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Neale: McLaren in no rush over Hamilton

Jonathan Neales says McLaren isn't rushing to tie Lewis Hamilton down to a new deal
Managing director Jonathan Neale says he doesn't feel that the issues that have affected McLaren so far in the 2012 F1 season will influence Lewis Hamilton's decision about his future and says there is no rush to sort out a new deal for the 2008 title winner.

The Briton has been linked with a move elsewhere when his current deal with the Woking-based team comes to an end, with pit-stop errors in Bahrain and the fuelling issue that sent him to the back of the grid in Spain only serving to increase talk that he could elect to move elsewhere.

Hamilton has also been quoted as saying that the team appeared to be moving backwards in the F1 pecking order after a tough weekend in Monaco but Neale insisted that recent results wouldn't decide Hamilton's future.

“I wouldn't put the last two or three races into a professional like Lewis's mind in terms of where he's going to be comfortable in the future,” he said in the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. “We would like Lewis to continue racing for us. We have plenty of time. We don't need to make that decision until much later this year. You have to judge the performance of the team in the long term relative to other teams and we stand fairly well placed.

“But I'm not going to walk away from the fact that we have to continue to work hard to eliminate mistakes and find the upgrades and performance. Six races and six different winners - nobody's consistent at the moment. We want to make both drivers comfortable in the car so we can consistently score high levels of points. We haven't done that over the last few races but I'm confident we can do that in the races coming up.”

Neale did reiterate however how important it is for McLaren to rid themselves of the mistakes that have cost it vital championship points already this season.

“We've made some operational mistakes in Bahrain and Spain and obviously we need to eliminate those,” he said. “In Formula One, you make the slightest slip and you pay a heavy price for it, but that's why we love the sport. You have to be good at everything.

“The car definitely has the pace and the upgrades are coming through thick and fast. But it is very tight. You're only looking at a tenth or two and you can move a lot of places during qualifying. We've seen Jenson being very unlucky or not quite getting the car into the right spot during the last two races. On the one hand it makes Formula One very exciting for everyone who's a fan of the sport. So if you just like to see good racing then it's terrific. If you're a managing director of a Formula One team then it's a different game altogether.

“We've got to be more consistent. But I'm confident the pace is there and we'll continue to push hard with our upgrade packages.”

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Salan - Unregistered

June 07, 2012 4:58 PM

I said it earlier on another thread relating to Johnathan Neale and his excuses and I will say it again, unless McLaren as a team get their act together immediately then lets be honest because the entire management structure should be more concerned with their own positions rather than whether Lewis will sign a new contract for McLaren. As I truly believe management heads including Martin Whitmarsh will be rolling before the question of whether Lewis will remain part of the McLaren F1 team. No More Excuses we need a management structural change and new impetuous or times will surely be heading towards the road to perdition. Richard, please don't take offence to my comments mate, however you seem to expressly go out of your way to show us your hatred for LH without whom the entire F1 show would lose a considerable amount of viewers. Lets not forget he is the most marketable of all the F1 drivers, not to mention an incredibly talented f1 driver and the only driver Alonso continuously m

MotoGP - Unregistered

June 07, 2012 2:35 PM

Finally, a McLaren spokesman who acknowledges mediocrity in the racing operation. How about moving Mr Whitmarsh out of 'leadership' and into a position that he's capable of? If McLaren continue to spend millions to gain hundredths of seconds per lap and lose whole seconds per race with amateurish pit stop antics and bonehead strategies, they deserve to lose both drivers.

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