McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says team needed 'kick up the pants' for 2014

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says his team needed the "kick up the pants" of

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says team needed 'kick up the pants' for 2014

a poor season in order to better prepare for its 2014 campaign.

The Woking squad endured its first winless season since 2006 this year and failed to make the podium in any race for the first time since 1980 as it finished a distant fifth in the constructors' championship.

But the team has made some significant changes, replacing Sergio Perez with Formula Renault 3.5 champion Kevin Magnussen on the driving strength for the new season, signing Sauber chief designer Matt Morris, and recruiting aerodynamicist Peter Prodromou from champion team Red Bull for 2015, when it will enter into a new engine partnership with Honda.

Whitmarsh reckons a bad season was the wake-up call McLaren needed to bounce back to top form in 2014, when a raft of significant regulation changes will come into force.

"Failure is a painful thing but a kick up the pants sometimes you need it personally and the organisation needs it," Whitmarsh told AUTOSPORT.

"I am an optimistic type of fellow, so I come out of it and say, 'I didn't like that much', but looking to the future it has made us make some decisions that would have been difficult to make last winter because, until Australia, we thought we were as good as anybody.

"The majority cannot sit there and say we don't need to change or we have done a
good enough job, because we haven't.

"Change in this environment is quite a lot easier, and change is essential in any organisation whether it is on top of its game or not.

"It is just more difficult to implement when it perceives itself to be on top of its game."

WHITMARSH FEARED FOR HIS OWN FUTURE

Whitmarsh says he also feared for his own future at McLaren, as the team struggled
with its recalcitrant MP4-28 design.

"To a degree," said Whitmarsh, when asked by AUTOSPORT if he worried for his own position in the team. "But the worst pressure on me is from me.

"The fact is if the wheel falls off, it is my fault. If the car is not good enough, it is my fault. If the driver makes a mistake, it is my fault.

"People talk about the pressure, but most of the pressure is internal."

Whitmarsh predicts McLaren will be a top team in Formula 1 for at least another decade after securing its deal with Honda.

"With the Honda deal, we know we are going to be here as a top team in 10 years,"
he added. "We have secured that, and there are not that many teams that have got
a secure commercial future in the way that we have."


shares
comments
Lewis Hamilton hopes new 2014 rules will help chasing pack topple Red Bull

Previous article

Lewis Hamilton hopes new 2014 rules will help chasing pack topple Red Bull

Next article

AUTOSPORT's 2013 F1 driver ratings

AUTOSPORT's 2013 F1 driver ratings
Load comments
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Plus

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021