McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh has said that he expects the Formula One championship battle to go to the wire, with the varying conditions expected at the remaining six venues set to play an important part in the outcome.
Speaking after the first European Grand Prix held around the Americas Cup port in Valencia, Whitmarsh claimed that Felipe Massa's romp to victory had been aided by a change in temperature that suited the Ferrari, but insisted that things would not always play into the Scuderia's hands over the remaining rounds.
"I think Ferrari were pleased the sun came out on Sunday, as I'm sure they feel that, when the track temperature really heats up, that's when their car really comes to them," he analysed, "We're now entering extremely interesting territory, where we wont be entirely certain what sort of temperatures we'll be encountering at some of the future races. Monza is likely to be hot and Singapore will probably be cooler, but the races at Spa, Fuji, Shanghai and Brazil could just as easily be sweltering as torrential."
As if to reply to quotes from Lewis Hamilton that appeared in the British press in the wake of Valencia, Whitmarsh insisted, however, that there would be no let up in the development of the MP4-23 between now and the end of the season.
“My car is quick, but their car is quicker,” Hamilton told The Times
, "We dropped everyone at Valencia - it was just me and Felipe in a completely different world, but he was still just edging away from me and I could do nothing about it.
"It is something I am constantly telling the team that we need to fix. There are certain things that we need to fix and they are working on it, [but] it probably won't be fixed for the next race - it might not be fixed until next year's car.”
Whitmarsh revealed that McLaren's simulations for the European Grand Prix had factored in drama on a Monaco and Montreal scale, which may have contributed to Hamilton's inability to take Massa on head-to-head over the 57 laps.
"It's fair to say we predicted more drama from a track lined with concrete walls and had factored the appearance of at least one safety car period into our pre-race calculations," he admitted, "The reality is that the race had its moments of controversy, but never quite delivered the level of incident we'd been anticipating beforehand.
"I don't know whether that's down to us misinterpreting the level of risk involved in racing around this track, or whether it was just a testament to the good driving standards of modern Formula One drivers, but we did not have the package to beat Felipe Massa. However, we feel we did a first-rate job and secured a very useful haul of world championship points. Lewis extended his lead in the drivers' championship and, in the constructors', we extended our lead over BMW Sauber and closed down the gap to Ferrari."