He has found himself in trouble for burnouts before, with his 'hooning' activities over the weekend of the 2010 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne bringing him to the attention of the Victoria Police – but now Lewis Hamilton fears he is in danger of a different type of burnout altogether.
Hamilton insisted on the eve of last weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone – his home race, albeit one in which he was denied the chance to fight for the podium by a fuel miscalculation on the part of his McLaren-Mercedes team – that should he re-sign for the Woking-based outfit beyond the end of 2012, his paymasters will be 'shocked at how many days they are not going to be able to make me do' in terms of sponsor commitments [see separate story – click here
Arguing that fewer such obligations and a lighter, less arduous workload are not only desirable but indeed a necessity if he is to return to peak form in the top flight – with many criticising his performances this season to-date for their excessive level of aggression – the 2008 F1 World Champion admitted that he is eagerly anticipating the sport's forthcoming summer break, confessing that he feels 'older' than 30.
“It is nice to know I have that coming up,” the 26-year-old reflected. “Am I tired? Maybe. Have I trained? No, never trained for the past two weeks.”
He then caustically added: “But what's important is that the sponsors are happy...”
McLaren has more sponsors than any other F1 team, although Hamilton does get handsomely compensated for his duties with them by way of his five-year, £75 million agreement. Underlining that should he continue with the team, he 'will be doing a lot less work', he reasoned that there is 'definitely' a danger of burnout.
The 15-time grand prix-winner has been repeatedly linked with a possible switch to runaway F1 2011 World Championship leaders Red Bull Racing in recent weeks and months, and it has emerged that a clause in his present contract could open the door to an early move – but the Milton Keynes-based squad's team principal Christian Horner has evaluated Hamilton's chances of joining his team as 'slim-to-nil'.