Lewis Hamilton, with a career spanning over a decade, has a significant history in the racing industry. While he has spent a considerable amount of time driving for Mercedes, during the early years of his career, he was also briefly associated with the Williams team.
The pivotal year of 2005 presented a perplexing challenge for him as he faced the crucial decision of choosing between Mclaren and the Williams team, marking an important period for his professional journey.
Lewis Hamilton was close to joining Williams
Lewis Hamilton has evidently a long history with McLaren, which started from his karting days as a young driver. Ron Dennis, the former CEO of McLaren, had approached young Hamilton to join their driver development programme back in 1998.
Hamilton slowly started progressing a lot through the ranks of single-seater racing, shortly followed by a prestigious place in the Formula Renault UK Championship in 2002 and proceeded to clinch the title later. However, in 2004, there was a huge cold war initiated between the Hamilton family and Mclaren. While Hamilton’s father was pressuring him for a 2005 GP2 drive, Hamilton desperately wanted to spend another year in the Formula 3 Euro Series after ending fifth in his rookie year.
The rift was so severe that Martin Whitmarsh, who was part of the McLaren set-up before securing the CEO role, decided to tear up Hamilton’s contract. Following the severe atmosphere, the Hamilton camp initiated discussions with Williams for a potential deal. Unfortunately, BMW, which was a significant partner of the Williams at the time, refused to fund Hamilton’s junior career.
As a result, Hamilton had to tolerate the rage between him and McLaren and eventually return to the team. He competed for another season at the FP3 level before advancing to the GP2 Series in 2006.
Lewis Hamilton and McLaren feud explored
There was a huge disagreement between Hamilton’s family and McLaren about whether or not he should race the following year, which ultimately escalated into a major dispute in 2005. Apparently, the British driver wanted to move up a series, but the team contradicted his decision by firmly stating that he should remain in Formula Three for another year.
However, after denying their offer, Martin Whitmarsh tore his contract into pieces due to rage, which eventually pushed Hamilton to return to the team. He said, “This was not what I wanted…I eventually decided that I was prepared to give up my contract with McLaren rather than stay for another year.”
Do you think Hamilton should have opted for the Williams team? Let us know about your opinions in the comment section below.