Today was FP1 and 2 at the Italian GP with Hamilton leading home the McLarens at the front followed by Alonso. Schumacher took top spot in the morning and was there or thereabouts in the afternoon.
More interesting, however, is the recent speculation that Hamilton will be heading to Mercedes to oust Michael Schumacher next year. This rumor gained traction with the support of Eddy Jordan, BBC analyst and former owner of the Jordan team.
From a point of view dictated only by performance, this move does not make sense for Hamilton. Mercedes does not have a track record of success and excuses are beginning to run out for the Brackley based team.
From a marketing point of view, it also does not make sense. Michael Schumacher is a German god on a German team. To oust him would cause an uproar in Germany and, though Hamilton is a strong brand himself, he cannot match the marketing potential in Michael.
There is no question that Hamilton and McLaren are not comfortable with each other at the moment and the difficulties seem to surround Lewis wanting to build up his own personal brand. McLaren, as revealed by exclusive interviews on formula1.com object to this sort of activity. They say it is to ensure that Lewis remains focused on racing, and this is a valid point. But a stronger Lewis brand could be detrimental and compete with McLaren’s overall brand, something that they are going through great pains to strengthen, ie. animation.
Whatever the case is with Lewis, and do not expect anything new during the Monza weekend, the fact that everything is getting compressed towards the end of the season and Michael’s retirement choice, is putting a ton of pressure on McLaren to deliver through the entire season and maintain a positive relationship, no matter the difficulties.
It will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.