The McLaren team’s current situation seems to have called team boss Martin Whitmarsh’s role into question.
The changes in the exhaust regulations for the British Grand Prix seemed to affect the Woking-based team more than most, and the team’s race weekend was blighted by a series of mistakes that cost it a better result on its home track.
In qualifying, the team sent Lewis Hamilton out on the wrong tyres – which resulted in yet another dummy spit from the 2008 World Champion – and during the race, Jenson Button retired with a loose front wheel, while Hamilton was forced to slow late in the race when he ran low on fuel.
These were but the latest in a series of mistakes made by the team this season, perhaps prompting a more visible presence by the team’s former figurehead, the perfectionist Ron Dennis, at recent Grands Prix.
Dennis still retains a controlling interest in the McLaren Group, although the majority of his focus is now on developing McLaren-branded road cars, including the MP4-12C hypercar.
The relationship between Dennis and Whitmarsh is “interesting”, as Whitmarsh attested to the media after Sunday’s race at Silverstone, but the 53-year-old remains confident that his role is not under threat.
“I am confident that I will stay in my job,” he added. “I answer to the board, not just Ron, and they seem happy with the job I’m doing – for now, anyway.”
When pressed further about his relationship with the team’s former leader, who relinquished his role in the years following the 2007 ‘Spygate’ scandal, Whitmarsh added: “We have ups and downs but I think our relationship is strong at the moment. I am firm about where I draw the line in terms of what my responsibilities are and what his are with regard to the F1 team.”
Got than, Ron?
[Image via Sutton Images]