McLaren will not write 2011 off despite current form

McLaren has vowed not to throw the towel in on its chances for the remainder of the season, despite a disappointing British Grand Prix weekend

McLaren will not write 2011 off despite current form

Both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button struggled for pace at Silverstone, and their fortunes did not improve much in the race - as Hamilton was slowed by the need to save fuel and Button was forced to retire after his front right wheel was not fitted correctly at a pitstop.

And after team principal Martin Whitmarsh openly admitted on Saturday that McLaren was simply not fast enough at the moment, he has reiterated that there is unlikely to be a dramatic change in fortunes for the next race in Germany.

However, despite being realistic about McLaren's chances, Whitmarsh says his team will keep pushing as hard as it can to turn the situation around and get itself back on the top step of the podium.

When asked about his expectations for world championship leader Sebastian Vettel's prospects for the German GP, Whitmarsh said: "Well my expectations are that he will be quick.

"He's doing a fantastic job. Obviously he didn't win today but he has come away with some valuable points. He's still in pretty good shape in this championship, but we won't give up, our drivers won't give up and this team won't give up. We'll keep pushing and see if we can challenge him, win some races, and who knows?"

Whitmarsh praised his drivers for their efforts during a challenging British GP, and admitted that factors outside their control had dented their chances of a podium finish.

"Both drivers did a great race," he said. "They were in some ways a little bit handicapped in the race and that's a shame. Obviously Jenson was driving very well, looking after his tyres, and I think he could have challenged for a position on the podium.

"It was a human error, and in fairness the team I think are just about the most consistent at pitstops during the hundreds this year, and have done a fantastic job.

"The left hand front gun man, as he came off, the nut flew out, which happens periodically as I think you know. Our standard routine is to switch guns which he was doing, and I think frankly it would have cost us a fraction of a second. But unfortunately the signaller saw the car go down on the front, saw the yellow hands at the rear and was concentrating at the rear.

"The rear tends to lag behind the front, so it's easier to miss a problem on the front and it's all you're doing, trying to find every hundredth of a second. In doing that he was released early, so it was a great shame for Jenson. He deserved to be able to be challenging for a podium here and we didn't do that."

He added: "For Lewis it was a great race. We didn't expect to be able to get through the traffic that quickly early on. The engineers calculate the fuel based on what they assume to be the race pace, and it was a bit quicker than we'd expected.

"It was clear from fairly early on that we were burning the fuel, but at that point, we were racing so you do what you can. As we got into the second half of the race, then it was save fuel.

"It's a massive challenge for a racing driver to be told to save fuel. It's counter intuitive, but not only is it that, you lose temperature in your tyres, your brakes, and it becomes very much more difficult to drive like that. And so backing off is not an easier way to drive a Formula 1 car.

"I think Lewis coped with that in a very disciplined and mature way. Inevitably he had to let Webber past and then it was a question of just trying to stay ahead of Massa and that became quite exciting at the end."

Despite Ferrari having delivered a step forward in form over the past few races, Whitmarsh insisted that he was not concerned his team had lost ground to his Italian rivals.

"No, I think it's been a tough weekend," he said. "You come to your home grand prix, and you want to do a good job.

"I think they [Ferrrai] did a good job this weekend but we had two cars that were often comfortably in front of one of the Ferraris, and I think they have got to be congratulated.

"It's their first win this year. It's good for the championship and I suspect when you pull away from it, it was an exciting show. I was immersed in it so I couldn't take it in, but I suspect it was quite an exciting race."

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Ferrari not getting carried away with expectations after British Grand Prix win
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