Whitmarsh: Hamilton has ‘passion and enthusiasm’ to stay

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has said that Lewis Hamilton has passion and enthusiasm to remain at the Woking team.

Just days before the team and Hamilton’s home grand prix at Silverstone, Whitmarsh’s remarks are an attempt to finally cool speculation linking the Englishman to Red Bull Racing.

“Lewis loves this team and he knows the car is capable of winning races,” Whitmarsh said in an interview with the Independent. “He’s sat with me here in the last 10 days and explained his passion, enthusiasm and desire to remain part of this team.

Whitmarsh went on to allude to the long history that McLaren and Hamilton share.

“I’ve known him since he was 11. I don’t think he would look me in the eye and say that if he didn’t mean it.”

He also defended his star driver against the recent criticism for what some see as a surfeit of aggression.

“A racing driver has to attack,” he said. “If you are going to overtake another Formula 1 car, you are going to take a risk.”

Speaking about the comments made by Niki Lauda and Emerson Fittipaldi, Whitmarsh said: “These are very quotable people, and very quotable people say things for effect.

“I know Niki and like him, and I accept that there are people around who want to say things to create controversy. Niki’s in that category. You know, there was a famous encounter between Jackie Stewart and Ayrton Senna, which I think is in the new Senna movie, and it’s basically them having the same conversation. Ayrton’s response was that he was there to race.

“Now, does Lewis regret his accidents? Of course he does and so do I. Would you want him to change his style? With due respect to the great and the good, we’re living in the here and now.”