McLaren: Wing row could hurt Red Bull

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh reckons the favouritism row engulfing Red Bull Racing could start hurting the team's performance on track

McLaren: Wing row could hurt Red Bull

Red Bull has been forced to defend its decision to remove a new front wing from Mark Webber's car and hand it to team-mate Sebastian Vettel for qualifying for the British Grand Prix.

And, on the back of the way in which the team initially supported Vettel after his collision with Webber in Turkey, before eventually admitting that neither driver was to blame - it has re-ignited suspicions that Red Bull Racing supports one of its drivers more.

Although Whitmarsh said he was not aware of the specifics of Red Bull Racing's decision, he reckons anything that left one driver feeling as though his team-mate had been favoured was bad.

When asked if having one driver feeling as though he had been 'stitched up' could lead to growing trouble, Whitmarsh said: "There are many incidents, either real or imaginary - because both have happened - where one driver has been favoured or senses that his team-mate is being favoured.

"In those circumstances it is detrimental to the overall performance of the team - and certainly the individual who feels he is being stitched up, to use your expression."

Whitmarsh felt that controversial actions like swapping front wings between drivers simply served to create tensions within a team that were unnecessary.

"We try very hard to give the drivers the same equipment at the same time. That's important," he said. "We know both drivers will do everything they can to race hard as ever, and if we expect that from them, then they should expect from us to be as fair and open as we can. That's what we try to set out to do.

"This weekend we were pushing very hard to bring forward this new floor, and we decided if there was only one, we would not use it for this race.

"I think the cohesiveness of the team is such that you don't need to set up those sorts of tensions. You can't really do that. And if you're in a very strong position then I think you have to make sure you hold it together."

Whitmarsh said the only time in his experience that McLaren had ever had to favour one driver with equipment was last year, when it only had one update package available for its car at the German Grand Prix.

"There was one circumstance that happened last year, but it was done very openly," he said. "We were fighting to bring performance to our car, and we had one set of kit and we put it on Lewis' car.

"We announced it before the event, were very open about it, but I felt deeply uncomfortable, even in the circumstances where Lewis was a long way ahead of Heikki.

"Heikki understood and was completely relaxed about it, and I, to this day, didn't feel good in doing that."

shares
comments
Sutil expected to make it into Q3
Previous article

Sutil expected to make it into Q3

Next article

Kubica surprised by performance

Kubica surprised by performance
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
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

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
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

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021