Lewis Hamilton has angrily dismissed suggestions that he could benefit from having a closer relationship with his new management team in the wake of an incident-filled 2011 F1 season.
The Briton, who claimed the world title in only his second season in the top flight having narrowly missed out in his rookie year, has been the centre of attention for all the wrong reason this time around. A series of on-track clashes have been punctuated by regular visits to the stewards' office and ill-advised outbursts to the media, prompting his father - and former manager - Anthony to suggest that he needed greater support at races [see story here
While Hamilton Sr has backtracked slightly on his original comments [see story here
], he only echoed what others had been saying about his son's relationship with Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment team, which took over his affairs after a long period of searching by the driver, but which hardly feature at race weekends.
Lewis, meanwhile, insists that he does not need his hand held at grands prix, insisting that he is more than capable of looking after himself.
"Rubbish!" he exclaimed when pressed on the subject by Britain's Guardian
newspaper in Japan, "I've never needed someone to speak to in the evenings. If I wanted to speak to anyone, I would give my missus a call and speak to her.
"I just deal with it myself. If I have a bad day, the last thing I want to do is come home and explain myself. I think I've earned the right by where I am now to not have to explain myself to anyone. Of course you think about what happened. That's all you think about. It's all you ever think about. What if, what happened, if I'd had done this at that turn there, all the situations, you think about it for days and days and days but, at the end of the day, I've got people like my father [that] I can pick up the 'phone and speak to if I want to speak to someone. He's there all the time, through the weekend and, if I really want to [speak to him], he'll be there."
While that comment would suggest that Hamilton is a little unhappy with the way his association with XIX is panning out, he insists that he's happy to operate without anyone shadowing his every move at race meetings.
"I don't actually want people at the races," he claimed, "A driver doesn't need to have people at the race. Sometimes it's good to have people there, sometimes it's not. At the moment, I prefer to be alone. I've done pretty well up until now - up until the end of 2008, I'd won a championship every second year of my career since I was eight years old - but I've had a couple of tough years, with this year the most trying, testing year of my career so far.
"[But] it's not about how or what I've done this year, it's about how I rise out of it, rise above it and come back out on top at some stage."