Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pass the smelling salts - F1 rumour mill scaring me

I have had my fill of traumatic reshuffles this week. The last thing my tired and emotional self needed as I headed home after a wonderfully relaxing meal out with friends was to see on Twitter rumours that my least favourite driver on the Formula 1 grid was apparently headed to one of my favourite teams. Frankly, I'd rather welcome Nadine Dorries into the Liberal Democrats than see Lewis Hamilton go to Ross Brawn's Mercedes.

This might just be Eddie Jordan messing with our heads, but he's been right about this kind of stuff before.

It's probably time that Lewis Hamilton and McLaren had a break with each other after their lifelong association. The fragility of their current relationship could be seen when Hamilton blew telemetry secrets by posting a photo of the qualifying data on Twitter after he'd had a major tantrum about finishing behind Jenson, who had been on a new set up.

Lewis has been flirting with other teams for some time. Last season he ostentatiously met Christian Horner of Red Bull. This year he's been touting himself round Red Bull, Ferrari and now Mercedes. The first two seem to have told him to sling his hook. That is a huge relief. Nobody wants to see a repeat of the fractious 2007 series when both Alonso and Hamilton moved to McLaren and behaved appallingly as they tried to establish who was top dog.

So, Mercedes is the only option seemingly left open to the Great Whinger. Sadly, if he were to go there, it would mean Michael Schumacher retiring. It was bad enough the first time. I really don't want to go through it again anyway, but finding that my lifelong hero was to be replaced by Hamilton, the Great Whinger, requires gin or smelling salts or both. I don't really want Schumi to disappear when he's only just found the way to the podium again.

Hamilton can be a brilliant driver. Sadly, his performance is often affected by a fairly major attitude problem. He spends his time getting involved in feuds with other drivers - there were several incidents between Hamilton and Massa last year as well as between Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado. However, I have to admit that in the latter case, the dishonour was pretty much equally shared. Maldonado is becoming more and more of a liability as time goes on. He needs taking in hand before he kills someone.

I can't deny, though, that some time working with Ross Brawn might actually be good for Hamilton. Brawn's an excellent manager. When Rubens Barrichello had a fit of temper in 2009, Brawn didn't go shouting his mouth off in the press as Christian Horner might have done, but he made the driver write a grovelling apology to the entire team. If anyone can get him to grow up it'll be Brawn.

We'll know soon enough how it's all going to pan out. It will have a lot to do with what Mercedes next car is going to be like and whether McLaren can be bothered with his negotiating tactics. If Mercedes produce a decent car, the temptation for Schumi to stay around for another year would be compelling.

This has been one of the most exciting seasons in F1 I've ever known. With 8 races to go, we have no idea who is going to win. Alonso's talent should, I think, get its just reward. He may not be a personal favourite of mine, but he's managed to lead the championship by driving the wheels off a car that isn't particularly amazing. Webber, also, has been very consistent and has notched up two victories this season. And then the Ice Man has returned. Kimi has yet to win a race, but he's in a fabulous car which should come into its own in the last races of the season. The last time Kimi won a championship, he grabbed it at the last moment in the last race. We can only hope for such a thrilling end to the season.




1 comment:

Andrew Brown said...

My gut is that there is more substance to this rumour than many - and that it would make sense.

I do think McLaren and Hamilton need a break from each other: his attitude problems over the last couple of years have taken the shine off his earlier successes - and tarnish McLaren's brand as well his own.

I would love to see Di Resta in a McLaren - but that one is, I suspect, just the usual rumourmongering that goes on, at least for now.

It'll also be good to see Button as a lead driver. He's grown during his time at McLaren and with his varied experience - and without Hamilton's long association to overshadow him - he could really put that to use.

Unlike you, I won't miss Schumacher - and I'm not particularly bothered either way about Mercedes, so not really seeing the negative side to this story!

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