Mercedes Motorsports Boss Says Competition Is Good
Topics: Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz
July 4, 2007
Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is currently on top of the constructor’s standings in this year’s Formula One season. One reason for this is the rivalry between double world champion Fernando Alonso and rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton. While critics have been pointing out that McLaren’s call to have the two competing equally, the British Formula One team is adamant that the competition between the two world-class drivers is good for the team.
Mercedes-Benz motorsports boss Norbert Haug is unwavering in his position that McLaren Mercedes is doing the right thing concerning the way it treat its drivers. Haug said that the competition would mean that neither Alonso nor Hamilton will be able to rest on their laurels and become complacent.
“If a newspaper sends two news hounds to the paddock, then it is very likely that they do more research and will find out more than if they send someone alone,” said Haug. “We relish competition. If that remains within a sporting and fair frame, it pushes the team forwards. So I firmly believe that every team aim at having two equally strong drivers, but perhaps only half of all the teams managed to find them.”
While some critics are pointing out that the team is favoring Hamilton because he is British, Haug is quick to deny the rumor. He said that they are treating their drivers equally.
“I think you can forget about that straight away. It was even said how we reacted joyfully on Lewis' quickest lap in Canada. Well, whoever stated that, conveniently forgot how much we cheered for Fernando being on the way to quickest lap and how disappointed we were when it did not happen,” he said. “You always follow with passion the driver who is on a hot lap. But that has nothing to do with the fact that Lewis is a Briton.”
Haug also pointed out that the double world champion is still in the process of adapting into the McLaren system but denied rumors that Hamilton has been with the team for years now. “It is completely clear that Fernando is still feeling his way into our team. On the other hand, I am quite intrigued by stories I hear about Lewis having seven or eight years of experience with the Formula One team. That is simply not true. He simply knows us quite well, that is all.”
“But why would we try to get a two-time world champion and then give him lesser material?” pointed out Haug in response to rumors saying that the team favors Hamilton. “People who know McLaren-Mercedes know that we are always fair to our drivers. If we were not, I think you would not see duels such as the one in Indianapolis.”
“I also think that the fans appreciate that. I can also understand if the media try to create some controversy about two equally strong teammates,” concluded Haug.
Alonso and Hamilton are using the same MP4-22 Formula One car with a Mercedes-Benz engine and operates as smooth as a Mercedes-Benz washer pump. Hamilton currently leads Alonso in the drivers’ standings. In eight races so far, the Briton has scored eight podium finishes, two of which are wins. Alonso also has two wins, but failed to take podium finishes in all his races this season.
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