When McLaren Reportedly Rejected Michael Schumacher for Demanding ‘Number 1’ Status in Shock F1 Switch

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Lewis Hamilton seems close to signing on the dotted line with Mercedes. It appears that the contract negotiation saga is finally drawing to a long impending closure. Although the deal isn’t official just yet, recent reports have revealed certain details about Hamilton’s new contract.

One aspect that caught the eye is what has been dubbed as the ‘Verstappen clause.’ Apparently, this clause was also demanded by the legendary Michael Schumacher.

What is the ‘Verstappen clause,’ you may ask?

It basically gives Hamilton free rein in deciding who his teammate should be. It’s no secret that the Briton is a big admirer of the Red Bull ace; Max Verstappen is right up there alongside Hamilton as the most talented drivers on the grid. So, it’s assumed that Hamilton would use his veto power to get the Dutchman to the Silver Arrows.

SUZUKA, JAPAN – Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP prepares to drive on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

As per F1-Insider, Schumacher also wanted this particular veto power clause. However, this was not when he was at Ferrari. Interestingly, this was when he wanted a move to McLaren, a move that never materialized.

Michael Schumacher wanted a similar clause to what Lewis Hamilton will reportedly be getting at Mercedes

F1-Insider is quoted saying, “In 1999, Schumacher wanted to switch to McLaren-Mercedes. That’s why there was a secret meeting between him, his manager Willi Weber, McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and the recently deceased former Mercedes boss Jürgen Hubbert during the Monaco GP in the former Beach Plaza Hotel (today Le Meridien) in 1998.

SUZUKA, JAPAN: Michael Schumacher of Germany and Mercedes GP announces his retirement at the end of the season during previews for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“They already had more or less come to an agreement when Schumacher demanded number 1 status – including having a say in his team-mate. Hubbert could not accept that. The dream marriage of Schumacher and Mercedes was postponed until 2010.”

So, Hamilton’s demand isn’t something that hasn’t happened before. To an extent, it is understandable why the lead driver who has brought the team so much success would want a hand in choosing who partners him.

After all, having a stronger teammate would only take his own driving to a new level. There is a risk that the new teammate could displace his dominance, but even the team may believe it’s worth the risk if they can have two of the best drivers on the grid driving for them.

Could we soon see Verstappen and Hamilton team up at Mercedes? Or is it all going to be a pipe dream? Share your thoughts down below.

Also Read: Why Lewis Hamilton’s Rumored New Mercedes Deal Is a Blessing in Disguise for Russell

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