In a continuation of yesterday’s post, I thought today would be a good time to discuss the implications and ramifications of the Hamilton move from the perspective of the drivers, Hamilton, Perez, Rosberg and Schumacher, each of whom finds themselves in new and unique positions in their careers.
Somewhat amusingly, it is Hamilton whose position is the least astonishing and also in some ways the most understandable. No one is going to argue that Hamilton made this decision based on short term gain. Mercedes is simply not in that position and no one denies that fact. So, Hamilton made his decision based on long term rationals, which we can now debate as rational or not. Everyone also agrees that these decisions were based on a combination of factors, discontent at McLaren being the primary motivator combined with some good arguments made from the Mercedes camp, harkening back to when Michael and Ross first teamed up at Ferrari. Of course it was that same Michael they kicked out to make room, but never mind the details.
In some ways, the two most interesting spots in this whole game of musical chairs is Sergio Perez and Nico Rosberg. Lets start with Hamilton’s team mate.
Nico Rosberg has always been a difficult driver to judge. There has never been a doubt about his speed, we just wonder how much of it there really is. We knew he was quick but is he on the level of the other top drivers in the sport, a Hamilton say? When he was at Williams, he outclassed his teammates but the car was never up to spec and so we never saw him at the sharp end. And then with Mercedes, Michael Schumacher was never back to his former self. “Senior moments” plagued the legend, though, eventually the two seemed to be more evenly matched.
But does that mean that Rosberg is better than Michael Schumacher, or just better than a 40 year old Michael Schumacher? Finally, Nico Rosberg will be up against a known quantity in Lewis Hamilton. And the answers will become a bit more clear.
And what of Sergio Perez, up against Jenson Button. The supposed tire whisperer up against the smoothest man in the business. While McLaren say that Perez is not an apprentice, he just kind of is. McLaren take him for his third year in F1 and there have been some serious rough edges that need ironing out. And, we have no idea of his technical abilities. Now Hamilton was no great shakes at setting up a car, but between Button and Perez, McLaren may have a much smaller margin for error than they did when Lewis could just wring a car by its neck.
Which brings us to Michael. Where oh where will Michael go, having been unceremoniously dumped from Mercedes. Make no mistake, Michael, if he wants it, will be able to find a drive. It should not be too difficult, but the options he will have are not enviable. Lets look at who would take him. Ferrari (big maybe and probably not), Sauber (absolutely but not a winning car) Force India or Williams (same problem as Sauber) or any of the lower pack. It will be very interesting to see, but we will only know when Michael decides to tell us.