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Win strengthens McLaren's negotiating position - Dennis

ESPN Staff
September 10, 2012 « Williams announces half-year profits | Kubica wins on rally return »
Ron Dennis: "If Lewis is absolutely committed to winning then he can win in a McLaren" © Sutton Images

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis believes Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Italian Grand Prix strengthens McLaren's negotiating position over a new contract.

Speculation surrounding Hamilton's future was rife at Monza after reports emerged that he was set to accept a contract offer from Mercedes for next season and beyond. Hamilton insisted he just wants to focus on 2012 and is still in negotiations with McLaren, saying "I want to win" when asked what he needs to take in to consideration ahead of the race in Italy.

With Hamilton having gone on to take his third victory of the season at Monza on Sunday, Dennis told Sky Sports that the result can only strengthen Martin Whitmarsh's negotiating position if Hamilton is true to his word.

"First of all, the shareholders have a position, then the board has a position and then Martin has to handle what that position is," Dennis said. "It would be totally inappropriate for me to say anything that would undermine Martin's position. It's his job to get to where we want to get to, and I'm sure he'll have a better position now having demonstrated again that we have a very strong car. If Lewis is absolutely committed to winning then he can win in a McLaren."

One point highlighted by Hamilton in the past is his desire to keep hold of original race trophies, and Dennis said that was an area where McLaren is flexible.

"I think a lot's made about that but it's never really been an issue, we've always found compromise in the team when it becomes necessary. Whether it's over that sort of issue or anything else, at the end of the day we're about winning first and who gets what afterwards is just something that can be discussed."

With Hamilton and Jenson Button completing an all-British line-up at McLaren for the last three years, Dennis added that the nationality of any potential replacement was not important.

"[Having two British drivers] is nice but it's not essential. We always have the best two available drivers, nationality is not that critical to us. In this instance it's great to be as good as we've been in the Olympic Games and it's absolutely great that our drivers are going well - and I'm fiercely British - but it's just a legacy of having the best available to us."