My Thoughts On Why I Believe Lewis Hamilton Left McLaren
Thursday morning saw a historic announcement from Lewis Hamilton, he announced the end of his 14 year relationship with McLaren, a decision that breaks up the British ‘Dream team’ to join Team Mercedes.
Lewis’s decision is one that many F1 fans have been predicting throughout a season full of contract arguments that have made Hamilton and his team’s relations become incredibly stretched. The Stevenage born driver’s decision to leave was becoming inevitable.
Many of the more cynical fans and F1 journalists have criticised Hamilton for showing a lack of loyalty and condemned his move as being purely financially driven. Whilst I agree money played a massive role in Lewis’s decision to turn down McLaren who were still willing to make Hamilton F1’s highest paid star with an annual 15million salary. It wasn’t the salary that caused the issues it was the image rights clauses in the contract.
Lewis Hamilton is one of the most marketable men in sport and has a massive earning potential from endorsements and sponsorship. This earning potential was extremely limited thanks to McLaren who only permitted one private endorsement for the star where as he will be offered greater freedom at Mercedes.
Whilst the freedom to gain private endorsement played a huge part in Lewis leaving I do not feel money drives Lewis’s passion. After all this is a man who every fortnight or so risks his life at breakneck speeds driving with one of the most risky and competitive styles F1 has ever seen. Being competitive and having fun is what drives Lewis to success.
If an interview with Mercedes supremo Niki Lauda is to be believed money was not at the forefront for Lewis it was the desire for a new challenge, which after all most can argue Lewis was becoming stale and moody at McLaren?
Hamilton made the change in my opinion to gain a new challenge, learn from new people, particularly F1’s Jose Mourinho, Ross Brawn. After 6 years on the grid he definitely deserves the chance to have a crack at something new, if he’s earning more money doing so, who cares? I respect that!
Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)