Ron Dennis says he would love to have Lewis Hamilton back at McLaren in 2015
Chief also challenges out-of-contract Jenson Button to improve
By William Esler
Last Updated: 01/07/14 2:29pm
Ron Dennis has admitted he would love to have Lewis Hamilton back at McLaren in 2015 if signing him became an option.
The 2008 World Champion was mentored by Dennis through his junior formula career and into F1, although relations between the pair reportedly became more strained in the years after Dennis stepped down as team boss in 2009.
Hamilton switched to rivals Mercedes at the start of 2013 and although it would seem improbable that the 29-year-old would consider switching teams again so soon given his current employers have this year emerged as the new dominant force in F1 and he is in contention for a second world title, speculation in recent weeks has nonetheless suggested that McLaren have opened 'very tentative dialogue' with their former star.
When asked by Sky Sports F1 if he wanted Hamilton back, Dennis said: “Want is just… we want to win races and we will always hope that the best available drivers would want to drive our cars.
“The key word is available because people have contracts and we respect those contracts, but if Lewis was in a position to drive for us next year, as with many of the other top drivers if they were in that position, we would love to have them on board.
“But no one should ever feel threatened as a driver or a mechanic, all we want to do is win and we have to take considered positions and considered decisions on that process.”
Should Hamilton, or indeed Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel who have also been linked with McLaren, make a shock switch then Jenson Button, whose contract expires at the end of the season, could find his position at the team under threat.
The 34-year-old Briton has outraced Kevin Magnussen six times to two this season, but that still hasn’t been enough for Dennis.
“I am happy with the drivers in the sense that I am sure they are trying their best,” he added.
“I’m sure Kevin is giving a big wake up call to Jenson – in some ways you say ‘great we’ve made a great choice with Kevin’ but in other ways you say ‘come on Jenson, you are a World Champion, absolutely one thing you can do on a regular basis and you should be doing is beating your team-mate'.
“Do I want him to try harder? Of course I do, he’s a highly-paid grand prix driver. Yes, we are not giving him the best car, yes, it would be difficult for him to win in it, but he has to do his bit and Kevin has to make it as difficult as possible.”
Watch the 2014 British GP live on Sky Sports F1. Extensive coverage of the Silverstone race weekend begins with Friday Practice from 9.45am on July 4.