Updated: 04/10/2012 09:34 | By pa.press.net

Hamilton move is a mistake - Whitmarsh



Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren are a 'fantastic team'

Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren are a 'fantastic team'

Lewis Hamilton has been warned by McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh that leaving them for Mercedes is a mistake.

Mercedes confirmed on Friday morning that Hamilton would be joining them on a three-year deal from the start of the 2013 Formula One season, ending a 14-year association with McLaren. He will replace Michael Schumacher at the German team, with Mexican driver Sergio Perez - currently with Sauber - stepping in for the Briton at McLaren.

"Mercedes is a great partner of ours and they are a great team," Whitmarsh said. "But for anyone leaving McLaren, and he wants to win, I think that's a mistake because I have faith and belief in this team."

He added: "Whether you measure it over the last four races, four years or 40 years, we're a fantastic team. So I would say to any driver who wanted to win in this sport 'come and join McLaren and aspire to join McLaren'.

"I wouldn't advise anyone to leave McLaren if they want to win, but I've got to respect Lewis's decision and really wish him well."

Mercedes have won just one of 52 races since taking over 2009 champions Brawn GP, while McLaren have won 16 over the same three-year period.

Whitmarsh, who was only informed of Hamilton's definitive decision two days ago, is adamant McLaren did everything in their power to keep hold of the 2008 world champion.

Whitmarsh said: "I know we made a very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula One driver is enjoying today, other than himself. That is something that I am comfortable with. But ultimately we move forward now."

It is understood McLaren's initial offer was a pay cut of a third on his current salary, and only when Mercedes entered the negotiations did McLaren start to fight to hang on to their star name.

In the end, despite McLaren's recent form with four consecutive pole positions and three successive wins prior to Hamilton's retirement in Singapore on Sunday, the decision was the hardest of the Briton's career.

30Comments
29/09/2012 10:29
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Really don't see why so many have a problem with the guy wanting to take on a new challenge.

Nobody here knows what is going on in his mind,including me.

But maybe he just feels stale at McLaren, and wants to try elsewhere.

 

When the new regs come in, nobody knows which team will be in the best position, but Mercedes will have as as good a chance as anyone at producing a winning car, especially in light of the fact that they are already putting their resources to this task.

 

He will be aware that it is a gamble, so I say good luck Hamilton, I don't enjoy the petulance, but I do enjoy a good racer, and he is surely that.

28/09/2012 17:56
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Paul J - the only well thought out comment on here - I completely agree. I'm a big Hamilton fan and and what comes with that is accepting that yes, he does have a big ego - he wants to win and hates losing, is that a bad thing? He has not had a winning car for too long now and maybe, just maybe a Ross Brawn team can give that to him - after all, it's the only way Jenson has managed it so far in his career!.....
28/09/2012 21:54
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Well at least he'll be able to put a smile on his face when thinking about his bank balance as Perez scampers off into the blue yonder!

To be serious though, In the end this move wasn't all about money as there was eventual parity between the two contracts, albeit the Merc deal expanding Lewis's ability to have more than one sponsor.

Quite simply the relationship has become stale with McLaren and Lewis needed to start afresh. Whether the grass remains the same shade on the other side of the fence remains to be seen..

28/09/2012 21:11
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You are all on about money! money! money!  just to give Lewis a bad name ( you Lewis haters). At the level where they are(F1 drivers) it's more about winning championship and the prestige that comes with it....therefore Lewis is leaving McLaren for other reasons...McLaren is a very good team but Lewis needs a new challenge...Only time will tell... Good luck to all of you.
29/09/2012 09:23
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Its funny how some people seem to have it in for Whitmarsh even though theyve probably never seen how he runs the team on a daily basis. Yes the buck stops with him but one man doesnt make a team and all constructors go through periods when a car has reliability issues. Mclaren still have the fastest car at the moment and it only takes minor improvements to iron out any reliability issues - just look how they sorted out the pit stop problems so they now have the fastest changeovers of any team. Mclaren didnt win a drivers championship for nearly 10 years between 99 and 08 - Was that Whitmarshes fault too? Lewis made the decision to leave and he will have to live with it whatever happens. I think its a big mistake and I hope Im wrong but I dont blame Whitmarsh for it. Come on Mclaren the constructors title is still very achievable and even the drivers isnt impossible. Good luck Lewis - I think youll need it!
29/09/2012 09:43
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What can I say but "I pity Martin at this time" as the head of Mclaren racing at this time I have to say he is not making a great deal of good decisions.

Ron Dennis had some real success while in charge but Martin just about survive as he in my opinion don't have what it takes to run such outfit....I know there are a lot of people out there who would think otherwise but thats life and we all have our own opinion.........hence we have this site to express them.

 

I am a great supporter of Mclaren and thinks Lewis was one of their best drivers but things and people change and we just have to move on so Martin have to do the same and see how his decisions affects the team......we just have to wait and see.

29/09/2012 16:45
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well done lewisnow lets see what u can do for mercedes next season. you want a challenge you got one now your a racer go race and show the doubters your up for it

29/09/2012 09:56
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I'm not so sure the buck should stop with Martin Whitmarsh. In an interview a few weeks ago with Ron Dennis when the subject of the speculation surrounding Lewis's possible move came up he said the economic climate was such that drivers can't expect mega salary deals. If the truth be known I'd wager RD had a major hand in negotiations and has subsequently hamstrung Whitmarsh..
29/09/2012 00:19
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Martin is a two face liar and with such statement like "I would not advise anyone to leave Mclaren" well Alonso did and he is doing great at Ferrari......so why cant Lewis.

Martin has to put on a brave face for the sake of the team as he is/was responsible for keeping the team together which includes all the drivers.

The only person that made a mistake was and is Martin for allowing Lewis to leave after all the history between them.

I am sure he is and will be getting his arse kicked by some of the board members for allowing this to happen and while I appreciate Mclaren will be strong so will Mercedes,

29/09/2012 19:05
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Yes it is you should not have tried to stich him up,Oh well lets hear from the msn Hamilton troll haters.
29/09/2012 05:04
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With four of the last pole-positions and three wins out of the last four races for the team of Woking, I stare at both wdc and constructors tables in absolute disbelief.  Surely the McLaren situation with Lewis had to be related to something much more private, after all. Whitmarsh sees his priorities differently. McLaren will drive a new engine by 2014 onwards. Nobody can predict how the tale will then unfold. And that's a known unknown.
29/09/2012 02:26
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I wish Lewis the best of luck with his new team!its about time he showed what he can really do in a car
29/09/2012 16:43
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should have had a word with dad lewis. simon fullers managment company as helped raise d beckhams and spice girls profle but haven,t seen them win many races. ho sorry forgot thats show business not motor sport. perez seems to have a decent manager.
28/09/2012 16:50
28/09/2012 16:51
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Big  BIG mistake......world champ hope's gone. Hamiltons learned nothing , ego's taken over.
28/09/2012 18:53
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Only reason he has left is for more money so I hope he fails miserably. I know little about f1 but even I know Mercedes is not in the same class as McLaren. If you want to win the f1 title you race for either McLaren, Ferrari or Red Bull, no other team comes close.

28/09/2012 17:39
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