LONDON (Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton’s former group McLaren are watching his contract scenario with interest, even when the 4 occasions Formula One world champion and Mercedes have stated they wish to keep collectively.
The 33-year-old Briton has a season left to run on his present contract however is anticipated to signal a brand new multi-year settlement with the group that has received each championships for the previous 4 years.
Nothing seems to have been signed but, nevertheless, permitting rivals to bask in what could also be little greater than flights of fantasy.
“I don’t think there’s a team in the pitlane that wouldn’t be interested in having Lewis drive for them, us included,” McLaren’s government director Zak Brown informed reporters when requested concerning the scenario.
“If anyone got Lewis, it would be great for the team. He has a great history here and he is very friendly with the shareholders,” added the American, who joined the Woking-based outfit on the finish of 2016.
Hamilton received his first title with McLaren in 2008, a yr after his debut, earlier than transferring to Mercedes in 2013 and taking three extra championships.
The sport’s most high-profile driver, who enjoys a personal jet and all the trimmings of success, stated final November he anticipated a brand new contract to be easy — a sentiment echoed by group boss and shareholder Toto Wolff.
“Lewis has become such an important pillar within the team that it’s a no-brainer that we continue with each other,” stated the Austrian.
Brown felt any delay in signing was prone to be extra right down to Hamilton than the group.
”I’m going to guess that he’s considering how for much longer he needs to go,“ he said. ”If you’re Lewis, with what you’ve performed with Mercedes and the place Mercedes are headed, you’d re-sign with the group.
”He’s talked about when he stops, so that might be my guess. I can’t think about it’s cash or the standard of the group.
”He simply is likely to be going ‘let me see how this year goes, what’s the frenzy? They’re not going to promote the seat from beneath me’. That could be my hypothesis.
“We might find they actually have signed and are just not telling us.”
The season begins in Australia on March 25.
Ferrari are prone to have a emptiness on the finish of the season, with 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen out of contract, and the game’s oldest and most profitable group even have a particular attract.
McLaren are the second most profitable group however haven’t received a race since 2012 and completed ninth of 10 groups final yr, splitting with Honda and beginning a brand new partnership with Renault.
They are hoping to be difficult for the rostrum once more this marketing campaign.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, enhancing by Greg Stutchbury