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Dennis to support Hamilton with rival team?
Tuesday March 14 2006

Ron Dennis has revealed he is prepared to pay to get McLaren protege Lewis Hamilton into Formula One with a rival team.

Hamilton, 21, is gearing up for his GP2 debut in Valencia next month but his graduation to Formula One is already being planned.

The Hertfordshire-born driver blitzed the field to win the European Formula Three title last year and McLaren chief Dennis, who has masterminded his career, expects more glory this season.

McLaren have guided and funded Hamilton since he was a 12-year-old karter and he is prepared to push the boat out to make him the first Afro-Caribbean driver in Formula One history.

"It is contractually possible for him to drive for us but if he dominates GP2 he may be attractive to other people as well," he said.

"McLaren is not in the business of making grand prix drivers, it is in the business of winning races, so it is not impossible but unlikely that the first grand prix car he races will be a McLaren.

"If there is something we can do to help him join another team we will.

"The easiest thing is money but we could also supply technical guidance or support or supply engines."

Hamilton got his big break when he was presented with a karting trophy by Dennis - and told the McLaren chief he would end up driving for the Formula One greats one day.

That confidence caught Dennis' eye and he has spent the last nine years moulding Hamilton into a future star.

He added: "I see it as a project. Can you take someone at 12 years old and physically guide them through the whole process? The only thing he has to do is follow the guidance."

McLaren have two British drivers on their books this season, with Gary Paffett promoted as their second test driver.

But Dennis had words of warning for the reigning DTM champion, urging him to learn from Alex Wurz's mistakes.

The Austrian was eased out of McLaren after Dennis tired of his attempts to land a race drive with a rival team. Now Dennis has called on Paffett to remain loyal.

He said: "There is a key ingredient in being a McLaren driver. It is to be 100 per cent committed to the team and if you are constantly seeking at every opportunity the ability to race in a rival team then there is no place for you in McLaren. It is as simple as that."

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I can actually see this happening eventually - a break away team funded by McLaren. It's been in the rumour mill for a few months now. Misato Haga was rumoured to be interested according to this months F1-R.
 
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