Some people may say “oh I’m so bored of this endless Hamilton news”.
If you are, then you are free to close the page.
For me, it’s still interesting and will continue to be so… for the next 3 years or more!
So, make sure you listen to James Allen’s podcast on the Hamilton move
Also read Tom Cary at the Telegraph (ignore the idiotic comments from the usual morons – the article itself is sane!)
2013 & 2014 rumours
All we know from information published is that Mercedes AMG have, for the last few months, been allocating all of their 2012 wind-tunnel time to 2013 car development.
2014 is supposed to be when Mercedes AMG has a big advantage because teams will have a newly produced engine and a power recovery system.
Ross Brawn is known for having a long term view.
So Hamilton fans will be hoping that not only will 2014 (and then 2015) be a year in which Hamilton has a car with a power advantage – but also that 2013 is not purely a year of development and ‘settling in’ to the team.
Fernando Alonso says – time and time again – that Lewis is the best F1 driver at being able to extract the most out of a car and to drive a car to not only it’s maximum – but to find amazing pace even out of a car which is not the fastest on the track.
Therefore it is possible for Hamilton to be able to score well in 2013, as long as the car is reliable.
Though things will calm down and maturity will take hold – look at how Alonso and Hamilton now greatly respect each other after their earlier wars – there will inevitably be a few choice words from the main protagonists here.
Whitmarsh is already quoted as saying “no one is bigger than the team”. While that can be true in any sport or team, it’s still a comment with a little barb, aimed at Hamilton.
Button and his PR crew are going to be all over this. They may believe that it is a little coup of their own – assuming that Button will be the ‘number 1 driver’ for McLaren.
Yet this is neither true, nor a benefit. If he still struggles with set up, and crucially, if Perez can be quicker than him, then he is going to be left very red-faced and with no one else left to blame.
Losing Lewis Hamilton is a huge blow. Even with the quickest car, Jenson Button has been unable to challenge for the title OR find as much race pace as Hamilton.
If Button (and Perez) cannot challenge for the Championship in 2013 and beyond, Whitmarsh is going to look like a qualified and undeniable failure.
He can remain as the team leader as long as people can point to other reasons why Hamilton was not champion.
They can say that McLaren gave him the car but he crashed out, wasn’t focussed, made a problem himself. Whether right or wrong, they can say it.
Yet if another couple of years goes by without even a Championship challenge – then serious questions will be asked about why not?
Leaving the nest
Sane and rational commenters have come to the conclusion that the move to Mercedes AMG was not about money and, importantly, not even all about car speed.
The need to feel independent, to feel ‘his own man’ and to feel that he does not need to deal with the ‘McLaren family’, tradition and heritage was the most crucial factor in Lewis’ choice.
That’s what some of the sniping commenters and detractors fail to admit or realise.
The feeling of worth (and the understanding by your employer or team of what you are worth to them, not in monetary terms) and control are two things very important to Lewis Hamilton.
The side businesses
McLaren drivers – Button too – are not happy at all with being promotional tools for different companies. They had to do a lot of work for Vodafone, Tag Heuer, Hugo Boss, Johnnie Walker, Mobil 1 et al.
Nothing against those companies in particular, but who would enjoy being told that they must appear at this place and this time and this schedule? Much less headstrong sportsmen who consider themselves winners, dominators, controllers themselves?
The Ecclestone factor
Anyone who believes that a certain man in Formula 1 does not have control – or at very least, linkage – to everything that happens in this sport is mis-guided or naive.
As an incredibly powerful man, some call him ‘the organ grinder’ and he is absolutely astute and aware of everything big and small that happens with Formula 1.
Having Lewis Hamilton as a dominant Champion is, I believe, worth vastly more to the commercial value of the sport.
Drivers such as Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton inspire and ignite passion and following. Drivers like Jenson Button and Sebastien Vettel do not.
The ‘younger generation’ which is seen as very important by some in Formula 1 are clearly interested in the sport because of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
There is a large number of young people who, I believe, would be enticed to buy F1 tickets in order to go to a race to see either of these two heroes win – and in particular, Hamilton.
To have him in a dominant car, racing in the astounding and awe-inspiring way that he does – winning races and celebrating as a Champion – would, in my opinion, greatly raise the profile of F1, attract new, young fans, and greatly boost ticket sales, viewer figures and general commercial activity around F1.
So the changes in 2014, the move to Mercedes by Hamilton and recent developments and ‘story leaks’ seem to fit in together.
Whether this will be the case come 2014 is another thing, and we just have to wait and see how it pans out.
First thing’s first – not 2014, not 2013, but the remainder of this season.
Suzuka presents a race weekend absolutely riddled with various viewpoints, possibilities for flare (and flair) and a small deciding factor over the 2012 Championship, all starting with Alonso’s finishing position! Just 6 days to go until it all begins there.