McLaren not counting on further Red Bull problems

Martin Whitmarsh believes that McLaren cannot count on Red Bull’s internal problems worsening, during the remainder of the 2010 season.

Red Bull’s dominant performance over the Silverstone weekend was overshadowed by tensions which arose between eventual-race winner Mark Webber and the team’s management.

The Australian was furious with the decision to take a newly-designed front wing off his car and give it to Sebastian Vettel – prompting him to suggest that he had been relegated to the role of number two driver within the team.

Although tensions appear to be ongoing within the Milton Keynes-based outfit, with principal Christian Horner sticking by his decision, McLaren’s team principal believes that it would be foolish to bank on the controversy reaching new heights.

“I don’t know what’s happening there,” he is quoted by Autosport as saying.

“We have got to concentrate on our situation. A lot of people speculated on the relationship between our two drivers. And the fact is that it hasn’t been a news story yet meant people tried to make it one.

“I hope there are cracks and divisions in all our competitors and they all fall apart, but I am not going to rely on it. We have got to make our car quicker and try and win the championships that way.”

Whitmarsh warned that teams had to be careful when managing drivers and warned of the serious damage that it could do to a title charge if not handled correctly.

“I think if your drivers aren’t working together then it is one more distraction you could do without.” he said.

“You have got to think carefully about decisions.

“Drivers are immensely competitive individuals. They wouldn’t be doing that job otherwise, so if they perceive something that is not even-handed or fair, then you are going to have some trouble.

“There is always a potential tension with two drivers in the same team fighting for a championship. We’ve experienced that a few times, it’s difficult, but I have to say that so far I think we are in reasonable shape in that regard.”

Whilst its main rival was embroiled in a political storm, McLaren also had problems over the Silverstone weekend, as the team failed to fully incorporate its ‘blown diffuser’ system onto its MP4-25.

Despite this, Whitmarsh does not regret trying out the device in Friday practice at Silverstone and is optimistic that it will be able to make a difference in Germany.

“I’m quite optimistic now,” he said. “Because of circumstance we took the blown diffuser off on Friday, and we got a free back-to-back because on Saturday we didn’t have it.

“I was looking at the data and I think we now have some understanding of the issues, if not all, and we can devise some experiments. Hopefully we can make some progress on Friday in Hockenheim and then use it.”

“I think it was a big challenge that could have been a mistake, but I’m glad we did it and I’m glad we took it off. I didn’t feel like it on Friday night but now we have got a lot of good data.”

He added: “Lewis will still say that he thought we should have raced it and, from the data, I think he’s not wrong. Ultimately it was my decision and I think it was the right one.

“We were in a little bit of disarray on Friday, with a new circuit, gusty conditions and drivers uncomfortable. As a race team you take a decision like that, and to say: ‘right, we are to concentrate on something different on each car’, that would have confused us as well.

“I don’t think we’d have had a much better result this weekend. We’ve got some good ideas now that will hopefully take us forward on Friday in Germany.”