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McLaren denies Hamilton leaving for Mercedes

ESPN Staff
September 5, 2012 « Marussia braced for tough weekend | Ascanelli resigns from Toro Rosso »
Lewis Hamilton has been linked to a move to Mercedes © Sutton Images

McLaren and Mercedes have both played down a report linking Lewis Hamilton to a switch from one team to the other next season.

In a BBC Sport story, ex-Jordan boss Eddie Jordan said he believes a deal between Hamilton and Mercedes is imminent, with the 2008 world champion replacing Michael Schumacher. If true, the news would be a shock as Hamilton was thought to be closing on a new deal with McLaren and it would also mean Schumacher would most likely retire at the end of the season.

"I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent," Jordan told BBC Sport. "Some weeks ago I said on TV that I felt Lewis was on the move and I had an idea at the time he had been speaking to Ferrari, which we now know is true. But I can now confirm his people have had meetings with Mercedes. Bernie Ecclestone made it clear to me live on television on Sunday that Schumacher was leaving, although Schumacher later played it down. So it would appear Michael is leaving and Lewis is arriving at Mercedes. Hamilton has not agreed terms with McLaren yet."

However, McLaren said it had been assured the story was not true.

"We have been told by Lewis Hamilton's management team that the story is untrue," a spokesperson said. "Negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and McLaren continue."

Meanwhile, Mercedes issued a slightly more open statement on the subject: "Until we are in a position to confirm our full driver line-up for next season, it is inevitable that there will be speculation around this topic."

At the Belgian Grand Prix Hamilton said his management, XIX Entertainment, was working on his future in "the background" and that he would be "business-minded" when it came to making a decision. McLaren and Hamilton are at odds over the his financial package going forward, with McLaren chairman Ron Dennis saying earlier this year: "He's on the end of a contract which was signed at a time when the economy was somewhat different and now there has to be a balance between that."

Hamilton's personal relationship with the team was also stressed at last weekend's race when he posted images of team telemetry on Twitter. The team told him to remove the images but insists it has now moved on.