McLaren says spot-on strategy vital

McLaren believes that ironing out strategy mistakes is going to be just as important as bringing improvements to its car in its bid to beat Red Bull Racing to the world title this year

McLaren says spot-on strategy vital

With McLaren working flat out to deliver the car upgrades that it feels it needs to get on even-terms with Red Bull Racing in qualifying, the team is also aware that a quick car is no use if errors are made in tyre tactics.

And there was no better proof of that than in China last weekend when Sebastian Vettel failed to convert his dominant pole position performance into a race win after he stuck to a two-stop strategy.

When asked whether he felt spot-on strategy calls or car developments would prove to be the most important element for success, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told AUTOSPORT: "I think both.

"What has been developed now, and you have to give credit to Pirelli for it, is that with a combination of Pirelli tyres, the DRS and KERS, we have now had two races at circuits that historically without rain have not generated excitement and we have had two cracking races. I hope and believe we are in a good place for F1.

"It is easy - you are on a knife-edge of trying to determine strategy. You get it a little bit wrong and it is sufficiently tight that you really suffer from it. The tyres are a challenge - but that is a challenge for the teams, a challenge for the engineers and a challenge for the drivers. I think that is a healthy thing."

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner thinks that strategy calls are going to play a critical role in the outcome of the championship - with Vettel's two-stop strategy in China having cost him so close to the end of the race.

"I think unquestionably you have to ask - do you want to qualify on the hard tyre in 15th?" questioned Horner about how complicated strategy now was.

"For sure, strategy as we knew before the season, is going to play a key part, and I think we have been very, very good with the strategies we have employed.

"We would have looked a hero in China if it had lasted another four laps. But as it was, it didn't work out. However, it was still a bloody good result considering where we were on the first lap."

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