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As the shockwaves reverberate from Woking, Martin Whitmarsh refuses to apportion blame following Lewis Hamilton's defection to Mercedes.
Though it has been rumoured for weeks, the official confirmation that the Englishman is to sever ties with the company that nurtured him and brought him into the sport, the reality is still being absorbed. However, though clearly surprised by the move, Whitmarsh refuses to play the blame game.
"What we've got to do is acknowledge that we didn't agree terms with Lewis management (Simon Fuller's XIX Management) and acknowledge that for Lewis, McLaren has been a great chapter in his life," he told Sky Sports News.
"He's been a great driver in this team and we now look forward to; one, ensuring that after the interest of today, we get ourselves focussed again on the six races that we have ahead of us in this year's world championship. All of which we can win. World Championships that we can win. We look forward to an exciting future.
Asked if he felt Hamilton was badly advised by his management, Whitmarsh said: "If the question is 'do I blame 19?', then the answer is that I don't. Lewis is a great driver but has to make decisions about his life. We had lots of talks, went into lots of details and drew up lots of complex contracts.
"We made a financial offer which is better than anyone in Formula One, other than himself, receives today, and that is something that I am comfortable with." he continued. "I know we made a very, very big financial offer, bigger than I believe any Formula One driver is enjoying today.
"We went a long way to make a good offer to Lewis but ultimately it takes two to get a signature. We clearly didn't agree terms and have moved in different directions."
Asked if he feels Hamilton is making a mistake in making the move, Whitmarsh replied: "It's for Lewis to make the decisions in his life, but McLaren's a winning team and whether you measure us over the last four races, the last four years, the last forty years, we're a great team. We've won with many drivers and we will win again with many drivers. We're a great team and any driver who wants to win in Formula One should be with McLaren. The statistics and our record support that view."
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