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Whitmarsh: McLaren focused on title chase, not Hamilton

McLaren remains focused on winning a world championship rather than stressing over Lewis Hamilton's contract talks, according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has said that he remains unconcerned about speculation surrounding Lewis Hamilton's future with the Woking team, but insists that he will not employ anyone he feels is not giving their all.

Hamilton headed to Monza for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at the centre of renewed rumours that he was poised to jump ship and head to Mercedes for 2013 [see separate story], negotiations to extend his McLaren contract having dragged on over the summer break. There are also lingering suggestions linking Hamilton with Ferrari, although team-mate Jenson Button remains confident that his fellow Briton is going nowhere next season [see separate story].

Having watched his drivers take the top two positions on the timesheets following free practice at the Italian Grand Prix, Whitmarsh insisted that the whispers were not going to deflect McLaren's attention away from reeling in Fernando Alonso's championship lead, a task already underway following back-to-back wins for Hamilton and Button in Hungary and Belgium either side of F1's summer break.

"The media like that sort of speculation, but Lewis and his management have assured me of their intentions and we're focused on working together at the moment," he told journalists, "There's going to be all sorts of speculation, but we are really focused on making sure we do a good job here in Monza. This weekend is important for Lewis. He needs to ensure that he gets his championship hunt back on track, and I think that's what he wants as well."

Hamilton dropped to fifth place in the overall standings, one ahead of Button, after being caught up in the first corner shunt that also accounted for Alonso, and heads into the Italian Grand Prix - the last European round of 2012 - 47 points behind the Spaniard. With that much ground to make up, Whitmarsh is keen not to affect Hamilton's concentration by dragging him into talks over his future.

"I have plenty of personal contact with the driver, but he always gives me plenty of other things to talk to him about," he smiled, reflecting on the ill-judged Twitter comments posted by Hamilton over the Spa weekend, "I don't think it's right for him to get involved in negotiations, that's why we have managers. The important thing is we don't spend any time, energy, concentration on stuff like that. We just concentrate on doing our job. Ultimately, a driver has to drive where he is happy to drive, so the team and I don't want anyone who is not 100 per cent committed to it. You can't work like that. I've made that clear from the outset."

While Hamilton made no effort to deny that he may be in talks with Mercedes when cornered by the media at Monza, he also insisted that his sights were solely on the job of trying to win another championship.

"I've no idea, I've not really thought about it," he said of his future, "I drive for McLaren, we've won the last two grands prix, we've another big race coming up and that's what I need to focus on."



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06.09.2012- Press conference, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
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21.04.2012.- Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 andMichael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
21.04.2012.- Qualifying, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
07.09.2012- Free Practice 1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
24.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Martin Whitmarsh (GBR), Chief Executive Officer Mclaren and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27
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Fernando Alonso and Ron Dennis at McLaren
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Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button alongside Kevin Magnussen. Pic credit: McLaren
McLaren confirms Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso
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Lewis Hamilton crowned F1 world champion at FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Qatar [Pic credit: FIA / Jean Marie Hervio / DPPI]
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Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver.
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The McLaren MP4-29H of Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren Test and Reserve Driver is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck.
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fish fingers - Unregistered

September 08, 2012 11:28 AM

off subject, fascinating to see Alonso and Massa working together by slipstreaming each other for hot laps during quali. shd be worth a few tenths. Can't see the Mclaren boys doe that....and thats the difference.

blublz

September 08, 2012 9:51 AM

Not sure if any team boss wants anyone who isnt commited to 'the team', Martin Whitmarsh has been gritting his teeth ever since Ron left him in charge of the team with ronsgoldenboy in it.



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