Woking, Thursday: McLaren have announced today that Lewis Hamilton will be his own teammate in 2010, after the world champion’s father-manager Anthony vetoed all other potential teammates for the young star.
Hamilton has a clause in his contract giving his management the right of veto over any driver signed by McLaren, apparently in order to protect his interests at the Mercedes-backed team.
Talks with Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg and Adrian Sutil have all fallen through after the Hamiltons blocked the moves, and it now appears that Lewis Hamilton will drive both McLaren cars next year.
“To be honest I don’t think it will be a problem,” an upbeat Lewis told reporters. “The team doesn’t need to bother with setting up a car for another driver, or – in Kimi’s case – repairing it after he has somehow caused the engine to explode. And allowing me to drive both cars will mean that all of the team’s attention can be paid to me, which will of course be a positive step for all involved.”
It is not clear whether Hamilton will be physically allowed to drive both cars on a race weekend, or whether one will simply sit in the garage waiting in case the British driver ignores a red light or fails to negotiate the entrance to the pit lane correctly. McLaren may, however, opt to have Hamilton complete the race distance in one car, then get in the other car and start the race all over again, on the assumption that the 2008 world champion will be able to drive twice as fast as anybody else and therefore finish both first and second in each race.
What this will mean for McLaren’s current second driver, Heikki Kovalainen, has not yet been revealed. “What? We have a second driver?” Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team principal, exclaimed.