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Whitmarsh 'expecting' long-term Hamilton deal

ESPN Staff
July 18, 2012 « Clos gets third HRT run at Hockenheim | 'Noticeable' updates for McLaren »

Martin Whitmarsh says that he expects McLaren to be able to agree a new long-term contract with Lewis Hamilton.

With his contract running out at the end of this year, Hamilton's next deal has been the subject of much speculation and he said over the weekend that he would look to resolve his future during the summer break. After Mark Webber signed a new Red Bull deal Hamilton's options elsewhere appear to be limited, and when asked if he thought McLaren could agree a new long-term deal Whitmarsh said he was confident.

"I'm expecting that we will," Whitmarsh told a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "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."

With Hamilton having said that he needs to be winning and McLaren now fourth in the constructors' championship, Whitmarsh said that he was not concerned that the back-to-back races could influence his decision.

"No, I don't [think two poor results could harm McLaren's chances of retaining Hamilton], because 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."

Whitmarsh also said that he would not be concerned if any negotiations continue beyond the summer break.

"I don't think we should put any timeframe on it. I think for both parties it's something that's got to be determined, preferably before the end of the season. I don't think there's any need to do so against any tight timeframe; there's no need to give ourselves a tight timeframe for that resolution."