Hamilton hints at new McLaren deal, fears burnout

Lewis Hamilton has dropped a clear hint that he will stay at McLaren but warned them that any new contract...

F1 driver Lewis Hamilton in his McClaren gear at the Kyalami race track. Picture: Aki Anastasiou/Eyewitness News

Lewis Hamilton has dropped a clear hint that he will stay at McLaren but warned them that any new contract will have to allow him far more free time to recharge his batteries.

The 2008 Formula One champion also told reporters ahead of his home grand prix at Silverstone that he was in danger of burnout.

"You have to make changes," he said.

"When I re-sign the contract with McLaren they are going to be shocked at how many days they are not going to be able to make me do.

"I will be doing a lot less work. I definitely won't be doing the whole period of time before the Silverstone grand prix, that's for sure. I will have at least five days to prepare in the future."

The 26-year-old has been linked to a possible switch to champions Red Bull, although both sides have moved to play down that line of speculation.

With double world champion Fernando Alonso, Hamilton's 2007 team mate in a difficult and acrimonious 2007 debut season at McLaren, now at Ferrari the Briton may have little option but to stay at the team that has nurtured him for more than a decade.

With team mate and 2009 champion Jenson Button, Hamilton has had a hectic week of sponsorship engagements in the run-up to his home race, where he qualified only 10th Saturday.

McLaren have held their hands up and recognized they made mistakes in sending him out with used soft tyres for the key phase of qualifying, when a sudden shower also caught them out.

"I have just come from the last race and I have had a day or two off and I am certain if you look down the paddock there won't be many other drivers that have done what I have been doing over the last two weeks," said Hamilton.

"I am excited for the break," he added, saying that he felt older and "definitely" faced a risk of burnout.


The driver's father Anthony, who now manages Force India's rising British talent Paul Di Resta after guiding Lewis into Formula One, said his son should stay even if he was also surprised at McLaren's mistakes.

"My advice right now is for Lewis to stay at McLaren," he told BBC radio Sunday.

"Don't forget when Lewis was 12 years of age we were scratching around wondering where the next pound was going to come from for getting him to the next level of karting.

"Then (former McLaren team principal) Ron Dennis picked up the phone and said he would like to help us out. He was like the man from Camelot (the lottery), telling us that if all went well he would put him in the car, and he did exactly that.

"Now my view is you see that through right to the very end unless you really come to the end of the relationship, and that is nowhere near the end for Lewis," added Hamilton senior.

"He's in love with them, they're in love with him, they're going through a little bit of turmoil as you do in any relationship. But I believe it is going to be a happy marriage if he stays."

McLaren have not won a constructors' title since 1998 while Hamilton's crown was their most recent in the drivers' championship.

"I'm a great believer if you want to be the best then you have to work within the team. It's like a family isn't it," said Hamilton senior.

"It's not a case of 'well, I don't like this family today because my dad's drunk and my mother takes drugs, so what I'll do I'll move to the other family where everybody is happy".

"What you have to do is work with everybody, to bring them all on, to be one family and to be winners. Right now at McLaren something is missing, and they'll find it."