Bernie Ecclestone says he thinks Lewis Hamilton had taken the decision to leave McLaren before his recent upturn in results left him in two minds about the best deal for his career.
Hamilton is currently at the centre of intense speculation about his future, with Mercedes reported to have made a big-money offer to sign the 2008 title winner for next season.
While McLaren is also keen to retain the services of a driver that it has guided since he was just a teenager, Mercedes are reported to be offering more money and would also give Hamilton the chance to align himself with a manufacturer when new engine rules come into play in 2014.
Speaking to ESPNF1
Ecclestone revealed that he felt Hamilton had taken the decision earlier in the season to move on to pastures new before a recent upturn in fortunes – which saw him win in Hungary and at Monza – led to him being left undecided about which deal would be for the best.
"I don't think Hamilton knows what he will do," he said. "These last couple or three races he has been doing very well. Before that, why he was upset I don't know, but he was definitely going to move no matter what. He had made up his mind that he was going. Whether he has changed now a little bit I don't know."
Much of the speculation surrounding Hamilton and Mercedes started on the back of a interview Ecclestone was involved in with F1 pundit and former team boss Eddie Jordan, which appeared to suggest that Michael Schumacher was ready to call it a day for a second time in his career at the end of the year.
Ecclestone however said he had been misunderstood and that the seven-time champion had yet to make a decision.
"I said I would hate to lose Schumacher,” he said. “The reason for this was that I was asked the question would I miss Schumacher and I said yes. He doesn't know if he is leaving. I spoke to him and he said honestly I have not decided and he would tell me."