Lewis Hamilton has assured McLaren of his 'intentions' says team principal Martin Whitmarsh as Mercedes rumours continue

 

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has been given assurances as to Lewis Hamilton's intentions, but knows until a new contract is signed nothing is a done deal.

Hamilton has confirmed this week he is in "advanced negotiations" with McLaren, although there is a distinct possibility he may yet move to Mercedes.

Hamilton's management company, XIX Entertainment, are known to be in discussion with the German manufacturing giant, a global brand that would align with XIX owner Simon Fuller's aim of turning the 27-year-old into a world superstar like he did with David Beckham.

The dilemma for Hamilton is whether to join a Mercedes team who have won just once in 50 races since their return to Formula One at the start of 2010, in direct opposition to his own ambitions of being a multiple world champion.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is convinced, in conjunction with a major regulation change due in 2014, notably to engines, Mercedes' three-pointed silver star is rising, even though they have gone backwards of late this campaign.

In the opposite corner, his counterpart at McLaren in Whitmarsh is firmly led to believe Hamilton will be re-signing and extending a stay that began when the Briton was 13.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, Whitmarsh cannot escape the gossip dominating the Monza paddock.

"Media like that sort of speculation," said Whitmarsh. "I've been doing this job too long to be surprised by it.

"It's a fairly incestuous paddock so you tend to know - certainly if you have been around over 20 years - what's going on.

"Often stories that get circulated are blown out of proportion for entertainment reasons or whatever.

"The important thing is we don't spend any time, energy or concentration on stuff like that. We just concentrate on doing our job.

"Lewis and his management have assured me of their intentions, we're focused on working together at the moment.

"This weekend is important for Lewis. He needs to ensure he gets his championship hunt back on track, and that's what he wants as well.

"There's going to be all sorts of speculation, but we are really focused on making sure we do a good job here in Monza."

Crucial for Whitmarsh, though, is signing a driver who, after 14 years with McLaren, is motivated to continue with the team.

There was an element to Hamilton's tweeting last weekend in Spa, and which landed him in hot water, that suggested all is not as it should be in his McLaren world.

It is why Whitmarsh cannot be 100% certain Hamilton will stay as he added: "Ultimately a driver has to drive where he is happy to drive.

"So we (the team) and I don't want anyone not 100% committed to it. You can't work like that. I've made it clear from the outset.

"Now lots of very positive things have been said to me.

"But there again, I've learned over the years that until people support that by inking the paper then you don't get too excited about it."

There is every indication this is a situation likely to remain ongoing for another few weeks, certainly until next month.

That would appear unhealthy for all concerned, particularly with a championship battle bubbling away, with Hamilton still in the hunt at 47 points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso.

Whitmarsh, though, is unconcerned, adding: "It will get resolved when it is, but I don't think it is as big an issue in this team as it possibly is in the media room.

"For us, it's not a distraction. For the engineers, technicians, mechanics, it's business as usual."

Instead, Whitmarsh feels Hamilton is more distracted by the death last week of a close aunt, Diane, who lost her battle against cancer.

"He has been a little heavy-hearted, with real, genuine reason of course," said Whitmarsh.

"Those issues in his personal life have probably had a bigger impact than all of this media hype at the moment.

"But he has come here, he is clearly focused on that (the race), so I'm not going to talk to him about contracts.

"One, because it's inappropriate; two, because it's the wrong time. We want to focus on winning a race."

It is why all negotiations are being conducted with Fuller rather than Hamilton personally, although with the impresario casting an eye over another of his clients, Andy Murray in New York at the US Open, talks have stalled this weekend.

"I have plenty of personal contact with the driver, but he always gives me plenty of other things to talk to him about," said Whitmarsh.

"I don't think it's right for him to get involved in negotiations, that's why we have managers.

"Most of them are in New York at the moment, but when they are here we can talk to them.

"We've still got the telephone so we might be able to sort something out."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker