Whitmarsh expects Lewis deal
Team Principal expects to agree new deal with 2008 World Champion
By William Esler. Last Updated: 18/07/12 4:02pm
McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh expects Lewis Hamilton to sign a new long-term deal with the team before the end of the season.
The 2008 World Champion's future has been the subject of much speculation as his deal with the Woking-based squad expires at the end of the season.
Hamilton confirmed at the weekend that he hoped to have his future sorted by the time Formula 1 returns from a five-week summer break at Spa in September.
The 27-year-old's management company XIX Entertainment and McLaren have been locked in negotiations, but, with Mark Webber agreeing a new deal at Red Bull, and Michael Schumacher looking likely to stay on at Mercedes, there are few competitive seats available to Hamilton.
When asked if he expected to secure Hamilton on a new long-term deal Whitmarsh told a Vodafone phone-in: "I'm expecting that he will. Lewis has been a member of this team for a long time.
"We have been concentrating on a season - I think there's been more speculation, more concern, more interest in this situation in the media than perhaps within the team or in Lewis' mind.
"We appear nowadays to be asked questions about it but I don't think it occupies as much time in our minds as it does in column inches."
Whitmarsh added that he did not expect McLaren's recent poor form to affect the team's chances of retaining Hamilton, whose junior career they guided.
"No, I don't," he added. "We're going to the next two races trying to win as we go to every race, and I think Lewis is more intelligent than that and I would hope so is most of the media."