Lewis Hamilton says he remains fully committed to his future at McLaren, despite facing the prospect of starting another season behind the frontrunners after a troubled winter for the team.
With McLaren's new MP4-26 having struggled for pace and reliability, there has been speculation that unless McLaren can turn around its situation and produce consistent title-winning cars then Hamilton could be tempted to look elsewhere when his contract runs out in 2012. However, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton said that he was only thinking of a future at McLaren, and he sought out team boss Martin Whitmarsh in Melbourne to make it clear to him how focused he was on helping the team move forward.
"I've spoken to Martin today because I wanted to reassure him that I am here at McLaren, that I am committed to the team, committed to winning," Hamilton said. "This is where my heart and mind are. I'm not thinking about going elsewhere, I don't have my people going elsewhere and doing any other talking. I try and put myself in other people's positions, to understand how they would feel. I think that's important.
"I can imagine how I would feel if I heard stories that they were looking for another driver to replace me, it would be upsetting and distracting, and I kind of assume that may have been the case. So I wanted to make sure I put that right, and that is why I spoke with Martin."
On the other hand, Hamilton did draw short of saying he would never consider another team much further down the road.
"Of course, I'm going to be in Formula 1 for some time, and you never know which way the wind will take you," he said. "As I said, for now, I'm committed to trying to make this team the most successful it can be, and I feel we can do that."