“Fuller is obviously a highly successful manager, but I would not call him a racer,” Dodgins added, “I'm not even sure if he is interested in the sport, [but he] strongly advised Hamilton to go to Mercedes, for the simple reason that he could make more money than if he was at McLaren.”
Hamilton has continued to downplay his expectations for the year ahead, telling several publications that he still does not expect to win races.
“The McLaren was better, but that's not a surprise,” he told Gazzetta della Sport
after comparing cars, “I could see last year that the Mercedes was often a second off the best, sometimes two seconds, but I was prepared for that. I could tell [at the Jerez test] that the Mercedes had less downforce than the McLaren. But it's not catastrophic. I've got ideas on how we can improve two or three things.”
Despite the pessimistic prognosis, however, Hamilton insists that he needed a change of scenery.
“Definitely things weren't as good as they had been at McLaren,” he said of his new home, “I was driving a competitive car, I could win races, battle with Sebastian Vettel, but I perhaps stayed there too long.
“I need new challenges. I can't stay for 25 years in the same office, doing the same things. And McLaren had become a bit like an office for me - the routine, the same gym, the same factory in which I knew what was in every single corner...”