McLaren has announced a restructure of its engineering team to ensure complete parity in the title bids for its respective drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Hamilton’s race engineer Phil Prew has been promoted to a new post of principal race engineer and will coordinate the flow of information between two separate engineering crews, one for each driver.
Andy Latham will be Hamilton’s new race engineer and Jakob Andreason will perform the same role for Button.
McLaren has always claimed it treats its two drivers equally but that has not prevented a number of high-profile driver feuds – most recently between Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in 2007 when the Spaniard felt he was not receiving the same support as his team-mate.
Such a restructure would clearly imply that supposedly equal treatment clearly didn’t exist before when former driver Heikki Kovalainen was around, and would support his claims raised a few months ago!
A key part of Prew’s role this year will be to ensure an open transfer of information between the two engineering crews, and McLaren MD Jonathan Neale believes this will assuage any concerns the drivers may have about parity of treatment.
“When Jenson visited [McLaren], one of the questions he asked was, ‘Is this Lewis’s team?’ and the answer was ‘Yes, of course it’s Lewis’s team… as it was Heikki Kovalainen’s team, Fernando Alonso’s team, Juan Pablo Montoya’s, and Kimi Raikkonen’s. And it will be your team as well.
“Is this Lewis’s team to the exclusion of any other high-performance driver? Absolutely not.
“We want to make absolutely sure we can do an equal job for both drivers.”
Let’s wait and see…!
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