VF1blog: McLaren's Plan B
If you've roamed around in the world wide web lately, you'll have seen hundreds of articles written about McLaren not having a plan 'B' if Hamilton leaves. You might have seen some that indicate that Lewis may have already signed with Mercedes, or that McLaren men Dennis and Whitmarsh are confident that he is staying.
So many people speculating on so many different scenarios. All this time we were concerned with whether Massa would keep his seat at Ferrari or who might replace him. We were certain that it was Massa holding up the driver's game of musical chairs. The spotlight has shifted, if not at least being shared by Lewis Hamilton.
So here we have a short list of who some believe would replace Hamilton at McLaren if he were to leave. First on the list is Kimi Raikonnen, possible but unlikely as I believe he is on a two year contract with Lotus. Massa is a name being thrown around now as many believe his days at Ferrari are done, regardless of his results. Button as recently said he could certainly work with Paul Di Resta who has shown some promise at Force India. Nico Hulkenberg, it has been said, also shares these honours. To continue the long list is Bottas, Turvey and Senna should he find himself out of a drive for 2013. There is one more that has some possibility, which we will discuss below.
Let us flip the coin for a moment and look at the other side. In order for Lewis to go to Mercedes, a seat must be vacant for him to occupy. Bernie Ecclestone seemed to have slipped a comment about Michael Schumacher retiring. Later Eddie Jordan let slip that Lewis was going to possibly take Schumi's seat at Mercedes. The rumor mill has been on steroids since. The new story that actually has some possibility, that I referred to earlier, is a straight swap of Hamilton and Rosberg. The idea is that Rosberg would sign for one season with McLaren which would leave him free to rejoin Mercedes with Lewis by 2014 if he so chooses.
Is your head spinning yet? Let us now tackle the logic portion of this equation. Many say that if Lewis is serious about winning, he should stay at McLaren. The Woking team has proven to be a perennial contender and clearly holds Hamilton's best chance at repeating as a champion. Mercedes has won a single race since they re-entered F1. Experts indicate that money would the motivating factor for Lewis to make the switch as it is rumoured that the German team is prepared to pay substantially more.
Here is where it gets tricky. As things currently stand, McLaren is certainly the team to call home if one is serious about winning. In 2014 however, the people 'in the know', believe that engines will rule the sport over aero and chassis with the massive regulation changes. One could make a case for Lewis entertaining the idea of a move, if a strong enough sales pitch is used. If Hamilton is convinced that Mercedes may hold the key in 2014, he could be trying to align himself early.
All speculation. As I have said on numerous occasions, I'll believe it when I see it. If you're in the mood for some silly season fun, please take a moment to read my F1 silly season poem here
Author: Ernie Black
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