Former F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton
has responded to the scathing criticism levelled at McLaren-Mercedes' troubled MP4-26 by a trio of BBC
pundits this week, stressing that since they aren't the ones driving it, 'they don't know exactly how it feels' and asserting that 'we definitely have the strength within the team to catch up'.
After team-mate Jenson Button
admitted that he would be 'surprised' if McLaren's new baby could take the fight to early F1 2011 pace-setters Red Bull
Racing and Ferrari
in the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix
in Melbourne at the end of this month, BBC F1
trio Martin Brundle, David Coulthard
and Eddie Jordan variously described the MP4-26 as 'a mess', carrying 'a fundamental issue' and even so abject as to warrant the construction of 'a whole new car' [see separate story – click here
It is clear that the McLaren
is not yet where it needs to be in terms of performance, and such a fact Hamilton does not seek to deny – but just because it is not a title-challenging machine at present, he argues, does not mean it cannot be turned into one.
“That doesn't mean it won't become a world championship-winning car,” the 26-year-old told reporters at this week's Barcelona test, on the second day of which he managed to cover a mere 57 laps due to ongoing reliability woes.
“They (Brundle, Coulthard and Jordan) don't drive it so they don't know exactly how it is. I wouldn't agree with what he (Brundle) says. The car feels better than last year's car. It isn't as fast as others are, but two years ago we were two or three seconds off the pace and now we are maybe a second. We definitely have the strength within the team to catch up.”