Lewis Hamilton is set to be confirmed by McLaren as Fernando Alonso’s rookie teammate for 2007, a specialist magazine reports this week.
Pedro de la Rosa and even Mika Hakkinen were also in contention for the ride, but Stuttgart-based ‘Auto Motor und Sport’ says that the Hamilton news will be announced next week.
The magazine, however, added that Woking based McLaren toyed with leaving de la Rosa, 35, in place next year, after some engineers reportedly expressed concern about Briton Hamilton’s feedback about the setup of the car in his early tests.
21-year-old Hamilton, therefore – despite dominating the GP2 championship in 2006 – may have some rigid performance criteria written into his contract, while Spaniard de la Rosa attends all the grands prix next year as a reserve.
England’s ‘The Times’ newspaper quoted Hamilton as saying: “The trust I have in Ron (Dennis) and Martin (Whitmarsh) and in McLaren Mercedes goes way beyond anything else. They have guided me all the way.”
The London-based newspaper also backed Auto Motor und Sport’s claims by revealing that team boss Ron Dennis ‘made the decision (to sign Hamilton) in the past few days’.