Hamilton brushes aside future talk

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Lewis Hamilton is adamant he will sit down with Mercedes at the end of the year to discuss a new deal as rumours regarding the prospect of Fernando Alonso taking his seat in 2016 gather pace.

In Japan last week the driver merry-go-round began in earnest, with Red Bull confirming four-time champion Sebastian Vettel would be leaving the team.

Although his destination has yet to be officially announced, Vettel is replacing Alonso at Ferrari as Red Bull team principal Christian Horner let the cat out of the bag on that score.

It is understood Alonso’s attempt to engineer a move to Mercedes led to Ferrari opting to release the Spaniard a year early from his deal and pursue Vettel, who has long made clear his affection for the team.

Alonso now finds himself in limbo because, although wanted by McLaren as they look for a marquee name to spearhead Honda’s return to F1 as a power-unit supplier, a one-year deal is not an option.

That is what Alonso is believed to be pushing for, so allowing him the opportunity to focus on securing Hamilton’s seat in 2016, with the 29-year-old out of contract with Mercedes at the end of next year.

It is why, when asked specifically by NBC whether he would be in F1 in 2015, Alonso replied: “I don’t know.”

There is a possibility Alonso could opt for a sabbatical, or choose a switch to a lesser marque in Lotus as replacement for Romain Grosjean after the Enstone-based team announced Mercedes as their power-unit supplier from next year.

The blur of rumours over the past week has left Hamilton stunned as his focus on the title has taken a new twist in light of the Alonso gossip.

“It’s an interesting time in Formula One,” the Briton said.

“Drivers making changes, top drivers making changes, a lot of fiction, a lot of silly stories going around.

“Whoever is starting those silly conversations… I always have made it clear I’m here (with Mercedes) to do a job.

“I have a contract until the end of next year. We have confirmed we will sit down and talk about the future at the end of the year when the most important thing (the championship) is done.

“Mercedes helped me get to Formula One. I’ve been here since I was 13, so I feel pretty relaxed.

“But I’m also aware of what goes on in the business and I’m aware that those people (the rumour-mongers) are trying to intervene.

“All I can do is do what I’ve done up until now. I think hopefully my performance speaks for itself.”

Hamilton goes into this weekend’s inaugural Russian Grand Prix with a 10-point lead over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg following a run of three successive victories.

Although the drivers’ championship is poised to go to the wire and the final race in Abu Dhabi next month, Mercedes can clinch the constructors’ crown at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday.

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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