(FIA) McLaren team principal has insisted that both his team and Lewis Hamilton are focused on their championship challenge rather than the ongoing saga of the 2008 champion’s future at the team.
In recent months, Hamilton has been repeatedly linked with a move to Mercedes and McLaren have so far failed to get the 2008 champion to commit to another season at Woking in 2013 or beyond.
And speaking in today’s official FIA press conference at Singapore’s Marina Bay Circuit, Whitmarsh insisted that the team and its driver were putting all their efforts into Hamilton’s battle for the 2012 Drivers’ Championship title.
“I think anyone who knows Lewis and witnessed Lewis last weekend (in Italy), and actually also this weekend, would say he’s very, very focused on doing the job,” said the McLaren boss. “I think he realises that this year we have a strong opportunity to win a World Championship and I think we all realise that the right thing to do is focus and improve the car, don’t make mistakes and maximise the points you can get from each race.
“I think that’s what we’re very much focused on. I know that there are stories and speculation that swirl around and I guess that’s Formula One and I think we’re content to get on with the job quietly.”
Whitmarsh went on to say that while the negotiations with Hamilton appear to have gone on for some time it is not the case inside the team, which has had other priorities.
“I think it seems a long time because of the speculation that people have made, but when you sit down and seriously put your mind to entering into a new contract it doesn’t take too long,” he said. “I think it’s a question of priorities and other things we’ve been doing.
“It’s a question of focusing on doing our job, and we’re concentrating on this year’s championship. I think speculation on next year is something that we don’t need to entertain or respond to, so we’re focusing on the here and now.”
Finally, asked if focusing on the title battle could lead to the decision being delayed until the season ends, the McLaren boss replied: “We might wait until then, you never know.”