BE QUIET & DRIVE

Boo. Hiss. The F1 villain returns..

3 Comments

It’s been a while hasn’t it, since we had a true bad guy in Formula One? Of course recently we’ve had the the frustration of Maldonado and his every increasing tally of penalties, or Grosjean and his first lap drama in Spa. Incidents like this tend to unite the community, rather than divide it.

Enter Lewis Hamilton. Since the tender age of fourteen the McLaren wonder boy, hand raised by Ron Dennis into a world of fast cars, flashing bulbs and big deals. Since the departure of Heikki Kovalainen, and his replacement by 2009 World Champion; Jenson Button, the Woking outfit became a team all Brits could have faith in. On paper it was an incredible coup, two recent World Champions, a reliable car with a competent, world class team behind it? What could go wrong?

It has been four years since Lewis’s last lap charge around ‘that’ corner at Interlagos, while the Massa family jumped for joy in the Ferrari garage. What has he achieved? Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have taken the sport to it’s current point and Lewis appears to have achieved little to nothing to emulate his past successes.

It was without surprise then, when I was rudely woken by a noisy fiance at 6.00am, that I read the initial tweets about Lewis jumping ship to the ‘real’ Silver Arrows. So began the shocked comments, voiced dismay and eventual altercations in the aftermath of his 10.30am announcement.

- Getty Images

The problem with the Formula One fan community, is it thinks that they can make a difference. Sadly they’re wrong. This isn’t the Camp Nou, you can’t join the McLaren fan club with any hope of making the decisions. This sport is run by money and success, and the unhealthy, unpredictable relationship they share. Lewis Hamilton will not stay at McLaren just because a grandstand full of red cap wearing members of the public stamp their feet and pout. He is in this business for the wins and the pay cheque. At McLaren the winner’s champagne has gone flat, and the trophy’s – however many he can scrape out of the 2012 season, – will mean nothing if that ever elusive World Driver Championship win doesn’t come his way.

So what’s in it for him? Why not stay where he is? The money is the same, we all heard Martin Whitmarsh speak about an offer which matched Mercedes challenge. The car is good, both drivers are winning.. wait. Both drivers are winning? Ohhh.. yes, there’s a problem. Nothing like a competitive team mate to keep one of a driver’s eyes on his back. Fernando Alonso doesn’t have that problem, and look at how he’s slicing up the points. As McLaren have already proved with the nightmare pairing of Prost and Senna, two number ones isn’t really that great for business. Felipe Massa may well lose his saddle on that prancing horse, but you can damn well expect the next guy to be just as meek and helpful. Fernando will always be faster than you.

- David Ramos/AP via The Guardian

So Lewis will bounce Herr Schumacher out of Mercedes. It’s not a bad thing, the old boy’s seen better race days, and I’m sure he’d agree it’s time to drive an armchair. He can’t hurt anyone with one of those. Rosberg will make a much more suitable side-kick for Lewis, he know’s what it’s like to win, but unlike other first time winner Pastor Maldonado, hasn’t tarnished his reputation with a series of unprofessional faux pas. Nico has his head back down, working hard for his team. Lewis has worked with him before in GP2, and was practically overcome with happiness to see the German win. They’re friends already, but how long will that last?

Which brings me to the fans. I myself? I don’t give two hoots where he goes, along as he works hard and achieves. I am his fan as long as he ‘goes for the gap‘, as Ayrton Senna would say, and when he no longer tries, I will forget him as easily as I did Jacques Villeneuve. The fans seem to think otherwise, there is real-life anger and resentment at this choice. They believe him to have betrayed them, their team and their country! He’s signed for the Germans, my goodness, get the tins hats out, it’s bloody World War III! When the dust settles, and they realise that with Sergio Perez in a race winning car their Sundays are even more exciting, they won’t even remember this week.

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Author: josaf1end

An eighteen years in the making F1 obsessive, with an opinion all of my own. I call things as I see them. All posts represent my thoughts only, and none of those within Formula One, the FIA, FOCA or any other person who associates themselves with the burning of rubber.

3 thoughts on “Boo. Hiss. The F1 villain returns..

  1. Noisy fiancé? How dare you!
    I have a few points, mainly that I think that whilst your slightly biased because your a bigger fan of other drivers, you forget that button and vettel won their championships in extremely dominant cars and that in their non-winning seasons they’ve pushed on about as much (or as little) as Lewis or for that matter Fernando or Mark or Rubens in the brawn days. Yes Lewis has been dissapointing, but I think he’s still the most entertaining driver on the grid. Secondly I don’t think it has anything to do with being 1st and 2nd driver or anything like that. Lewis and Jensen have had their fair share of incidents and yet they still seem to be the best of team-mates, I would think that would only be viewed as a good thing and certainly not something to leave a team over. Honestly I agree and can see why many people would be angry that Lewis has left for money. Ultimately Mercedes are richer and you’d think that he’d earn more from sponsors and the like in that environment. But I think the key for me is that Mercedes are even in F1 at all. Mclaren are slowly drifting from being Mclaren Mercedes to being Mclaren with Mercedes engines. They’ll still be my favourite team and still be brilliant, but losing that unique position with the best support for the best engine on the grid will undeniably hurt. Mercedes meanwhile are dissapointing, but ominously on the verge of being a great team. They’ve won a race, they’ll arguably have the biggest budget in all of F1 and they are improving slowly year on year, add to that a truly world class driver and you should have a winning combination sometime in the near future. Thoughts?

    • You’re right, and although I do have more support for other drivers I do certainly believe that Lewis will pull Mercedes out of their slump and achieve everything he sets out for. As a team Lewis and Nico are perfect for Mercedes; Nico being the faithful servant and Lewis the confident charger. However, if this happens Lewis may find himself in the same old situation – battling the enemy within (should the Mercedes be competitive).

      I constantly draw my thoughts back to Damon Hill in this situation. No, he wasn’t competitive in the Arrows he was forced to drive following his championship win, but he dragged a result out of that car that nobody thought possible. If Damon can do that, who can begin to think about cutting off Lewis’s chance before he’s even started?

  2. Ooooo hello. Crackin’ blog my dear.

    I’d love for Melbourne to arrive and Lewis & Nico are fighting for pole position and the race win. I just can’t see it happening though. There are no new regulations coming into effect for 2013 which Mercedes can take advantage of to put them ahead of the pack and I think it’s unrealistic to expect the Merc to advance that much over the winter to turn it into a season long race winning car. I’m simply going off how the car is performing at the moment.

    Obviously, at the moment they don’t have Lewis Hamilton driving for them and that’s definitely gonna add some performance although I don’t think his ability to get 110% out of a mediocre car is up there with Fernando’s. My biggest fear next season is that Lewis will get frustrated if he’s not up there at the top and that’s gonna really drag his season down.

    A lot of people will be adamant that he should have stayed at McLaren simply because they are proven race winners whereas Mercedes are not. I don’t think you can blame people for having that logic even though when you break it down, it doesn’t quite stand up.

    Also, I don’t think the Damon comparison can really be used. Granted, he got a stunning result out of a dreadful car in Hungary but I think that was a case of the stars aligning on that day and a miracle very nearly happening. His results over the rest of the season were poor, due to him having to drive a dog turd on wheels. I know your point isn’t that Damon was able to drive the Arrows to great results all season (and obviously he wasn’t expected to) but if the Mercedes isn’t a great car, Lewis will be expected to perform miracles at EVERY race weekend.

    Anyway, I’ll end with a question. I’m not the only one who thinks the winner of the Korean Grand Prix should have to do ‘Gangnam Style’ on the podium?

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