Date: 24th February 2012 at 12:03pm
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Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes that former champ Lewis Hamilton will eventually leave McLaren and it could be as early as the end of this season.

27-year-old Hamilton has been part of the McLaren set-up since he was a child and almost won the Formula One World Championship in his debut season in 2007, missing out to Kimi Raikonnen at the final race of the season.

He eventually went on to take the crown the following year to become the sports youngest ever champion [since surpassed by Sebastian Vettel], but hasn’t recently had the success he previously enjoyed.

In 2009 Brawn GP blew away the competition during the early part of the championship to push Jenson Button towards his first Formula One title and in 2010 and 2011, McLaren have again struggled to keep pace with the early season form of Red Bull.

F1 boss Ecclestone believes that if either McLaren or Hamilton do not get it right this season then their relationship could come to and end at the end of his contract.

‘I think if he doesn’t perform this year he’ll be looking maybe to move on, and the team may also be looking for him to move on,’ Ecclestone told the BBC.

When asked if he thought Hamilton would be a one team driver and end his career at McLaren, he quipped: ‘I doubt that.’

Ecclestone has been critical of Hamilton’s management team ever since his father Anthony stopped handling his affairs and he still believes his support team is not right for the modern day Formula One driver: ‘I don’t agree with the people he’s got surrounding him and so-called managing him. I think he doesn’t need that sort of management.’

‘It’s a people’s job. They don’t have to know about technical issues, someone who if you’ve a problem you can talk to the guy.

‘His dad was good, wasn’t he? His dad was the right person.’