• Briton says he does not know where he will drive next year
• Ross Brawn talks up the lure of the Mercedes team
Lewis Hamilton has refused to rule out a move to Mercedes, while Ross Brawn, head of the German team, said that everyone would soon want to drive for him.
Speculation concerning Hamilton’s future appeared to dominate every agenda on Thursday. But when given the opportunity to kill the rumours, the McLaren driver declined. “Do you have a comment to make?” he was asked. “Not really,” he said, shrugging.
When his interrogator followed this up with: “Do you know where you’re driving next year?” he replied with a simple and glum-looking “No.”
Later, when Hamilton was asked his reactions to what Eddie Jordan, the TV pundit and former team principal, had said about him leaving McLaren for Mercedes, he said: “What will be will be. It will all come out when it’s done. Nothing has changed since the last race.”
Meanwhile Brawn was sanguine about Mercedes’s future as he prepared for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. “We want to be a team that every driver wants to drive for,” he said. “We have a tremendous history that we want to live up to. The plans we are making and structure we are putting in place, particularly with the changes in regulations coming in the next couple of years, makes us very ambitious.”
Brawn, who in 2009 won the world championship with his own team, with Jenson Button on board, before Mercedes took over, added: “If we achieve what we want to achieve, we will put ourselves in a position where every driver in Formula One will consider driving for us.
“In the last couple of years, Red Bull has been very competitive and most drivers would like to have a Red Bull under them. We want to have a situation where most drivers want a Mercedes under them. We are not here to waste money.”
When asked about Hamilton, he said: “When we make our driver decision you will be first to hear about it but it is some way off. Lewis is a very good driver, an excellent driver.”
But Brawn also refused to rule out the possibility that Michael Schumacher would still be around next year; the driver has said he will make a decision next month. Brawn said: “Michael has a huge amount to offer. I am very happy with Michael. It is not Michael’s decision, it is a joint decision.”
Button, Hamilton’s team-mate, has urged his colleague to remain with McLaren . “I think I’ll have the same team-mate next year,” he said. “That’s because this is the best choice for him. If you are in the same place for too long it can get a bit stale – but not here.
“This is a great team, one that is always giving us the opportunity to fight for wins. They always give you the possibility of winning a grand prix and that’s what a driver wants.
“Having a competitive team-mate helps because you also share data.” At this point there were loud guffaws, as everyone remembered that Hamilton had shared McLaren data with the rest of the world in Belgium a week ago.