Whitmarsh: Our car is good enough to win races and the title
24 July, 2012
Jul.24 (AFP) According to McLaren chief Martin Whitmarsh, his team are back in the 2012 F1 world championship title fight after emerging from a spell of poor results by taking second place in the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
He said he believed that the team now has the car and a strong enough development programme to fight for the world championship. After disappointing results in the European and British Grands Prix, McLaren returned to form on Sunday when Briton Jenson Button finished second in the German Grand Prix.
The result followed the introduction of a major package of upgrades for the car, including modified sidepods and exhausts. In dry conditions, the McLaren was the fastest car around the Hockenheim circuit.
“It is good enough at the moment,” said Whitmarsh, referring to the revived car. “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 too. So we are feeling optimistic,” admitted Whitmarsh.
While Button got a boost on Sunday from a penalty handed to defending champion German Sebastian Vettel, who ran off the track in passing him in the final stages of the race, his team-mate and fellow-Briton Lewis Hamilton had to retire for the second time in three races following a puncture and other problems.
Whitmarsh refused to rule out either driver or the team making up a big points deficit to revive their challenge in the championship.
In the constructors’ championship, McLaren are 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, who won Sunday after leading from start to finish.
“Fernando is doing a great job and so is Ferrari, but we are fighters so there will be some great races and we need to maximise our points,” Whitmarsh said.
“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.”
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