Despite the fact his contract includes 2012, Lewis Hamilton is likely to be able to walk away from McLaren at the end of the season.
UK newspaper the Daily Mail reports that there is a clause in the deal that will allow the 2008 world champion to leave if he or the Woking based team do not win either the drivers’ or constructors’ titles. The newspaper did not reveal the source, but it said Hamilton’s contract was negotiated by his father Anthony, assisted by a corporate lawyer.
The news brings into focus recent speculation linking the 26-year-old driver with Red Bull, whose Mark Webber is yet to sign a new contract for 2012.
And Hamilton, who met with Red Bull boss Christian Horner in Canada last month, has said he has no intention of settling for his current tally of one championship.
“It would suck if I won only one championship,” he said. “It would feel like a waste of so many years. I’m here to win. It’s all I care about, it’s what I live for.
“I don’t have to make any decisions just yet. Of course, you will always ask questions and look at all options and think, ‘Is there anything better you can do?'”
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh, however, told the Independent newspaper that he would be willing to bet Hamilton will still be a McLaren driver in 2012.
“Yeah, I would,” he said. “He’s sat with me here in the last 10 days and explained his passion, enthusiasm and desire to remain part of this team. “I don’t think he would look me in the eye and say that if he didn’t mean it.”