McLaren concedes title is out of reach

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has conceded that Lewis Hamilton's title defence is all but over - as he fears his outfit would not even be on the podium for a while judging by its poor performance in Turkey

McLaren concedes title is out of reach

After encouraging progress early in the season, McLaren suffered a slump down the order in Istanbul as Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen struggled with the high-speed aerodynamic deficiencies of their car.

And with Hamilton having now failed to score points for the last three races, Whitmarsh conceded that runaway title leader Jenson Button was now all but out of reach.

"I think you have to say that Jenson looks in good shape, and I am sure he deserves it," he explained. "He has had years of really struggling in the dark and now he is doing a fantastic job, he is in a competitive car and I have to say that he looks like he is going to be the world champion. I think he is doing a fantastic job.

"With regards to us, then we have to make sure that we are strong next year. We have to make sure that the way in which we approach next year is that we apply adequate resource."

Whitmarsh believes that his team and Ferrari are still suffering from having pushed so hard and long with development last year - at a time when teams like Brawn and Red Bull Racing were focusing entirely on their 2009 challengers.

"I think ourselves and Ferrari are still struggling as a consequence of what has happened in the last few years, but at the same time to say we are a racing team and to say we are not going to try and win a race this year is not in our make up.

"It is not in our DNA - we will be pushing hard to see how we can improve the car. We are realistic, we are not making any predictions that we are going to be back there on the podium any time soon, but we are going to keep pushing and learning what we can from this car and making sure that we apply adequate resource to next year's car to make sure we are competitive."

Whitmarsh said the team was not too surprised that it had a troubled time in Turkey - despite some encouraging laps from Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in Friday practice.

"I think Friday when there was low track grip and you saw people getting exciting, I don't think people in our camp were getting excited," he said. "We were realistic.

"We knew it was going to be a tough weekend and so I think also when you don't' qualify well, you look at Rubens (Barrichello's) performance in a vastly superior car, you cannot make progress and it is very, very difficult to recover. So, if you are back there in qualifying then there is little you can do. Our drivers drove a solid race but you can't rescue yourself."

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he feared another difficult time at Hamilton's home race at Silverstone next week, Whitmarsh said: "I think it is going to be hard, but we will fight and do the best we can."

shares
comments
FOTA agrees to drop KERS in 2010
Previous article

FOTA agrees to drop KERS in 2010

Next article

Brawn: Button just keeps getting better

Brawn: Button just keeps getting better
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022