Date:Saturday November 10 2012
Was Lewis Hamilton's move from McLaren to Mercedes solely based on money?
When it was first muted that Hamilton could be contemplating a move to Mercedes most people thought that BBC pundit Eddie Jordan had finally lost his remaining marbles.
But as the weeks went on and there was still no resolution in regards to signing a new contract extension with McLaren, people legitimately started to question if Jordan had a point.
The British press started quoting various financial figures in regards to the deal while the 2008 Formula One World Champion remained tight-lipped about the situation.
When the announcement finally came that he would be making the switch it came just a week after McLaren appeared to think that they had wrapped up the contract talks.
Couple that with McLaren being the in-form team on the grid, capable of providing a car that Hamilton could go on and win his second world championship with in 2013 and the deal looked all the more confusing. Just like players rewards card you won’t know how it will end until the last minute.
Mercedes of course have hardly pulled up many trees since their return to the sport as a manufacturer, they purchased the Brawn GP team following their successful double taking the 2009 Formula One drivers and constructors titles and then failed to really put together any success under the all German team of Nico Rosberg and returning star Michael Schumacher.
Three podium finishes for Rosberg in 2010 was all the team could manage on route to finishing fourth in the constructors championship, 2011 was even poorer with a fourth place finish for Schumacher in Canada their best result as they ended the season 49 points worse off then in their first season.
This year Nico Rosberg's maiden career win was the obvious highlight in China, but overall the team have again struggled and will finish the constructors championship in fifth place [assuming they don't lose out to Sauber over the final two races].
So Hamilton's move clearly wasn't performance related, or at least not based on recent history.
There is an argument that with the engine regulation changes in 2014 that perhaps manufacturers will dominate the sport, that certainly appears to be the opinion of Red Bull's Adrian Newey, so if that proves to be the case then in a couple of years time it could prove to have been a smart move.
But the likelihood is the move was down to either one of two other options, or perhaps even the combination of the both.
The need for Hamilton to sample Formula One in a different team to the one he first linked up with as a 13-year-old boy and money.
Those factors certainly appear to have played their part, especially in the view of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
"If I were speculating there are a number of factors and the prime one, I think, is that there comes a time when a man feels he has to flee the nest. I think it was a bit of that and a range of different emotions. He has been with us for so many years that I do not fully understand it. he told formula1.com.
The other factor of course is money.
Hamilton's contract negotiations were being handled by XIX entertainment, the same company that represents the likes of David Beckham, Andy Murray and The Spice Girls.
They wanted Hamilton to have more time available to concentrate on his own sponsorship deals and 'brand', whilst at McLaren the corporate side is more based towards the team.
Wages were also an issue, with McLaren becoming a customer team in 2013 following Mercedes selling their stake in the company, McLaren offered Hamilton a reduced contract.
His expiring contract saw him earn £15 million a season including bonuses, but McLaren's first contract offer this season was based on £12.5million a season plus bonuses.
When Mercedes placed their first offer on the table they started negotiations at £17.5million plus bonuses.
Once McLaren realised that they could lose out on their prodigy they upped their bid to £13.8million plus bonuses, still falling way short of Mercedes offer, but still enough to make him the highest paid driver on the grid in 2013.
Mercedes however were not done yet and they bettered their original offer according to BBC sources to a mammoth £19.4million a season, plus bonuses and that was when Hamilton signed on the dotted line.
Whitmarsh continued: 'We made Lewis an offer - an offer, which I believe is more money than any other driver at the moment is being paid. That leads us to suspect that our competitor and our partner Mercedes-Benz offered a bit more money. I don’t know that, but I think for Lewis made his decision. I am disappointed in one sense, but you have to focus on going forward.'
So will Hamilton regret making the move based on other factors other than simply being competitive?
'He is not going to say ‘hey, they offered me more money’. He is also not going to say that he’s made an awful mistake. I hope he thinks today that he’s made an awful mistake and I hope he thinks that next year. He’s made that decision and he has to live with that decision.'
But despite the fact that Whitmarsh and Hamilton are about to partways in just two Grand Prix's time, the team boss is still committed to getting results.
'Right now we still want to win races. We are motivated by that and our conversation circles around that. And maybe he is completely dispassionate about it, but my guess is that we both will have very emotional moments in Brazil. When the separation has arrived.'
Date:Saturday November 10 2012
2015 - Mal GP - FP2 (Friday March 27 2015)
2015 - Mal GP - FP1 (Friday March 27 2015)
Bottas to avoid surgery (Thursday March 26 2015)
Alonso clears up mystery crash (Thursday March 26 2015)
Alonso and Bottas cleared to drive (Thursday March 26 2015)
Blog: Sepang Preview (Wednesday March 25 2015)
New Hamilton deal all but agreed (Wednesday March 25 2015)
Bottas hopeful of return (Tuesday March 24 2015)
Alonso to travel to Malaysia (Monday March 23 2015)
Another blow for F1 as German GP is axed (Monday March 23 2015)
Giedo van der Garde settlement agreed (Friday March 20 2015)
2015 Formula One Prediction Competition - Round 2 (Friday March 20 2015)
Who will win in Malaysia? (Thursday March 19 2015)
Mercedes duo looking forward to Ferrari battle (Tuesday March 17 2015)
Vital talking points: AusGP - McLaren (Monday March 16 2015)
Vital talking points: AusGP - Red Bull to quit F1? (Monday March 16 2015)
Vital talking points: Aus GP - Hamilton dominance (Monday March 16 2015)
Giedo van der Garde’s case against Sauber (Monday March 16 2015)
2015 - Aus GP - Race result (Sunday March 15 2015)
Blog: Australian GP Report (Sunday March 15 2015)
Blog: Melbourne Qualifying (Saturday March 14 2015)
2015 - Aus GP - Qualifying result (Saturday March 14 2015)
2015 - Aus GP - FP3 result (Saturday March 14 2015)
Van der Garde drops Sauber dispute (Saturday March 14 2015)
Sauber boss could face prison (Friday March 13 2015)
2015 - Aus GP - FP2 result (Friday March 13 2015)
2015 - Aus GP - FP1 result (Friday March 13 2015)
Jordan to auction cars for charity (Thursday March 12 2015)
Blog: Melbourne Preview (Thursday March 12 2015)
Sauber lose van der Garde appeal (Thursday March 12 2015)
Hass will be ready for 2016 debut (Wednesday March 11 2015)
Who will be racing for Sauber in Australia? (Wednesday March 11 2015)
Hamilton resists Ferrari approaches (Tuesday March 10 2015)
Manor Marussia complete driver line-up (Tuesday March 10 2015)
2015 Formula One Drivers (Tuesday March 10 2015)
Enter the Vital F1 Prediction competition TODAY (Tuesday March 10 2015)
2014 F1 Driver Standings (Tuesday March 10 2015)
2014 F1 Constructor Standings (Tuesday March 10 2015)
Who will win the F1 season opener in Australia? (Monday March 9 2015)
Hamilton enters final stages of contract talks (Monday March 9 2015)
McLaren confirm Alonso suffered memory loss (Monday March 9 2015)
Marussia cleared to race (Friday March 6 2015)
Lotus pleased with steps forward (Friday March 6 2015)
Alonso woke up in 1995 (Friday March 6 2015)
Pirelli announce tyre choices for opening rounds (Thursday March 5 2015)
Manor Marussia confirm Australian return (Thursday March 5 2015)
Alonso to miss out on Australia (Wednesday March 4 2015)
Red Bull return to traditional colours (Tuesday March 3 2015)
Chilton makes move into WEC (Tuesday March 3 2015)
NEW 2015 F1 Prediction Competition is Go, Go, Go! (Tuesday March 3 2015)
So what have we learned from winter testing? (Monday March 2 2015)
Williams end winter testing on top (Monday March 2 2015)
Hamilton keeps Mercedes on top (Monday March 2 2015)
New Force India impresses on first showing (Monday March 2 2015)
Dennis denies car failure behind Alonso crash (Friday February 27 2015)
Williams top first day of final test (Friday February 27 2015)
Manor name first driver (Thursday February 26 2015)
Alonso released from hospital (Wednesday February 25 2015)
Alonso remains hospitalised (Tuesday February 24 2015)
Alonso airlifted to hospital (Monday February 23 2015)
Maldonado tops third day in Barcelona (Monday February 23 2015)
Red Bull on top on day two in Barcelona (Monday February 23 2015)
Maldonado tops first day in Barcelona (Friday February 20 2015)
F1 set for Qatar in 2016 (Thursday February 19 2015)
Wolff wants to wrap up Hamilton contract talks (Wednesday February 18 2015)
Raikkonen unfazed by uncertain future (Tuesday February 17 2015)
Force India to make Barcelona appearance (Monday February 16 2015)
Alonso just wants equality at McLaren (Friday February 13 2015)
Mateschitz pleased with Red Bull & Toro Rosso (Thursday February 12 2015)
Honda plan upgrades for next test (Wednesday February 11 2015)
Force India look set to miss second test (Tuesday February 10 2015)
Marussia push on with return (Monday February 9 2015)
Caterham's administrators to auction assets (Friday February 6 2015)
Force India block Marussia return (Friday February 6 2015)
Despite lack of running McLaren remain positive (Thursday February 5 2015)
Raikkonen and Ferrari on top in Jerez (Thursday February 5 2015)
Signs of progress for McLaren? (Wednesday February 4 2015)
Marussia to exit administration (Wednesday February 4 2015)
Sauber top third day (Wednesday February 4 2015)
Early struggles for McLaren Honda (Tuesday February 3 2015)
Vettel and Ferrari remain quickest in Jerez (Tuesday February 3 2015)
Hamilton set for contract talks (Monday February 2 2015)
Formula One teams hit the test track (Monday February 2 2015)
Bernie wants one wish (Friday January 30 2015)
Ferrari continue to beat the drum of F1 revolution (Thursday January 29 2015)
Force India looking to optimise wind tunnel time (Wednesday January 28 2015)
Could F1 lose German Grand Prix? (Tuesday January 27 2015)
Chilton lines up potential Indy Car switch (Monday January 26 2015)
New engines attract new fans (Friday January 23 2015)
Hockenheim to host 2015 German Grand Prix (Thursday January 22 2015)
Vettel's big gamble at Ferrari (Wednesday January 21 2015)
Honda allowed to make in-season changes (Tuesday January 20 2015)
Qatar bid for F1 scuppered? (Monday January 19 2015)
Spain and Austria to host in-season tests (Friday January 16 2015)
F1 introduce new Super Licence points system (Thursday January 15 2015)
More aggressive tyre strategy in 2015 (Wednesday January 14 2015)
Newey questions if anyone can catch Mercedes (Tuesday January 13 2015)
FIA confirm new virtual safety car procedures (Monday January 12 2015)
Robson swaps McLaren for Williams (Friday January 9 2015)
2015 Formula One Calendar (Thursday January 8 2015)
|7.||Push The Button||451|