’99, ’08, Renault ’05, ’06, Brawn’09, Red Bull ’10, ’11 and of course Ferrari during the Schmui years. Line-ups glazed with the fake vinear of equality have never worked, McLaren ’07, ’10, ’11, ’12, serve as a good example. Lewis doesn’t need to be fighting his teamate when he has the might of McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull to topple if he wants the championship. I think this will go down as one of the truly great moves of F1, because now he has the formula, a great team principle, a solidish teamate, great designer Aldo Costa, a number 1 status (ignore the article) and the money and might of Mercedes-Benz. Sounds like a winning combo to me, in fact it sounds better than Alonso and Briatore or Vettel and Newey, in fact it sounds nearly as good as Schumacher, Ferrari, Ross Brawn, Bridgestone…

      1. Wow, there are some truly astounding leaps of logic in that comment!

    28. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      29th September 2012, 16:07

      Hamilton should now set about sabotaging McLaren in every way possible. From tweeting more important telemetry and setup info to inserting bananas up Jenson’s exhaust, or substituting Whitmarsh’s favourite bubble bath product with cooking oil, he should really go town on McLaren!

      1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
        29th September 2012, 16:11

        *go to town
        Or pass as much info onto Mercedes as possible.

        1. …but presumably without a repeat of the spygate scandal that kind of spoiled things for his team for a while. I doubt he’d want that a Merc as well, it’s probably quite distracting

    29. Alonso only needs 316 points, and Red Bull only need 520 points for them to win their respective championships…

    30. I have a feeling that next season Mercedes might do a Red Bull and make a big leap, with Schumi playing the part of DC, bringing the team on but then getting the boot just before they become one of the top dogs. I wonder what the odds on Lewis for the title are right now…

    31. So on the one hand we have FOM and the FIA trying to cut F1 costs by throwing up some rubbish about how the new engines sound terrible and should be scrapped…yet, we have plans proposed for substantially increasing the entry costs?

      Answers on a postcard, please.

    32. Interesting article by Benson on the BBC featururing some interesting comments by Lauda – (is it ok to post a link?).
      On the issue of equality with Rosberg, the BBC’s initial report on the move specifically stated
      I think it would be good to cover Laudas’s comments on Lewis in one of the round-ups, Keith.

    33. Didn’t finish my comment on the original BBC breaking news article regarding Lewis’s move to Mercedes above. It specifically stated that Hamilton had been assured of No.1 status before signing.

    34. Interesting comments from Martin Whitmarsh but not unexpected. I sense a little relief from both parties that, finally, a conclusion has been reached. I said around the Monza grands prix that if McLaren and Hamilton were that unhappy in each others company, better to split now. Deep down however, I think Whitmarsh will have more pressure on his shoulders than Hamilton in the years to come.
      By that I am not bad mouthing Sergio Perez’s abilities, he has shown great promise, but he is still learning his trade. Alot for McLaren will depend on Jenson Button, and that means he needs to have a better season next year than he has had in 2012. As good as he is, he suffered an horrendous mid season slump which all but destroyed any hopes he had for the championship. If both drivers at McLaren fail to deliver the goods, fast car or not, questions will be asked and like it or not, Hamilton’s name will be mentioned. The axe will fall neatly on Martin Whitmarsh’s neck I feel if this driver lineup turns out to be a lemon.
      As others have mentioned over the last two days, if Mercedes are competitive, then Whitmarsh will be under even more pressure. The fact remains that McLaren are one of the three big teams in F1 built to win championships along with Ferrari and Red Bull. If people believe that such big teams can not slide into obscurity you only have to look at Williams to see that anything is possible.
      For all their greatness, McLaren have had so many great drivers in their team and yet recently so few championships. Others have already mentioned this. Of those drivers the most infamous case in recent years was Kimi Raikkonen. Five seasons at McLaren he fought for two titles and lost both times largely due to team errors. His first season at Ferrari in 2007 he was crowned the champion, at the expense of his former team.
      Its been fourteen years since McLaren last won both championships in a single season with Mika Hakkinen in 1998. They went nine years before Lewis Hamilton won them their most recent drivers title, which pretty much sums things up. Whitmarsh, in his own mind, may still believe that McLaren is the be all and end all team in F1 but recent statistics in terms of championships prove otherwise.
      Red Bull, through pouring money into the former Jaguar team and selecting the right people, have crafted one of the strongest current teams in F1. The recipe for success is there for the likes of Mercedes to succeed where the likes of Honda and Toyota did not. Its about selecting to right men and women to run the team, racing people, and not corporate monkeys who only strive to have the poshiest motorhome in the paddock. Let the team run itself, and have faith in those you have chosen.

    35. I don’t see how Martin can have a bigger problem than Lewis? He now has the fastest car, a promising rookie and a former champion. No matter how much I dislike Jenson’s in-aggressive style I have to admit that it matches perfectly with the current anti-racing regulations: cruise around protecting your tires and press the overtake button on the straight so you avoid getting into anything “wild”!

      Lewis on the other hand has moved down to the number five team in the championship to a car that is terrible on the tires and arguably slower also than the Sauber. On top of that I should remind you that McLaren didn’t lose two championships with Kimi due to team errors but due to disastrous Mercedes engines!

    36. Whitmarsh should forget about Lewis and focus on sorting out the operational that has cost the team so dearly this year. Has it not been their pit stop c*ck ups, Jenson and Lewis, in particular, would have been ahead in the points and the team would have been in the lead in the constructors. In the last 10 years Mclaren has only managed to produced a car cable of winning the championship 3 times, 2007, 2008 and 2012. The fact that the team hasn’t worn the constructors in the last 10 years and only one one drivers championship (won by Hamilton) clearly gives indication of their performance level. I’m sure this statistics is one of the factors Hamliton advisors took into consideration on advising him to go with Mercedes. If i was on the board of Mclaren, I will be pushing for Whitmarsh to go!

    37. So I take it that Raikkonen losing the race win to Alonso at the Nurburgring in 2005 was due to a blown Mercedes engine? All McLaren’s problems during Kimi’s time there were engine related. What hogwash! And also you hit the nail on the head with the fact that Whitmarsh has traded one of the top three drivers in F1 for a ‘promising rookie’. Anyway you slice it is a gamble and a brave one but a gamble non the less. So I think Whitmarsh has reason, deep down, to be concerned. Maybe we will have this conversation in three years time when McLaren have still won bugger all but I suppose people like you will still be blaming Mercedes ‘engines’! What a plonker.

    38. UH…. so you found a race with a different cause? It’s just funny that you had to point to 2005 which saw Kimi with two ten place penalties and two DNF’s because of engine failures.

      Or how about 2004 with just one point in the first seven rounds mostly due to engine failures? Or maybe you also forgot the official apology to Kimi from Mercedes?

      “People like me”…. hmm! No, I am not blaming any current McLaren problems on Mercedes but my point is that since it took them several years to sort out the engine reliability it may well take them several years to achieve a competitive car – despite Lauda’s nonsense about Lewis being fast in a slow car.

      Surely McLaren have made mistakes of their own but can you say that Lewis hasn’t? In 2011 he was way behind Jenson mainly on his own account. This year at least he is well ahead so let’s use it as reference. If he doesn’t get well ahead of Niko next year he certainly has a problem. On the other hand I’ll admit that Whitmarsh has a problem if Sergio cannot outperform Jenson.


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