Mansell, Villeneuve: Lewis should not leave McLaren

World champions Nigel Mansell and Jacques Villeneuve have said that Lewis Hamilton would profit little by leaving McLaren for Red Bull.

With speculation continuing to mount around the Englishman’s future, the 1992 champion Mansell and his Williams emulator and 1997 victor Villeneuve offered their advice – and it is to stay.

“First of all he would have to be fortunate enough to be offered [a drive at Red Bull],” said Mansell.

“But for me Lewis has had an amazing career with McLaren and I think as Michael Schumacher proved by staying with Ferrari, if you can have the support of a team totally behind you, then build on that year on year,” he added. “He [Hamilton] hasn’t exactly had a drought, McLaren is a fantastic team.

“Personally I would stay with McLaren and all the people who had supported him, through thick and thin, I think it might be a mistake if he changes teams.”

Villeneuve was stronger in his views.

“No way, he would be taken there just to pump the image of Vettel,” said the Canadian when asked if he thought Hamilton should switch camps. “Why should he go there? He’s protected at McLaren, they love him there, they gave him his career, he should be thankful.

“He should never have the right to be angry at them for anything. Without them he would never have raced, he would never have had a career even in the smaller categories. So, be happy.

“But talks about moving to another team can be used to raise your salaries and a lot of things, so it’s good and you need to do that, but you might be in a year where other teams don’t have a seat available and it’s very rare what Ferrari did when they got rid of Kimi Raikkonen.

“That doesn’t happen often and you really have to dislike the driver to do that. That really doesn’t happen very often.”