Whitmarsh does not think that McLaren's current slump will affect Hamilton's future decision
|By Jonathan Noble and Simon Strang||Monday, July 9th 2012, 14:22 GMT|
McLaren does not fear that its current on-track struggles will deter Lewis Hamilton from wanting to stay with the team next year.
Hamilton's contract is up for renewal at the end of this season, and he has been marked out as a candidate for a switch to either Mercedes or Red Bull if a vacancy appears at either of those teams for 2013.
The biggest hurdle in sorting out a deal at the start of the season, when Hamilton was battling at the front of the championship table, appeared to be finalising commercial terms.
However, McLaren's recent decline in form - which has left the 2008 world champion 37 points adrift of championship leader Fernando Alonso – means that the competitiveness of the machinery available to him is now also an issue.
AUTOSPORT understands that Hamilton has expressed, on occasions, frustrations to those close to him that McLaren has not built on its solid start to the campaign and that it is not giving him a car capable of regularly fighting at the front.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is convinced, however, that Hamilton will take a more considered approach when it comes to finalising his contract.
When asked if he was worried Hamilton would think twice about signing a new deal in the wake of current troubles, Whitmarsh said: "I think he is smarter than that."
He added that he believed Hamilton would reflect on how the whole season has developed, taking into account pole positions in Australia and Malaysia and a victory in Canada.
"My pitch is that he has got to want to be in this team, which I believe he does," said Whitmarsh. "And he knows that racing is highs and lows.
"This hasn't been one of the highs this weekend, four weeks ago it was a different situation, two weeks' time it could be a different situation again. He knows that, I know that.
"We are disciplined enough and battle hardened enough these days to know that you've got to take stock and learn from these weekends. Sometimes you learn more from these weekends than successful ones. We will continue to develop the car and make sure we do a better job in two weeks' time."