The 2013 F1 world championship title is slipping away from McLaren, according to the British team’s former long-time driver David Coulthard.
On the record, boss Martin Whitmarsh is insisting that the season is not lost for McLaren, despite launching the troubled MP4-28 and falling a long way off the championship lead after the first four races.
“There are a lot of races this season,” Coulthard told Germany’s motorsport-magazin.com.
“But when you look at the last few years, it’s clear that you need to be finishing almost all of them in the points — and in the good points.
“I think it might be difficult for them (McLaren),” he admitted.
McLaren’s big upgrade package for the opening round of the European season this weekend, then, might be seen as the Woking based team’s only chance to put its 2013 campaign back on track.
“We’ve made some progress but we need to make a lot more,” Whitmarsh said after Bahrain.
Officially, lead driver Jenson Button said: “There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of next weekend’s upgrades … but I’m pragmatic about what we’ll discover next weekend.”
However, to Brazil’s Totalrace, the 2009 world champion admitted: “Barcelona is more important than ever for us, but we’re not going to get the seven or eight tenths which is basically what we’re missing in qualifying.
“But hopefully we can go in the right direction, as there is much more we can do with this car.”
Another argument is that McLaren should simply write off 2013 and focus completely on 2014, because shifting resources so early in the season could pay strong dividends for the all-new V6 rules.
Whitmarsh has ruled that out, but Button admitted it “should be something we are thinking about”.
“On the other hand, I don’t know,” the 33-year-old added. “We want to win races this year; our goal is still to fight for the (2013) championship, so first of all let’s focus on what we have to do in Barcelona.”