• Apr 7, 2009
Is Lewis Hamilton really on his way out at McLaren? The Daily Mail think it's a definite possibility. It seems the reigning World Champion still has some issues with his team after the so-called "Liargate" scandal robbed him of his hard-fought third-place finish in the season opener at Melbourne. We explained that scandal in our earlier post about the race, but briefly, Hamilton was allegedly told how to answer post-race questions about a safety-car passing incident by McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan. The team was found guilty of deliberately misleading the race stewards. Ryan was subsequently suspended and Lewis had all of his points taken away after offering an emotional public apology.

Normally, that would be that, but after another disappointing race in Malaysia, it seems Lewis and his manager/father Anthony are asking McLaren for a meeting. Speculation is that Hamilton may be asking for an early release from his contract -- if not immediately, than possibly at the end of the season. The Hamiltons are apparently concerned that the champion's personal reputation has been sullied as a result of the team's recent scandals. Anthony maintains that Lewis was merely following team orders, defying his own moral code in taking Ryan's advice. He adds that contractual obligations prevented Lewis from offering the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when interviewed by the stewards. The fact that McLaren still faces further sanctions from the incident (including the possible suspension of team boss Martin Whitmarsh) could mean that Hamilton has more leverage in his negotiations.

If Hamilton does get out of his five-year contract, one scenario has him going to Ferrari, who is struggling even more than McLaren this season. We'd wager on Brawn GP making a bid, along with just about every other team as well. Whatever the outcome, we'll keep you posted.

[Sources: The Daily Mail, BBC, The Guardian]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dear AutoBlog:

      Please stop posting 4-7 day old news!
      So much has changed since this was originally posted elsewhere (Mercedes-Benz possibly getting out of F1 due to cost, Dave Ryan and McLaren parting ways, etc.) that this post was completely pointless.
      It's alright that F1 and auto racing news isn't your stronger points, AutoBlog. You do quite well with everything else. But if this is the path you want to take, at least add disclaimers so you can C.Y.A.

      Thanks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Boo hoo! I'm not getting all the attention any more! I'm going to take my ball and go home!

      Life isn't all roses, Lewis. You have to take the bad with the good.

      I was impressed with Hamilton's performance in GP2. But ever since then, he's just acted like everyone owes him something.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly... after all McLaren has done for him! He should be happy he's already had a car capable of winning the championship so early in his career.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For all that McLaren and Ron Dennis did for him as a teenager?

        Maybe the scandals are catching up?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I just get a kick out of his dad at ever race keeping and unblinking eye on his meal ticket. I can't imagine growing up int hat house...
      • 5 Years Ago
      they were talking about him possibly ending his contact when i was watching the Malaysian GP, i couldn't believe it and im definately itching to find out...Lewis Hamilton...for US F1 maybe??
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't see Hamilton driving for USF1, they're looking for American drivers. All drama regarding Hamilton's reputation being sullied aside, I see this as a ploy, possibly to leave McLaren to get into a more competitive car. I don't see him going to Brawn unless he agrees to a huge pay cut or brings major sponsorship with him. Button took a 50% pay cut this season to help the team. As for everyone who thinks that F1 drivers are too arrogant, it's that arrogance that enables a top driver to stay on top. That said, some are more arrogant than others. Jenson Button is a great example of this. For years he has soldiered on in uncompetitive cars without badmouthing the team. This year he's showing what he's capable of with the right equipment. Hamilton had no problem driving for McLaren through Stepneygate and all that when McLaren was consistently at the front of the grid. Now that he sees where McLaren stands with the new cars, he and his father probably see this latest scandal as an opportunity to test the waters to see who might be interested in having Lewis drive for them. Realistically, the three fastest teams right now, Brawn, Williams, and Toyota, will have no interest in having Hamilton drive for them this season for various reasons. Brawn won't be able to afford him, Williams won't drop Rosberg and can't drop Nakijima due to the agreement they have with Toyota, and I don't see Toyota dropping Trulli or Glock. Red Bull? I don't see them replacing Vettel or Webber. Renault? Yeah right, team him up with Alonso again. Every other team is floundering worse than McLaren. My bet is he stays right where he is.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Boo freakin hoo.

      Do these guys ovulate or what? Hurt feelings, sensitive outburst, tearful apologies.

      Where's DE when we need him?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd love to see him end up at Brawn GP just to watch the carnage that a Button/Hamilton pairing would assuredly produce.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mercedes is the engine supplier for Brawn GP, not McLaren. At this point, I think Mercedes is just happy a car with their engine is at the front of the pack, even if their official team is doing crappy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hamilton is the second best paid driver in F1, outside of Kimi's monstrous $52mm a year.
      Soon most teams in F1 are slated to have budget caps which will further put downward pressure on drivers contracts.
      Double WDC Alonso agreed, this year, to take a salary cut to save his Renault team, from Euro 12mm a year to Euro8.5mm. And this is a guy who drives equally as well as Hamilton.
      Hamilton may find that after Hungary 2007 Q3 and with now his part in this "event" that his worth to another team is a lot LESS than he thinks. Also guys like Vettel and Kubica are looking very very fast and for sure come a lot less expensive.
      Sometimes it's best to work through issues and stay with the team that a few months ago one said one wanted to race for for your entire career.
      Sure Ryan messed up, but he has been fired and Hamilton isn't blameless and still gets Pds15mm a year! Meantime the FIA will likely splap McLaren around badly for something that Ryan + Hamilton casued to happen. This puts at risk maybe 1,000 jobs. Has Hamilton apologised to his 999 team mates yet?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have met Lewis and spent some time chatting to him and my impression is that he is about as down to earth off the track that you can get. The boy has a natural driving ability and the fighting instinct that makes F1 exciting and a thrill to watch.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it me, or are all F1 drivers a bunch of arrogant pricks? The only exceptions might be guys like Trulli, Barachello, and Webber. All the others are major snobs. Hell, Speed TV can't even seem to get an interview with Schumacher. They show him walking around pre-race on the grid, but I guess he won't talk to them. Bizarre... I've yet to see an interview with him on Speed since he retired. Gee, you think he might be arrogant?
        • 5 Years Ago
        If I was good enough to pilot an F1 car for millions a year I'd probably be a prick too! :-D

        In all reality you're right. I think that's something the powers-that-be are working on; making the drivers do more publicity for the sport, not just for their sponsors.

        What they don't show on the race broadcasts are the countless autographs and pictures most of the drivers do on Friday practice days and during winter testing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        THAT is the advantage NASCAR has.
        complain about circles and low-tech all you want, you cannot beat the driver accessibility and charity performed by the drivers.

        At the end of the day, all sports are entertainment. NASCAR gets that more than the others. drivers recognize the dollars in their pocket are there because of the fans. that is the environment in nascar. sure some dont but the overwhelming majority appreciate that otherwise they might be turning wrenches at the local ford dealer or selling auto parts or driving a bus for a living

        for skill, I prefer baja/dakar/off-road and Rally Cup more than NASCAR or open wheel, but NASCAR draws them in mightily for entertainment.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, they are all arrogant pricks. It is one of those things where you pretty much need that attitude to make it that far. Kind of like politicians all being lying douches.

        Unfortunately, that is the game...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Once you strip away all the media sensationalism, I dare say there's nothing whatsoever to report between Hamilton and McLaren.
      • 5 Years Ago
      He has every right to consider leaving the team. They have made a great car, but they have been buried in scandals the entire time he has been with the team. I mean the troubles with the car can be worked out...he did get 4th place at Melbourne...

      With your thinking I should stay with my job selling snake oil because I am contractually obliged to do so...despite what my better judgement tells me...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I just look at the 2007 season where McLaren was stripped of their constructors points due to Stepneygate...he stayed with them through that...I can easily see this as the straw that broke the Camel's back...
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you signed a contract that says you will sell snake oil, then yeah, you should continue to sell snake oil.

        Regular people like you and I don't sign employment contracts for this reason among others. But people like Hamilton want to compel their employer to do particular things for them and in return they have to give some concessions too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Is Hamilton a constructor now? Stripping McLaren of their constructors points didn't affect him all that much.

        And I'm pretty sure he met with some level of success last year despite the poor pit position that a lack of constructor points yields.

        Maybe McLaren should sue Hamilton for spinning off track on the pit in road.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you kidding me? Schumacher was a pr*ck. He blocked the track in order to preserve his pole position ON TV. He threatened to not go to a race in the US after 9/11. In a race with only SIX CARS on the track (due to the tire disaster at Indy), he drove his own teammate off the track coming out of the pits. He drove his own brother off the track in Germany. And he made a mint and did pretty well, public persona-wise.

        And you're saying that somehow Hamilton's future is in jeopardy because of some guy at McLaren committing some infractions we didn't even see? The public is more forgiving than that.

        You've gone completely out of range.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You aren't terribly savvy on public opinion/perception...

        Stepneygate sullied everything, which is the same problem Hamilton is going through right now...

        Try looking at everything as a brand. Here are some brands that cannot improve their image no matter what:

        Detroit
        AIG
        Bush
        Chrysler

        See what I am getting at? Hamilton doesn't want to continue a relationship with a team that is working so hard on destroying their reputation because it brings his reputation down along with their's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm so sick of Lewis and his father. They are so quick to turn on McLaren and complain as soon as something goes wrong. It's always someone else's fault. Apart from winning the championship, he's the F1 equivalent of NASCAR's Dale Jr.....although Lewis can at least back it up with wins.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I do follow this "stuff" and looking back at it, while I don't think they were involved in Stepneygate, every time that something went wrong during his first two seasons, he seems to blame the team or the car or the stewards or Ferrari.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ^^^^ in all honesty almost all world champions do that. Senna was never wrong, Schumacher was never wrong, Prost was never wrong, Alonso is never wrong, etc...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Honestly, I'd put him more with the Williams sisters. Both because both have parents as their managers and because when the Williams sisters started to falter a bit after their meteoric rise, they and their managers immediately began to blame everyone except themselves. All of tennis had it in for them, you see.

        Much like the Williams sisters, I expect Hamilton has a bright future. And maybe can can learn some humility to go with some of his other talens.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So quick?! What about Stepneygate in 2007....do you even follow this stuff?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think this is why Danica would make a great F1 driver. Not only is she hot, she'd get in Lewis's face and make him cry like a little bich. LOL, it would be hilarious to see her hot little bod storming down pit lane going after some guy that caused her to crash.
        • 5 Years Ago
        if max and bernie could hear you Danica patrick and her sex appeal would be great to spice up F1 racing...her driving record...ah who cares.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Except for the problem that she isn't very good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Didn't she already do that? Or did you mean watching her go after Hamilton?
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