McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh has said that he believes that the destiny of this year's Formula One world title will be shaped not by who produces the best performances on track or in the workshop, but by who makes the fewest errors of judgement, on and off track, over the remaining four races.
Both Ferrari and McLaren have made mistakes in recent races, allowing the championships to head to the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix - possibly the event with the greatest chance of miscalculation - with just a single point separating Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, and five splitting Ferrari and McLaren.
"The cars are extremely closely-matched, so I think it will be hard for either team to establish a decisive advantage in the four final races," Whitmarsh claimed, "More importantly, I think this world championship will boil down to whichever team and driver makes the fewest mistakes from now on.
"It's about preparing the cars with immaculate reliability, running them responsibly and not taking any unnecessary risks. We're lucky that both our drivers can still play their engine 'joker' ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, which is reassuring, but it's all about finding strength in every single area and not exposing any weaknesses. It will be a tough battle, but we are gearing up for the fight."
While Ferrari has erred on strategy in a couple of events this year, and both Massa and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen have seen their challenges blunted on occasion by driver error and mechanical failures, McLaren suffered possibly its biggest faux pas
at Monza last weekend. While neither Hamilton or Heikki Kovalainen have been immune to mistakes - witness the Briton clattering Raikkonen in pit-lane at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve or picking up penalties at Magny-Cours - the decision to fit intermediate tyres in Italian GP qualifying set the points leader a tough task last weekend.
"It was very much 'damage limitation'," Whitmarsh agreed, "In conditions such as we saw at Monza, it can be very difficult to tick every single box and have a trouble-free weekend. Our difficulties started on Saturday afternoon, when our weather forecasting predicted the rains were easing, which led us to fit standard wets to Lewis' car for Q2. Unfortunately, when we quickly aborted this run as the rain intensified, valuable time was lost when Lewis was called into the weigh bridge and we could, thereafter, not generate the necessary tyre temperatures to be completed in that session.
"Having said that, I think we recovered very well from Saturday, very consciously played the numbers correctly on Sunday, and secured a sizeable haul of constructors' points."
Had he qualified better, Hamilton could have potentially re-opened the gap over Massa that was denied him following the penalty in Belgium but, with the Brazilian having made it into the top ten shoot-out at Monza - while Hamilton and Raikkonen both missed out - the race could also have seen the overall lead change hands again. As it was, Hamilton climbed through the field, from 15th to seventh, to follow his chief rival across the line.
The Briton has been the surer of the pair in wet conditions too, dominating at Silverstone and making the most of Ferrari's tactical errors in Monaco to claim victory both times. Although Monza did not go his way, Whitmarsh believes that McLaren may hold an important advantage should any of the remaining four races be affected by rain.