|© AP Photo/Luca Bruno
Money was not an issue in contract negotiations between Lewis Hamilton and McLaren, according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh, after the British team lost its star driver to Mercedes for next season.
Speculation had led to believe that Hamilton, who is managed by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, was not content with the offer from McLaren to continue with the team but Whitmarsh suggested it wasn’t just about the economics.
"We didn't agree terms with Lewis' management therefore Lewis and his management team have decided to go elsewhere," Whitmarsh was quoted saying by Reuters.
"We have made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula 1, other than himself, receives today, and that is something that I am comfortable with,” he pointed out. "I know we made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula 1 driver is enjoying today.”
The Briton however respected the 27-year-old’s decision to seek new challenges after he was notified personally two days before the announcement was made on Friday.
"I wouldn't advise anyone to leave McLaren if they want to win. But I've got to respect Lewis's decision and really wish him well," he said.
Hamilton will be replaced by Sauber’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez who the team believed will have “a broader appeal now”.