Whitmarsh: McLaren back in the hunt after strong form in Germany

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is certain that the team now has the car and a strong enough development programme to fight for the world championship after a difficult spell

Whitmarsh: McLaren back in the hunt after strong form in Germany

After disappointing results in the European and British Grands Prix, McLaren returned to form with Jenson Button's second place at Hockenheim yesterday.

This was off the back of a major upgrade package, which included modified sidepods and exhausts that made the McLaren arguably the fastest car in dry conditions in Germany.

"It is good enough at the moment," said Whitmarsh when asked if the car is now strong enough to fight for the championship. "But it won't be [if we don't keep developing it] because we have half-a-season to go.

"Both of our drivers are capable of winning races and this year's world championship. The onus is on us to keep developing.

"We have a reasonable amount of momentum in the system at the moment. From what I have seen, that was the opinion of our engineers."

Whitmarsh refused to rule out either his drivers or the team making up big points deficits to get into the title hunt.

In the constructors' championship, McLaren is in third place, 70 points behind Red Bull, while Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are 62 and 86 points off drivers' championship leader Fernando Alonso.

"Fernando is doing a great job and so is Ferrari but we are fighters so there will be some great races [to come] and we need to maximise our points," Whitmarsh added.

"He is a really strong competitor. In Germany, we could catch him and hurt our tyres, but we couldn't get past him. We were a reasonable amount quicker, but if you put someone like Fernando at the front of a race then you are going to have difficulty getting past him.

"Coming out of Melbourne, we were on a roll but Ferrari have turned it around. The same thing can happen [to us].

Whitmarsh admitted that McLaren's lack of performance on wet rubber in qualifying was a concern.

While Hamilton and Button were competitive on intermediate tyre during Q2, they were only seventh and eighth fastest in the top 10 shootout.

"It was just about temperature," said Whitmarsh. "The irony is that we came from Silverstone, where we were reasonable in the dry and pretty good on the wets but a disaster on the intermediates.

"Here, we were quick in the dry and the intermediates, but we didn't have it on the wets.

"These tyres have a small operating window and if you get into that, it is great. We are still learning [how to do that]."

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Edd Straw
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