Two influential figures have added their voices to the throng with an opinion on where Lewis Hamilton
should take his F1 career next season, amid rumours that the Briton might be on the move to Mercedes.
Speculation that the 27-year old may be about to cut ties with the team that nurtured him through to F1 spread in the build-up to last weekend's Italian Grand Prix, after team owner-turned-pundit Eddie Jordan insisted that a deal was all but done for Hamilton to move from Woking to Brackley in 2013. While there have been denials on all sides, the rumours refuse to go away, but a couple of senior F1 figures maintain that staying put would be better for the Briton's long-term ambitions of adding to his solitary world championship title.
Sir Jackie Stewart, who has already 'advised' Sebastian Vettel
not to leave Red Bull
for Ferrari, but also told Jenson Button not
to leave Brawn for McLaren
in 2010, has now similarly suggested that Hamilton - who took his third win of 2012 at Monza on Sunday - would be better served by patching up any differences he may have with his existing employer, for whom F1 is a core business.
"I, personally, would stay with McLaren
- they have the resources, the money, the long-term commitment, huge experience," the three-time champion told journalists at the Italian Grand Prix, "He wouldn't be here today without them, and there is a degree of loyalty you should always have.
"You go to Mercedes, who are a wonderful company, and it could take a five-minute decision from the board to stop motorsport because of the economy. He might immediately dial in and get it done but, sometimes, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't. If I were thinking long-term, then I would think to stay with McLaren."
Hamilton, who has now amassed 19 race wins in five-and-a-bit seasons with McLaren, insists that he is leaving contract negotiations in the hands of his management team, headed up by pop impresario Simon Fuller, and says he does not know where he will be driving next year. During post-practice interviews at Monza, he declared that 'we are talking with McLaren, as far as I know', perhaps knowing that going public with the suggestion he may be in touch with a rival could help turn negotiations his way.
The Briton has made no secret of the fact that he wants to get to keep any trophies he wins [see separate story
], although McLaren
team boss Martin Whitmarsh maintains that that would be minor point in a bigger picture. Celebrations at the McLaren
hospitality unit appeared strained on Sunday night, with Whitmarsh and Hamilton struggling for a convincing embrace and the race winner - who found himself in hot water at Spa for 'tweeting' sensitive telemetry data - looking far from happy with what he had achieved earlier that afternoon.
"He's a very lucky boy, he's made huge amounts of money, which is only tiny part of it," Stewart added, "After making a certain amount of money, you're not going to make a lot less, whether you go to one team or the other. It's a very big decision in his career - and I think he'll stay with McLaren."
Stewart's views are largely shared by former McLaren
team principal Ron Dennis, who discussed the matter with Sky Sports
in the Monza pit-lane following Hamilton's third win of 2012.