Rumours about Lewis Hamilton
's future have exploded. F1 team owner turned television pundit Eddie Jordan
told the BBC he understands the 2008 world champion is on the verge of quitting McLaren
to join Mercedes
"I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed personal terms and a deal could be imminent," he said. Jordan said he knows Hamilton's management - Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment - have had meetings with Mercedes chiefs.
He said Hamilton, 27, will surely replace Michael Schumacher
. "Bernie Ecclestone
made it clear to me live on television on Sunday that Schumacher was leaving, although Schumacher later played it down," said Jordan.
If true, Jordan's story will have wider implications. The BBC said Kimi Raikkonen
and Paul di Resta
would be front-runners to join Jenson Button
The Daily Mail, however, said Hamilton might actually replace Nico Rosberg
, meaning that German Rosberg could also be a candidate to switch to McLaren.
But a McLaren spokesman said the British team has been told by Hamilton's management "that the (Jordan) story is untrue".
Mercedes said they would not comment on speculation.
A spokesperson for XIX Entertainment said "we are in advanced discussions with McLaren about a new deal".
And Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm told Bild newspaper: "There is still no news, as nothing is decided."
Writing in the Times, correspondent Kevin Eason claimed that despite the Jordan story, Lewis Hamilton is in fact still "close to committing his future to McLaren".
Hamilton, who got into hot water at Spa last weekend in the saga nicknamed 'Twittergate', told the Express newspaper that he is "taking control" of his life. "The life I have had has been very controlled and I am taking control of it," he said. "I am allowing myself to get who I am out, rather than the corporate McLaren driver some people want you to be." (GMM)