'Business as usual at McLaren'
Anthony Davidson believes it will be business for usual for Lewis Hamilton and McLaren in Japan this weekend despite the driver's impending departure.
Last Updated: 03/10/12 5:38pm
Anthony Davidson believes it will be business for usual for Lewis Hamilton and McLaren in Japan this weekend, and over the remainder of the season, despite the driver having announced his defection to Mercedes for 2013.
Hamilton and his long-time McLaren team will be reunited in public together at Suzuka on Thursday for the first time since last Friday's bombshell announcement that the 27-year-old will drive for Mercedes next season.
Although the relationship now has just six races left to run, both driver and team still have much to play for in 2012 with Hamilton still in contention for the Drivers' Championship and the team for their first Constructors' title in 14 years.
McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh has promised that the team will continue to give their full support to the Briton's title bid and Sky Sports F1 pundit Davidson doesn't expect there to be any noticeable differences in the relationship at Suzuka.
"It's very strange when you know your driver's leaving you and it's strange being a driver knowing that you're moving on as well," he told Sky Sports News.
"I'm sure even if you feel a different way inside yourself in the meetings, when you're in the car and when the team are operating - say going into qualifying, or talking strategy or during the race itself - nothing will change."
Anthony also thinks that Hamilton will keep his mind focused on the here and now over the final six races given he can still end the season as World Champion again.
"I think in terms of where's Lewis's head at at this stage, I think he's such a determined character that he's focused on trying to win the World Championship," the former Super Aguri driver added.
"I think a driver of his calibre deserves another championship, and he knows that. He might be thinking 'this might be my last chance for a little while', who knows?
"So he's got to give it everything and I don't think anything's going to change in his style or his outlook on the up and coming races until the end of the year."
Analysing Hamilton's chances of enjoying immediate success with his new team from next year, Davidson reckons it's likely to be after the introduction of F1's new turbo engine formula that his fellow Briton's move begins to bear most fruit.
"I think it's going to be a tough challenge for him next year because I don't see much changing within the team. But it's '14 that's going to be the real mix-up," Anthony predicted.
"2009 they were champions [as Brawn GP] so we can't forget that. The same team of engineers, pretty much the same designers and the engine package, that's all still there.
"It's just competition naturally leapfrogs one another every now and again. So they've been left behind a bit this season but maybe that's because they're focusing more towards the future as well. Who knows?"