Whitmarsh convinced that McLaren is still in the hunt in 2012

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is adamant that his squad has not dropped off the pace, but is just losing out in Formula 1's tyre lottery at present

Whitmarsh convinced that McLaren is still in the hunt in 2012

The Woking squad appeared to be 2012's benchmark as it opened the year with two straight poles for Lewis Hamilton and a Melbourne win for Jenson Button. But it has not managed a podium finish since China, and its drivers are now down to third and fifth in the championship standings after spells in the points lead.

Whitmarsh denied that McLaren has gone into a slump, saying it was impossible for any team to stay at the front consistently in such an up-and-down year - as Monaco qualifying proved.

"It's an extraordinary season," he said. "I didn't think even at the start of Q3 that Michael [Schumacher] was going to come out with a time like that and Lotus have looked good here, I thought, and Lewis was in front of the two of them."

"We think that we've got to keep working. This year's championship is very unusual and is undeniably going to continue to be a fight to develop the car and to understand and work with these tyres. If you get it right, you've got a huge performance uplift."

He suggested that even teams achieving good results remained baffled by tyre performance this year.

"I think in truth, if you look back at a number of the almost surprise quick guys, if they're really honest they're not sure why they were quick at the moment they were quick," said Whitmarsh.

The McLaren chief said he was convinced there was nothing wrong with the team's current package that would prevent it winning on days when it mastered the tyres better than its rivals.

"I think we've got a competitive car. We haven't always got the best out of it," said Whitmarsh.

"We've got two great racing drivers, so it's going to be a fight for the whole year. There are moments of frustration and moments of elation, and that's how a world championship should be.

"Of course we'd all like to understand everything, to be improving the car and to understand the tyres every time you go out. Evidently it's not like that for us. It's not like that for anyone. That's the real challenge.

"These tyres seem almost organic, non-linear, and very difficult and very complex. We don't have as good an understanding of them as we should do and as we'd like to have, but I don't think there's anyone out there at the moment - any team, any driver, any engineer - who feels they've got it nailed on the tyre front."

shares
comments
Red Bull Racing embroiled in technical row ahead of Monaco Grand Prix

Previous article

Red Bull Racing embroiled in technical row ahead of Monaco Grand Prix

Next article

Button: Bold strategies will be hard to make work because everyone is doing them

Button: Bold strategies will be hard to make work because everyone is doing them
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Matt Beer
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021