Martin Whitmarsh believes that the British Grand Prix will be a crucial test of McLaren’s competitiveness, as the Woking-based attempts to continue to fight off Red Bull Racing.
McLaren are set to introduce a number of new upgrades at Silverstone, including its interpretation of the blown-diffuser system. It is hoped that the success of these improvements will prove key to the team’s title bid and allow it to remain in control of both championships.
With Red Bull having dominated last year’s British Grand Prix, Whitmarsh says that he is fully aware of the significant of the next round of the championship.
“It is an important race for us,” he said of the British race in an interview with Autosport. “At a circuit like that we have to be competitive with Red Bull if we are going to be able to beat them this year. If we can be competitive there, we have a good chance to win both championships.
“It will be a big race, but it is not the end of it whatever happens. If we beat them they will not stand still. If they beat us we are not going to stand still. I hope it will be close and certainly closer than last year.”
The McLaren team principal also admitted that he had not expected the team to have done so well in Valencia, with a number of its rivals having choosen to introduce new parts.
“We didn’t know the scale of everyone else’s upgrades coming here, but on Friday you could see a lot more in terms of upgrades, so to come out of this event with a second and third was fairly reasonable,” he said.
“We should have been on the second row. In qualifying mode Red Bull were quicker than us, and both our guys made mistakes, but we were not about to beat the Red Bull.
“I think we had the slight edge on them in race pace, which we have had several times this season, and we thought there was going to be a bit more of a contest at the end. But unfortunately the penalty denied the opportunity.”
“To come out of here leading both world championships, we’ve seen what the others have got, and to have a decent upgrade, we must believe we are in the position to have a strong second half to the season and a world championship campaign.”