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Lewis Hamilton

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This seemingly interminable topic appears to have no end. Whichever path Hamilton decides to take for 2013 and beyond, it's a power move. In the best car, he's probably as quick as Alonso, (though not as accomplished perhaps) which makes him an extremely desirable package. If he stays at McLaren, where his name is mud in the boardroom and among the rank and file, he gives them arguably, the most powerful driver combo on the grid. If he goes to Mercedes, assuming Stuttgart don't pull the plug, he has a works team for 2014, (extremely important in terms of the new regs), an amiable partner in Rosberg, (if he doesn't get the elbow by then) and a good chance of another WDC for him and a first WCC for the modern Silver Arrows. Ferrari won't have him. Why? Well, even a disgruntled Felipe wouldn't tweet a telemetry profile and disloyalty is a capital crime at Maranello. But, the very best reason for him not going there is because he won't get equality; the die was cast many moons ago and so it shall remain until the sun dies.

Eddie Jordan overheard a chat and blabbed. On Sunday, Ron Dennis did not applaud Hamilton on the podium. There was no exuberance from the c#ckpit and he looked like a man lost on the podium. Whitmarsh wants to keep Lewis on, which is understanable but not at any cost and only if he really, really wants to stay. This is right. At McLaren, his team mate has his measure on most days because of the environment in the garage. Last year he tried to get from under Jenson's purple patch by talking to the drinks company from Austria. That would never have worked. I personally don't care what Red Bull say but Vettel has always been their No.1 and always will be as long as Helmut Marko is lurking in the back of the garage.

My personal feelings are that Lewis will go to Mercedes with Michael taking up another team role. This will put Di Resta, the Hulk, Perez, Kimi and even Massa in line for his seat at Macca. Why Massa? I believe that once he has exited the oppressive regime at the Scuderia he will have a good second career. Don't tell me he isn't quick! I believe he'll certainly get offered a Sauber drive. Also, the teams must be tracking Kubica after his rally win yesterday which may add a variant to people's thinking as the pieces are shuffled on the board.

If Lewis doesn't move now, he never will. Perez looks like a contender and Vettel will be back. I also don't think Webber or Button will retire for a long time yet. Hamilton needs a consistently good car and Merc may have that in 2014. Otherwise, he'll be history. We'll see. Maybe, for Ron, Woking and Hamilton too it's perhaps, 'better the devil you know'. If I was LH and I wanted to a change, I'd be talking to Peter Sauber.

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This seemingly interminable topic appears to have no end. Whichever path Hamilton decides to take for 2013 and beyond, it's a power move. In the best car, he's probably as quick as Alonso, (though not as accomplished perhaps) which makes him an extremely desirable package. If he stays at McLaren, where his name is mud in the boardroom and among the rank and file, he gives them arguably, the most powerful driver combo on the grid. If he goes to Mercedes, assuming Stuttgart don't pull the plug, he has a works team for 2014, (extremely important in terms of the new regs), an amiable partner in Rosberg, (if he doesn't get the elbow by then) and a good chance of another WDC for him and a first WCC for the modern Silver Arrows. Ferrari won't have him. Why? Well, even a disgruntled Felipe wouldn't tweet a telemetry profile and disloyalty is a capital crime at Maranello. But, the very best reason for him not going there is because he won't get equality; the die was cast many moons ago and so it shall remain until the sun dies.

Eddie Jordan overheard a chat and blabbed. On Sunday, Ron Dennis did not applaud Hamilton on the podium. There was no exuberance from the c#ckpit and he looked like a man lost on the podium. Whitmarsh wants to keep Lewis on, which is understanable but not at any cost and only if he really, really wants to stay. This is right. At McLaren, his team mate has his measure on most days because of the environment in the garage. Last year he tried to get from under Jenson's purple patch by talking to the drinks company from Austria. That would never have worked. I personally don't care what Red Bull say but Vettel has always been their No.1 and always will be as long as Helmut Marko is lurking in the back of the garage.

My personal feelings are that Lewis will go to Mercedes with Michael taking up another team role. This will put Di Resta, the Hulk, Perez, Kimi and even Massa in line for his seat at Macca. Why Massa? I believe that once he has exited the oppressive regime at the Scuderia he will have a good second career. Don't tell me he isn't quick! I believe he'll certainly get offered a Sauber drive. Also, the teams must be tracking Kubica after his rally win yesterday which may add a variant to people's thinking as the pieces are shuffled on the board.

If Lewis doesn't move now, he never will. Perez looks like a contender and Vettel will be back. I also don't think Webber or Button will retire for a long time yet. Hamilton needs a consistently good car and Merc may have that in 2014. Otherwise, he'll be history. We'll see. Maybe, for Ron, Woking and Hamilton too it's perhaps, 'better the devil you know'. If I was LH and I wanted to a change, I'd be talking to Peter Sauber.

I agree with all of the above except for a few points.

I don't think McLaren would consider Massa as a potential replacement for Hamilton. Too many other drivers that you listed would be way ahead of him on any list drawn up. Massa is, and has always been, too inconsistent in his driving, even in his championship challenge year of 2008.

Secondly there is no way that Hamilton and XIX would consider Sauber no matter how good a car they produce. The team simply does not have the budget to pay for him.

Lewis has a choice of two - McLaren or Mercedes. I'm getting the feeling that McLaren are indifferent to Hamilton staying with the team, a position that I didn't think would happen a couple of years back, I thought he would spend his entire career at McLaren provided they produced good, race winning cars. Never say never.

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XIX management template is one of huge earning built on a huge global profile. McLaren simply do not have the mass global appeal that can generate that interest (outside of F1)

the truth is: (and i'm not afariad to talk about the elephant in the room) that being the first black F1 champion should have propelled LH to the top tier ....not unlike tiger woods.

I honestly think that McLaren are just too conservative to exploit the PR dream they have available. Merc is a great global brand and certainly common in the aspiring growing middle class black achievers. To have LH as their face would be great for them. I say go to Merc and shake the money tree as much as you can............why not?

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Much as I like Lewis - despite his snafus - I hope he doesn't move to Mercedes, for that would spell the end of Schumi's 2nd stint. Unless of course, Macca swaps him for Rosberg.

In reality, it's difficult to see Lewis continuing at Macca.

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XIX management template is one of huge earning built on a huge global profile. McLaren simply do not have the mass global appeal that can generate that interest (outside of F1)

the truth is: (and i'm not afariad to talk about the elephant in the room) that being the first black F1 champion should have propelled LH to the top tier ....not unlike tiger woods.

I honestly think that McLaren are just too conservative to exploit the PR dream they have available. Merc is a great global brand and certainly common in the aspiring growing middle class black achievers. To have LH as their face would be great for them. I say go to Merc and shake the money tree as much as you can............why not?

I think the fact that he didn't exploit his blackness (whether by design or oversight) has made him more likeable, relatively speaking.

Edited by LabradoRacer

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Who really cares? He'll either move, or he won't.

Not much to say beyond that at this time is there? It's all speculation, and like most speculation, watch it turn out to be completely wrong.

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I think the last week or so has been the turning point in my perception of this. I had really thought there was a lot of posturing going on and nothing more.

But they said they wanted to get the deal done over the five week break, and I have to imagine something went really sour.

Could Lewis still be posturing? Yeah, but I think he's crossed a line with it, and he needs to know that McLaren will have an easier time moving on without him, given that Button's perfectly capable, and many others are available. A great team and a great car are always more important than a great driver, though in today's F1 you really do need all three given how close it is. Still, Button's a WDC. He can deliver just as well as Hamilton can, maybe better (I think his championship year was more impressive than Hamilton's, but both were a long time ago), even if we perceive Hamilton as the better driver. Insider lists a lot of good names who would be just fine at McLaren, and might cause less issues for the team, if Hamilton truly does cause issues.

Meanwhile, Hamilton won't find a great team or a great car and one acquisition can only elevate a team so much. Is Hamilton talented, an upgrade for Mercedes? Yeah, I think so. But is Hamilton the kind of guy who can make everyone around him better, a la Schumacher? No, not yet. He may even make them worse sometimes, with his attitude, not that I'd know because I've never worked with him. Could Mercedes make Hamilton better? Probably.

I think it will be sad if Hamilton becomes an improved Jacques Villeneuve.

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Ross Brawn's recent statement that a works team is the place team to be in 2014 should be now seen as a public invitation to Hamilton.

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Well, in any case, after the twittergate and the trophygate and all that, it was obvious that it is not a matter of what is the best car or the best driver anymore. They can't stand each other (Lewis and McLaren). They might be a powerful combination in theory, but with the relationship gone sour, it is not going to work anyways.

McLaren needs nice corporate guys. People who can walk the walk and talk the ronspeak.

Lewis wants to be a pop-star/fashion model/brand mark/f1 driver (though not necessarily in that order). It's useless trying to frustrate his aspirations just because we all think he could be one of the best drivers ever if he only left behind his other dreams.

And he might still be one of the best without giving his other dreams or even because he is free to pursue them.

As for McLaren, Button must be jumping with joy. Replacements? Nick Heidfeld has already postulated for the vacant seat.

If McLaren pick Quick Nick they deserve to lose. :P

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I feel really uncomfortable about Martin Whitmarsh's open praise of Kimi. I know he'd take him back tomorrow . And Kimi has a greedy enough streak to chase the money......but I hope for racing's sake he stays at Lotus. ............seems more like a done deal all the time that LH is off to play with Ross Brawn and cocontract.gif. ........just when nico thought he might get to lead the team!dam.gif

With LH off to Merc,it will all start to fall into place. Kimi to Mclaren (booohoooo), DiResta to Lotus, and Hieki to Force India.

then please no more driver changes errrrrr.gif

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I agree with all of the above except for a few points.

I don't think McLaren would consider Massa as a potential replacement for Hamilton. Too many other drivers that you listed would be way ahead of him on any list drawn up. Massa is, and has always been, too inconsistent in his driving, even in his championship challenge year of 2008.

Secondly there is no way that Hamilton and XIX would consider Sauber no matter how good a car they produce. The team simply does not have the budget to pay for him.

Lewis has a choice of two - McLaren or Mercedes. I'm getting the feeling that McLaren are indifferent to Hamilton staying with the team, a position that I didn't think would happen a couple of years back, I thought he would spend his entire career at McLaren provided they produced good, race winning cars. Never say never.

All the evidence points to money being a major motivation to LH but Sauber is a growing force, I feel if Lewis was looking for a real challenge. However, I think that unlikely given XIX's client template.

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I feel really uncomfortable about Martin Whitmarsh's open praise of Kimi. I know he'd take him back tomorrow . And Kimi has a greedy enough streak to chase the money......but I hope for racing's sake he stays at Lotus. ............seems more like a done deal all the time that LH is off to play with Ross Brawn and cocontract.gif. ........just when nico thought he might get to lead the team!dam.gif

With LH off to Merc,it will all start to fall into place. Kimi to Mclaren (booohoooo), DiResta to Lotus, and Hieki to Force India.

then please no more driver changes errrrrr.gif

The Kimster won't want the press and promo responsibilities whatever McLaren offer. I believe Vodafone may hold the key and would favour the pursuit of Perez. I don't think Di Resta is a 'shoe-in'.

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Why on earth would di Resta end up at Lotus? His ties are with Mercedes, the manufacturer he won the DTM title with. Mercedes effectively got him the seat at Force India, and if he ends up anywhere other than FI, it'll be at a Mercedes team. Most likely McLaren if Hamilton moves to Mercedes, he'll end up replacing him.

Kimi's not going back to McLaren, and he sure is heck not going back to Ferrari either.

Edited by JHS18

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The Kimster won't want the press and promo responsibilities whatever McLaren offer. I believe Vodafone may hold the key and would favour the pursuit of Perez. I don't think Di Resta is a 'shoe-in'.

Hmm...I like your idea of Pérez at McLaren because I think he'd have a better chance to succeed there than being Alonso's number two for the rest of this decade at Ferrari.

But there's that Telmex thing. His entire career was funded by them, and given how terribly it all started in the United States, he wouldn't have had one at all without them. Family friends, too, and his brother's sponsor in stock cars before NASCAR kindly asked him to never come back again.

That said, hearing over and over that he's not "ready" from Ferrari when he has comprehensively beaten Felipe Massa this year has to be a bit frustrating, so I don't know he'd be loyal to Ferrari. It's just a matter of not burning bridges with Telmex because when he hits the big teams, the money will stop being used to fund his rides, and start being used to go directly to him for advertising in Mexico etc. Money's a nice thing and Ferrari will offer him a top drive and let him keep that money. At the same time, McLaren could let him pursue instant success on his own merits against Button's. It'd be tempting if the offer were there, and if McLaren lose Vodafone as sometimes rumored, well, forget it, sign the contract!

So that brings us to di Resta and while it's easy to assume Pérez is unavailable, I'm not so sure we can all assume that Paul di Resta is, so you may be right that he's not the obvious choice. The fact remains he's a Mercedes driver, and while McLaren are a Mercedes-powered team, there seems to be some kind of implied rift between McLaren and Mercedes. I think everyone's under the assumption that relationship is over as soon as the next generation of engine rules are put in place. Will Mercedes really let di Resta go? On paper, Hamilton for di Resta is a good trade for both teams, where McLaren lose something "toxic" and Mercedes gain something with proven results and ability. But is Hamilton's gain really worth the investment in someone's career for years and years only to have him potentially winning somewhere else?

The guy alongside di Resta's Mercedes ties are much looser, he may be a little more proven (pretty subjective, though), and he has a great understanding of the technical side from working in the Williams factory in different roles during his time as reserve. I think Hülkenberg might be the choice, and Button could probably help him a bit.

I guess you can go short-term and get a "plug and play" driver for now, and hope Kevin Magnussen turns into the real deal. But I'm not sure that's the right thing to do.

This could be a lot about nothing, but I'm glad there's something to speculate for now.

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Sorry about taking you (unfairly) as a trampoline for one of my usual rants, Eric but, frankly, the whole idea of "X at Ferrari? that means he will be Alonso's bitch" is only partially fair and, in most cases, a rather convoluted way of saying "driver X is nowhere as good as Alonso, but it's easier to blame Alonso than to blame the other guy for that"

Let me explain why "Hamilton/Perez/Naomi Campbell would not want to go to Ferrari to be Alonso's errand boy" in more detail:

EDITED: I wrote a billion lines explaining why all the arguments were rather mentally lazy excuses or weakly constructed reasonings. They all come down to this:

If any driver is actually better than Alonso, they will eventually displace him from his #1 status. Alonso displaced the few ones who were more established than him in his beginnings (talks about favoritism for a younger guy with no money backing and some impressive but totally unproven skills so far are at least questionable) Button, Trulli and Fisichella all had better prospects than Nando and all were treated equally or better than him at first. If that never lasteed long is not because of Santander money or Alonso getting his way when he was merely a promising tester at Renault/former Minardi driver.

The arrogant Alonso (and yes, he got too c#cky and arrogant like some other young WDCs out there...) was forced to eat some humble pie in 2007 by rookie Lewis. Not as much as Lewis fans wanted to but at least pretty shaken for sure.

So...if "rookie" Lewis beat Alonso, and it had nothing to do with Daddy Dennis backing him up but his raw unlimited talent, why would he fear anything now that he is more mature? Any driver can fall from grace when the new wonder comes to town. Ask Schumi, Kimi, Lewis, Button...they all know about it :P

So, I say if the driver is actually better than Alonso he should not fear going to Ferrari to be Alonso's bitch, because he should KNOW that he will ultimately beat him. No favoritism is enough to keep an outstanding driver looking mediocre if the #1 driver is not as good as the #2.

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Fair enough, but...

1. Would you really turn down McLaren if McLaren offered?

2. It implies Ferrari is managed competently. The last #2 they made a #1 was Felipe Massa, and they did that because they like him, not because he did anything to unseat Räikkönen or be better than him. Consider his 2008 season started with a double retirement, then trading wins with Räikkönen before a tough section of races for Räikkönen gave Massa the favor. They were really quick to bail on Räikkönen and really quick to promote a guy who wasn't that good. Do you trust Ferrari to make your decisions? It's just like anything. You can be better but if the person getting the final say doesn't realize it or doesn't act on it, too bad.

3. If Pérez is a #2 because #2s are worse than #1s, as your post suggests (and rightfully so, considering I can't think of any #2 that's ever been better than a #1 at the time), that says Ferrari aren't confident that Pérez is better than Alonso. Which means his best finish will be second. Which is his best finish at Sauber. Which is vaguely more achievable at Sauber when the #1 at Ferrari really shouldn't ever be finishing first with that team. But the more important angle: if McLaren, or another top team, believes you are the #1 and the best, don't you want to work with people who believe in you, and not people who might maybe believe in you at some point? If Ferrari were the best team in the world, yeah, sure, pay your dues. The problem is, Ferrari really...I don't even know where to rank them but I trust McLaren to be competitive year-in-and-year-out a lot more than I trust Ferrari.

But I'm not Pérez or his manager and I couldn't be either one very successfully so we'll have to see. I tend to be conservative with predictions so I guess I just expect Pérez at Sauber in 2013.

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There's so much truth in what both of you (Erica and Andres) say. I still tend to think that Mclaren would be a better choice for Perez from purely an equality point of view. I don't see how that can argued against with Ferrari's recent history (they always favour one driver and sometimes to their own detriment, as Eric said). I will point out by favour I mean preference in the way all teams do to an extent (but Ferrari seem to more), for the most part not talking about sabotage of the other driver or team orders, though.

I am not saying Macca are better for him just because it's easier to look good against Button (obviously still quite difficult as Button is no slouch) than it is Alonso, but because I think a driver coming into a team like Macca has much more opportunity to look good at all. That's more opportunity to grow in the team and in his own confidence, than at Ferrari. Ferrari only have eyes for Alonso, even if Perez turned out to be extremely quick I still think the weight of the team would never be behind him fully unless he worked a miracle. In fact, he'd need more than a miracle since Alonso already has those covered. He'd probably have to sort out the Middle East to get the kind of support Alonso has.

Anyway, Perez might have the talent of a world champion, still a very big might, but the intra team battle is only a fair fight where both drivers are equally respected, and even liked. There's no evidence, despite Ferrari Academy connections, that Ferrari have that sort relationship with Sergio Perez. Perez is not to Ferrari what Lewis Hamilton was to Mclaren, and that's what you need to be if you want a fair fight with Alonso in a Ferrari. And, to be fair, overthrowing a Fisichella is not the same as overthrowing one of the strongest drivers ever, who has the team wrapped around his finger, at an early point in your career. Perez's job against Alonso would not be to merely(!) be faster than him (very unlikely anyway, obviously), but also to rise to a similar position politically and emotionally in the team. It's difficult to have one without the other. If you aren't as fast you can't be as strong politically, if you aren't strong politically and have the team focussed on you, it might hurt your performance, especially if you're not massively experienced and it's a new team and blah blah blah. So you'd need to be extremely impressive extremely early, and if you're not? Before you know it you're getting a radio call. Then you start to expect the radio call. Bye bye confidence, bye bye career. Less likely to happen at Macca who if anything let their drivers race too much, to the detriment of WDC chances.

Anyway, as much as I never rated Massa, I think Ferrari already have (had) a fast driver in their second car, the way I see it. Look at Massa's results as a percentage of Alonso's points (approx): 2010 - 57%, 2011 - 46%, 2012 - 26%. Roughly 60% performance against Alonso doesn't seem too bad at all. Needless to say I don't think Massa's decline in performance is because of some kind of delayed or continous reaction to his 2009 trauma, but because of a continuous undermining of his confidence at Ferrari, which began with that "reap what you sow" move in Germany (and that's what they did to a driver they really liked! What hope for a newcomer?). Mentally, he's been finished ever since and I can't really blame him. Therefore, I also agree with Insider (iirc) that actually, for that reason, he might be very fast in a different environment (obviously still not a top driver, never was, but at least a reasonable one in terms of speed if not racecraft).

So all in all, a shot at the WDC is not only harder in a Ferrari because of Alonso, but because of the way that team is run.

Edited by Rainmaster

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Fair enough, but...

1. Would you really turn down McLaren if McLaren offered?

Depends on WHAT can McLaren possibly offer me. Apparently the first salvos of this civil war were fired on account of differences in the contract length and money. LH wanted a shorter contract and more money. Macca wanted a longer commitment. If everything the more knowledgeable people say is true, then all Macca can promise is a (probably) competitive car in 2013. Afterwards, their promises are as good as anything HRT could offer him in terms of competitiveness (I am exaggerating, I know, but you get the meaning). If they can't promise him anything beyond 2013, and with other teams being able to match or better McLaren's money offer (I am guessing this but it is not too difficult as even Massa is earning more or close to whatever Lewis is earning now)

So Macca can't give him much more money than the competitors, if any. They can't offer him anything beyond 2013. He is basically choosing to have a good 2013 with Macca and who knows later in a place were he does not feel happy, or he can take the risk and go somewhere else to suffer in 2013 (but earn more money) and gamble on having a more competitive car from 2014 on.

What to choose? Up to him, but not such a clear cut option as everybody seems ini Maccas favor.

2. It implies Ferrari is managed competently. The last #2 they made a #1 was Felipe Massa, and they did that because they like him, not because he did anything to unseat Räikkönen or be better than him. Consider his 2008 season started with a double retirement, then trading wins with Räikkönen before a tough section of races for Räikkönen gave Massa the favor. They were really quick to bail on Räikkönen and really quick to promote a guy who wasn't that good. Do you trust Ferrari to make your decisions? It's just like anything. You can be better but if the person getting the final say doesn't realize it or doesn't act on it, too bad.

That applies to Alonso as well, then. Why do you think that what they did to Kimi they won't do to Alonso? You will need to add another explanation on why Kimi's situation was different than that of Alonso (e.g.: because of Santander...) but then the first point becomes irrelevant. See?

I never said that whoever comes to Ferrari will automatically become #1 and why would he? Even anti Alonso guys talk about China 2010 as if that was a defining moment...which means that Alonso until then was not considered more than Massa.

What I mean with all this is that Ferrari can favor Alonso all they want, but if Lewis is Ayrton's reincarnation that won't last long. And btw that is exactly what p**sed off Prost vs Ayrton back in their days... ;)

Let me ask you this: does Hamilton or his fans think so little of him that they think Nando, the big crybaby would get away with ruining Ayrton re born?

I know I am too confusing but what I mean is, the #1 and #2 issue is there, but using it as an excuse does a poor favor to the other driver and hardly taints Alonso who is the #1 not just because he commands it by some power given by the gods above but because he earns it every damn race. So if someone wants to be the king of kings, get on the ring and steal the crown, otherwise, shut up.

And as not a single driver has shied away from the fright nor Alonso has said any of them scared him and forced a veto out of fright, we are just all projecting OUR own feelings and trying to pass them as rational thoughts from the persons involved.

3. If Pérez is a #2 because #2s are worse than #1s, as your post suggests (and rightfully so, considering I can't think of any #2 that's ever been better than a #1 at the time), that says Ferrari aren't confident that Pérez is better than Alonso. Which means his best finish will be second. Which is his best finish at Sauber. Which is vaguely more achievable at Sauber when the #1 at Ferrari really shouldn't ever be finishing first with that team. But the more important angle: if McLaren, or another top team, believes you are the #1 and the best, don't you want to work with people who believe in you, and not people who might maybe believe in you at some point? If Ferrari were the best team in the world, yeah, sure, pay your dues. The problem is, Ferrari really...I don't even know where to rank them but I trust McLaren to be competitive year-in-and-year-out a lot more than I trust Ferrari.

But I'm not Pérez or his manager and I couldn't be either one very successfully so we'll have to see. I tend to be conservative with predictions so I guess I just expect Pérez at Sauber in 2013.

There are only two teams at the moments capable not just of delivering the wins but also the glory: McLaren and Ferrari. Yes, if you want to win and just that you might have thought about RBR as well. But with less than a handful of bad results from the drinks company how do you rate their stock now? Ferrari and McLaren could go on without winning for years and still be considered the best. RBR is part of the elite still, but how many results like last week before they start to be rememebred as the second BGP?

For a long term commitment, most drivers tend to prefer an ailing Ferrari or McLaren historically over other teams. (there were other historic teams but only Williams survived of those and look at them now...) So If i were Perez and I thought I was any bit as good as Alonso, only with a lot more years ahead, I would certainly go for Ferrari or Macca, and not for Sauber which can offer....nothing except some wins maybe this year which will surprise both the team and the driver and this year is something he already has. Next year?

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There's so much truth in what both of you (Erica and Andres) say. I still tend to think that Mclaren would be a better choice for Perez from purely an equality point of view. I don't see how that can argued against with Ferrari's recent history (they always favour one driver and sometimes to their own detriment, as Eric said). I will point out by favour I mean preference in the way all teams do to an extent (but Ferrari seem to more), for the most part not talking about sabotage of the other driver or team orders, though.

I am not saying Macca are better for him just because it's easier to look good against Button (obviously still quite difficult as Button is no slouch) than it is Alonso, but because I think a driver coming into a team like Macca has much more opportunity to look good at all. That's more opportunity to grow in the team and in his own confidence, than at Ferrari. Ferrari only have eyes for Alonso, even if Perez turned out to be extremely quick I still think the weight of the team would never be behind him fully unless he worked a miracle. In fact, he'd need more than a miracle since Alonso already has those covered. He'd probably have to sort out the Middle East to get the kind of support Alonso has.

Anyway, Perez might have the talent of a world champion, still a very big might, but the intra team battle is only a fair fight where both drivers are equally respected, and even liked. There's no evidence, despite Ferrari Academy connections, that Ferrari have that sort relationship with Sergio Perez. Perez is not to Ferrari what Lewis Hamilton was to Mclaren, and that's what you need to be if you want a fair fight with Alonso in a Ferrari. And, to be fair, overthrowing a Fisichella is not the same as overthrowing one of the strongest drivers ever, who has the team wrapped around his finger, at an early point in your career. Perez's job against Alonso would not be to merely(!) be faster than him (very unlikely anyway, obviously), but also to rise to a similar position politically and emotionally in the team. It's difficult to have one without the other. If you aren't as fast you can't be as strong politically, if you aren't strong politically and have the team focussed on you, it might hurt your performance, especially if you're not massively experienced and it's a new team and blah blah blah. So you'd need to be extremely impressive extremely early, and if you're not? Before you know it you're getting a radio call. Then you start to expect the radio call. Bye bye confidence, bye bye career. Less likely to happen at Macca who if anything let their drivers race too much, to the detriment of WDC chances.

Anyway, as much as I never rated Massa, I think Ferrari already have (had) a fast driver in their second car, the way I see it. Look at Massa's results as a percentage of Alonso's points (approx): 2010 - 57%, 2011 - 46%, 2012 - 26%. Roughly 60% performance against Alonso doesn't seem too bad at all. Needless to say I don't think Massa's decline in performance is because of some kind of delayed or continous reaction to his 2009 trauma, but because of a continuous undermining of his confidence at Ferrari, which began with that "reap what you sow" move in Germany (and that's what they did to a driver they really liked! What hope for a newcomer?). Mentally, he's been finished ever since and I can't really blame him. Therefore, I also agree with Insider (iirc) that actually, for that reason, he might be very fast in a different environment (obviously still not a top driver, never was, but at least a reasonable one in terms of speed if not racecraft).

So all in all, a shot at the WDC is not only harder in a Ferrari because of Alonso, but because of the way that team is run.

I accept your reasoning about Perez, thought that is only from the POV of a Perez WANTING to be #1 and treated like Alonso is at Ferrari. And that is precisely what all drivers want so in that respect there is nothing wrong with what Alonso had achieved, and that what Perez should do. If he is as good as Alonso or better, he can either go and fight against Alonso in a more than a season long battle but in the end he should win it or try to become a mini Alonso in some other team.

In any case, it means trying to emulate Alonso and Ferrari, not do anything different.

In Lewis case is different. He does not need to prove anything or grow any confidence. The rookie card does not work for him anymore. He has been around long enough, always at the top, he is a proven WDC. He shouldn't fear the challenge if the victory is sweet enough. I do not think for a minute that he would refuse the challenge, or Alonso fear it.

Again, it is a matter of us thinking for them.

Massa was undermined by ferrari's love for Alonso? Webber by RBRs love for Vettel as well, yet look at Webber's performance both in a good and a bad sense. In a sense, he is so much closer to Vettel than Massa to Alonso. On the other hand, he has never shown any sign of being able to equal vettel even if the event of equal treatment at RBR (much to my chagrin)

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If Mercedes continues to have a bucket of bolts for the next couple of years, it's doubtful if Lewis will be able to bear it. He certainly would not be able to withstand what Schumi underwent the first 7 races this season.

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Let's throw into the mix of who goes where when the likely possibilty of Vettel going to Ferrari in 2014. Rumour has it that a piece of paper has already been signed to that effect. Therefore Ferrari are looking for a driver to take a accept a 1 year driving contract with them and then to be pushed out to make way for Vettel, or they stick with Massa for another year.

You also have the possiblity of a RBR seat (or maybe 2) becoming available in 2014. Drivers making any moves now must be thinking about this possible opportunity for them. Of course the teams are aware of this and no big team is going to sign a No. 1 driver on a short term contract, unless it suits their ends.

I'm imagining that next season will the similar to this one, very tight throughout the grid, with little time difference between the cars. During next season teams will be pulling more resources into their 2014 programme as the season develops as this will be the big technical challenge facing them in future. By half way through some teams, who do not think they have a realistic chance at the title, may decide to stop development on 2013 and concentrate on 2014 entirely. Might be ok for a team but for a driver it could be another year's effort wasted.

Where a driver should place himself at that particular moment in time is so tricky. If he goes to a major manufacturer like Mercedes its good because of the resources they have at their disposal. Its bad because the board, who are completely detached from racing, could decide at any time to close down the F1 operation. Teams like McLaren, Ferrari, Williams will always be in F1, its what they do. However McLaren and Williams do not make their engines and are reliant on striking up a good relationship with an engine manufacturer for success. What is McLaren's future engine supplier going to be once all ties with Mercedes are cut, will they have to pay for their engines?

Which turbo engine will be the best is anyones guess. If one engine manufacturer gets a competitive advantage in 2014 then the racing could be in stark contrast to what we have witnessed lately. Again, any driver in the wrong seat could find all their efforts being invain and more wasted time in potentially short career. Lot to think about when signing a piece of paper.

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