McLaren fully focused on titles after Hamilton confirmed exit
|By Simon Strang||Wednesday, October 3rd 2012, 13:53 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton and McLaren are totally focused on winning the 2012 drivers' and constructors' championships, now that the Briton has been confirmed as switching to Mercedes from next year onwards.
With protracted contract negotiations at an end, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says his squad and its drivers are now utterly committed to achieving one or both titles with what is widely regarded to be the fastest car in the field.
Asked by AUTOSPORT during a Vodafone media phone-in whether Hamilton's impending exit had created a sense of loss within the team, or there was merely relief that the situation was resolved, Whitmarsh replied: "I think actually it goes down the middle.
"We've got six races to go, we've got a competitive car, two competitive race drivers and two championships that are still in our sights," he said. "We haven't reached that point. I think we're all hoping, Lewis and the team, that we actually really focus now.
"In one sense there is some clarity," Whitmarsh added. "We are committed to working as hard as we can to allow Lewis every opportunity to try and achieve a drivers' world championship and at the same time I believe Lewis is totally committed to working hard for the team to contribute to our assault on the constructors' championship."
Whitmarsh indicated that while McLaren's chances of claiming the constructors' titles are less remote than that of Hamilton or even Jenson Button being crowned drivers' champion, there was no plan to give priority to the team's campaign.
"They are both important," he said. "There is always the debate about which one is more important. I think the champagne celebrations are normally more associated with the drivers' championship than the constructors'. But from a teams' pride and commercial perspective then the constructors' championship is more important.
"I think we are focussed on both, we have got some great competition. Clearly Fernando [Alonso] has done a fantastic job in the Ferrari this year, Red Bull has done a great job in the constructors'. We've had a quick car, but I think we haven't maximised the points that we should have done.
"But we have got six races and 150 points available to the drivers and more for the constructors, so both are achievable."