F1′s Weekend At Bernie’s – Mercedes, Schumacher And Hamilton
This is not the story on which the 1989 film was based. This is in fact just an opinion piece, based on my interactions with several people behind F1′s doors. The topic of discussion is the latest rumour about Lewis Hamilton possibly moving to Mercedes.
Let’s examine the superficial information that we have to work with.
While chatting with the BBC in Belgium, Bernie dropped a hint about Michael Schumacher’s impending retirement (suggestively the end of the current season).
FACT: We Know Mercedes AMG has yet to confirm Michael Schumacher. Michael Schumacher has yet to confirm his plans to compete next season and has not hinted at signing with any other team including Mercedes.
Eddie Jordan today has also slipped a comment about Lewis Hamilton being close to coming to terms with Mercedes for a multi-year contract.
FACT: Lewis Hamilton has yet to sign a contract extension with McLaren.
Hamilton and McLaren have had some friction as of late. The most recent spat was a result of Hamilton posting confidential McLaren telemetry data on Twitter.
Previous to this incident, it has been said that Hamilton was unhappy about the results due to keeping the old wing in Spa where the new wing used by Button yielded several tenths of a second per lap advantage.
Jenson Button has defiantly said that he refuses to support Hamilton until he is mathematically eliminated from the championship, however, after SPA, he sees no reason why he cannot challenge.
Here is where things get blurry, and why some people believe there is some possible truth to the rumour. Starting with Hamilton, he may be upset, unhappy and frustrated and viable to make a rash decision in a foggy state of mind.
Bernie’s slip of the tongue in Spa, may have been unintentional and a genuine mistake, however, knowing what I do of Bernie, it was most likely a calculated maneuver to keep things interesting and spur the very debate we are all scrambling to validate. As my friend Ron Fine (former press officer for Jordan F1) said to me in our meeting last week, Bernie may seem to have lost it, but he is still the most Wiley and cunning business man alive. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his Schumacher retirement comment was meant to seem like a fumble when it in fact was not. Both Peter Windsor and Joe Saward echoed Ron’s exact sentiments a few months ago.
Schumacher’s link to return to Ferrari to replace Massa is nothing but speculation, as are the talk of his retirement, since neither have been confirmed to be true. This rumour however, does allow the idea of Lewis to Mercedes to make some sense if not at least possible.
Eddie Jordan’s comment could carry weight for some, strictly because of his close relation to Bernie. There could certainly be some truth to this story, especially if one considers Bernie’s comment on the weekend about Schumacher. AS Joe Saward indicated in his blog, “EJ is saying that Lewis Hamilton is close to signing for Mercedes, one needs to listen”.
If Mercedes has intentions of leaving the sport in the future or minimizing its involvement as has been reported, this may not be the smartest move for Lewis. Yet, Mercedes and Hamilton have yet to deny the story as of this moment. I have also yet to read any comment from McLaren.
As I usually say, I’ll believe it when I see it.
NOTE: Mercedes and McLaren have since denied the rumorurs (what a surprise).
Author: Ernie Black