Whitmarsh praises McLaren response

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has praised his team's response to its current 'crisis', as he remains optimistic that it can return to competitive form

Whitmarsh praises McLaren response

Lewis Hamilton's title defence has got off to a disappointing start, with McLaren's new MP4-24 suffering from a lack of downforce - and therefore unlikely to fight for wins for several races yet. Matters have not been helped in Australia this weekend with the Briton suffering a gearbox failure that has put him to the back of the grid.

And although its form means McLaren faces an uphill battle from the start to stay in championship contention, Whitmarsh says his team's reaction to the situation has been great.

"What I am happy with is the way the team has responded to the crisis," he said. "I think at a time like now, it's very easy within the team, the drivers, the engineers, the partners, to fall into recrimination and blame of one another.

"The fact is the team has stuck together, worked very hard and urgently to try and fix the issues, and we've been adding downforce quickly. But we need to do so in the future."

Whitmarsh believes his team has made steps forward with its car's performance in recent weeks, and expects that it will steadily make progress up the field in the next few events.

"We've been open and frank from several weeks ago that our car is under-developed," he said. "We have made good progress in the last two weeks, and we know we will be improving it significantly in each of the coming races.

"Our competitors won't stand still, but hopefully we can gain on them in the next few races, and I'm confident that during the course of this year we will be competitive.

"Will we be competitive in as quick a time as I would like? No, because I'd like to be competitive as of tomorrow. But we have to deal with the reality of the situation.

"We put massive effort into last year to secure a world championship. In Brazil that felt like the right decision. Sat here today, you can have some regrets, but I think on balance we did what we had to do.

"We did a lot of work on last year's car, but perhaps we were not as adventurous in our interpretation as some of our competitors, but we have to accept the circumstance and work on."

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