Tag Archives: assured

Lewis Hamilton ready to join Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher on the contract merry-go-round

Hamilton revving-up to join Massa, Webber and Schumacher on the contract merry-go-round

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UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 9 June 2012

After two seasons of stagnation in the driver market, the transfer merry-go-round is finally showing signs of spinning into action.

Chief among the potential protagonists is Lewis Hamilton, whose contract at McLaren expires at the end of the current campaign.

The 2008 world champion may continue to stick to the mantra that the complexities of the 2012 championship mean he has little time to ponder his future.

The future is unknown: Lewis Hamilton's contract expires at the end of the season

The future is unknown: Lewis Hamilton's contract expires at the end of the season

But rest assured that his management company, Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, are giving it plenty of thought — even if serious negotiations are unlikely to begin in earnest until after the British Grand Prix next month.

That they have something to ponder is down to the fact that at Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher find themselves in the same boat as Hamilton.

It will take one of that quartet to start the ball rolling, perhaps Webber to Ferrari to replace Massa or Schumacher if the German goes back into retirement, freeing up a space at Mercedes.

Maybe all employers and employees will decide they are happy with the status quo, lucrative contracts and preferential clauses permitting.

One thing is for certain, Jenson Button is absolutely delighted his long-term deal with McLaren was signed, sealed and delivered during the relative calm of last season.

Top three: Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton pose in Montreal

Top three: Alonso, pole-sitter Vettel and Hamilton pose in Montreal

There are obvious reasons for his contentment. Despite enduring a difficult start to 2012, barring his victory in the opening race in Australia, Button’s place with one of the true greats of Formula One is almost as assured as that of Fernando Alonso at Ferrari.

It also means that Button can remain fully focused on reviving his title tilt this year. Just as well given he suffered another frustrating qualifying session in Canada yesterday, only just making it into the top 10 shoot-out by the skin of his teeth, thanks to Pastor Maldonado blowing his chance by clouting the ‘Wall of Champions’ at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

Ultimately, Button could only manage 10th on the grid for the race. Once again he was comprehensively out-qualified by Hamilton, who will start second after offering the sternest challenge to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, celebrating the 32nd pole of his career with yet another faultless lap.

Whatever this season has in store for Button, the 2009 world champion, by next year he will be in his third campaign at McLaren, fully bedded in and without the need to start feeling his way into a new team. He knows a thing or two about having to carve a niche in an organisation with a formidable team-mate, having chosen to pit himself against Hamilton, who has been at McLaren since he was 13 years old. ‘It will be towards the end of the year when most of the people get their contracts done,’ said Button.

Deal sealed: Button signed a long-term contract with McLaren

Deal sealed: Button signed a long-term contract with McLaren

‘For next year, if they are moving teams, they need to start focusing on settling into that team and making sure they are a big part of that team and not a second driver.

‘A driver needs to give good input and get the team around him because that is a big thing in the sport these days, especially at the top teams with the team-mates they will have. They are all very competitive and very clever individuals.’

Phil Duncan F1 blog

No wonder Button has a mischievous smile on his face when asked about the ensuing silly season. ‘I like a bit of action, it’s good fun,’ he said. ‘There’s a lot of talk, even about Sebastian Vettel, who has got a contract at Red Bull.

‘It’s interesting to hear the top drivers’ comments — the drivers who you know play games and those who don’t.’

He does not have to indulge in such scheming. Indeed, Button need only worry about getting his title challenge back on track.

Paul Lambert in Aston Villa talks after Norwich resignation

Lambert holds talks with Aston Villa despite Norwich rejecting his resignation

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 31 May 2012

Paul Lambert looks set to become Aston Villa’s new boss after he offered to resign from his position as Norwich manager.

It is understood Lambert had a bust-up with the Norwich board after they refused him permission to speak to Villa. They have rejected the Scot's resignation.

A statement on the Canaries' website read: 'The club regrets to confirm that Paul Lambert has offered his resignation from his position as Norwich City manager.

On his way Paul Lambert leaves Norwich's training ground on Thursday morning

On his way Paul Lambert leaves Norwich's training ground on Thursday morning

'We have fought hard to keep Paul at
Norwich City and have not accepted his resignation whilst discussions
with another club are taking place.

'However, whatever happens, we want
to place on record our sincere gratitude for everything Paul has done
for the club over the last three fantastic seasons.

'When Paul joined us in August 2009
we were in 66th position in the English football pyramid and the club
was on the brink of financial meltdown.

'Today we are a Barclays Premier League football club, on a financially sound footing and with a stadium full to capacity.

'Discussions with Paul throughout the
last few days have been professional and amicable. Paul has already
earned his place in Norwich City Football Club history and, no matter
what happens, will always have a friendly welcome at Carrow Road.

On the Paul: Aston Villa have made Lambert their No 1 priority

On the Paul: Aston Villa have made Lambert their No 1 priority

'Meanwhile, contrary to some media
speculation, the club does not need to sell any players and the finances
are in place to substantially strengthen the excellent squad which
helped us finish in 12th position in the Premier League last season.'

'Rest assured that everyone behind the scenes at Carrow Road remains absolutely focused on continuing to help the Club progress.

Lambert has been on the Villa’s
shortlist since Alex McLeish was sacked.Their first choice was Wigan
manager Roberto Martinez and there was a third candidate, believed to be
Brendan Rodgers, but Villa are happy with a choice that has been made
with the blessing of fans.

They have fall-back options, understood to be Brighton’s Gus Poyet and former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, if they cannot get Lambert.

But he is the top target after it became clear, as outlined in Sportsmail on Wednesday, that Martinez had lost ground when interviewed by Liverpool owner John W Henry last week. Martinez contacted Villa three days ago to say his interest was concrete but chief executive Paul Faulkner told him owner Randy Lerner would not wait.

Talks: Martinez held discussion with Liverpool's owners

Talks: Martinez held discussion with Liverpool's owners

Martinez contacted Villa three days ago to say that his interest in the position was concrete but he was informed by chief executive Paul Faulkner that Randy Lerner was not prepared to wait to get his man and had progressed with alternative plans.

Villa have used an intermediary to smooth a path to the Norfolk club and compensation for the 42-year-old should be agreed swiftly.

Lerner was anxious to re-connect with supporters following the ill-advised decision to appoint McLeish and Lambert appeared the most popular choice on fans' websites.

On Thursday Villa keeper Shay Given said he would welcome Lambert's appointment.

The 36-year-old, who is away in Italy
with the Republic of Ireland squad as they prepare for Euro 2012, said:
'If that's the case – I have no idea, because I am stuck in Italy
somewhere, about what's going on at Aston Villa – but if Paul was to
come in, he would be a great appointment because he is a fantastic
manager.

'Since he took the hot-seat at any club he has been at, he has just gone all the way up all the time, so hopefully if they can get that done, that would be great news for the club.

'The sooner the manager is in place for next season – because he will have targets and players he will want to get in himself – the sooner that's done, the better.'

It means Martinez has missed out on the chance to manage Villa for the second season in succession following his very public snub 12 months ago.

Not that the Wigan boss should worry. He still has two years left to run on his contract with the Lancashire club and Wigan owner Dave Whelan may even look to improve it.

Moving on: Rodgers is set to join Liverpool

Moving on: Rodgers is set to join Liverpool

He said: 'Roberto is staying at Wigan and, of course, I am absolutely delighted.

'He was never offered the job at Liverpool because he was not happy with the way that it was presented to him. He has had some talks with Villa but he's not going to go there either. Villa are a fantastic club with great supporters but I never thought they were big enough for him.

'I've said all along that I never thought he would end up there and, fortunately for us, that's how it has turned out.

'If Roberto is to go anywhere, it will be to one of the top clubs in Europe. We're just so pleased he's staying with us.'

Whelan added: 'During the course of our meeting, we discussed a lot of things and it was very productive. I've agreed to his request to up our spending on youth development and training facilities. That's going to be pretty costly as I've agreed to a full-sized indoor pitch – that will cost 1.5million. 'I have also agreed to bring in three or four new players.

'We want Roberto to be happy at Wigan and we will be aiming to make sure that we do everything we can to keep him.'