Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle says he is still struggling to understand Lewis Hamilton's 'rationale and explanation' for moving to Mercedes
Martin suggests it would be easier to achieve F1 domination at McLaren
Last Updated: 10/10/12 11:00am
The reasoning behind Hamilton's impending departure to Mercedes continues to prove a much-discussed topic in the paddock ahead of this weekend's Korean Grand Prix.
Speaking for the first time in public over the move last weekend at Suzuka, Hamilton revealed that it was the lure of "going somewhere else and taking on a new challenge" that attracted him to Mercedes, admitting that it would have been easier, but less exciting, to "stay in the great car that I have".
But writing in his latest Sky Sports F1 Online column, Brundle admitted that he hadn't completely got his head round Hamilton's full reasoning for the move given the Briton would, as things stand, be better placed to dominate F1 by staying where he is.
"As for Hamilton I'm struggling to understand his rationale and explanation for leaving McLaren," Martin wrote.
"If it's really to create world domination with a 'struggling team' (bet they liked that line at Mercedes) it would be easier to propel McLaren, a set up he is already totally immersed in, to glorious victory. Instead it's Jenson Button who's turned up and made McLaren his own."
In interviews during the Suzuka weekend, Hamilton drew a parallel with what he hopes to achieve over the next few years at Mercedes with what Michael Schumacher, the man he replaces at Brackley in 2013, did with ultimately record-breaking success at Ferrari from 1996.
Martin, however, believes there are differences between the two situations given Schumacher had probably achieved all he could with Benetton and signing for Ferrari at the time had certain inherent advantages. He added that the German had also displayed the kind of team building skills out of the car that were required for the demanding role.
"Lewis says he wants to emulate Michael Schumacher to become a true great," Martin continued.
"When Michael left Benetton (then 27 as Lewis is now) along with many key team personnel to head to Ferrari in 1996 he had achieved two world championships in a team that had most likely peaked. He went into a Ferrari environment which had a dominant position in key aspects of F1 and 100% of their resources were focussed on him as were the tyre suppliers Bridgestone. Michael set up living quarters and a gym at Fiorano, and, matching the tremendous hands-on work ethic of his boss Jean Todt, set about rebuilding Ferrari with great intensity.
"It took four years to get it right but he had assembled a long list of 'unfair advantages' that every competitive person strives for. His political and man management skills clearly matched his prodigious speed and ability."
Nonetheless, Martin is not counting out the possibility of Hamilton developing into a team leader at Mercedes, although suggests the best thing for the 27-year-old would be to focus on racing and winning.
"It will be fascinating to observe Lewis at Mercedes Benz to see if he can add this kind of value outside of the car. I haven't noticed these qualities in him yet but maybe in the McLaren system they have not been required," the Sky F1 commentator said.
"What I have seen is a man with barely believable speed and skill behind the wheel of a racing car. It strikes me he should be doing five things in his life right now; Driving, debriefing with the team, training, laughing, and making love. Being part of the everyday team management is not one of them."