Date: 14th June 2012 at 8:09am
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Both McLaren chairman Ron Dennis and team principal Martin Whitmarsh remain hopeful that Lewis Hamilton will remain with the team beyond the end of the season.

Contract talks remain ongoing, with Hamilton’s representatives keen to strike the most lucrative deal possible, whilst McLaren are obviously keen to strike a balance between a competitive contract and keeping their star driver happy.

It had been previously reported that McLaren were set to offer Lewis Hamilton a mega £20million per season contract to remain with the team, which would actually be an improvement on his current five-year £15million per season contract which expires at the end of the 2012 Formula One World Championship.

The Daily Telegraph believed the finer details of that offer were yet to be finalised and could prove to be a sticking point as there will be a lot of negotiations regarding Hamilton?s commercial rights.

Hamilton?s management company XIX Entertainment will argue for more free-time for Hamilton to be able promote his own brands and projects, while McLaren will argue that Hamilton has his own team sponsorship commitments to fulfil.

One way around this could be a lower basic salary to represent this agreement, or Hamilton’s team could look to see if other teams were prepared to match his demands to try and budge McLaren’s offer.

That would appear to be the stand-off we currently have, with McLaren certainly indicating that they are not willing to pay over the odds to keep the 2008 Formula One World Champion.

‘It’s a complex situation. He’s on the end of a contract which was signed at a time when the economy was somewhat different and now there has to be a balance between that.’ McLaren Chairman Ron Dennis told Sky Sports after Hamilton’s win in Canada.

He added: ‘At the end of the day, hopefully, the fact that he’s been part of this team from the beginning of his career will pay a significant role in whatever decisions both sides make. But it’s a little early to be talking about it.’

Hamilton has of course grown up around the team since he was a 13-year-old and leaving the team and everything he has ever known would be tough, but that hasn’t put a stop to the media and paddock rumours linking him with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Those links to other teams might still prove crucial as Hamilton’s representatives and McLaren team bosses try and thrash out a new deal.

But while speculation has been rife in the paddock, Whitmarsh remains confident that both parties will eventually come together to agree new terms.

‘There’s much more speculation outside of the team than inside the team,’ McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh added when also speaking to Sky.

He continued: ‘I think we’re focused on winning the races and winning a championship. I think it’s very clear that we enjoy working with Lewis. I think Lewis enjoys being in this team.

‘So we have full expectation of that continuing.’