Has Lewis Hamilton gone to Mercedes already?!
Are the rumours becoming a reality?
In the build up to the Italian Grand Prix, speculation on Lewis Hamilton’s future was the main topic of discussion. There was a flurry of activity after BBC “broke” a story containing “certainties” from none other than Eddie Jordan.
“I can now confirm his people (Hamilton’s) have had meetings with Mercedes” and "Bernie Ecclestone made it clear to me live on television on Sunday that Schumacher was leaving.”
Despite some slightly dodgy body language and some less than reassuring quotes from Lewis, McLaren and Mercedes in Monza, the weekend finished with us all still none the wiser as to which team he’ll be driving for in 2013.
James Allen’s latest blog post is titled: Hamilton set to move to Mercedes. It contains plenty of details and intriguing points which suggest the deal is imminent. Without meaning to rip the article off James, here is an interesting paragraph from it:
"Hamilton looks like he is moving on, perhaps the only way he can become his own man, certainly the only way he and XIX Entertainment can fully cash in on his status, box office power and his image rights. And that is a big part of what this is about. Mercedes is one of the world’s most powerful brands, while McLaren makes F1 cars and small volume sports cars. This deal will take Hamilton’s name and image well beyond the boundaries of F1. If Hamilton did not want this, why would he had signed up with XIX?"
Any sports star at the top of their game obviously wants to cut themselves a fruitful deal. David Beckham does, Tiger Woods does and looking a little bit closer to home, drivers like Kimi Rakkonen, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso are all big earners in Formula 1. But is that Lewis Hamilton’s sole motivation for where he races in 2013? Some are calling him greedy without fully knowing what's going on behind the scenes. Lewis was asked about this by David Croft in the Thursday press conference (courtesy of autosport.com):
Q: (David Croft - Sky Sports) Lewis, when you look at a contract or renegotiation or look to move, at your stage of your career, what is it you are looking at? Is it purely money or are there other factors?
LH: I want to win.
Q: (David Croft - Sky Sports) Pure and simple you want to win.
So there’s a bit of a confusing picture being painted surrounding the whole situation. On the one hand, Lewis has superstar level management, presumably looking for a superstar rate contract to be signed (which sounds like Mercedes have the capital for), where as Lewis personally keeps echoing the “winning is everything” attitude he’s always voiced.
Realistically, it sounds like Mercedes and Hamilton has agreed terms for a deal for 2013 and beyond. It’s now down to McLaren to make a counter offer, an improved to keep their star - before it's too late.
As a fan, I personally want Lewis to stay at McLaren. Mercedes aren’t in good shape at the moment, despite grabbing a maiden win this year. McLaren have the momentum right now and I think he'd be crazy to jump ship. It doesn’t bother me whether he becomes an even bigger star around the globe than he currently is - if that is the plan by placing him at Mercedes. He has a superstar girlfriend, high profile mates and more to the point, is driving the fastest car on the grid. What else could you ask for?
For Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment Company, that might not be enough.
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