Martin Whitmarsh insists he is not worried McLaren is heading for a behind-the-scenes stoush with star driver Lewis Hamilton.
The 2008 world champion’s contract runs out this year, and so far team executive Ron Dennis has indicated the 27-year-old might have to take a pay-cut. Briton Hamilton hit back by indicating he is prepared to fight even for minor details, like the right to keep his trophies rather than relinquish them to the display cabinets at McLaren’s Woking factory. Team boss Martin Whitmarsh played down the burgeoning spat.
“We’d rather focus on making the car quicker, make sure we don’t make any mistakes, operate well, try to win races and ultimately go for a championship,” he told the Mirror when asked about the crucial talks with Hamilton. “I don’t think things are going to become toxic,” he added. “I’ve known Lewis a long time. We have a very good understanding and trust of one another.
“I hope and believe that goes both ways. I don’t see doing the deal as a big issue. It hasn’t had the intensity of ‘we must get this fixed’ because we are pretty comfortable with each other at the moment,” said Whitmarsh.
He indicated that something as apparently minor as whether McLaren should give up its tradition of not letting drivers keep their trophies will not sour the deal.
“I suspect in the coming weeks we will sit down and find a decent outcome,” said Whitmarsh. “Some of those peripheral issues are resolvable.”