Whitmarsh: We did all we could
Martin Whitmarsh has insisted McLaren made Lewis Hamilton "a very good offer" and the team did all they could to retain their star asset.
Last Updated: 28/09/12 9:27pm
Martin Whitmarsh has insisted McLaren made Lewis Hamilton "a very good offer" and the team did all they could to retain their star asset before Hamilton opted to leave for Mercedes.
Hamilton's decision to quit McLaren was made on Wednesday with Whitmarsh personally informed of the 27-year-old's intentions in a telephone call less than forty-eight hours before Friday morning's stunning announcement.
Speaking in his first interview since summer's longest-running saga was brought to a close with the news that Hamilton has signed a three-year deal at Mercedes, Whitmarsh was adamant that neither his team, nor Hamilton's advisors XIX Entertainment, could be blamed for the failure to reach an agreement.
"If the question is 'do I blame 19?', then the answer is that I don't. Lewis is a great driver but has to make decisions about his life. We had lots of talks, went into lots of details and drew up lots of complex contracts. We negotiated lots of details and lots of freedom - it was a very good commercial offer that we made," Whitmarsh told Sky Sports News.
"We went a long way to make a good offer to Lewis but ultimately it takes two to get to a signature - and ultimately we clearly didn't agree terms.
"I think that after the interest of today we now need to get ourselves focused again on the six races that we have ahead of us, all of which we can win and the World Championships we can win."
Whitmarsh has also given the team's new line-up for the 2013 season - Sergio Perez and Jenson Button - his unequivocal backing as the team prepare for life without Hamilton.
"We've a World Champion in Jenson Button who has won fourteen grands prix and this exciting young Latin. When you meet him, he's exciting, he's charming, he's humble - but deeply hungry. He's coming here to win the World Championship next year."