McLaren insist personnel changes not planned

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The Independent Online

McLaren have confirmed they have no intention of breaking up their trio of figureheads in Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

The futures of world champion duo Hamilton and Button have been the source of considerable speculation of late due to their contract situations.

Hamilton has another year remaining beyond this season, although there are suggestions of a get-out clause at the end of this year.

As for Button, there is an option for next season, although due to the non-disclosure nature of the deal it is uncertain as to whether the 31-year-old or the team holds sway.

As for Whitmarsh, following a difficult British Grand Prix weekend, there have been suggestions his job is on the line, in particular due to the demands of his dual role as he also serves as chairman of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA).

However, in defence of Whitmarsh, managing director Jonathan Neale said: "Martin has done a fantastic job for McLaren and FOTA.

"Up until last weekend we were the only ones putting up a credible fight against Red Bull."

Speaking in a Vodafone teleconference, Neale added: "I think a lot of people behind us on the grid, whilst they might be looking at the heat we get in the press, wouldn't mind a bit of the action we get.

"I'm afraid it's just part of the media circus and expectation, caught in the home grand prix if you've got to deliver and we didn't, you've got to expect a bit of comeback.

"But we want Martin, Lewis and Jenson here for the long term."