With just seven races left to run in this year’s Formula 1 championship season, Lewis Hamilton has rejected suggestions that he is distracted by ongoing rumours over who he will drive for in 2013 and beyond, claiming “there’s a lot of stories [of late] that aren’t true”.
There have been some very wide-of-the-mark stories doing the rounds, with the major headline being an idea touted by former F1 team principal Eddie Jordan, who suggested that Hamilton had signed a multi-million-pound, multi-year deal with Mercedes.
The deal was rumoured to be in the region of $100 million for three years, a figure that far exceeds what the sport’s highest earner, Fernando Alonso, is getting paid by Ferrari. It’s far from being in line with the sport’s aim of trimming costs…
This whole story has the smell of Hamilton’s management team, Simon Fuller’s XIX group, all over it. At best, it seems like a ploy to get McLaren to increase the terms of its offer to its star driver.
Hamilton needs to be driving for a team that will provide him with wins and the opportunity to fight for the Drivers’ Championship. Aside from its Brawn GP days and this year’s temperature-assisted win at the Chinese Grand Prix, the Silver Arrows haven’t looked like coming close.
They need a figurehead who can help develop and improve the car before they hire a star like Hamilton, not the other way around.
In turn, there has also been the recent talk that McLaren – apparently fearing that Hamilton could jump ship – are now making approaches to a few other impressive drivers on this year’s grid, including Sergio Pérez, Heikki Kovalainen, Paul di Resta and Nico Hülkenberg.
That in itself is a fairly pointed message to Hamilton. It would appear that McLaren is growing sick of his management team’s hardball style of negotiating, and these alleged approaches will serve as a clear warning shot to Hamilton to get signing, lest he be shoved aside for an equally quick and hungry – but far cheaper – candidate.
And as for Hamilton’s perspective?
“I think we’re all wise enough to understand that people write things and that what is written is not necessarily what is true,” he told SKY Sports during a Vodafone-sponsored PR event in Mumbai, India.
“There’s a lot of speculation, there’s a lot of stories that aren’t true.
“I’ve been with the team since I was 13 and we’ve worked so hard since 2009 to try and win this championship and hopefully, finally, we’re in the position where we can. So, the most important thing is that I do not get distracted by all the rubbish that’s been around.
“I don’t have a timeline [to sort out my 2013 plans],” he added. “My focus is on trying to win this world championship. Of course I do have to have those things sorted out but I do have people in the background working on those contract negotiations.”
Watch this space…