Indeed, in the case of the movements of Lewis Hamilton, one of the biggest beasts of the F1 plains, one is put in mind of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's celebrated quote on Canada's relations with the USA: 'Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.'
|Lewis Hamilton - not in McLaren |
colours for much longer
Credit: Ryan Bayona / CC
There has been a lot of speculation as to what encouraged Lewis to reach his decision, and in reality it's likely that no one aside from Lewis himself and a few close to him know the real reasons. It cannot be denied that on competitiveness grounds the move is hard to justify, at least in the short term (though Lewis may be looking a bit further ahead, for various reasons).
But while it seems the basic retainers on offer at McLaren and Mercedes were pretty similar, at his new abode he'll have much more freedom to develop 'brand Lewis' (and he must be interested in this, he wouldn't have signed up with XIX Management in the first place if he wasn't). Many auxiliary reasons have been touted too: that he feels constrained at the 'paternalistic' McLaren and, rather like kid who grew up, is keen to flee the nest and prove himself 'on his own'. The sporting challenge of building up a team that's all potential but currently struggling may also be tempting (as Michael Schumacher was tempted by the Ferrari challenge in 1996), as might the possibility of making a team very much his team, as Fernando Alonso has done so transparently at Ferrari.