Whitmarsh: We’re not giving up on 2013
22 May 2013
Under-fire McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insists that his squad will resist the temptation to turn its attention to next season, claiming that it can still get to the front of the field in 2013.
McLaren has suffered a nightmare start to the current campaign, amassing just 29 points from the opening five rounds, and trailing not only its expected rivals, but also Force India in the constructors' standings. Its drivers, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez – both tipped as potential title contenders pre-season – have managed best results of fifth and sixth respectively, and currently languish tenth and eleventh in the individual standings, already over 70 points adrift of leader Sebastian Vettel.
Even as early as race three, there were rumours that the Woking team was considering switching back to its race-winning 2012 car, but Whitmarsh played down those suggestions, pointing out that there was a major upgrade due at May's Spanish Grand Prix. When that failed to have the desired effect, however, many believed that McLaren would decide to focus on next season, when a new engine formula is accompanied by yet more changes to the technical regulations, and 2015, when it begins a renewed association with Honda.
Whitmarsh, however, maintains that every effort would continue to be put in 2013, in the belief that McLaren can dig itself out of the mire and once again take the fight to the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes.
"I think, every year, you have that dilemma of where and when do you deploy the resources that you have," Whitmarsh told journalists during a media phone-in, "There are some resources diverted [towards 2014 and '15], but we're not giving up on this year. Be assured that there is a big effort to develop this year's car and to restore McLaren to the level of competitiveness that we expect of ourselves.
"We struggle to give up. It's still early enough in the season, and we've got to believe that we can get up there and get some good results. We'll have to take stock of it later in the season but, at the moment, we're very determined to make our car competitive and provide the sort of results that we expect from ourselves."
While the unique nature of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix offers a rare chance for McLaren to close the gap on its more competitive rivals, Whitmarsh admits that it is unlikely that either Button or Perez will be a factor. However, he revealed that, such was the desire to win in 2013, the team had probably not turned over the usual level of resources to next year and beyond.
“It's probably less than we planned because we've got to try harder on this year's car,” he confirmed, “There's a lot of work to do for 2014 and 2015, undeniably, [but] we're going to be doing everything we can to win races with Mercedes this year.”