Hamilton link to Mercedes denied
Lewis Hamilton's management team are denying suggestions the 27-year-old is poised to sign a deal with Mercedes.
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Former team principal and current BBC F1 analyst Eddie Jordan has today fuelled rumours by claiming that he believes "Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent".
Such comments, however, have been comprehensively dismissed as a McLaren spokesperson informed Press Association Sport: "We have been told by Lewis Hamilton's management team the story is untrue."
In addition, a spokesperson for XIX has insisted Hamilton is more on the brink of re-signing with McLaren than moving elsewhere.
The spokesperson told Press Association Sport: "As mentioned in the past by all parties, we are in advanced discussions with McLaren about a new deal.
"More importantly, at the moment, Lewis is focused on Monza (this weekend's Italian Grand Prix) and competing strongly for the championship."
Mercedes, meanwhile, are playing their cards a little closer to their chest as a spokesperson said: "Until we are in a position to confirm our full driver line-up for next season, it is inevitable there will be speculation around this topic.
"We would ask for your understanding, however, that we do not comment on speculation."
Hamilton's future has long been the subject of such speculation - he is out of contract at the end of this season.
The fact no new deal has been agreed yet, despite intense periods of negotiation between XIX, Hamilton and McLaren, has only added fuel to the fire he could end his 14-year association with the Woking-based team having been initially signed as a 13-year-old.
Mercedes have been mooted as a potential option, in particular as the German manufacturing giant have yet to offer any indication as to whether Michael Schumacher is to re-sign for one more year.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone appeared to drop a hint over the weekend ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps the seven-times champion was on the brink of retiring for a second time.
Asked about Schumacher, Ecclestone said: "I'm sorry he's leaving us not being a winner, because he is a winner", referring to the fact the 43-year-old German has not won a race on his return over the last two-and-a-half years.
Schumacher, however, later countered Ecclestone's remarks as he said: "As I told Bernie I had not made a decision."
The F1 driver market is waiting for either Schumacher or Hamilton to make a move as that would then start a chain reaction.
It is no secret Mercedes are an interested party, however, one source close to Hamilton has confirmed Jordan "is way off the mark".
Press Association Sport understands all signs are pointing to Hamilton remaining with McLaren, although a number of issues are to be resolved, amongst them future image rights and sponsorship deals beyond those in-house within the Woking-based team.
It is why Mercedes are not being ruled out at this stage because at the age of 27, any new deal is being viewed by XIX as the most important of Hamilton's career.
The belief is it would be a disservice to any interested parties not to discuss potential options with them.
Ferrari, however, is not a prospect as a seat is almost certain to become available given the poor form of Felipe Massa this year.
Jordan claims Hamilton has spoken to Ferrari, and although they apparently registered an early interest, no discussions have ever taken place.
That is on the basis Fernando Alonso has indicated to Ferrari he does not want to work with Hamilton given their ill-fated partnership at McLaren in 2007.
For Hamilton, given his history with McLaren, the loyalty felt on both sides, and providing the finer points of a new contract can be finalised, the signs at this stage indicate he will stay at Woking.