Lewis Hamilton has said that it is not uncommon for him to talk to those people in charge of rivals to his McLaren team, but that does not mean that he is actively seeking a move away from Woking.
Much has been made of the fact that Hamilton spent some time in what appeared to be earnest conversation with Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, having already been spotted chatting to Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali. Both teams have made no secret of their interest in the Briton as a potential signing in the future - and could have vacancies in their number two car in the next year or so - while Hamilton, despite having been nurtured by McLaren insists that he will not necessarily be tied to the Woking operation long-term.
The Montreal conversations [see story here
] came at a time when the 26-year old was watching his 2011 title ambitions take a hit from a poor Monaco weekend - where he also came under fire for his on- and off-track behaviour - but Hamilton insists that they represented nothing more than shooting the breeze with F1 acquaintances.
"I know all the managers, the bosses, all the teams," he told speedtv.com
during his promotional 'car swap' with NASCAR star Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen, "I know Stefano Domenicali, we chat all the time, [and] I've known Christian since I was in the lower series. I used to speak to him back then, [and] I spoke to a lot of people last weekend."
Despite the rumours, which surfaced shortly after Hamilton made on-track contact with McLaren team-mate Jenson Button at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the 2008 world champion insists that he would be happy to continue his 14-year association with the Woking team, provided it remains a competitive proposition.
"As long as we have the car that can do the job, then there will be no reason to leave," he maintained to reporters attending the US-based promo event, "We are the only other team [apart from Red Bull] that has won grands prix this year, so I don't see why you would particularly want to move when you have the most competitive car. I am very fortunate to be a part of McLaren. It's one of the best teams there is, with a great history, and we've now got a car which is capable of winning, as my team-mate showed at the weekend."