There seem to be rather downbeat views in the McLaren camp, with former World Champion Lewis Hamilton seemingly writing off the team’s prospects of being able (for the moment) to mount a challenge for the championship titles, while McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is hoping his team can make a quick turnaround.
The team’s rather uninspiring form to-date in pre-season testing as prompted BBC F1 commentator – and former McLaren driver- Martin Brundle to describe the radical MP4-26 as “a mess”.
“It isn’t as fast as others are, but two years ago we were two or three seconds off the pace and now we are maybe a second [off the pace],” Hamilton told reporters after much of his running on Wednesday was hampered by yet more technical issues.
“[But] that doesn’t mean it won’t become a world championship-winning car,” he said, and added: “We definitely have the strength within the team to catch up.”
Whitmarsh is hoping he can rally the troops to improve the car, which has been blighted by reliability issues and a lack of downforce.
“It’s simply too early to say anything definitive about the MP4-26 or indeed about any other 2011 Formula 1 car,” Whitmarsh said in an interview published on Formula1.com.
“[Many] Motorsport pundits have come unstuck when they’ve attempted to extrapolate testing times to predict race results, and I’m not about to join their number now. Suffice to say that we’ve had a few reliability issues during testing so far, but we’re confident that things are going in the right direction now.”
[Original image via Sutton Images]