Friday, February 24, 2012

Ecclestone: McLaren could sack Hamilton. Button: McLaren will help me to win title

LONDON - Bernie Ecclestone has warned Lewis Hamilton he could be turfed out by McLaren — if he does not improve on last season.
British ace Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, finished fifth last term and his contract is set to expire at the end of this season.
F1 supremo Ecclestone, 81, said: "If Lewis doesn't perform this year he'll be looking to move on.
"And the team, maybe, will also be looking to him to move on.
"I spoke to him the other day and I think he's a bit more focused. But I don't agree with the people he's got surrounding him and so-called managing him.
"He doesn't need that sort of management."
Hamilton is part of the XIX Entertainment stable and at the start of February they appointed Didier Coton — who once managed Mika Hakkinen — to guide the 27-year-old Brit.
When quizzed about who Ecclestone thought should be helping Hamilton, he said: "Someone with their feet on the ground.
"It's a people's job. They don't have to know about technical issues, someone who if you've a problem you can talk to the guy.
"His dad [Anthony Hamilton] was good, wasn't he? His dad was the right person."
Ecclestone has high hopes that the 2012 championship won't be so much of a one-horse race as last term. When Sebastian Vettel had tied up the title with four grands prix remaining.
"We always say this, but I hope the last race is going to be the one where the championship is won," he said.
"We don't want what happened last year, which was not too good.
"We perhaps need a change [of champion]. The only person that would say no to that would be Sebastian, but I think everybody else would agree with it.
"But it wasn't good. I am surprised we survived with as much TV as we got right at the end.
"I often wonder whether people watch because of the championship or watch because of the particular race.
"But now we've six world champions [competing in 2012], and I think there are probably going to be four very competitive teams, so we should have a very good year."

Jenson Button insists McLaren are on target to help him win his second Formula One title.
The Brit, 32, who won the championship in 2009 with Brawn, will get another crack in his new McLaren — which he is testing in Barcelona.
He said: "My first year at McLaren I initially thought would be very tough, moving to a new team, but it was a pretty good year really, a very good learning year.
"Last year I felt I did the best with the car I had and that I really grew with the team.
"So there are no excuses this year. I feel we have everything. The relationship I have with my engineers and mechanics is very good.
"I feel very confident and that it's all moving in the right direction."
"The relationship I have with my engineers and mechanics is very good, and there's a really good understanding there.
"There's nothing to fall back on and say 'This is the reason why we didn't win in 2012'.
"So I'm very happy now with my position within the team, and to win the world championship with McLaren would be amazing.
"To win anything would be amazing, but with a team you've been with for two years, have such a good relationship with and feel a big part of after such a short period, it would mean more than just arriving and driving the best car."
Button also feels he has the right support team outside of the car.
"My manager, physio, PA, PR man, you put them in place, but you don't purposefully have them around you to make you feel better.
"It just happens because you feel it's right. It's not something you actually go out to achieve.
"But I've been through quite a few managers in the past, and it has taken me a little while to find my feet, and the right people to surround myself with.
"For me, now, I have the best manager in F1, the best PR man, best PA and physio, so I'm lucky in one way, but I also experienced the bad as well as the good.
"So for me over the winter I've not refined anything in any way. I've not needed to."
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