Whitmarsh: McLaren hasn’t fully met its expectations for 2010

Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that McLaren has not fully met its targets for the start of the 2010 season.

Although McLaren currently lies second in the constructors championship and was victorious in the Australian Grand Prix, Whitmarsh says that the team should have been stronger in the opening three races.

“By our own very high standards, we’ve not fully met our very high expectations in the first three races, despite having what we feel is the necessary race pace to compete at the front and despite having won the Australian Grand Prix,” said McLaren’s team principal in the team’s Chinese Grand Prix preview.

“That might sound overly self-critical, given that we are second in the Constructors’ Championship, and given that Jenson and Lewis are both close to the top of the drivers’ championship, but that’s merely a reflection of the fact that we at McLaren aim to excel at all times.

“So I regard that objective as a positive: it’s our desire to improve and to eliminate mistakes from the operation that will make us stronger championship contenders.”

Despite this, Whitmarsh admitted that the team could take many positives from the start of its season and praised both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button for their hard work.

“There’s no denying that our successes – Jenson’s integration into the team, his win in Melbourne, and some of the greatest drives of Lewis’s career have given us a great early-season boost,” he added.

“Now we are looking to establish ourselves as consistent challengers at the front, and to pick up the maximum available points on a regular basis.

“One of the greatest qualities of this team is its considerable strength in depth. After establishing a strong and solid start to the season, we’re confident that we’ll become an even more formidable contender as we head into China and then the start of the European season.”

Meanwhile reigning World Champion, Jenson Button, believes that the team is moving forwards and that he has finally overcome the balancing issues which plagued him in this season’s opening rounds.

“I wasn’t completely happy with the balance of the car in Malaysia,” he said, “So I spent a day back at the McLaren Technology Centre looking at how we could have done things differently in Sepang while also looking ahead to Shanghai.”

“Along with my engineers, I think we’ve developed an even better understanding of the MP4-25. We know how to fine-tune the car’s balance and how to develop it over a race weekend. Of course, it’s a continuous process, but the overall feeling is that we’re moving forwards which, again, is always a positive.”