James Allen reports Martin Whitmarsh speaking today at a Vodafone phone in (say that after a few drinks) when discussed his feelings over losing Lewis Hamilton, his lack of regrets on the matter and the matter of Ferrari’s complaint to the FIA of the McLaren front wing being too flexible.
On the matter of Hamilton and sans regret, Whitmarsh words are, “The offer that we made was higher I believe than any driver in Formula 1 is currently receiving or will receive next year.”
Ok, thanks Martin that’s all cleared that up then… or does it?
I’ve read this carefully constructed sentiment a number of times over the past week and Whitmarsh has repeated it on a number of different occasions, not a single occasion merely reported differently by different sources.
“We made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula One driver is enjoying today,” (Reuters)
And in a different interview reported in the Mail,
“‘We made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula One, other than Lewis himself, receives today, and that is something I am comfortable with.” (Daily Mail)
I try at times to resist my instincts, but after a semester of textual and literary criticism that has never been fruitfully employed in over 20 years, it’s time to dust off the text books.
Usually when someone consistently repeats something word-for-word or even very close to verbatim – it can be that the wording has been crafted such that it is designed to represent is a truism but is not probably the truth in terms of the full picture surrounding the issue.
So the Whitmarsh position began with stating the offer was bigger than any F1 driver, then in the next interview added, “other than himself” and we end up with a more full and qualified “….higher, I believe than any driver is currently receiving or will receive next year”.
His latest statement is retrospective and would suggest even Lewis under his new Mercedes contract is not receiving as much as McLaren offered. These are very, very bold claims considering if we believe the Ron Dennis assertions in Hungary that Lewis was going to have to take a pay cut and the subsequent reported offers of this offer was a contract renewal down from £15m to £10m. Of course McLaren reputedly upped the offer at the 11th hour when it was obviously too late.
Corroborating evidence makes the textual critic’s life a lot easier and – oh joy – we have Ross Brawn’s take on the matter of Lewis and finance,
“Lewis didn’t come here because we offered more money – because we didn’t,” Brawn told Sky TV. He continues, “As far as I am aware, [we] didn’t offer any more than McLaren from a financial point of view. There may be some more freedoms on the branding or imaging side, but that is the kind of freedom our drivers had already – we are not changing what we are offering in that respect.”
So as the Mercedes offered was similar but the freedom of commercial sponsorship they allow has an estimated worth of around £10m, by comparison Beckham earned £13m from sponsorship last year, both he and Lewis have the same agent – XIX.
Yet, the plot thickens.
Last night Norbert Haug, Director of motorsport for Mercedes Benz (Inc F1, DTM, F3) decided to bear his soul over the matter of Lewis and finance, and for his revelation we are dutifully grateful.
“Lewis is not a new guy for us. We learnt [all about] Lewis via our partner McLaren. We financed him 50/50 with McLaren in his junior career. In Formula 3 Lewis won 15 of his 20 races [in the 2005 Euro Series], all with Mercedes engines.”
More interestingly Haug goes on to say, “All his Formula 1 victories were with Mercedes engines. And we have been paying for his retainer with McLaren.” (Autosport)
Presumably this retainer is now being made by Mercedes Benz to Lewis via their works team which I guess reduces the amount from the AMG F1 team budget they have been paying Schumacher.
Therefore, Martin’s cleverly constructed phrase could read, “The offer we made [AS AN F1 TEAM ALONE OF OTHER SOURCES OF FINANCE i.e. sponsor and engine supplier subsidies] was higher I believe than any other driver in Formula 1 is currently receiving or will receive next year [FROM ANY OTHER F1 TEAM EXCLUDING ALL OTHER SOURCES OF REMUNERATION].”
But what about Alonso I hear you say? Ferrari reputedly signed Fernando on a £25m a year deal and had last year improved the initial terms together with a contract extension for 5 more years to 2016. The improved arrangement was reported at £30m a year. Ferrari has just reported record profits and I suspect their arrangement with Alonso is not via cash from various sources stuffed in a brown paper bag.
The puzzle then remains. How can Martin Whitmarsh claim “The offer that we made was higher I believe than any driver in Formula 1…”?
Oh well. Textual and literary criticism has failed me. I can’t square the circle of the Whitmarsh repeated mantra. I guess I’ll just slope off and make a cup of Lapsang Souchong and read a little……
……Eureka! On a shelf near the kettle is my prized collection of early 20th century editions – hard back, gilt edged books – that make up the complete works of William Shakespeare.
In a flash I realise the secret to Whitmarsh carefully worded statements is to be found within the writings of the English institution that is “The Bard”. ‘Methinks’ that Shakespeare’s often misquoted line from Hamlet is what provides us with the solution to our conundrum. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
For those not schooled in Shakespeare, non-anglicised readers and also for all those in the UK who dropped out of school never getting to the compulsory Shakespeare study module – Wikipedia explains his life observation in true efficient 21st century style thus,
“The phrase’s actual meaning implies the increasing likelihood of suppressed feelings for the contrary of that which is being argued. I.e., the more passionate and fervent the argument, the greater likelihood the cause is a suppression of belief for the contrary argument, and the subsequent confirmation that it is the (actual) truer statement. (Wikipedia)
I think that means someone who says the same thing too much is trying to persuade themself that what they are repeating is in fact the truth, when actually deep inside they know this not to be the case.
So for Whitmarsh the persistent comments demonstrate to him at least the Lewis Hamilton saga was indeed all about the money and he has constructed a form of words to convince himself and us of this truism, ‘We made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula One…..”.
Yet is this really the truth?
The bigger picture may suggest something quite other.
Please comment and enter the debate – whether you agree or not.
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