Was Hamilton’s move to Mercedes only about money?

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton at work in Jerez

One of Formula 1’s most respected and experienced insiders believes Lewis Hamilton’s switch from McLaren to Mercedes was motivated by money and inspired by his ambitious management team, who are more interested in generating lucrative deals than racing.

Simon Fuller (GBR) 19 Management celebrates with the McLaren team and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren. Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race, Montreal, Canada, Sunday 10 June 2012.

Simon Fuller with Lewis Hamilton

“If you compare the two (teams), you must come to the conclusion that there were no sporting reasons for him to leave McLaren,” Tony Dodgins, a veteran British journalist, is quoted by the Swiss magazine Speed Week.

“No, I think it’s because Lewis is strongly driven by his management,” he added.

Dodgins is referring to Simon Fuller, the American Idol creator who has handled the 2008 world champion’s career since his split with father Anthony Hamilton.

“Fuller is obviously a highly successful manager,” said Dodgins, “but I would not call him a racer. I’m not even sure if he is interested in the sport.

“No, this management is extremely money-oriented,” he added, referring to Fuller’s abilities to exploit the fortunes of his clients beyond their mere retainers.

“Fuller strongly advised Hamilton to go to Mercedes, for the simple reason that he could make more money than if he was at McLaren,” said Dodgins. (GMM)

  • Joe Kinnear

    This “insider” dude is dumb. He wants a fresh challenge, that’s it. He feels pressure to perform when he’s at McLaren. If he co*ks up at Mercedes at least people would say the car isn’t fast enough.

  • critics on marko’s pay role

    Lewis recently said he does not care about what the critics have to say about his move. The critics responded hard with this article. 2014 is the year to judge his move. He could have a dominant merc next year or he may just be competitive. With the direction merc promised to take and are clearly taking now, how can people say its just for money. By the way, Mclaren match mercedes offer with regards to the money side of the agreement. Lewis believes mercedes have a huge potential to become dominant. He wants to taste what redbull have now for the past few years.

  • Hawk

    “under pressure to perform”. who is dumb here between you and him? it is you haters who willed his car to break down. did you watch 2012? or did you specifically skip Montreal, Hungary, Monza, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Austin, and Brazil. I will not bother mentioning the podiums.

  • King Malcolm

    I think Lewis wanted a fresh challenge…I mean come on…people like to talk bout money this and team that…do u just want him to work for free or what…?

  • Sean

    @ Joe Kinnear …

    Look mate, what’s even more stupid is people like you making such uneducated remarks … yea, Tony is dumb alright, 20 years in F1, highly respected journalist, surely his “view” or opinion should be more valid that yours? … How long have you been reporting on F1? … How many races you been too? … In fact, dont bother, I know the answer! … As for feeling pressure, Je5u5 … its the most pressurized environment known, aside from bomb disposal! … get a grip lad.

  • Lol.

    Of course he went for the money.

    Fresh Challenge? Are you kidding me? The only challenge these guys want is to win world titles. He can do that at McLaren but it’s doubtful he’s going to win even a race for a few seasons with Mercedes. It’s a backwards step.

    I guess Lewis loves his lifestyle more than his job, which is a shame because on his day he is one of the all time greats.

    Wake up, people…

  • Mark

    Everyone talks like Lewis moved to Marussia or Caterham, a dead end. Cmon, he went to Mercedes Benz… doh.

  • grat

    The problem is, this isn’t “insider information”– for that, you need to go inside Hamilton’s skull. This is an opinion piece, and carries less weight than the electrons necessary to deliver it.

    Even people who were involved in the negotiations admit that it ultimately wasn’t about money (it may have been decided by a flashing “0” which took Hamilton out of the race in Singapore, though).

    My opinion is that at McLaren, you’re expected to win– so if you win, it’s because of the car and the team, and if you lose, it’s your fault (even if the team was largely responsible).

    At Mercedes, though, you’re not expected to win (after all, Michael Schumacher didn’t)– so ANY win is beating expectations. Winning a championship would ensure that Lewis Hamilton goes down in history as one of the greats of F1.

    And yeah, it’s a challenge to go race for second-best, and see if you can make them overachieve. After years of people saying he only won in 2008 because Ron Dennis “gave” Hamilton the championship, who can blame him? I hope he competes for the championship in 2013 and wins in 2014.

  • AlonsoFan

    everyone is entitled to their own opinion.For me what inspired Lewis to move was the fact that the Mclaren MP4-28 started off as the fastest car and remained competitive for alot of races but due to pethatic pitstop blunders and mechanical failures,Mclaren finished 3rd in constuctors and no Championships.nothing hurts more than retiring from the lead( seen by sebestian’s reaction in Valencia)..the plucky brit knows how to drive really fast,speed wise he is up there with Kimi and Alonso.

    the best of lewis’s qualitites is his overtaking (30 compeititve overtakes in 2010 even without the DRS)(Alot of people will say F-duct and shit but every top team had them by 5th or 6th race)

    And how much Vettel fears a charged up Lewis :) But at Mercedes he will have more freedom ..

  • JPSmoove

    Of course it was about money, it always is. It does not mean he does not want to win also though. Good grief!
    Aren’t these pundits paid to bring fresh perspectives on what is going on.

  • Butterfly

    From that picture it looks as if that Fuller guy has Down syndrome. That’s the guy that convinced Hamilton to switch to Merc?

  • durptron5000

    This complete gossip and a rubbish article. People make decisions on a multitude of factors, if anyone has seen Lewis in scenarios that are not F1 and rather with his family, they would know that Lewis is not as vain of a person as this article makes him out to be. Obviously no one moves to a job that pays less money, but they are still at that particular job because they love it and are relishing the challenge it puts forth. You work in the same place, the same people, for your whole life, you get bored. McLaren is way too PC and proper for Lewis, he needs somewhere he can be himself. I also think behind closed doors he did not enjoy working with Button. Simple things like being allowed to have H.A.M. on his helmet for crying out loud.

    Now he has a team that is going to the top, McLaren is a customer to Mercedes, once the engine rules change, Mercedes will have designed the engine to best suit their package and the customers will have to deal with that. Plus they’ll be winning races this year, I don’t know how the hell Mika can judge their car off one test when no one else can.

  • djow

    opinião racista. sem mais.

  • djow

    racist opinion. no more.

  • HD

    Here’s the deal: Lewis is a global sporting superstar (Like Tiger / Federer / Messi) He has every right to exploit his appeal as a ‘brand’ in his sport. He also has a right to keep his trophies from race wins. He also has a right to want to leave ‘the nest’ and truly help build a team from the ground up. Nobody discussed this when Alonso or Kimi were the highest paid in F1. He unlike just about every other driver on the grid, can transcend his sport and endorse everything from Mercs to custom jewelery. I say Go H.A.M.

  • Aloha

    I think the author got Simon Fuller mixed up with Simon Cowell. The picture does NOT show Simon Cowell. I don’t know who that bloke is.

  • Editor

    @Aloha The picture IS Simon Cowell (Google it) – Simon Fuller is not mentioned in the story so why even mention it?

  • sean

    you guyz should stop being a fu^^king duchebag, and the idiot insider should shot is trap and lets see the season start..

  • pulltheotherone

    as great a driver as he is, Hamilton is as thick as they come. Good on him for leaving McLaren though as it seemed to kick the driver market into gear ( not to mention kicked schumacher out of the grid) now we got perez in a mclaren, Hulkenberg in a Sauber and could have Sutil in a Force India and of course Hamilton in a Mercedes! win win

  • Stoner


    for the first time ever on YallaF1 i support ur comment :-P

  • redson

    Some unbelievable stupid comments on here. ‘Fresh challenge’ my arse. This is a Beckham type deal – also managed by the loathesome Fuller. It was Fuller’s mob who were behind the utterly ridiculous Honda ‘Earth Car’, which help spell the end for Honda.

    Like that of the Fuller-managed Beckham, Hamilton’s career is in danger of becoming a cash-generating irrelevance. I believe LH is only second to Alonso as the greatest racer out there, but there’s no doubt he’s suffered as a human being since hooking up with Fuller. While I’m sure we’ll see his on billboards in his underware soon, but this season he will have a smarter team mate in Rosberg and his only chance of winning anything is if Mercedes come up with a world beating 1.6l turbo next year.

  • Joe Kinnear


    I quote you.. “Some unbelievably stupid comments here”.. It’s called opinion. I (or anyone else) who has different opinions than you aren’t necessarily wrong, or right. It’s like one dude supporting ManU, and the other supporting Chelsea.. all because they have different opinions on what makes a great team.

    So just shut your trap and quit that “my arse” thing. Makes you sound like a kid. And grow some p.u.bic hair before commenting.

  • Hawk

    @Joe Kinnear I agree 100%

  • Ian

    Tony Dodgins is indeed a highly respected F1 journo, so his opinions are worth listening to, digesting & then either accepting or rejecting; we all have axes to grind, after all. Simon Fuller exists to make money, just like Bernie Ecclestone. To do that, both men require material: Fuller requires top-notch talent, Ecclestone requires a top-notch sporting institution. Lewis Hamilton’s motives for changing teams are complicated & only he can truly comprehend the why’s & wherefore’s. Certainly money was a factor but it was certainly not the only element. Only time will tell whether the move was right, but in the meantime, it’s shaken up the F1 grid, polarised opinion & got everybody talking….not all bad, that!

  • JPSmoove

    @pulltheotherone + @Ian. Thank you for a fresh perspective on the Hamilton move to Mercedes and how it really changed the Formula 1 grid for 2013. Now that makes me want to watch some F1 racing even more.

  • Lauda Fan

    Best answer to the Hamy soap opera is for JB to push the McLaren to the head of the pack and keep it there. Only then will Hamy realize he’s made an error.

  • Andy – London

    @Editor and @Aloha

    I think you’re getting your Simon’s mixed up here!

    Simon Fuller owns the management company that looks after the likes of Lewis and Andy Murray. He made his money by forming and managing The Spice Girls.
    He also created ‘Popstars’, of which Simon Cowell gained a reputation as ‘the nasty judge’
    Simon Cowell then left Fullers to form his own, The X Factor and Britains got talent etc.

    Very easy to get them mixed up though!

  • Edgar Perez

    A bigger wake up call to Lewis will actually be if Sergio outperforms him in his old car!! Which is a highly likely scenario at this point.

  • Steve

    I think McLaren’s performance this year tells you everything you need to know about Hamilton’s decision.

    Lewis saw that coming, and nobody has given him credit for the foresight. Not only that but I’m being told Lewis has taken a backward step for money. Its not even a backward step! If he had stayed at McLaren he wouldnt be where is now, he’d be struggling even more.

    Laughable. How has McLaren done this year Tony? Perhaps engage brain to mouth when you next give an opinion, yhea?