McLaren have, for the first time in 2013, acknowledged that their focus is shifting towards developing next year's car for the radical new regulation package that will include turbo-charged engines and only 100 litres of fuel available for the race distance.
Speaking to the assembled media, including Crash.net
, Martin Whitmarsh acknowledged the difficulties that the team has faced this season and how taking a realistic approach to their situation has seen them start to focus on next year's car.
"Every now and then, there is a glimmer of hope and performance which makes it difficult for the drivers and engineers," McLaren's team principal admitted, "We're throwing a lot of different ideas at the issues at the moment, but not getting the improvements. The drivers don't have a car which is consistent in its set-up and consistent when they are driving it on the track, so it's very challenging for us.
"We are at a point now where we have to ensure that we are in a competitive situation next season so we are now, earlier than usual, putting a lot of our resources into next year's programme. We need to do this because of the changes next year and also we need to be realistic about what is achievable. We are still racers so there's no give up on the race team and we'll do everything we can to race as well as we can, but we have to be realistic on what our priorities are."
While it will be a difficult situation for both Jenson Button
and Sergio Perez to face, but both racers are positive that the short-term pain will net a long-term gain.
"Every driver wants to win races," Button said, "I think, at McLaren, we've always won races but this year is a lot more difficult because of where we started the season. We've improved our understanding and will still develop the car, but I think it's great we have more people working on next year's car.
“We want to win grands prix because it's a very special experience and it's an emotional moment, but our main aim is win the world championship and that's not something we can do this year."
Having won a world title with Brawn and challenged for the championship since joining McLaren, this has been a tough year for Button but, with Perez having joined from Sauber, it must have been a surprise for the Mexican to be struggling in the midfield pack once again.
"I think F1 has changed a lot since I signed for McLaren," he admitted, "Jenson won the last race of 2012 and now we are not so quick, but I know we have very strong people and a strong team to develop the car. I know that we will have success, but success isn't winning a few races - it's fighting for a championship."by Stephen English at Silverstone