This being the British Grand Prix weekend, there is an inevitable focus on Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button as the UK news media look for some fresh angles on the pair.
Inevitably most interest focusses on Hamilton’s next contract, as his existing deal is up at the end of this year. At a briefing with journalists on Thursday Hamilton said he is “ready to go” on the next contract and that he’s decided what he wants to do.
“A new contract is something I’m thinking about but I haven’t got anything sorted yet. I am ready to get it done,” he said. “Being ready means you’ve made a decision and you know what you’re going to do. At some point soon I would like to get something in place.”
This certainly sounds like he’s staying put; Hamilton’s management team XIX have been looking for improved terms from what McLaren already felt was a very generous contract, agreed in the pre-credit crunch days. Hamilton’s options are not extensive, as Ferrari wouldn’t want to pair him with Alonso and in any case seem to be looking elsewhere. Mark Webber seems set to stay at Red Bull, the only question being whether it’s for one year or the two years he’s looking for.
Mercedes boss Ross Brawn has said that the team will decide in the coming weeks on whether Michael Schumacher continues in the Silver Arrows although the seven times champion has said that he will not be ready to decide until October.
Hamilton is the kind of driver the team could do with to kick them forward, but there is little talk of that at the moment.
McLaren believe that Hamilton wants to stay with them. The fact that Hamilton was talking about wanting the new deal to allow him to break a long standing McLaren protocol and keep his race trophies (McLaren drivers have to get replicas) shows that they are into fine details rather than big picture items like retainer.
Jenson Button’s problems recently, with only six points scored in the last five races, will also have helped Hamilton’s cause in persuading the team how much they need him.
Hamilton was fastest in practice on Friday, but it doesn’t mean a great deal at this stage as many drivers didn’t do many laps.