Lewis Hamilton '100%' committed to Mercedes after McLaren return reports
Reports had claimed that World Championship leader had signed a contract to return to former team for the 2015 season
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 12/10/14 11:09am
Lewis Hamilton has insisted he is “100 per cent” committed to Mercedes amid renewed speculation about a return to McLaren.
Hamilton’s emphatic declaration, delivered from his personal Twitter account, was made in the wake of a report that he had signed a deal with McLaren, the team he left just over two years ago for Mercedes, to rejoin the Woking outfit as soon as next year.
“I'm focused on 1 thing & 1 thing only right now....Winning this championship!! I am committed 100% to @MercedesAMGF1,” Hamilton tweeted.
The Englishman, who currently leads the title race by ten points from Silver Arrows team-mate Nico Rosberg, is under contract with Mercedes until the end of 2015.
Niki Lauda, instrumental in persuading Hamilton to join Mercedes, revealed last week that the team had already opened talks with Hamilton over a new deal.
“With Lewis now we’re negotiating to renew his contract after 2015,” Mercedes' Non-Executive Chairman told Sky Sports F1. “For two or three years. We’re just talking to him how long does he do. We’re all positive, he’s positive this is going to happen.”
But speaking later to reporters, Hamilton was noticeably more reticent about committing his future to Mercedes beyond his existing contract.
“I think it’s in an interesting time in Formula 1 - Ferrari’s making changes, top drivers making changes, a lot of fiction, a lot of silly stories going around," he said. "Whoever is starting those silly conversations, I’ve made clear and always have been very clear that I’m here to do the job that I’m contracted to do until the end of next year.
“We’ve confirmed that we’ll sit down and talk about the future at the end of the year.”
Hamilton’s combustible relationship with Rosberg has been cited as a potential trigger for a sudden divorce, with paddock gossipers suggesting that the driver who fails to win this year’s World Championship could opt to leave the team at the end of the season.
Fernando Alonso, set to be replaced at Ferrari by Sebastian Vettel following the World Champion’s announcement he is leaving Red Bull, is believed to be hankering after a move to Mercedes and holding out for a one-year deal for 2015 that would enable him to replace either Rosberg or Hamilton for 2016.
McLaren are yet to win a race since Hamilton’s departure and stand a lowly sixth in the Constructors’ Championship this season. Nevertheless, the team are expected to be a leading force next year when they renew ties with Honda, and it’s widely believed that Alonso will drive for McLaren in 2015 alongside Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button or, in a suggestion that has gained significant traction since the Japanese GP, Vettel following the somewhat perplexing refusal of either the German or Ferrari to confirm the four-time World Champion as a Scuderia driver in the wake of his Red Bull exit being officially announced.
“There’s no update, I hope to be able to make an announcement soon, and as soon as the announcement is out I think you will be clever enough to be able to draw the conclusion why I had to wait,” Vettel added cryptically in Thursday’s Drivers’ Press Conference.
The 2014 Russian GP is live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Extensive coverage of Race Day from Sochi begins at 10:30am on Sunday with lights out at 12pm.