How the mighty have fallen, one could say of the state of affairs at McLaren, where a team which last year powered to seven wins has fallen to also ran status – with not a podium in sight – and the team boss has no confidence that much can be done except for consolidating their fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship.
This from a team which won the final two races of the 2012 season, scoring seven wins during course of that year and finishing comfortably third in the Constructors’ Championship.
Speaking ahead of the Korean Grand Prix weekend Martin Whitmarsh said, “We go into these final races with the very clear intention of consolidating our position in the Constructors’ Championship. While improving our position sadly looks impossible, it’s important to consistently achieve top-10 finishes with both drivers in order to strengthen our points cushion over our closest rivals behind.”
The team boss added, “After 13 races, and with the prospect of many more weeks spent on the road and thousands of miles spent away from home, it’s essential to remain fit, focused and dedicated in order to stave off the inevitable burnout that comes at the end of such a long year.”
The team’s senior driver Jenson Button goes to Korea intent on reversing a spate of poor results at the venue.
“If there’s one circuit on the F1 calendar that hasn’t been particularly kind to me, then it’s the track in Korea. I had a pretty tough race there in 2010, an average race there in 2011, and I didn’t even have a race there last year – someone smashed into me at Turn Three on the first lap, and my race was [immediately] over.”
But his ambitions are similar to those of his boss, “I think it’s very important for us to further consolidate our position in the championship, so getting points in both Korea and Japan will be important.”
Whitmarsh is only too aware of the state of affairs with a team which has 12 drivers’ titles and eight constructors’ in its repertoire, and now is scrambling for crumbs at the wrong end of the table.
“That may not be a particularly glamorous task for a team that enjoys winning,” mused Whitmarsh. “But it nonetheless calls for constant application, focus and commitment as we count down the remaining races during this important phase of the season.”
In the three editions of the Korean GP, McLaren have yet to win at the venue. Lewis Hamilton’s second place in the 2011 race is there best result to date. (GP247)
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