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.”