McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale has played down the speculation linking Lewis Hamilton with a move away from the team as nothing more than the start of F1's 'silly season' in the driver market.
The 2008 title winner has been linked with a possible switch to Red Bull after it emerged that he had met Christian Horner in Montreal, although the nature of that meeting and the resultant stories has been played down by both parties.
Speaking ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Neale again reiterated McLaren's desire to retain Hamilton in the coming seasons while also insisting that the driver was happy within the team – with the continued speculation having no negative impact on the Woking-based outfit and its staff.
“Well I don't want to be unduly dismissive of the press but we are entering the silly season for drivers,” Neale insisted. “There has been a lot of speculation about it. Of course I'm contractually bound not to disclose any of the contractual content or issues in that but we are on record as saying that we would like Lewis to stay and be a part of the team. He's a fantastic competitor and we love working with him. He's also said that he wants to stay here with the team and I'm very hopeful that that's the way it washes out.
“In terms of how it affects the rest of the team, then Lewis, Jenson, Pedro (de la Rosa) and the guys are in here, they eat at the restaurant with us, we climb in and out of cars and talk to each other and there is no difference. These guys are fighting very hard and they have got the full force of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes sitting behind them. We want to see them on the podium. The future is the future. Right now they're here with us and we love working with these guys.”