Sports | Fri Oct 5, 2012 4:55pm IST

McLaren keep the door open for Hamilton return

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - McLaren will 'never say never' to Lewis Hamilton returning to them one day even if that looks unlikely at the moment, team principal Martin Whitmarsh said on Friday.

Hamilton, McLaren's 2008 Formula One world champion, has signed a three-year deal with rivals Mercedes and will take retiring Michael Schumacher's place there at the end of this season.

The British driver assured reporters ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix that he was not leaving McLaren through the back door and that the path he had chosen to take could ultimately bring him back.

"Yes, certainly, I think it is (possible)," Whitmarsh said. "But he's joining a strong team in Mercedes and I don't think he'll be coming back any time soon.

"I'm sure they've got a good contract... and I don't think Lewis's intention is to hop from team-to-team on an annual basis.

"But never say never and we'll see what happens in the future," he added.

There is a notable precedent for Hamilton, with four times world champion Alain Prost starting his Formula One career at McLaren in 1980 before moving to Renault for three years and then returning to win titles.

Hamilton's 2007 team mate Fernando Alonso, now the championship leader with Ferrari, moved to McLaren from Renault and then went back to his previous team after an ill-fated season.

Whitmarsh also played down a suggestion by Hamilton on Thursday that he knew all about next year's McLaren, with the driver telling his Mexican replacement Sergio Perez that it was sure to be good.

"I think he knows the people and what we're trying to do but I don't think there's any great secrets in that," he said.

"I think if I was pursuing intellectual property from other teams, I'd probably go for engineers not drivers."

(Editing by John O'Brien)

Reuters Showcase

Micromax Stake

Micromax Stake

SoftBank-led group in talks to buy stake in Micromax - sources  Full Article 

Plane Crash

Plane Crash

Co-pilot appears to have crashed Germanwings plane on purpose, prosecutor says  Full Article 

Airwaves Auction

Airwaves Auction

Top three mobile operators spend $13.6 bln in airwaves auction  Full Article 

Twitter Video App

Twitter Video App

Twitter launches video streaming app Periscope  Full Article 

Yemen Attacked

Yemen Attacked

Yemeni leader Hadi leaves country as Saudi Arabia keeps up air strikes on Houthi rebels  Full Article 

FIFA Politics

FIFA Politics

FIFA taking the wrong approach to development, says Prince Ali   Full Article 

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey to wind up after sixth season, producer says  Full Article 

Photo

Amazon Fashion

Indian designers will create new products for online shoppers: Amazon India fashion head  Full Article 

Australia Beat India

Australia Beat India

Smith shines as Australia down India to reach final  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage 

X