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Hamilton's future will be decided in 'short order' - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
August 30, 2012 « McLaren double DRS to remain on backburner at Spa | Pre-judging competitiveness 'difficult' - Grosjean »
Martin Whitmarsh says negotiations with Lewis Hamilton are making progress © Sutton Images
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McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says contract talks with Lewis Hamilton's are progressing and that the driver's future will be decided in "short order".

Hamilton's current contract expires at the end of the season and with limited options available to him he is expected to remain at McLaren. There was no news about a new contract over the summer break, but Whitmarsh said the deal will be sorted soon.

"I think it will be resolved in fairly short order," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, "but I think Lewis and the team have focused on a little bit of relaxation after the first half of the season while keeping our foot on the throttle to make sure we keep developing the car. Winning is what is really important.

"We're focused on those things and we're progressing things in the background, but we're not letting them get in the way of trying to do our job. I think we'll know in due course and when we've got something to say together we will obviously make that statement."

Hamilton is currently 47 points off Fernando Alonso at the top of the championship, while team-mate Jenson Button is 88 adrift. However, Whitmarsh said both drivers are still free to race and McLaren would not consider telling Button to support Hamilton until much later in the season.

"There may well come a point [when we ask that], but I think with nine races to go and 25 points for a race win things can change quite quickly. McLaren prides itself on going into each season giving both drivers equal opportunities to win both races and the championship and therefore we've got to be measured in terms of when we talk to those drivers about putting their support behind another driver.

"I think the good news for the sport, for Jenson and for the team is that we go in to what I hope is going to be a very exciting grand prix and I can assure you that both our drivers will be trying to win that race and we'll be doing everything we can to offer both the opportunity to have a go at it. It will be quite a few races' time before we will look at the situation and we will make a decision then."