Hamilton will move on from 2010 trials

Lewis Hamilton will return with fresh determination to succeed this year, having erased the memories of his 2010 title disappointment and the off-track troubles that clouded his campaign

Hamilton will move on from 2010 trials

That is the view of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who says that he, the team and Hamilton have learned lessons from the difficulties they faced last season, and they are excited about their chances for the campaign ahead.

"I think it is well publicised that Lewis had a number of issues," Whitmarsh told AUTOSPORT in an exclusive interview. "He is still a very young man. I think he is finding his way as a motor racing driver and in his life, and I think he had some cause for distraction.

"The team could have done a better job, and inevitably the drivers could have done a better job. We could all have done a better job. I could have done a better job too.

"But overall I don't think Lewis should be too dissatisfied with his performance. He had some fantastic races and we all know what a superstar he is, and how tough he will be on himself. Just as Jenson was tough on himself and disappointed about his end of the season, just as I am tough on myself and the performance of the team.

"That is what drives us along, motivates us and makes us determined to win this year."

Hamilton admitted in a post-season interview with BBC Radio 1 that off-track issues - which included a management split with father Anthony - had been difficult for him to cope with last year.

Those problems left Whitmarsh in no doubt that Hamilton and team-mate Jenson Button, who resumed team duties at a McLaren training camp at Bisham Abbey today, were given time off over the winter to clear their hands after the intensity of last year.

"It is an incredibly long season now, and we face 20 races. We have got more races, they are spread over a longer period of the year and they are further away from Europe. There are all those factors to think about.

"I think some people underestimate how much tougher it is. I worked with colleagues last year and told them, 'let's give our drivers 6 weeks where I am not going to ring them, and I don't want anyone else to ring them either'.

"I want them to have six weeks to chill, to train, to live life and to reflect and prepare. That is coming to an end for our drivers on Tuesday when they will be at a training camp at Bisham Abbey with the racing team. That is about getting back together as a team to do a bit of team building, reappraise and benchmark their fitness and training."

Ahead of the launch of the new McLaren MP4-26 in Berlin on February 4, Whitmarsh is giving little away about the design of the car - but says the outfit has learned from the reasons why it did not beat Red Bull Racing to the crown last year.

"I think the key lesson from last year is that you have to continue to develop the car," he explained.

"It was such a tight, fiercely fought, championship that you have to find performance every fortnight. From halfway through the year, it was going to be the team that found the most performance. I think it was as simple as that. Both of our drivers did a great job and I am confident that they will do that in the coming years.

"What you would like is a serial production line of enhancements coming through the system and you aim for that - but sometimes it becomes a little bit drier.

"Maybe we were not as racy in our interpretation of front wing heights as others, and that had notable effects. I was surprised by some of those things, but at the end of the day I am not complaining about what anyone else did. If the opportunity was there, you have to try and do it yourself."

* For the full interview with Martin Whitmarsh, talking about his hopes for the season, McLaren's road car plans, thoughts on the new car and the future of FOTA, click here.

shares
comments
De la Rosa pleased with wet test

Previous article

De la Rosa pleased with wet test

Next article

How the Brundle, Coulthard team can work

How the Brundle, Coulthard team can work
Load comments
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. On the 50th anniversary of his death, Autosport recalls the career of an F1 and sportscar ace gone before his time

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021