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McLaren to play safe with Hamilton`s V8?

McLaren-Mercedes CEO Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that the team is looking at the possibility of running Lewis Hamilton's engine in a 'safer setting' in Brazil next weekend.

Hamilton will start in Interlagos with a seven-point cushion over Felipe Massa and after such a good run in China is clearly the favourite to take the 2008 F1 drivers' title.

However, unlike Massa - and Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen for that matter too - he won't be able to use a new V8 engine, as he had a fresh one in Shanghai. That means he will be at a slight disadvantage and one thing McLaren will want to ensure is that he can get to the chequered flag.

"For this race, we'll be looking at the possibility of running Lewis's engine in a safer setting so it has a bit more margin than normal," Whitmarsh confirmed.

"It's something we do throughout the season but, clearly, there's a greater need to be safe next weekend."

Last year Ferrari had the edge over McLaren in Sao Paulo and while that could happen again, Whitmarsh reckons it is unlikely to be the case and that things should be a lot more even.

"While Ferrari was able to out-perform us at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, we feel relatively confident that the situation will be different this year for several reasons," he explained.

"Firstly, looking at the trends of the season, the characteristics of our car should be better suited to Interlagos than they were in 2007. Also, the weather was exceptionally warm last year - something that tends to favour Ferrari - and the chances are that it won't be quite so hot next week. These elements should create a very tight competition, which is good for everybody."

That doesn't lessen though just how an important event it is - both for Ron Dennis' men and those from Maranello and with both the drivers' and constructors' championship titles still up for grabs, the pressure couldn't be any more intense on either outfit.

"While we try and eliminate as many difficulties for the race team as is possible, there is no escaping the fact that a title-deciding race is clearly very stressful," Whitmarsh summed-up. "You're somewhat torn because the need to score four points is considerably easier than winning - but that sort of attitude is anathema to the team.

"The reality is that Shanghai was rather more stressful because we only had a five-point cushion over Felipe and that could have been seriously dented.

"Given our performance so far this year, you'd assume that Lewis would be able to score the necessary points - but that could be affected by a sudden Safety Car period or a mechanical problem. Both drivers just need to drive clean races; but reliability is the biggest stress-builder for the guys in the garage, and it is a constant worry..."


Related Pictures

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Martin Whitmarsh CEO McLaren (GBR), Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, 5-7th, September, 2008
Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 cockpit detail.
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Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 rear wing and engine cover detail.
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(L to R): Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team with team mate Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 and the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 with Alfonso Celis Jr (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 Development Driver and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team.
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(L to R): Andrew Green (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Technical Director; Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1; Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner; Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team; Robert Fernley (GBR) Sahara Force India F1 Team Deputy Team Principal, and the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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(L to R): Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner with Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team.
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(L to R): David Croft (GBR) Sky Sports Commentator with Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team.
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(L to R): Alfonso Celis Jr (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 Development Driver; Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1; Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner; Alfonso Celis Jr (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 Development Driver, with the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1; Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner; Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team, with the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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(L to R): Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 with team mate Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team and the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team unveil the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 and Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team unveil the Sahara Force India F1 VJM10.
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Otmar Szafnauer (USA) Sahara Force India F1 Chief Operating Officer.
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(L to R): Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team with Otmar Szafnauer (USA) Sahara Force India F1 Chief Operating Officer.
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Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 Team.
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Dr. Vijay Mallya (IND) Sahara Force India F1 Team Owner.
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Hannah - Unregistered

October 25, 2008 5:34 PM

REALLY hope Lewis's relliability is as good as it has been all season, disaster if not! :rolleyes: I dont now wats best :?, but im sure they've got hundreds of people working on both tht and the race strategy, both very important. :rolleyes: GD LUCK HAMILTON!!!!! :) :p LEWIS TO WIN!!! :D

Nopreferences - Unregistered

October 26, 2008 12:41 AM

@Gordo, get your facts right. MCL seriously changed their "strategy" thinking, this is why they are where they are today, with all the finger pointing that they've been through. its a team that was able to stand up after being bashed in the face many times in the past. But i agree that "history" wise, MCL in the past years did not have a good strategy history. but if you compare that to ferrari, well, not comment...ferrari strategies go beyond the tracks :rolleyes:



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