Hamilton: Future is undecided
McLaren driver refuses to comment on Mercedes speculation
Last Updated: September 7, 2012 9:09am
Lewis Hamilton has conceded that he still doesn't know where he will drive next season.
Having endured a torrid weekend at Spa, the McLaren driver has been enveloped by speculation about his future in the last twenty-four hours after a report claimed that a shock transfer to Mercedes was 'imminent'.
Hamilton refused to comments on those reports in the Drivers' Press Conference at Monza, but did little to quell the speculation with the admission that his future is still yet to be determined.
Questioned whether he knew which team he would be for driving with in 2013, Hamilton answered: "No."
Then asked what would be the advantage of joining Mercedes, Hamilton merely replied: "I've no idea, I've not really thought about it.
"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."
Some hope - at least in this environment. With Hamilton's future dominating talk in the paddock ever since F1 reassembled for the final race of the European leg of the season, the Englishman was - much to the apparent amusement of Fernando Alonso - subjected to a series of questions about his intentions from the assembled journalists as he faced a packed press room on Thursday afternoon.
In cricketing parlance, Hamilton played an immaculate straight-bat as he faced a barrage of short-pitched interrogations, but did, with a little reading between the lines, offer a strong hint about how his future might pan out.
Asked what his priority will be when determining his future, Hamilton simply clarified: "To win. You always want to win, that's why most drivers exist and that's why teams exist."
Given that Mercedes have won just once since their return to F1 as a fully-fledged team three years ago while McLaren have just claimed consecutive victories, that would seemingly suggest that Hamilton is minded to stay.
Nonetheless, despite further assurances from McLaren that negotiations with Hamilton are at an 'advanced stage', speculation will continue to swirl around the 2008 World Champion until he finally puts pen to paper. Hamilton's current contract with McLaren expires at the end of the season and yet, despite its imminent expiry, the 27-year-old remains in no rush to commit his future to the team with whom he has spent the entirety of his F1 career.
"I don't have a deadline," he stated. "Obviously before next season would be helpful."
Speaking to Sky Sports News immediately after the press conference, Hamilton then clarified: "Nothing has been signed and my management remain in discussions with McLaren. Nothing has changed.
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"I've not paid a lot of attention to what my managers have been talking about and what's been offered. Their job is to go in and get it to a certain point and then come to me when it's at that final point and say to me, 'what do you want to do?'. At some stage I'll find out and I will [make a decision].
"I don't need to take much into consideration. I want to be winning, I'm in a fantastic team with incredible people around me so there's not a lot to worry about or think about."
Having signed off for the summer break in spectacular style by winning at Hungary, Hamilton's mood has taken a sharp turn for the worse since F1's return to action. After tweeting out telemetry of both McLaren cars after qualifying at Spa, Hamilton endured the condemnation of both team and team-mate, but played down the matter on Thursday.
"Nothing happened, the head of the PR department asked me to take it off, so I did," Hamilton commented tersely.
"I haven't spoken to Jenson about it and don't plan to. We've moved on from it. Obviously it wasn't the best thing to do and it won't happen again."