Sporting director Sam Michael says McLaren won't dwell on the departure of Lewis Hamilton as it prepares for a new era in 2013.
The 2008 title winner will officially leave the team at the end of the month to start his three-year deal with Mercedes, bringing to an end his 13-year relationship with the Woking-based squad.
Speaking on the JA on F1 podcast
, Michael admitted that Hamilton would be a loss to the team but insisted that the same could be said for numerous drivers who have departed in the past – with it important that McLaren looks forwards and not back.
“Of course it's a loss to McLaren but just like if anybody leaves, whether it's a driver – there have been some very big, famous names leave McLaren before in terms of drivers – and you don't dwell on it,” he said. “You move on quickly because Formula 1's all about change management.
“I think the whole team gets on very well with Lewis, and we still do. He's a great guy. He's a fantastic racing driver; he's possibly the quickest driver on the grid at the moment in terms of pure natural talent.
“Lewis has been associated with McLaren for 17 years, and he's been contracted for the last 13 plus – that's a long time with one place and I think it simply comes down to that.
“There is nothing deeper than the fact that he wants to move on and grow and do different things with his life and that's more important to him, even though he steps out of a winning grand prix car right now. He wants to take on the challenge of developing another team and bringing them up, a team that's not winning races at the moment, and it's something that he wanted to do.”
Hamilton will be replaced at McLaren by Sergio Perez, who makes the switch from Sauber having secured three podium finishes this year.