/ FORMULA 1/ HAMILTON’S CHOICE
Newey’s vision at Red Bull has moved the
goalposts, that McLaren is operating at the
same level as in 2007 and ’08 when it
fielded the fastest car?
Whatever, it’s di;cult to see why
McLaren continuing to do what it’s
always done will somehow enable it to
catch and pass Red Bull in the short to
medium term – and it’s precisely that
time frame that Lewis needs to be
considering. A team can bounce back
from a few years away from the cutting
edge, but a driver’s window of
opportunity is slit-like by comparison.
There are other worrying side issues
there, too. Rumors continue of a
boardroom battle for control between
Martin Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis. The
Hamiltons – just like Kimi Raikkonen,
Fernando Alonso and Adrian Newey – resented Dennis’
heavy-handedness in controlling them when he was last team
principal. Whitmarsh has presided over a much more
consensual, less abrasive McLaren but now come the inevitable
knee-jerk attempts at connecting that with the team’s
below-par technical performance of recent seasons. Whitmarsh
is trying hard to keep what is a brilliant driver pairing
together, but Hamilton’s truculence is surely trying his
patience and the tension between them might be creating more
opportunity for any boardroom struggle to intensify, to
potentially destructive e;ect.
holds less value for
me, because other
people have won.”
PERIL IN PARADISE
Hamilton’s “dream seat”
hasn’t been for Webber
It’s understandable that
Lewis Hamilton would look at
Mark Webber (BELOW) was on top
of the world in the summer of 2010
with Red Bull Racing, having regularly
taken the measure of his superstar
teammate and racked up four wins.
While Vettel regained command in the
second half of the year, his teammate
went into ’ 11 confident that he had
the pace to push the German hard.
Yet while Vettel rocketed to six wins
in the first eight races, Webber was
blanked on wins and usually behind
the World Champion in qualifying. In
Hungary, Webber confessed that he
found his 0.659sec gap to Vettel’s
pole time (which left him sixth on the
What’s gone wrong? Conspiracy
mongers are quick to assume a
return of Red Bull’s unofficial
favoring of Vettel, but Webber has
acknowledged having trouble getting
Pirelli’s delicate rear tires to hold up.
Webber’s contract expires this year
and, although RBR insists it wants to
re-sign him and he says he wants to
stay, the longer a deal remains
undone, the more being top dog
elsewhere could appeal to him.
But, where? Mercedes insists
Michael Schumacher will be returning
in 2012 (as does Michael), and none
of the other teams with apparent
vacancies seem likely to offer a sniff
at the front-running status Webber
sees as his rightful circumstance.
Sometimes the devil you know is the
best option – a thought Hamilton is
doubtless wrestling with, too.
Will behind-the-scenes infighting in his
famiiliar environment at McLaren (MAIN)
make the prospect of joining Vettel at Red
Bull (TOP) more attractive for Hamilton?