McLaren-Mercedes boss Norbert Haug concedes that Lewis Hamilton will not be in a position to repeat last year’s sensational victory in front of his home crowd when the Formula One circus returns to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix next week.
McLaren started the season on the back foot after going the wrong way with the development of the MP4-24 and the aerodynamic problems with the car have left Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen languishing at the rear end of the grid at the high speed tracks.
In last week’s Turkish Grand Prix the best Hamilton could muster was thirteenth after failing to progress through the opening qualifying session for the second race in a row.
With the flowing high speed characteristics of Silverstone unlikely to provide a much better context for McLaren and Hamilton, Haug concedes that it will be another difficult weekend – a far cry from last year.
“We have fond memories of this traditional circuit with Lewis s superb victory in the rain, more than a minute ahead of the second finisher last year, certainly being the most memorable moment,” he said. “One year later, however, we will not be in a position to win. Since the beginning of this season we are in a catching up process.”
“This is because we have not yet managed to get the best technical package out of the new rules in contrast to what we achieved with the old regulations in previous years when we built a winning car which we fought for the world championship with and won it.
“Nevertheless, everybody in the team is highly motivated to further reduce our gap to the top particularly on fast circuits.
“We are currently experiencing tough times, but this is not new for us: after a year without victories in 2006 we missed our target to win the title by one point in 2007 and then, a year after, we clinched the world championship with Lewis in 2008.
“We all work in a calm, focused and concentrated way to get our job done. And we will manage to do so but certainly not overnight.â€