MAY 7, 2006
The future of Lewis Hamilton
Ron Dennis has admitted that GP2 driver Lewis Hamilton he is a possible candidate for an F1 drive with McLaren next year although Dennis said he is far too busy worrying about this year to be thinking about 2007 just yet.
Hiring a new boy in F1 would be a rare step for a team like McLaren although Williams has done so several times in recent years, notably with Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg. The logic behind such a move could be seen as financial as it saves a considerable amount of money as new drivers are happy to drive for very little while more experienced F1 men want large sums of cash. This year's wage bill at McLaren is in the region of $35m, while Fernando Alonso and Hamilton would save the team about $15m in addition to being an exciting new combination to attract more sponsorship.
McLaren, of course, is not a team that makes driver decisions based on money but if the engineers believe that Hamilton can come in and do as good a job (or better) than existing drivers, there is a great deal of logic in such a move.
Hamilton's performance in GP2 at the Nurburgring was hugely impressive with two dominant wins not simply against the opposition but also humiliating his own ART team mate Alexandre Premat, who has a year's more experience in the series. Given what has happened with Nico Rosberg at Williams, there is ample evidence to suggest that a top GP2 driver can - with sufficient winter testing - step straight into an F1 drive and show well.
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