Martin Whitmarsh says he is confident that the problems that have affected McLaren's title challenge so far this season have been resolved, and won't rear their head again in Monaco this weekend.
Although Lewis Hamilton is currently just eight points off the drivers' championship lead, and McLaren are only eleven points behind Red Bull in the constructors' championship, a series of problems in the opening five races of the season have prevented the team from leading the title race heading into the Monaco race – with pit delays in Malaysia, wheel nut issues in Bahrain and then a lack of fuel in Hamilton's car in qualifying in Spain all working against the Woking-based team.
Speaking in the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Whitmarsh said he was confident that the team wouldn't repeat the mistakes it has made so far this season - although he said it was foolish to think that errors wouldn't occur at some point in the future.
“I'm confident that the issues that we've had so far have been dealt with and are in the past,” he said. “I'm mindful that under the pressure of trying to win in Formula One there are always things that can come and bite you. So we have to be vigilant, careful and cautious.
“You should never be complacent and say that you have solved everything - or that I am super confident that nothing will happen again this year. I think that would be foolish. But we've made a range of changes within the team in terms of process and personnel to deal with some issues. But everyone in this company is mindful of the fact that a small human error could cause some difficulty in the races.”
Whitmarsh added that he felt frustrated by the way the season had gone so far, with McLaren having only managed a single win from the five races run so far this year thanks to Jenson Button in Australia.
“I'm not slightly frustrated - I'm very frustrated,” he said. “We've got a reasonable car and two great drivers, so looking back on it we should have had more success than we've had. We've been competitive or thereabouts at most races. I think we were very uncompetitive in the race in Bahrain, but I think that's one of the challenges. Rather than focus on the frustration you've got to look forward to the opportunity. Either of our drivers could win the drivers' championship and our team could definitely win the constructors' title. We are only 25 percent of the way in and there are certainly other team principals who are thinking similarly. We are in a strong position to do so.
“Going to Monaco we are not going to dwell on the frustrations of what has been. We are going to look ahead at the opportunity. McLaren have won at Monaco 15 times. We know how to win there. Both of our drivers are good around the circuit. We stand a pretty good chance of having a victory there. But you're often millimetres away from disaster out on the track and you can be milliseconds away from disaster in the garage. So anything can happen, but we go there with a reasonable level of confidence that we can do a good job and could potentially be leading both championships next week.”