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GP Week : Issue 167
MCLAREN THE CENTRE OF DRIVER RUMOUR MILL F1 >>> NEWS With Lewis Hamilton rumoured to be considering a move to Mercedes for 2013, the F1 rumour mill is all aflutter trying to determine who might replace the 2008 champion at McLaren. Drivers whose names have been linked to the possible seat at the British team include former Finnish employees Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen, both of whom represent known quantities. But Raikkonen would be loath to take on the heavy PR duties that befall a McLaren driver, while outside Formula One Kovalainen lacks the instant name recognition of a driver like Hamilton, Raikkonen, Button, or Alonso. A third Finn rumoured to be under consideration is Williams test driver Valtteri Bottas, who has impressed with his performances on Friday mornings this season, where he has regularly outpaced full-time driver and race winner Pastor Maldonado. Also in the frame is Force India’s Paul di Resta. Hiring the Scot would see a continuation of the all-British line-up, and di Resta last week announced that he had signed with Richard Goddard’s Sports Partnership, Jenson Button’s management team. But according to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, speaking this week, the Woking team currently have no Plan B should Hamilton elect to switch teams. “I haven't given Plan B any thought,” Whitmarsh said in Spa. “We want Lewis to stay, and we want him to stay if he wants to stay. But in terms of when you are trying to win a Championship, I've a number of priorities. “You divide your time, energy and focus on those things - one of them is making the car faster, better; another is dealing with all the operational issues to make sure you don't make mistakes, and the other is dealing with your own drivers. But rightly or wrongly I haven't spent a lot of energy on that (plan B) subject.” 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: