McLaren says Lewis Hamilton 2013 talks can wait until after Italian Grand Prix
|By Jonathan Noble||Saturday, September 8th 2012, 10:25 GMT|
McLaren wants to wait until next week before pushing on to try and finalise a new contract with Lewis Hamilton, despite speculation linking him with Mercedes.
Hamilton has been at the centre of the paddock rumour mill at Monza after former team boss Eddie Jordan claimed that he had agreed a deal to move to Mercedes.
Both teams have denied that a final decision has been taken, and McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says that there is no urgency to get things moving at Monza this weekend.
"I haven't spoken to him about a deal this week and I don't want to speak with him about it here as I want him to be on form," Whitmarsh told the official Formula 1 website.
"I want to finish one-two on Sunday - if I can - so I don't think that we need to talk about the future - about contracts - right now.
"It is too important for Lewis as he needs a strong result here for his championship - and we want a strong result for both our championships. That is the priority. First things first."
Whitmarsh is well aware of the desire of Hamilton's management team XIX Entertainment to create a bigger brand image for its driver, but says that does not necessarily have to be in conflict with McLaren's ambitions.
"Lewis and his team are very interested in the Hamilton brand and providing anything that happens doesn't distract him from being a race driver, we are 100 per cent relaxed about it," he said.
"We are not at odds over that. I think at the moment we all should focus on winning a race and then next week we will sit down and get some discussions going."
When asked about the chances of Hamilton electing to walk away from McLaren talks and sign a deal with Mercedes, Whitmarsh said: "Personally, I would doubt it."