British driver Lewis Hamilton on Sunday dismissed reports of his leaving his Formula One team McLaren and joining some other team for the next season as “rubbish” and said he was currently focused on regaining his world championship title after five years.
“I have not signed up with anyone. I don’t have a timeline (to sign a new contract). I have to get that (contract) sorted out. People are doing this in the background. Lot of stories are written about it, lot of speculations... Don’t get distracted from this rubbish. I am 100 per cent focused on the world championship,” said the 27-year-old McLaren driver in Mumbai on Sunday.
He was interacting with the Indian media ahead of the Vodafone Speed Fest at the Bandra Kurla Complex, the new and upcoming commercial hub.
“At present, winning the world championship is my target,” said the 2008 champion, who is currently lying second, 37 points behind leader Fernando Alonso of Spain in the 20-race Formula One world championship.
Reports in the United Kingdom have said that McLaren have already set their sights on Mexican Sergio Perez, of Sauber, to sign him up for next season in place of Hamilton, who, having won three races this season, is negotiating a 60-million pound offer from Mercedes.
Seven more races are remaining to be run this season with the next one coming up at Singapore, a night event, on September 23.
Hamilton, who has won 20 GP races in his career, said McLaren, with teammate and fellow-Briton Jenson Button (sixth position currently), was in a strong position in the world championship and would get better in the season ahead.
“We could have done better in Barcelona, (where he was docked a penalty point and sent to the rear of the grid). But we learn from experience. We are in a strong position and will only get stronger,” he said.
Hamilton also said that this year has been the first since 2009 that all teams were more or less equal following changes in the regulations made by world governing body for the sport FIA.
“Every year, FIA is making changes in the regulation since 2009 to make the races closer. This is the best year for all the teams,” he said.
Asked about the recent statement of International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge that F1 can never be part of the Games as it was not a contest between humans, Hamilton insisted it was a competition between man and machine.
“I won’t respond to it (Rogge statement). It’s a competition between man and machine. People are working together,” he said.
“Frankly speaking, the concept we are having is the Games are about the competition for the athletes not for equipment. Therefore, while having a lot of respect (for F1), they will not be included into the Olympic programme,” the IOC chief from Belgium had said at Silverstone in July after a visit to the British GP event.
Talking about his fourth visit to India on behalf of sponsors Vodafone, Hamilton said in a lighter vein that he may be a Formula One driver, but he cannot even think of driving in Mumbai roads.
“It’s a crazy thing, the way vehicles are being manoeuvred, I can never drive here,” he said.