Martin Whitmarsh has warned McLaren-Mercedes' F1 2010 title rivals Red Bull Racing and Ferrari that the former multiple world champions are 'on the attack' as they endeavour to recover from an 'unfortunate' run of races of late – and will be 'hitting with absolutely everything we have' between now and season's end.
In each of the last four grands prix in Hungary, Belgium, Italy and Singapore, McLaren has succeeded in getting only one of its two cars to the chequered flag – and on three of those occasions, the car that didn't make it was driven by Lewis Hamilton, with a gearbox failure sidelining the 2008 F1 World Champion in Budapest, and accidents doing likewise at Monza and Marina Bay.
At Spa-Francorchamps, meanwhile, it was team-mate, compatriot and title-winning successor Jenson Button's turn to fail to finish, with the British star finding himself unceremoniously removed from second place by the out-of-control Red Bull RB6 of an apologetic Sebastian Vettel.
That combination of events means that approaching Suzuka for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, rather than leading both tables as some feel the team should be, the Woking-based outfit is instead 24 points in arrears of RBR in the constructors' rankings, with Hamilton correspondingly 20 markers shy of Mark Webber in the drivers' standings and Button 25 adrift. It is time, acknowledges team principal Whitmarsh, to fight back.
“The bald facts show that we've only managed to get one car to the finish of each of the last four grands prix,” the Englishman mused. “While that doesn't make for positive reading, it's perhaps too stark an illustration of our overall competitiveness – and it certainly doesn't reflect the level of dedication and commitment that's come from every single team member.
“We have worked with unstinting focus and dedication throughout this whole season, and our current positions in both the drivers' and constructors' world championships are just the spur we need to raise our game and attack these final four races with real vigour.
“Of course, any team would tell you that it deserves to have scored more points this season, but we've been unusually unfortunate recently. As an organisation, of course, we don't rely on luck – but I'm optimistic in thinking that our fortunes are due a change, and that we can all raise our game as we head into these final four races.
“Perhaps our recent misfortunes are exactly what's needed to strengthen our approach and further narrow our focus. We are on the attack – we know all about taking the fight to the end, and I know I can rely on every single individual within this organisation to make sure we're hitting with absolutely everything we have until the very end of the season.”